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How to Exceed Expectations: 4 Business Lessons from the Newest Disney Parade

March 11, 2014 by Bruce Jones, Programming Director, Disney Institute

This week at Walt Disney World, Magic Kingdom welcomed a new spectacular, Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade, bringing magic and surprise to Guests. Utilizing new technology and an intricate focus on the details, the parade combines elements from classic and modern Disney tales to create an unforgettable experience.  Some of the floats are The Princess Garden, Peter Pan, Tangled, and a show-stopping Steampunk-inspired Dragon as wicked queen Maleficent. 

What does a fire-breathing dragon from the new Disney Festival of Fantasy parade have in common with your organization? At Disney Institute, we know that brand, audience, details and innovation are crucial elements to exceeding expectations for your customers. 

  1. Align with Your Brand: Before creating a new experience or product for your customers, an organization should look to its vision, values and brand promise to determine if the new product is in alignment. Inconsistencies can undermine organizational effectiveness and weaken brand reputation.

During the creative design of Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade, the executive team reviewed all potential floats and chose the elements that best fit the Disney brand promise. The spectacular is an extension of the Disney brand and seamlessly enhances the fanciful tribute of Magic Kingdom.

  1. Know Your Audience: An organization must understand their target customers as well as those for whom the experience is not intended. Once an organization has a clear view of their core audience, they can create experiences that enhance their brand. A common mistake businesses often make is trying to create products and services for everyone. Without knowing the audience, it is difficult to provide a clear differentiator in the marketplace. 

Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade is created for Disney’s core family market. This spectacular provides entertainment for families with children, with elements for boys and girls, young and old. The parade includes floats with both royal whimsy and playful mischief, featuring classic and modern beloved characters from Snow White to Frozen.

  1. Focus on the Details: An organization’s customer experience must be designed across all touchpoints. Some organizations may limit themselves by focusing only on the more obvious things customers care about. However, the seemingly insignificant little details that go untouched can drastically affect the experience.

Disney provides intricate attention to all the details in Festival of Fantasy Parade. The floats stretch up to three stories high and 50 feet long and include elements such as swaying pendulums, swinging anchors and rocking boats. The dramatic and vibrant costumes were crafted at ten different design houses across the country. However, beyond the most noticeable features is an attention to details that may not have the spotlight. For example, the costume for the Swing Thug on the Tangled unit is composed of 28 separate fabrics. His vest alone requires the vinyl to be cut into 75 separate diamond shapes and then stitched onto cool max fabric. Although Rapunzel and Flynn Rider take center stage on the float, the supporting characters receive just as much attention. Since Guests will be viewing the parade from all different heights and levels, every little element has been intentionally designed.

  1. Enhance with Innovation: To continue to be a unique and relevant brand in today’s competitive marketplace, organizations must harness the power of creativity and innovation. For example, new technology provides many businesses with an opportunity to rethink how their products and services can provide truly unique experiences while continuing to support and enhance their brand.

A great example from the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade is the Steampunk-inspired Dragon that actually breathes fire. Harnessing new technology, Disney provides Guests with an unmatched experience that aligns and amplifies its core vision and values, and delivers on the promise of the brand. 

Align with your brand, know and understand your audience, focus on the details of the experience, and innovate relentlessly: These elements combine to not only meet Guest expectation but to exceed expectations.

How does your organization exceed expectations?



Posted in Business Excellence | Tagged Business Excellence, Creativity, Innovation, Exceeding Customer Expectations, Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade, Bruce Jones | 1 Comments


1 Responses to How to Exceed Expectations: 4 Business Lessons from the Newest Disney Parade

  • Frank says:

    on May 15, 2014

    Well thought out article. Your talking points on realigning with the brand and innovation are fantastic.


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