Walt Disney had the idea that Guests could feel perfection. A story from Disney “design guru” Imagineer John Hench describes it well:
I once complained to Walt about the construction of some new stagecoaches. Walt had asked that the cab be suspended by leather straps as early western stagecoaches had been. I thought that this was too much and told Walt, ‘People aren’t going to get this, it is too much perfection.’
‘Yes, they will,’ he responded. ‘They will feel good about it. And if they don’t understand it, if you do something and people don’t respond to it, it’s because you are a poor communicator. But if you really reach them and touch them, they will respond because people are okay.’
I knew then that Walt expected us to give our Guests good information in both design and story.
Disney Institute Programming Manager Bruce Jones continues that line of thinking:
Disney Imagineers like John Hench say attention to detail and exceeding Guests’ expectations is so important. It’s also why Disney over-manages.
Over-managing is a driver of consistent business results and an effect of the alignment of an organization’s values and vision. The goal: be intentional where others are unintentional — over-managing the things most companies ignore or under-manage is what differentiates you.
As I’ve written before, the secret to Disney “magic” is simple: it’s attention to detail.
Easier said than done in any organization, but the Disney organization certainly leads the way for others to follow.
Disney Imagineers excel at transforming a space into a story place. Every element they design works together to create an identity that supports the story of that place – structures, entrances and exits, walkways, landscaping, water elements, and modes of transportation. Every element in its form and color must engage the Guests’ imagination and appeal to their emotions.
Look for all the rich details in this photo from Hollywood Studios.
The minute details that produce the visual experience are really the true art of the Disney themed show, its greatest source of strength. The details corroborate every story point, immersing Guests in the story idea. Walt Disney knew that if details are missing or incorrect, Guests won’t believe in the story, and that if one detail contradicts another, Guests will feel let down or even deceived.
This is why he insisted that even details others thought no Guest would notice – like leather straps on the stagecoaches – were important. Inappropriate details confuse a story’s meaning.
How do you pay attention to the details in your organization?
inspired by and adapted from John Hench’s Designing Disney