July 17, 2010

Day 20,090

Day 1. July 17, 1955. Fifty-five years ago today.

It was no walk in the Park. The mishaps, miscues, and mistakes of Disneyland's first day are legendary. Ladies got their high heels caught in still-soft pavement. Walt had to choose between restrooms and drinking fountains. But by the end of that day, there was a real live Magic Kingdom, and it really did go on to become "a source of joy and inspiration to all the world."

This is how Disneyland's long-lasting magic was created. Not with pixie dust, forced perspective, or audio-animatronics. But with hard work, dedication, a genuine desire to make others happy. Qualities inherent in people with the ability to make the dream a reality, polished by traditions and training that began all those "normal operating days" ago.

The principles taught to the very first Disneyland Cast made possible everything that came afterward. The more July 17ths that come between Day 1 and the present, however, the easier it is to lose sight of those principles. This video focuses on Walt Disney World, but the lessons aren't different. It doesn't take many slips—a rude employee, peeling paint, lack of value—for the "Finest in Family Entertainment" to fall painfully short of its well-deserved high expectations.

Today's a great day to review these important lessons. After all, when it's your job to create happiness, you can't take your birthday off.


TokyoMagic! said...

Fascinating! I thoroughly enjoyed that...thank you! It was also great to hear the music from the Donald Duck B-day parade again. I really wish they would sell a CD of all the old parade soundtracks!

SundayNight said...

Always enjoy reading your excellent blog.

Anonymous said...

I can certainly attest to the loss of value we experienced in our visits in the early '90's. I grew up going to disneyland and took my little ones as soon as they were old enough to remember it. We were so disappointed in how the park was managed that I lost interest in returning.
Fortunately, we went back again a year or two ago, to find that much was back as I recalled from my youth.

Not everything, but enough that we no longer felt robbed to go in.

I asked my 23 year old daughter the other day if she remembered the character breakfast when she was 5. Her answer: "You bet!".

It wasn't a waste after all.

thank you.