Improving the Guest Experience at the Walt Disney World Resort

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Meeting the New Standard©

Improving the Guest Experience at the Walt Disney World Resort

Strategic Consulting

Josh Buchanan
Matthew Covarrubias
James Gillis
T.J. Lovejoy
Craig Wuollet

December 3, 2007

Executive Summary3

Disney’s Guest Expectations4

The Cast as a Core Competency4

The New Cast Member Standard5

Disney’s Cast Basics5

Determining the Drivers of the New Standard5

Do Cast Members feel valued?5
Is Management creating an environment that has a positive affect on Cast performance?6 Do Managers have the tools necessary to be Effective?6
Treat Cast Members how you want them to treat guests7

Achieving the New Cast Member Standard7

Operational Areas7

Training and Development8

Management Training and Classes8
Coordinator Training8
Training and Education Incentives9

Retaining Top Performers9

Importance of Vision and Mission10

Vision of the Ideal Work Environment11
Attraction Mission Statements11
Cast Ownership11

Continuous Feedback and Reassessment11

Cast Surveys12
Guest Feedback12
Analyzing Feedback and Approval Ratings12
Regionalizing Guest Feedback13

Applying the New Standard13

Refocus Management on Cast13
Develop Tools to Increase Management’s Effectiveness13
Treat Cast Members how you would want them to Treat Guests14 Long Term Benefits of Improving the Cast Experience14

Strategy Map15

Executive Summary

Disney Theme Parks create a magical environment for their guests in which none of their competitors can quite duplicate. This core competency is driven by their Cast Members and their world renowned guest service. To continue improving their business Disney has set up new cast member standards in the form of the Basics. These new standards expect Cast members to maintain and reinforce the ‘magical’ experience of guests by being approachable, engaging, and willing to go above and beyond. However, motivating the Cast to maintain the famous guest service standards that guests have come to expect has always been challenging. Issues with guests arise when Cast members are either unable or unwilling to ensure the guest experience is a ‘magical’ one, even if only for a small period during working hours. It is these periods of substandard performance that need to be minimized.

Disney needs to take into consideration a broad range of issues that affect the ultimate performance of the individual Cast Member in order to minimize inevitable periods of suboptimal performance. With these steps comes a cultural change within management to help mold the Cast Member that it envisions. In achieving their goals and vision for the new Cast Member, the following steps should be considered:

• Restructuring regional Operational Areas in the mold of small business units to increase management’s ownership and therefore accountability based on objective measurement standards • Proactively incorporate Cast feedback into the decision making process of the management teams through greater Cast engagement processes. • Management training and classes consisting of a formal classroom management course designed to promote participative approaches to management and the importance of placing value on the Cast as well as illustrate Disney’s management expectations. • Provide Cast Members incentives to increase their education and training. • Improve programs to retain top performers.

• Create regional visions and missions along with attraction specific mission statements. • Develop tools to increase management’s effectiveness in approaching issues specific to their sphere of influence. • Continuous feedback and reassessment tools for managers that are individualized to specific attractions and Cast teams. • Design and implement creative applications for the initiatives discussed. • Implement a balanced scorecard system...
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