education, travel, vacation

Be Our Guest

This week and next I will share my reflections from a recent Disney Cruise and the lessons I learned throughout my travels. If you’ve never been on a cruise before, or even if you’ve been on ten, I hope you will join me as we sail the seas together!
The first thing you will notice as you embark on a Disney Cruise are the lengths they go to make you feel welcome. From walking through the trademark Mickey ears, to photographing your family with a “Welcome” backdrop, to announcing your arrival as you cross into the gorgeous main atrium, you know this will be a vacation like no other.



A Disney cruise is the epitome of elegance and style with finite attention to detail. However, unlike other cruise lines, Disney was the first to identify families as their target audience. From engaging children clubs to swimming pools with movie screens, there is something for everyone on a Disney Cruise.



Early in our trip, my daughter and father-in-law joined me on an official tour of the Disney Dream. During that tour we learned about the Disney Imagineers with examples shown of their innovative vision. Our guide, Dustin, showcased various locations around the ship as he explained the four key elements in Disney Cruiseline design:

1.  Look and Feel of the Golden Age (think Titanic)
2.  Modern Technology
3.  Storytelling
4.  Transformation

Each space on a Disney Cruise, from the dining rooms to the staterooms (and even the bathrooms!) showcases attention to detail. We were in awe walking around the ship, our eyes drawn to specific attributes such as the stars on the carpet that always pointed towards the forward (front) of the ship.

We enjoyed learning that the left side of the ship has fish hooks because F-I-S-H has four letters like P-O-R-T and the right side of the ship has seahorse hooks because S-E-A-H-O-R-S-E-S has the same amount of letters as S-T-A-R-B-O-A-R-D. We also discovered the ceilings on Deck 5 were lower than the rest of the ship as that was the floor of the kids’ clubs and they wanted all children to feel big. They even have 73 Hidden Mickeys (with an additional 20 on their private island, Castaway Cay.) Can you find the Hidden Mickeys in the photos below?


 (That one shows a part of Mickey Mouse.)
Even the waiters got into the fun as they added more Hidden Mickeys to our son’s meal:
This astute attention to detail and creating magical experiences made me ponder: How can I make this happen in my real world? Is there a way I can transform my environment, welcoming everyone so that they feel invited as a guest in my home? In my classroom? Are there small details I can include to engage and enrich? What experiences can I design that will make my children and students never want to leave, to beg for more?

I want to dream like Disney and innovate like an Imagineer.

Those are my goals for next year! What changes will YOU make to create new experiences for those you serve? Comment below and join in the conversation!


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