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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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Introduction:

    Walt Disney World Resort originated and is located in Orlando, Florida and is known a the most visited vacation resort in the world. On average, Walt Disney World yearly attendance falls around 52 million people. The property covers nearly 25,000 acres (39 miles) of land. Only half of the 25,000 acres has been used, comprised of four theme parks, two water parks, twenty-seven themed resort hotels, nine non-Disney hotels, several golf courses, a camping resort and other entertainment venues such as the outdoor shopping center, Disney Springs. Disney World employs more than 70,000 people, the employees are referred to as “cast members.” There are several jobs available at Disney World, anywhere from acting as a character in the theme parks, to being a full time garment cutter. As stated before, there are over 70,000 cast members employed at Walt Disney World, the job options are endless. Walt Disney World provides endless entertainment, through its mass amount of rides, shows, and products offered throughout the parks. Some of the products offered at Disney World include various toys that go along with the Disney theme, phone apps such as “My Disney Experience”, “Disney World Wait Times”, and “Hidden Mickeys,” Disney themed apparel, and books as well (Walt Disney Company).

History:

    In 1955 Walt Disney created Disneyland, a theme park in California. After Disneyland had opened Disney was hesitant with the idea of creating a new park. However, after being involved in building attraction for the 1964 New York World's Fair, Disney had learned many new and useful technological innovations that could be used in the creation of new theme park attractions. After his work in 1964, Disney began to work on the creation of a second theme park where he hoped to build both resorts and attractions. In 1965 Disney had purchased 27,443 acres of land in Orlando, Florida costing around 5 million dollars. Disney had planned on keeping the construction of Disney World a secret but after the purchase of large amounts of land people grew skeptical, he announced the construction of what he claimed to be the “greatest attraction in the history of Florida” on October 25th, 1965. One of the first structures built in the park was a series of underground tunnels allowing for workers to enter and exit the park without being seen by visitors. The tunnels are also home to offices, hallways, parking garages, and the Digital Animation Control System (DACS) which is responsible for the controlling the park's computer systems. Walt Disney died of lung cancer on December 15th, 1966 before Walt Disney World was finished. However, his brother Roy O. Disney took Walt's place in overseeing the construction of the park. After the construction of the underground tunnels was complete, Disney began the construction of Magic Kingdom in 1970.  Most of the attractions constructed were based on the animated motion pictures created by Disney himself (Walt Disney World). The first two projects completed at Disney World were the Main Street, USA and Cinderella's Castle. Cinderella's Castle stands 189 feet tall, taking 18 months to be built by 9,000 construction workers. After beginning construction in 1965, Magic Kingdom opened its doors to guests on October 1st, 1971. On opening day only 10,000 guests had visited the park which was surprising to Disney; they expected many more people. However, in the weeks following they filled the park to capacity almost every day. When Magic Kingdom had first opened it was divided into six different areas. The first was Adventureland, which was designed to resemble and island paradise. Next was Fantasyland which was home to  Cinderella's Castle and the famous “It's a Small World” ride. Frontierland, resembling the Wild West with rides such as Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Then there was Liberty Square which gives guests a taste of American History with the Hall of Presidents. Next, Main Street, USA which is at the entrance of the park featuring the Walt Disney World Railroad. Finally, Tomorrowland which was set up as a futuristic city, including neon lights and the Space Mountain Roller Coaster. 24 days after the park had opened Roy O. Disney announced that he would name the property “Walt Disney World” in his brother's honor. A direct quote from Roy: "Everyone has heard of Ford cars. But have they all heard of Henry Ford, who started it all? Walt Disney World is in memory of the man who started it all, so people will know his name as long as Walt Disney World is here." When Disney World first opened admission prices were $3.50 for adults, $2.50 for juniors and only one dollar for children under 12. After a little over 12 years from opening Magic Kingdom, Disney World's second park EPCOT was opened in 1982. EPCOT is centered around the celebration of human achievement, technological innovation and international culture. EPCOT is short for “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow,” otherwise known as a utopian city of the future. EPCOT is often referred to as a “permanent world's fair.”  Then, in 1989 the third park opened. This park is named Disney's Hollywood Studios formerly known as Disney-MGM Studios; this park was inspired by show business. This park is based off of the film, television, music and theater from the Golden Age of Hollywood. In 1998, Disney's fourth park was opened; Animal Kingdom. Animal Kingdom is themed around the natural environment and animal conservation, it is different in comparison to the other parks due to the fact that it is home to hundreds of species of live animals (Walt Disney World). There are now a total of six Disney Parks in the world, Disneyland in California, Disney World in Florida, and Disneylands in Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai. “Characters and experiences reach consumers and guests from every corner of the globe. With operations in more than 40 countries, our employees and cast members work together to create entertainment experiences that are both universally and locally cherished (Walt Disney Company)”.

Current Events:

    There are many exciting things coming Disney World's way according to Experiences and Consumer Products Chairmen Bob Chapek. One major motion picture theme is making its way to Disney World; Star Wars. Not only is there a Star Wars themed hotel in the making, there are two new rides centered around the famous films “Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.” Imagineers have also been hard at work creating a real-world experience centered around Mickey & Minnie Mouse. This Runaway Railway is the first ever ride-through attraction themed to Mickey Mouse, it is set to open in fall 2019. Disney World is always using the latest state of the art technology, coming May 2019 a brand new cinematic nighttime experience is set to be released at Disney's Hollywood Studios. It is called the “Wonderful World of Animation” and is set to take guests on a magical journey through more than 90 years of Disney Animation. There are also some big changes coming to EPCOT, these changes are designed to honor the park's original vision while making it more timeless and more relevant. One of the newest experiences coming to EPCOT is the “Ratatouille” experience, located in the France pavilion along with a brand new “Beauty and the Beast” sing-along created by Don Hahn the producer of the animated “Beauty and the Beast” films (Disney Parks). Recently, Hollywood Studios opened “Toy Story Land” taking guests to the adventurous outdoors of Andy's backyard. Guests can now experience two new attractions, a roller coaster named “Slinky Dog Dash” and another fun attraction named “Alien Swirling Saucers.” Another well known movie had made its way to Animal Kingdom; The World of Avatar. Disney had created “Pandora” bringing to life the mythical world from the movie. “Pandora” includes floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests and soaring banshees. In the world of Pandora you will find two new attractions, the first being “Avatar Flight of Passage” which sends guests in simulated flight, soaring on a banshee over a vast alien world. The second is “Na'vi River Journey,” a family friendly experience aboard woven rafts passing through a stunning bioluminescent rainforest (What's new and What's Next). Walt Disney World is constantly changing, creating new rides and experiences to adhere to new movies that are popular and appeal to consumers. Disney is also partnered with ESPN to create an indoor sports facility that can seat up to 8,000 people. The multi-use sports venue with be big enough to have six regulation basketball courts, six regulation volleyball courts or even concert configurations. It can also host cheer and dance events, even providing warm up space and enough room for as many as four competition areas. In regards to “Vacation Renovations” Disney has created MyMagic+, a magicband given to guests that allows them to enter their Disney Resort Guest Room, access FastPass+ experiences and attractions, use as a payment method for food and merchandise, enter Disney theme parks and water parks, and connect to Disney's PhotoPass. Another part of MyMagic+ is the Disney Experience mobile application, that gives users information in regards to park maps, show times, dining, and information about attractions. MyMagic+ plays a major role in creating an overall amazing guest experience at the Walt Disney World Resort (What's New and What's Next).

Corporate Culture and Leadership Style

    When talking about Disney Worlds corporate culture and leadership style the phrase “Actions speak louder than words” plays a major role. Sometimes a company's culture can be defined by through the leaders different behaviors and actions. At Disney Institute business professionals are taught that “an organization's values often are formed intentionally by proactive leaders or organically in the presence of all types of leaders” (Disney Defines its Corporate Culture). At Disney Parks and Resorts the leaders place emphasis on creating a culture of safety. Leaders do so by prioritizing safety through their words and deeds. When leaders are demonstrating safe behaviors it is a chain reaction among the Cast Members and they too will begin to act and behave in ways that also support safety as an organizational value. When talking about leadership the Walt Disney Company states that it “focuses on generating the best content possible, fostering innovation and utilizing the latest technology, while expanding into new markets around the world (ABOUT). Corporate social responsibility plays a major role for Walt Disney World, it refers to the company's commitment to operating their businesses in an honorable and ethical manner along with bringing comfort, inspirations and opportunity to families around the world. Walt Disney once said “anything that has a Disney name to it is something we feel responsible for.” Disney Worlds corporate style places an emphasis on how important it is to represent the Disney Company in a positive manner. The company has a commitment to always act ethically, create products and content responsibly, maintain a respectful workplace, invest in communities and to be good stewards of the environment. According to Disney's Corporate Social Responsibility update, some of the corporate commitments Disney Company has made include the commitment to operate a responsible business, commitment to bring happiness and comfort to those in need, and the commitment to create inspiration and to provide opportunities (CSR Update). Disney's corporate culture places a strong desire to promote the welfare of others, they are a very giving company providing generous donations to some great causes. In 2017, Disney had given more than $348 million to nonprofit organizations towards helping kids, families and communities in need. Since 2012, Disney has donated for 61 million books to schools and children. Just this past month the Walt Disney Company donated $1 million in Humanitarian Aid to support communities impacted by Hurricane Michael (Philanthropy at Walt Disney Company). The Walt Disney Company as a whole has a strong leadership style and corporate culture, the employees and cast members at Disney World are encouraged to set a strong example for others by demonstrating the safe and appropriate behaviors that they are taught.

Internal Analysis

Management:

Robert Iger is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Walt Disney Company. He is the steward of one of the most respected and beloved brands around the globe. According to Iger he believes the Walt Disney Company focuses on three fundamental Pillars; the first is generating the best creative content possible, next; fostering innovation and utilizing the latest technology, and third; expanding into new markets around the world. Mr. Iger is responsible for the expansion of Disney's presence outside of the United States, with the opening of Disney's first theme park and resort in Mainland China, Shanghai Disney Resort. Iger helped Disney World build it's strong reputation for exceptional entertainment experiences, widely diverse content, and unique skill in managing businesses. Throughout Iger's years as Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company has been recognized as one of the “Most Reputable Companies” in the world by Forbes magazine; one of the “World's most Admired Companies” by Fortune Magazine; and “Company of the Year” by Yahoo Finance. That is just scratching the surface, Iger has landed himself on the list of “25 Most Powerful People in Business” and “Top Gun CEO's” (Leadership at Walt Disney Company). He is head of a large team at the Walt Disney Company and is very respected by all of his employees; the employees show their dedication to the company because they are all invested into the company's goals and aspirations with upholding the positive reputation of Disney World.

Marketing:

Walt Disney World's marketing team is let by Jill Estorino, she leads the team that manages consumer and client relationships around the world, identifies opportunities for new products, experiences and services; and drives demand for the renowned Disney Destinations vacation portfolio. Together, Jill and her team market and sell Disney Destinations, products, experiences and signature vacations around the world (Leadership). It is important that the marketing team promotes Disney as “The Happiest Place on Earth.” Disney World accomplishes the true magic of bringing people together from diverse cultures, generations, and backgrounds. There are three specific marketing strategies that Disney World applies, the first is to “Embrace the User Experience.” The Disney team helps to create that unbelievable experience through many different factors whether it be at the hotel, in the parking lot, or at the theme park. The Disney brand itself promotes and encourages a positive user experience. Second is to “Live the Data”; there is extreme amounts of data being collected at Disney throughout the parks or even in a follow-up-user-experience survey. The data collected help those on the marketing team to create actionable strategies to help them become more efficient communicators. Finally, “Celebrate the Journey.” It is important for the marketing team to sit back sometimes and realize that they are working for what they call the “Happiest Place on Earth” it is important that when working in marketing they remember and allow that vision, enthusiasm and passion to infuse itself into all parts of their profession and personal life mission. (Marketing Strategy Insights from “The Happiest Place on Earth).

HR:

The senior vice president of Human Resources and Diversity and Inclusion is Tami Garcia. She is responsible for all human resources-related services for more than 145,000 Walt Disney Parks and Resorts cast members, crew member and Imagineers worldwide. Garcia is responsible for overseeing the different departments in regards to employee and labor relations, diversity and inclusion, compliance, recruitment, talent planning, learning and development, organization development, compensation, cast activites and recognition, benefits and workforce planning. At Walt Disney World, they are committed to fostering safe, inclusive, and respectful workplaces in all of their locations across the globe. Former executive Vice President Lee Cockerell believed that their was six principles Disney World followed when managing human resources. First, everyone in important; the acronym RAVE comes into play here meaning Respect, Appreciate, and Value Everyone. Next, break the mold; integrating and linking departments is important to effective workplace communication. Third, make people your brand; it is important to hire the perfect candidate. Next, create magic through training; new cast members begin their training with a course called “traditions.” Then, eliminate hassles; one responsibility of leaders is to identify problems in the way things are done and work to fix them. Finally, learn the truth; great leaders are always getting out and learning and experiencing new things (How to Create a Magical Brand).

Product and Operations:

To help capitalize on the rapidly changing media landscape and to help align with Disney World's priorities of future growth the Walt Disney Company reorganized its businesses into four segments; the four segments include the newly formed Direct-to-Consumer and International; the combined Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products; Media Networks; and Studio Entertainment. This change in operations is to create a more effective, global framework to server consumers worldwide, increase growth and maximize shareholder value. The Walt Disney Company merged their Consumer Products and Parks operations under one segment in order to combine strategies and resources to produce even more compelling products and experiences that bring their stories and characters to life for consumers. Disney's global consumer products operations include the world's leading licensing business across toys, apparel, home goods, digital games and apps, the world's largest children publisher, Disney Store locations around the world, and the shopDisney e-commerce platform. Through this merge the company will be able to share resources and practices to provide consumers with products that only Disney can create (The Walt Disney Company Strategic Reorganization).

IT:

Information technology has recently played a huge role in improving overall experiences for guests at the park. MagicBands are smart bracelets that are able to store a guests information and can serve as a park ticket, a fast pass, a payment method and photopass access. Every business within Disney is being transformed by technology as they work to accelerate disruption, sold challenges still to be imagined, and build what has never been built before. A Disney technology career is built on unleashing fun and creativity, capturing joy and challenge, delivering encouragement and disruption, and embracing independence and collaboration. “The Walt Disney Company is at the forefront of driving the invention and adoption of emerging technologies, and has been for decades.” They are focused on transforming the future of entertainment and interactive experiences for people of all ages (Tech Behind the Magic).

Financials:

Company Financials of Walt Disney Company came directly from their balance sheet. Total cash and cash equivalents show a decrease from 2016 to 2017 going from $4,610,000 to $4,017,000. Then from 2017 to 2017 there was a slight increase going from $4,017,000 to $4,150,000. The same thing happened with accounts receivables, they had decreased from 2016 to 2017 going from $8,458,000 to $8,013,000. Then they increased from $8.013,000 in 2017 to $8,268,000 in 2018. Total liabilities are continuing to grow which isn't always a bad sign, it shows that The Walt Disney Company is expanding and hoping to grow more as a company.

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