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5 Things I Learned at Disney, Part 5: The Next Generation of Tomorrowland, or, “Never Stop Improving”

By Tom OlsonJuly 17, 2019

**This is the fifth part of a five-part series about how a terrible vacation experience turned into one of the best life and business lessons I could have learned. Please click here to read Part 1: Our Cruise Vacation Falls Apart if you have not already.**

If you read Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 of this series, then you already know how I ended up missing a speaking engagement, not going to Cuba, watching my entire family melt down into tears around me, and nearly getting ejected from a cruise line’s central offices. If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, then you probably should so you can find out why all of those negative things ultimately turned into one of the best business mini-courses you will ever find. To summarize: In Part 1, my family was miserable, and I was seeking a solution. In Part 2, things started to look up, we checked into Saratoga Springs, and I realized something very important about a common business practice that can go really wrong if you are not careful. In Part 3, a fantastic poolside experience changed my perspective on a lot of things (and it’s not what you might be thinking). Finally, in Part 4, I remained at the pool to learn another important lesson, this time about how to handle being wrong the right way.

Here’s what happened next…

We had come to the end of our time at Disney. By this time, I had enjoyed such a wonderful time with my family and learned so much I was eager to take home and apply to my business that I was not even that mad about missing Cuba anymore. I would have loved to be on that ship, but Disney was where I was meant to be that week (and no, they did not pay me to say that).

Anyway, we were getting ready to enjoy our final night at the resort, and we hopped onto the water taxi and started off. That transportation system is amazing, by the way. Later, we snuggled into our extremely comfortable beds in Saratoga Springs, one of Disney’s older properties that is known for its Treehouse Villas, extremely fine dining, and transportation options, which include both bus and water taxi. A water taxi is exactly what it sounds like, by the way, and it is a real treat to ride it with the kids because of course, they love it way more than a “normal” old bus.

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Anyway, I was skimming over one of the booklets I’d picked up from the hotel room as we rode, and I realized I could not wait to come back to Disney. Not only had I had an amazing time and learned all sorts of important things I was eager to apply in my business, but they have this new resort that will open later this year called the Riviera that looks absolutely amazing. Speaking of transportation, the Riviera will debut the Disney Skyliner gondola system when it opens. Imagine riding with Belle and the Beast along with your family and thoroughly enchanted kids.

That was when it hit me. I was already thanking my stars I am part of the Disney Vacation Club and figuring out how to get back to Florida in December. That was definitely a lesson for the books. But what was the lesson? I realized it was something that is already part of the Good Success core curriculum:

Always be improving.

I took a fast second to pat myself on the back, but then I took a deep breath, humbled down, and started thinking about how to apply this, well, better in my own life and business. Here are a few things I came up with:

  • Always survey your customers, your potential customers, and your employees so you know what they need to improve
  • Be willing to say no to things that will not clearly improve your business practices or personal life
  • Keep an eye out for services or products that will help your customers, even if your customers do not yet know they need them
  • Constantly evolve, eliminating things (even good ones) that do not meet client needs, adding new things to improve the customer experience, and bringing back old things that are relevant again when it is appropriate.
  • Make one of your core values Growth.

It has been a pleasure sharing what I learned at Disney with you and reliving my amazing family vacation in the process. Remember, if you’re not growing, you’re dying, so keep growing and improving every day.

 

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