How to Learn From Disney and Improve Customer Experience

There’s nothing like walking into a Disney theme park for the first time. Costumed characters, laser light spectacles, thrill rides, the smell of churros wafting through the air. No matter how old you are, the sights, sounds, and aromas are enough to inspire child-like wonder and amazement.

Disney coined itself “the happiest place on Earth” for a reason. The brand has worked for decades to perfect its ability to deliver an experience enveloped in magic. 

All companies can take a page or two from Disney and its theme parks. Today we highlight five lessons you can apply to your customer experience.


Create Immersive Experiences

The brand creates immersive experiences by paying attention to details. When you step foot in a Disney theme park, you’re welcomed with an array of immersive elements. 

For instance, the brand uses more than 15,000 speakers and complicated algorithms that play atmospheric music at constant volume throughout the park. The engineers—or Imagineers—at Disney even created the Smellitizer machine, which releases scents throughout hidden vents—leaving the park smelling wonderful.

Thoughtful details surround guests—from looks to sounds to smells, the Disney experience is full of well-thought-out elements. And you can apply some of this to your own customer experience. Here’s how:

  • Engage the senses: An immersive experience should evoke emotion and imagination. Think about sound, imagery, the temperature of the room, and smells. Every detail should bring your story to life.
  • Define the story: What do you want people to feel? What impression do you want to leave? Focusing on core ideals makes planning out the details of your customer experience easier.
  • Nail the details: Little things can make a huge difference. Technology like virtual or augmented reality is a simple element that can make the customer experience grander.
  • Incorporate Location-Based Interactions: Imagine entering a store and automatically getting a coupon code sent to your phone. Geofencing is an underutilized part of customer experience. Disney combined geofencing with augmented reality by creating a game that entertains guests while they walk around the park and wait in line for attractions. 
  • Encourage Multi-User Interaction: Allowing customers to enjoy the experience with others is a creative way to make it more immersive. It also encourages referrals, which boosts growth and revenue.

Personalize the Customer Experience

One of the many things Disney does well is making people feel special. The brand has a unique way of taking a moment meant for millions and individualizing it.

For instance, when visitors pick up their tickets, they get a badge that tells them why they’re celebrating—i.e., an anniversary, birthday, or first time visiting. Employees also ask guests about their visit and are encouraged to create tailored and personal interactions. 

Disney also gathers tons of information to understand their guests individually. They’ve even applied for a patent by scanning customers’ shoes—which can deliver information like the most common paths between rides and where patrons spend the most time. But, of course, you don’t have to get as detailed as Disney when it comes to personalization.

Here are a few ways your business can deliver an individualized customer experience:

  • Create customer profiles: Use CRM tools to access valuable data about customers’ demographics, preferences, and behavior.
  • Train your team to be customer-facing: Customers want a genuine interaction with reps, not one that feels robotic. Ensure that your team delivers a personal experience when dealing with customer emotions.
  • Give customers choices: People want to access customer service on the most convenient platform. Therefore, provide an omnichannel service experience— i.e., chat, email, text message, social media, and mobile app.
  • Gather customer feedback: Harvesting feedback lets you optimize your customer service and ensure it’s as personalized as possible.

Customer Feedback

Promote Cleanliness

Disney incorporates cleanliness in their customer experience. For example, at the Disney parks, trash cans are plentiful and placed within 30 feet of each other—based on research, guests walk only 30 feet to throw something away.

The brand has also added sensors and monitors to trashcans and bathrooms that notify custodians when they need cleaning. An underground network also connects to many trash cans, emptying them every 20 minutes.

Cleanliness is a straightforward concept, but it speaks to a more important principle: remove anything that could take away from the customer experience.

And seeing trash and dirty surroundings is a surefire way to turn off visitors. Not only that but having a clean environment can impact customer loyalty.

While you don’t have to implement a complex clean system like Disney, there are simple ways you can provide a clean and inviting environment for your customers.

  • Create a checklist: Having a checklist for the things that need cleaning before the end of the day ensures that your team completes those tasks. 
  • Have a designated spot cleaner: Ideally, team members tidy up at the end of their shift, but some things can’t wait. In this case, assign a to-go person responsible for quickly cleaning messes.
  • Triple check before opening: Doing a quick triple check ensures nothing goes overlooked.

Foster a Culture Centered Around Customer Happiness

Whether they’re guiding park visitors to the next attraction or dressed as a character, Disney’s nearly 195,000 team members are focused on customers. On the first day of training, new Disney cast mates learn that their primary mission is to create happiness—no matter their position.

Employees have the proper tools needed to serve customers best and solve problems in the most magical way possible. That’s why you often hear stories about Disney employees going above and beyond to provide a memorable experience for the guest. Each team member is required to work and find a solution for an unhappy visitor.

What can we take away here? First, a strong customer experience begins when every employee knows their role.

Below are ways you can apply Disney’s employee training principles.

  • Create a common organizational purpose: Begin by clearly explaining what you want the customer to experience at the emotional level. It represents what you stand for and why you exist.
  • Provide top-notch training for your team: You can take a page from Disney and provide multiple detailed orientations teaching new employees everything they need to know about fulfilling their roles.

Another way Disney optimizes its customer experiences is with the compass method. 

A typical compass has North, West, South, and East. But the Disney compass has Needs, Wants, Stereotypes, and Emotions to help guide team members.

Disney’s company culture focuses on knowing customers’ needs and wants while considering their emotions and opinions. With the compass method, Disney employees…

  • N—Identify customer’s needs
  • W— Anticipate customer’s wants
  • S—Acknowledge negative opinions customers might have about the brand
  • E—Empathize with customers’ emotions

This is a great method to apply to your customer service approach. It provides a strong framework for problem-solving and allows you to learn more about your customers. 

Disney Hollywood Studio

Set Expectations With Customers

Whether you’re a first-time guest or Disney super fan, Disney wants you to be prepared for your visit. This is a part of creating a smooth and worry-free customer experience.

The brand supplies loads of information about how to plan the perfect trip. For instance, their planDisney website features FAQs, video overviews of each resort, and tips from Disney vacation experts. They also give customers a “Know Before You Go” guide, which displays recent announcements and updates on park information. 

Here’s how you can use this Disney method to enhance your customer experience:

  • Think like your customer: Learning about your customer allows you to predict their most common questions and makes you and your team more prepared to address FAQs.
  • Make information accessible: Information and answers to FAQs should be available on multiple channels—i.e., self-help portals, your website, social media, chatbots, and mobile apps.
  • Provide throughout directions and instructions: Customers should know what to expect at the beginning of their journey. You want to instill confidence in them from your brand’s first touchpoint.

Never Stop Creating a Magical Customer Experience

When evaluating Disney’s fondness for creating a “magic” customer experience, you’ll notice that a common theme is a drive to optimize the mundane.  

The brand’s founder Walt was passionate about improving the process. He believed that the deliverance of a magical experience depended on the operations that allowed you to do so. Disney has held true to these principles with their keen attention to detail in constantly improving their processes.

A key takeaway from Disney’s customer experience model is to sweat the small stuff. When we say that, we mean think about perfecting the details of your customer service. And a part of fine-tuning the details is incorporating tools to help you manage customer data. 

Gleantap delivers a customer management system that helps you keep track of essential customer details and track every interaction. We also supply multiple convenient text and chatbot platforms that let customers quickly get answers to their questions.

Discover how our software can help your business create your own Disney magic. Schedule a free demo today.

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