Join getAbstract to access the summary!

Disney U

Join getAbstract to access the summary!

Disney U

How Disney University Develops the World’s Most Engaged, Loyal, and Customer-Centric Employees


15 min read
10 take-aways
Text available

What's inside?

How the Disney team trains employees at “The Happiest Place on Earth.”

Editorial Rating



  • Overview
  • Concrete Examples


Visitors to Disney theme parks frequently notice the seamless operations and friendly employees who put on “good show.” Although the charming outcome may appear effortless, staging good show and avoiding “bad show” at Disney resorts around the globe requires a lot of work. Over the years, the path to training employees in “friendliness, cleanliness and safety” has required some updating and repaving – work Disney’s human resources team has embraced. Training and development consultant Doug Lipp provides an intriguing crash course in the Disney way of training and organizational management. The book is repetitive at times, and readers seeking a deeper look into Disney’s employee relations and the company’s ups and downs since 1955 will need to search elsewhere. Nevertheless, getAbstract recommends this understandable overview to HR professionals and supervisors seeking ways to train employees to be neater, cheerier, and more in tune with their corporate culture and their customers.


A New Concept, A New Approach

When Disneyland opened in Anaheim, California, in 1955, it was the first attraction of its kind. Walt Disney did not want to set up just another gritty amusement park. Instead, he set out to open the first theme park – a clean, safe place for family fun. Walt knew this new venture required certain kinds of employees – individuals who would dedicate heart and soul to customer satisfaction. To train and develop such a workforce, Walt turned to Van France, a human resources executive with a background in manufacturing and the military. Walt’s vision was to make the park the star and to cast everything – and everyone – else in a “supporting role.” In response, Van developed the training program that eventually became Disney University.

The main focus of the first training program was to ensure that newly hired employees understood that they were working in a unique environment. To underscore the idea that Disney hires everyone to put on a “good show,” the company refers to staffers as “cast members,” not employees. New recruits learn that Disney theme parks are home to “two worlds” – “onstage and backstage.” All interactions with park visitors...

About the Author

Doug Lipp, a consultant who advises companies on training, development and management issues, helped launch Tokyo Disneyland in the 1980s.

Comment on this summary

More on this topic

Customers who read this summary also read