You may think after the title, different from what? Well, I mean from everything else. Disney is a leader in Theme Parks, Movies, Music, Television, Cruising, Merchandising, ETC. Let’s think about this further for a few minutes.
First, when people say the word Disney you think Disney Parks. Now with 5 Theme Parks across the world and a sixth one being built, they have representation in many parts of the world. But Cedar Fair is a very large theme park company that owns many parks across the US. From Cedar Point in Ohio to Kings Dominion in Virginia. They even own Canada’s Wonderland, so they do cross country boarders. Cedar Point, which I have visited many times in my life, is a Thrill Park. It’s very large & has more roller coasters than any park in the world. They even have Snoopy and the other Peanut’s characters. So why is it not loved the way Disney is? Well the first reason is the customer service. What about the pin you can get to say “1st visit” or “It’s My Birthday” and how many cast members will wish you a “Happy Birthday”. The cast members are a big difference. I’m not saying that anyone at Cedar Point or other parks are not good employee’s, that wouldn’t be true at all. What I’m saying is Disney goes above and beyond to make guests feel like that, a guest and not a customer. It’s nothing unusual to go to Cedar Point and wait upwards of 2-3 hours to ride one of their big rides. There is no fast pass, unless you pay extra for the day, which puts your ticket price over double for that luxury. A big complaint for Disney fans is ticket prices in the parks, but figure out how much you get for that price and compare it to other theme parks and what you get and you will see, Disney parks are a great value. Disney is always looking for ways to cut down wait times for the guests. They don’t want you leaving the park and thinking, I was there 12 hours and rode 4 rides. They want you to not remember that you spent any time in a line, that is why so many of the line queues are interactive to keep you busy while you wait. I could go on and on about the difference but I think you understand.
Movies; Disney owns many different movie studios that put out blockbuster releases all year. From Disney Studios themselves to Pixar and Marvel. Now add in Lucas to the mix. They have some of the best technology for the movies we see on the big screen. But doesn’t Dreamworks have great automation also? What about Despicable Me, kids love those characters. What about Columbia Studios? They just released the 2nd Amazing Spiderman, which will make a lot of money. Universal is going to start filming the Superman and Batman project. That is going to have amazing numbers at the box office. All these films from other studios have great impacts on the fans and they are great films. But why don’t they get the hype that a Disney film does?
Music; Disney has had it’s lists of big musical artists who can pack in a sold out arena. Even though they may not be as big today as they once were or want to remember where they got their start. The Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato were all huge hits for Disney. Take a step back and look at music superstars like Justin Timberlake, Brittney Spears and Christina Aguilera they all got started on the Mickey Mouse Club. What other record company has a history where they turn out star after star. Don’t forget about all the music from the films. From Randy Newman and all his Pixar hits to Idina Menzel. They even have their own Radio Stations across the country and their own awards show.
Television; we all know Disney owns ABC television and they have been known to have some of the biggest shows on TV. With hits on TV like Scandal, Dancing With The Stars, Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Once Upon A Time they are a leader in television. But that isn’t all they own. How about the biggest sports channel in the world with ESPN. Or the Disney Channel? As a parent, do you ever worry about what your kids are watching on the Disney channel? Compare that to Cartoon Network. I’ve seen lots of questionable shows I don’t think should be on a kids station.
Cruises; Disney is hands down a leader in the industry. They only came into the game a short time ago but they are leading the pack. Families love the cruises, why is that? Because Disney brings all the great things from all their media avenues and puts it in a one stop shop vacation for families. From Castaway Cay to the Aqua Duck, even for those who don’t do cruises, you may be more willing to on a ship that offers so many things to keep you busy and have a lot of fun.
One of my favorite tag lines from a movie ever, from the movie Spaceballs, MERCHANDISING. Disney has so many ways for people to get Disney merchandise. From licensed apparel in most stores everywhere, to their own stores in malls. When you are in the parks there are shops everywhere to get fun things to buy and bring home to show people. What about the collectibles? Pin Trading is a huge industry that Disney continues to grow all the time. When they introduced Vinylmation they got a whole new group of people to collect things. Next time you are in a Disney store, see how many types of Mouse Ears you see. Collectors love that. T-Shirts, I have a ton of Disney shirts and i’m sure many of the people reading this also have many. If you think about it, when holiday’s roll around how many people have Disney inspired decorations? From Mickey Pumpkins for Halloween to Mickey head Christmas lights, there is always something fun from Disney for the home. Next time you are driving down the highway, see how many Mickey antennae toppers on cars you see. It doesn’t matter what state you are in, you will see some. Also, what about the stickers people put on the back windows of their cars of the family members. Have you seen the ones with Mickey Ears on everyone? Disney merchandise is everywhere.
So I began this article with “What makes Disney different?”. Well simply put, their history and values. Walt created something huge, I don’t even know if he thought it would grow to the heights it has. But what makes that different than any other company? Partly because we got to know Walt Disney. He came to us on TV. He became our Uncle Walt and someone we cared about without actually knowing him. He created a place for families to come together, whether it be a park or movie. He kept the family values as a focus and those are still things that drive the company. When you see a interview with a Disney executive, do you think the same about them when you see Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg do a interview? Me personally, when I see those business leaders, I think they’re just business leaders. Again, I’m not taking anything away from them. Bill Gates working with and helping others is awesome. He is a great man who has changed the world, but will he have the following Walt still does today so many years after his passing? As Disney fans we feel we are important to the company just as important as the company is to us. Actually company isn’t the word, it’s more like friends. We love to hear what Disney is doing. When Bob Iger addressed the shareholders at the annual meeting, he is a business man but also someone who understands the Disney community and the impact it has on his business. They know what it’s like if the fans are not happy. Yes they have bottom lines they have to keep for the business to succeed but they make their decisions based on what will make us, the Disney fans, happy. They don’t just throw out a product and hope we like it. They create something and give us a back story and so much goes into the planning. They try to look at the big picture and keep us always wanting more.
That is what makes Disney different, the fans are always looking for more and more and as happy as we are with what they give us, we are always looking around to see what fun things are coming for us down the road and deep down we know they will exceed our expectations.