Keynote Topics > Branding / Value / Disney U / Culture


Lessons From Disney U: The Wonderful World of an Enduring Brand


Disney stands the test of time as the ultimate icon of applied imagination. How did Walt Disney create “The Happiest Place on Earth?” What are the secrets behind its employee development dynasty? And how does it reinforce its organizational values, culture and brand on a day-to-day basis?

During this animated and high-energy program, you’ll learn how Disney continues to capture and inspire the hearts and minds of thousands of employees around the globe through an unwavering devotion to the core values established by Walt himself. Learn how Disney University Founder Van France has brought to life — for generations of employees — Walt’s timeless values of Innovate, Support, Educate and Entertain. Doug’s career working directly with Disney visionaries, and at the helm of the legendary Disney University training team, provides the backdrop for powerful, intriguing and imagination-sparking stories.
Join Doug as he takes you and your team on an awakening and insightful journey “behind the scenes” to discover the powerful secrets of Disney’s legendary success. Learn how it overcame spectacular challenges to unleash one of the most improbable success stories in corporate history. And discover how your organization can apply these potent lessons in leadership, teamwork and innovation, to catapult your company to the next level.

Disney U: How Disney University Develops the World's Most Engaged, Loyal, and Customer-Centric Employees
Disney U is required reading for anyone who deals with the public!.”
Marty Sklar, Retired Vice Chairman, Walt Disney Imagineering

I was convinced that management and owners could come and go, but Walt’s dream would last forever.

– Van France, Disney University Founder

Pulling Back the Curtain

Timeless Secrets from Disney U

Capture Hearts & Minds

Creating a Culture of Trust

Whistle While you Work

Creating Happiness the Disney Way

Keep Plussing the Show

Beyond Pixie Dust

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Learning Points

All presentations are customized. Needs assessment time with Doug is included with every project. Great attention to organizational challenges and/or mission is considered when designing a client’s program. Presentations may be a one-hour keynote or up to three hours in a workshop format. Leadership and teamwork programs may contain any of the following learning modules.

  • learning points

    Pulling Back the Curtain – Timeless Secrets from Disney U

    How Disney consistently develops the world’s most engaged, loyal and customer-centric employees.

  • learning points

    From Silos to Synergy – Transforming Creative Tension Into Profit

    How Disney University ignited collaboration, creativity and profits via executive development.

  • Popcorn Empowerment – Creating Service Recovery Superheroes

    Develop a massively engaged workforce via a good dose of trust and creative training.

  • learning points

    Whistle While You Work – Creating Happiness the Disney Way

    Work hard, play hard. Learn how Disney nourishes an organizational culture valuing the stress-relieving benefits of play. As Van France, Disney University Founder said, “The business we’re in, if we can’t have fun, how could we expect the public to have fun?”

  • learning points

    Keep Plussing the Show – Beyond “Pixie Dust”

    Focusing on these fundamentals has driven decades of Disney’s success.

  • learning points

    One Foot in the Past, One Foot in the Future – Leveraging Your Traditions

    The surprising truth about balancing legacy with current and future needs

  • learning points

    The Best is Never the Best – Eliminating “Good Enough”

    Walt Disney’s first Audio-Animatronic figure was a failure. Learn how Walt transformed this catastrophe into a force still driving The Walt Disney Company.

  • learning points

    Beyond a “University” – The Four Circumstances

    Slapping a fancy name on a training department doesn’t guarantee success. Learn how the Disney University has remained a guiding force within the Disney culture by following four fundamental strategies.

  • learning points

    Capturing Hearts and Minds – It’s More Than Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck

    What makes Disney University training relevant? Is it the pictures of famous cartoon characters lining the walls of the training rooms? No. It is the ability to capture hearts and minds, an outcome attainable by any organization.

  • learning points

    It Takes Art & Science – Snow White Never Has a Bad Day

    The Disney University keeps Walt’s and Van’s message alive. Amazing things happen when art and science are given equal billing; attractions operate consistently and Snow White enjoys only good days. How is your balance?

  • learning points

    Walk the Park – Gather Facts and Feelings

    Walt Disney knew the value of connecting with employees by constantly visiting the front lines. Are you “too busy” to connect with your customers and employees? If Walt could do it, why can’t you?

  • learning points

    Change or Perish – Who is Your Contrarian Thinker?

    Van France, founder of the Disney University, created a blueprint for the ensuring longstanding success of the organization he created. He balanced tradition and innovation, constantly “stirring the pot” and challenging the status-quo.

  • learning points

    Simplify the Complex – Disney’s SCSE strategy

    Sustaining The Happiest Place on Earth means cast members must manage a delicate balance of priorities. The Disney University simplifies this inherently complex environment by providing every cast member crystal clear marching orders during orientation. How can you apply Disney’s SCSE approach.

  • learning points

    CREATIVITY IS FREE – Trust is Earned

    Disney University plays a crucial role in fostering a culture of trust and creativity. These secrets are massively effective and surprisingly inexpensive.

  • learning points

    The Honeymoon Will End – Cinderella Castle and Culture Change

    Anyone who has ever been involved in a grand opening knows the feeling. The energy accompanying pre-opening, followed by the eventual letdown afterwards, can be an emotional roller-coaster. Learn how Walt Disney World averted a crisis, reenergized cast members, and dramatically reduced turnover.

  • Good Show, Bad Show

    Good Show/Bad Show – The Brilliance of Basics

    Tens of thousands of Disney cast members, around the world, embrace this decades-old customer service philosophy. How does Disney University keep this alive?

  • learning points

    On-Stage/Backstage – Lights, Camera, Action!

    These domains are different, distinct … and never mix. Learn how Disney leverages the backstage world to ignite on-stage perfection.