How Disney made me fall in love: an inspiring example of customer experience

I’ve just returned from Florida with a post-holiday glow, a phone packed full of magical family memories and every pore of my body just oozing love for our Disney adventure. And it is not just me, yes of course the children loved every minute of it but even my (rather cynical) husband is feeling the Disney love!

What made this such a meaningful experience that I now want to tell the world about it? It goes without saying that the parks are great, the rides amazing and the weather sunny, but for me it was the simple ingenuity that all I needed was my ‘MagicBand’ and the ‘My Disney Experience' app. So why did this make such a difference to my customer experience?

1. The love affair started before I even realised….

Before I had even started to think about what clothes ‘I just had to pack’ I received an email from Disney helping me count down the number of days before my experience would begin and encouraging me to get going with the ‘My Disney Experience’app. Tentatively I loaded the app and started to explore it. I must admit to feeling overwhelmed at first: so many things I could do from pre-booking my FastPass+ to making dining reservations and building my own personal schedule…but the excitement and anticipation had started. It was infectious.

2. It quite simply made my life easier….

This is where it gets really clever. On arrival at the hotel our MagicBands were presented to us. We felt special, there was an air of excitement as we opened the box (akin to an Apple product opening), they had our names pre-printed on the bands…yes they were especially made for us, The Brown Family had arrived!

These are truly powerful and did indeed make us feel ‘Incredible’ as the box design suggested. There was no longer a need for a hotel room key or card (our normal family ritual of losing, finding and losing it again all within a 20-minute window had disappeared), we could charge our food, drinks, retail purchases via our MagicBands (no need to carry money or a credit card, there was nothing to misplace), the band with our fingerprint let us into the parks (no need to worry about it being stolen, it was linked to my fingerprint) and all of this was linked to the app, which used the free wifi to provide our individual information and schedules and real time information such as ‘Wait Times’ and parade schedules..

3. It’s the little touches that count….

It’s the little touches that make it feel so special. There would be lots of opportunities to let the functional take over, but even here Disney sprinkle some Mickey Magic. The MagicBands are easily adjusted for small children and made them feel very special and grown up -they could even be worn in the swimming pool. You can even accessorise it if you want to make it feel more personal (yes I want a Minnie Mouse one next time!). The subtly embossed Mickey ears on the band follow through to every little detail. The same Mickey ears light up and go green at the ticket entrance (no longer the physical need for turnstiles, just the warm welcome of the Disney team), and are repeated from the app ‘loading’ visual to the payment keypads at every restaurant and shop. You begin to forget you are actually spending real money.

As you can probably tell I could go on, but unlike the friend who makes you sit through 500 of their holiday photos when 25 would have done, I’ll stop now. Disney created for me a magical and enduring joined-up customer experience, executed consistently throughout the park and hotels that left us wanting more.

What they did so well was pre-engage us, maximise their use of every customer interaction point, however small, and created an ongoing relationship (yes various emails have been arriving, but somehow I don’t mind keeping in touch with such a great memory). And those MagicBands, are propped in their special gift like box staring at me at home, just enticing me to do it all again.

It’s a great example of customer experience – which my colleagues have been talking about as being at the heart of creating customer value today. If you’re interested in learning more, I recommend Mark’s blog on Reinventing Marketing as a startpoint.

In the meantime, I hope you too have a great holiday experience, wherever you venture this summer. We would love to hear about your own experiences: good and bad.

Photograph ©Disney


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