Making Dreams Come True Requires Investment in Resources

Walt Disney was always about making people happy – and making their dreams come true. He began in movies, but really hit his stride with the creation of Disneyland in 1955. When Disneyland opened its gates, it changed our perceptions of fantasy and reality, the possible and the impossible, and even our definition of family fun itself. Walt Disney’s vision of a playground for families and children of all ages was evidently shared by many, and the Disney Theme Parks have been going strong ever since.

However, Disney wasn’t the type to rest on his laurels. He was always looking for the next thing to do – bigger and better than anything he had done before. That next big thing was Walt Disney World, a project on Disney’s mind for years but begun in earnest in 1965 when the Company began buying up thousands of acres of swamp and pasture land in Central Florida near Orlando. The land purchase totalled over 27,258 acres at a cost of over $5 million dollars.

And he was just getting started. Even after his untimely death in 1966, Walt’s brother Roy oversaw the development of Disney World. Over the next 6 years, the Disney organization invested over $400 million dollars in getting Walt Disney World ready for its opening in 1971.


I first experienced Disney World as a senior, there to march in Disney on Parade in 1976 as a part of my high school band.

Amy WDW2011

It would be 35 years before I would return – this time as an adult with my wife and 23 year-old daughter in the fall of 2011.


By the end of this October, I will have been at Walt Disney World for 20 days in the past year, plus an opportunity to visit Disneyland in CA later this fall. While 6 of those days were for a family vacation, the rest have been to talk with, observe, photograph, and experience Disney Cast Members delivering the magic of Disney’s Guest Experiences.

Connecting those three time periods gives me this takeaway:

Making dreams come true requires investment in resources.

The dollar amounts invested by Disney over the years in their movies, parks, hotels, cruise ships, and other entertainment vehicles would stagger the mind. But it’s not the dollar amount that I think is important – it’s the resources those dollars represent.

It is helpful to look again to the Imagineers to understand the depth of those resources. The Imagineers form a diverse organization, representing over 140 different job titles working toward a common goal of telling great stories and creating great places. Here are some of the disciplines of the Imagineers that bring the magic of Disney alive:

  • Show/Concept Design and Illustration
  • Show Writing
  • Architecture
  • Interior Designers
  • Engineering
  • Lighting Design
  • Graphic Designers
  • Prop Design
  • Sound Designers
  • Media Design
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Show Set Design
  • Character Paint
  • Character Plaster
  • Dimensional Design
  • Fabrication Design
  • Special Effects
  • Production Design
  • Master Planning
  • Research & Development
  • Project Management
  • Construction Management

What resources are you investing in your organization to create experiences that make dreams – or visions – come true?

#7 in a series of  #TopTenTakeaways

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