I came across this email that I sent to the Disney Institute shortly after attending their course. It still makes me smile.
I was a participant in your first 5-day Value Chain in May 2008. I want to thank you for this marvelous course and superb facilitators Lisa, David, Jeff and Ben. It was everything I had hoped for and more. I initially worried that my business was too small to take advantage of your world-class course. I left with so many great ideas and felt very blessed to be a participant in your first ever 5 day course.
I am going to apologize in advance for this lengthy email but I wanted to tell you a story of just one way your course inspired me.
On day 3 of your course at 4:00 a.m. in the morning, I woke up with ideas just flowing. I grabbed a pencil and paper and began writing pages of notes. I knew then that your class was inspiring something inside me. This was my “dreaming”.
One of these inspired ideas went from “dream” all the way to “do” and turned out to be a phenomenal success.
Valparaiso, Indiana is the home of Orville Redenbacher Popcorn and every year there is a town festival, appropriately called The Popcorn Festival. I had the idea to bring something new to the festival, which focused solely on the children. This was something I felt just couldn’t fail. How can you fail when you are brightening a child’s day? This was my “believing”.
Taking my cues from Disney, we created 3 fictional Fairy Princesses; Ella SeaSwirls, Crystal SnowFlake, and Misty GreenGarden. First we designed them as cartoon characters, created and mailed a pre-festival coloring page and announced that they would “come to life” during the upcoming parade. We designed and made 3 over the top costumes using the “plus it up” approach. They needed to be absolutely beautiful and we needed the little girls to “believe”
We decided to not only début in the parade, we wanted to greet the children at the festival also. Not knowing how this idea would be received and if we had to lure the kids, we decided to hand out autographed photos of the fairies was a keepsake. This was my “dare”.
From May 11 to September 6 my daughters and I worked on this idea; brainstorming, changing and creating. On Saturday September 6th all the hard work was over and it was time for the “do”.
I am not sure I can put into words the joy and excitement we experienced that day. The adults and children alike were waving and cheering as we went by, all the while we were focusing on making eye contact with each and every child we possibly could. Having been in this parade before, we knew this excitement was different.
Next, how would we be received at the festival? We did not know if we would have to seek out the children or if they would find us. When we walked onto the street, the children literally flocked to us we never left that spot. It was truly amazing. This was a very unique way to showcase our business and have fun at the same time. We enjoyed every minute of it.
Thank you, thank you, thank you DISNEY INSTITUTE for helping us achieve one of the most memorable days of our lives. We are now thinking about how we can “plus it up” for 2009.
I am now signed up to take your Keys to Excellence on September 11th in Indianapolis, IN. I can’t get enough !
Since 2008 we have attended many events as the (5) Flanagin Fairies (our company mascots, if you will). Our mascot should be a piece of mail, but I’m sorry that just wouldn’t be as much fun as a friendly fairy.