By Tim Callaway
The Summer 1967 issue of Disney News magazine contained an article entitled, “University of Disneyland: An Institution of Smiles.” The story told of the park’s in-house training of more than 5,000 cast members each year, cast members who were taught to “welcome each guest with a smile that’s sincere” and ensure every new employee became a “people specialist” before he or she actually set foot on the job. This progressive, people-centric approach to training was the brainchild of Van Arsdale France, who joined Disney in March 1955, just months before Disneyland’s grand opening.
|Author Doug Lipp|
With the support and encouragement of Walt Disney, Van France created the University of Disneyland, which would soon become the gold standard of employee training programs. Over the decades, the program would evolve into what is now called Disney University and to this day it takes its cues from the principles and standards France developed 60 years ago.
Doug Lipp was hired by Disney in the late 1970s and would later work with and be mentored by Van France. Fluent in Japanese, Doug was part of the start-up team at Tokyo Disneyland in preparation of the resort’s grand opening in 1983. Since leaving Disney, Doug has gone on to become a renowned speaker and training consultant with Fortune 100 companies. He’s written eight books, including his most recent, Disney U: How Disney University Develops the World's Most Engaged, Loyal, and Customer-Centric Employees. He has a lot of stories to tell about Walt Disney, about Van France and about the guest experience at Disney Parks worldwide. Doug Lipp is my guest today in The Mouse Castle Lounge.
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