Treasure Planet Weekend

I was invited to attend the Renaissance Faire in Tampa this weekend. I happen to know the guy who plays the Executioner. Good to know people in high places. Anyway, the theme of this weekend’s Faire was “Time Traveler’s Invasion” which brought a different element of geekery to the festival. In addition to the usual 16th-century peasants, pirates, and nobility costumes one would normally see at the Faire, I found lots of Doctors (from Dr. Who), Marty McFlys (from Back to the Future), and Steampunk characters.

What is Steampunk, you ask? It’s a sub-genre of science fiction that brings Victorian elements to futuristic settings. Pretend the digital revolution occurred – only using steam power instead of electricity. Steampunk characters wear lots of goggles, gears, timepieces, and leather boots.

Need a visual? This movie would have fit into the Steampunk genre:

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I saw a Steampunk Snow White at the Faire this weekend. I didn’t get a photo, so you’ll have to use your imagination – she was wearing a red and blue peasant’s blouse with a yellow lightweight, billowy dress (Snow White’s signature colors). She accessorized with leather belts, a tiny bluebird on her shoulder, and red goggles atop her head. I’m not certain what the connection to time traveling was, but this girl definitely brought Disneybounding to a new, very awesome level – I’ve never seen Snow White look so cool!

I heard from my friend the Executioner that this was the most popular weekend yet of the month-long Renaissance Faire. This inspired me to think about how Disney could leverage this knowledge to bring in more revenue during “off-peak” seasons at Disney Parks: why not have their own Steampunk honoring Treasure Planet? Disney fans could really show off their creativity during this Steampunk cosplay weekend at the parks. Sidenote: I’ve seen some really great photos of unique costumes that people break out for the D23 conference (I have not attended D23 yet, but it’s on my bucket list), so I know we’d see some fantastic creativity. The usual costuming rules would apply:

  1. No masks per security.
  2. No “standard” Princess costumes. We don’t want to confuse the kids when it comes to who is the real Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, etc.
  3. Keep it family friendly.

Not only could Disney generate revenue from ticket sales during off-peak seasons, they could also increase merchandise sales for cosplayers in need of additional accessories. Pins, belts, hats (thinking specifically of Chapel Hats at Disney Springs – they have a selection of top hats that are perfect for Steampunk dress-up).

I need to start getting my costume ready for this. I think I’d make a great Steampunk Belle.

Social Media Panache

Oh man. Invitation of the century came to my email box this morning:

Social Media Conference

Coincidentally, I’ve been writing a lot lately about ideas for different conferences Disney could sponsor. The Ragan Social Media Conference isn’t Disney-sponsored, but it still piques my interest because:

  • It’s a conference AT Disney World
  • The topic is quite relevant to the work I do in my day job
  • There will be Disney marketers I can rub elbows with

So now I’ve got social media on the brain. And I realize I’ve been using social media for my “Hire Me, Disney” blog posts all wrong. If you follow me on Twitter, you probably have seen that I’ve been tweeting my posts directly to the different branches of the Walt Disney Company that are most relevant to the idea of the day that I’ve posted on this blog.

Mistake. The lessons I learned from Andrew Davis – a social media expert who spoke at my company in 2013 – are all coming back to me now. (Andrew, by the way, is the Keynote Speaker at the Ragan Social Media Conference. Kismet.)

You see, @WaltDisneyCo, @DisneyParks, and @Disney are not PEOPLE. Sure, they are Twitter accounts managed BY people, but Disney uses these accounts for mostly one-way marketing messages, not two-way conversations. The Disney social media properties have tons of followers, but are they making personal connections? Nah. They haven’t responded to a single tweet I’ve mentioned them in since I started this blog.

What I should be doing is finding the PEOPLE who work for Disney and making personal connections with them. Instead of tweeting my conference ideas to @WaltDisneyCo, I should find someone who works for Disney Meetings and share my idea directly with him or her. Instead of tweeting @DisneyCruiseLine with a suggestion for upgrading the DCL App, I should find a developer for DCL to connect with. What a concept, eh?

Ok, so I admit I’ve been going about getting some attention the wrong way. But I will also point out that Disney may learn something from Andrew Davis at the Ragan Conference, too. Disney is really the gold standard when it comes to customer service. So… why haven’t the individuals in charge of the Disney social media properties responded to my mentions on Twitter?

A “Like” would really make my day.

Even more magical: Let’s say Disney Cruise Line responded back  with “Hey Nicole, great idea, I’m connecting you with @{insert Twitter handle of DCL Developer here} to see if they can enhance the app with your suggestion.”

That would be really cool, right? And it would help Disney’s reputation of creating magical experiences shine even more across social media.

Anyway, I’ll be spending the weekend trying to figure out how I can scrap together the registration fee to attend the Ragan Conference while looking to connect with actual people who work for Disney on social media.

Career Fair

I have been applying for jobs I’m qualified for on Disney’s career website for over a month now, and no nibbles yet. I felt disappointed earlier this week about it, which lead me to think about ways I could work AT Disney if not FOR Disney. But I still would much rather be a Disney employee. As I mentioned in this post, I did not do the Disney College Program in my formative years, and therefore am at a bit of a disadvantage getting in the door now.

In that same post, I discussed how I understand Disney’s desire to hire “proven” talent, and had suggested that they offer volunteer externships to vet potential external candidates for roles. But since externships currently do not exist, I have decided I need to up my game a bit. I have been digging into my network – the two alumni associations I belong to (Penn State, CSUSB), contacts I’ve made volunteering, and friends of friends – to find current Disney employees who may be able to help me get in the door.

At this point, I anticipate that Starbucks may offer me a full-time job given the number of cups of coffee I’ve purchased for my contacts. And yes, if you – my dear reader – happen to be a current Disney employee who’d like to meet with me, critique my resume, and share some advice, I will happily buy you coffee too.

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I do enjoy meeting with individuals one-on-one, but I wish there was an easier way for me to meet as many potential Disney employers as possible in a day. For example, couldn’t Disney do a “mini-vetting” of candidates by holding an annual on-site career fair?

I understand career fairs tend to be cattle calls where most hiring managers probably will remember only one or two people they talk with throughout the day. And I *know* I could be one of those stand-out candidates. (/bragging) But what I’d appreciate the most about having the opportunity to meet with multiple hiring managers is that I could narrow down the focus of my job search. Right now, I know I could fit in anywhere with Disney and do a fantastic job for them. But I’m afraid to apply to every single job (well, the ones I’m qualified for, anyway) that is currently posted on the website for fear of seeming “unfocused.” So I might be missing out on something that would end up being the perfect fit for me because I only have the job description to base my decision on right now.

But this idea is only 50% about ME. By holding a career fair, Disney stands to gain the following:

  • The chance to meet quality external candidates for jobs in a face-to-face setting before bringing them to an in-person interview
  • Eliminating costs associated with bringing in external candidates, as the cost of attending a career fair would reside with the applicant
  • Reducing the burden on Human Resources to sift through mountains of resumes that come in through the career website
  • Expediting the hiring and onboarding of employees into open roles

Disney has offered online job fairs to fill seasonal roles in the past. I’m not entirely sure how an online job fair works, but I wouldn’t be opposed if they did something similar for full-time roles, perhaps using Skype or Facetime in order to allow us to connect names with faces. This would be a lower cost alternative to the full-blown career fair that I’m proposing and could be equally effective.

Women’s Conference

I was inspired to see the internet come out in full support of International Women’s Day today. Some of my most frequent stops on the web – Google, Facebook, and Twitter – participated in IWD, which encouraged me to think about all of the ways in which Disney can help women across the world.

runDisney already celebrates women with two female-friendly races: the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Disney World and the Tinkerbell Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland. These two races are on my bucket list, for sure.

But wouldn’t it be awesome if Disney offered a weekend that empowers women that are looking to do more than run a few races? I propose that Disney should take it a step further and offer a Women’s Summit Weekend. Just like other conference ideas I’ve shared, Disney could not only generate revenue from conference fees, but also from hotel room bookings, meal plan sales, and park ticket sales that would typically come with a long weekend at either of the Disney Parks.

The list is pretty much endless when it comes to what Disney can offer in terms of workshops for women. Obviously, we’re all different in what we’d like to achieve in our lives, much like the Disney characters we all know and love. In fact, Disney could create different “tracks” – or recommended workshops to attend – based on which Disney character the attendee identifies with most. For example, if an attendee wants to be a super-Mom, perhaps she’d choose workshops associated with the “Elastigirl” track.

 

mulan

If she wants to kick ass and take names in her career, perhaps she’d choose workshops from the “Mulan” track.

Either way, there’d be a wide variety of speakers we could hear from that could empower us with tips and tricks to succeed in our daily lives. To name a few off the top of my head:

  • The Disney Parks Mom’s Panel could speak about planning family vacations
  • Someone from Disney’s Credit Union – Partners – could impart important financial advice (like retirement planning for women – a topic near and dear to my heart)
  • A therapist from Senses Spa could share tips for reducing stress
  • Lisa Borotkanics, Disney’s Holiday Services Manager, could teach us all how to bring a little magic to our holiday decorating

And surely, with Disney’s commitment to advancing women leaders (which you can read about here), there would be no shortage of Disney female executives to act as keynote speakers. The possibilities are endless here, meaning that Disney could really host an annual conference without too much redundancy, thus encouraging repeat attendance from year to year.

Leave a comment and let me know what you’d expect to hear about at a Disney Women’s Summit.

 

 

Disney Co-Space

Welp. Disney hasn’t hired me yet, which got me thinking about how the rest of my life might look if I wasn’t working for the Mouse. And that just makes me sad.

 

INNER WORKINGS

This is me NOT working for Disney.

 

The next best thing to working for Disney, in my opinion, would be working at Disney. What if Disney provided shared office space for entrepreneurs and telecommuters? These shared office spaces (also known as co-working arrangements) are popping up as a popular option for freelancers and other independent workers. Instead of working at home, with all of the distractions it entails, shared office spaces allow individuals to connect with people from different industries.

I see a shared office arrangement at Disney Parks being very appealing to those working in creative industries. How could you not be inspired commuting to work alongside “Imagineers”? I know my productivity would soar, as I’d work late just for the chance to catch some fireworks before heading home.

I checked out Regus, a current brand leader providing co-working spaces, and see that prices for a workspace in Orlando range from $7-$10 per day (based on a two-year agreement). I’m thinking Disney could charge about $15 per day, with prices rising if an individual wants to sign a shorter contract.

Take me, for example. I would only want to sign a short-term contract because I have no doubt that I will eventually be working for Disney and won’t need a co-space after that.

Running the World

Doing a runDisney race is my second favorite type of vacation, right behind taking a Disney Cruise. It just so happens that Disney Cruise Line offers passengers a chance to run a 5k on their private island, Castaway Cay, so there truly is nothing missing aboard DCL. (Although I still have ideas for improvements to be made – just use the “Category” search at left to see everything I’ve written about Disney Cruise Line).

My very first runDisney event was the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon in 2013. Since then, I ran the inaugural Star Wars Rebel Challenge in 2015 at Disneyland, the inaugural Star Wars Dark Side Challenge at Disney World in 2016, AND the Infinity Gauntlet Challenge at Disneyland in 2016. Disney does this excellent marketing thing where – if you run a half marathon at both Disneyland and Disney World in the same calendar year – you get a special extra medal for completing what they call the “Coast to Coast” challenge. Depending on which races you do, you can earn variations of the “Coast to Coast” challenge medal, which you can read about here.

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My husband, sister-in-law, Darth Vader, and me after the inaugural Dark Side Tie Fighter 10k in Orlando last year.

Last year, Disney introduced a new race at Disneyland Paris and a new challenge: the “Castle to Chateau” challenge. If you completed a half marathon at one of the U.S. parks and then did the Disneyland Paris half, you would earn a special medal. I’ve added completing this challenge to my bucket list.

Let’s face it. If you are someone like me who must have #allthemedals, then it’s easy to get sucked into the runDisney world. Disney knows this. I believe it’s only a matter of time before all of the international Disney properties – Tokyo, Shanghai, and Hong Kong – add their own races. And people will literally go around the world just to say they did them all.

I think there’s going to be a special medal for those who finish a race at every Disney park in the same calendar year. Perhaps I need to start training now to be ready when that year comes.

I’m assuming that what I’m proposing here is already in development, but if not… what are you waiting for, Disney? If you need someone to execute it on your runDisney marketing team, I know someone who is available. (Hint: It’s me.)

Princess Salon and Spa

I was thinking more about this recent idea that would expand the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique (BBB) menu to include Star Wars hairstyles and decided we should take it a step further. Why not provide the opportunity for someone to feel like a prince or princess any day of the week no matter where they live?

Disney has global experience in the retail space (a sound foundation for opening a Disney chain of bakeries, as I mentioned in this post). Disney could also capitalize on this retail experience by bringing BBB across the country, perhaps in the form of a full-service salon and spa that can pamper guests of all ages. Adults can book appointments during daytime hours while the kiddos are at school. The BBB could handle children’s birthday parties on the weekends. There is an opportunity here to bring in significant additional revenue using a concept that is already quite popular at the parks and on Disney Cruise Line.

If that might be too risky, consider a modified version of this idea. Maybe Disney could convert part of each of their Disney Stores across the country into a small salon to begin offering the BBB menu. This way, they wouldn’t even need to rent additional space, like they would for a bakery -they’d just have to reduce store inventory and hire additional employees to handle BBB appointments.

I’ll be back with more ideas on Monday, as I’m entertaining out-of-town guests for the next few days. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment and let me know if you’d like to see a version of Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in your neighborhood.