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Understanding Disney

And why they do what they do

By H A Malo

On July 11th Disney World began their re-opening plan. They have released further information on how this will be done and we’ve been asking one another, Why are they doing it this way? Or why did they make that decision?

Frankly, we haven’t really had an answer.

While we may have some insider knowledge and information, Disney Vacation Advisors aren’t privy to those decision-making processes and planning meetings. We aren’t aware of all the reasons behind these sweeping changes and we certainly are not consulted – although we wouldn’t say no if someone wanted our opinions!

But there is one thing… (well, actually four things) that have helped us put everything in perspective.

If you are wondering why Disney is doing what they are doing… this may help you understand too:

It’s called The Four Keys.

Created by Walt himself, The Four Keys are quite literally the guidelines Disney and their employees make all decisions by. When creating new experiences, designing procedures and serving their guests, these principles dictate every aspect of the Disney experience. They’re tiered in order of importance and are the tenets on which the Walt Disney Corporation stands.

Once you understand Disney’s Four Keys, their decision-making processes make more sense.

Safety – Safety is the top tier. It takes priority over everything else. All decisions are made surrounding this one Key. Not only does Disney encourages their cast members to put safety first in every action, they also appoint those cast members as guards of the safety of others. From the highest tiers of The Disney echelon, safety is always given top priority.

Courtesy – At Disney, it’s not just about good manners. It’s about being a positive and upbeat person, it’s about displaying kindness to every single guest that walks through those gates… and it’s about going above and beyond. Most of us have experienced this on some level. But knowing this is their second Key, makes sense. Aside from keeping people safe, it’s about giving them the best experience possible.

Show – Disney does things right. Having spent the better part of my career working in the entertainment industry, this is the one aspect of Disney I’ve always appreciated the most. They do it right. It’s perfect. Nothing is halfway done and each cast member, every attraction is on point. They spare no expense in costume, training and presenting the most realistic display possible. Perhaps this is why Disney succeeds where others fail: they go above and beyond to give you the best show around.

Efficiency – If you have spent any time over the past few years (let alone the past month) booking ADR’s, Fast Pass+, Park Passes or just basic reservations, there’s a good change you’ve experienced some frustration. Believe, me… we get you! Efficiency is the weakest of Disney’s virtues. Between websites crashing, Disney IT being a bit outdated and an underestimation of how many people rely on technology to get things done… Disney struggles here.

Because Disney excels in the top three tiers, people are often willing to forget the lack of efficiency. Not to sound trite but, much like a mother forgets the pain of childbearing, so do Disney guests forget the pains associated with planning their trip (another reason you should use a travel agent – let us make life easier for you!)… once they arrive on property. The good, so far outweighs the bad, that even the most harrowing of My Disney Experience planning tales are forgotten in the golden glow of an amazing meet and great with a Disney Princess or the extravagant encounters awaiting you in Galaxy’s Edge.

I share all this in hopes of helping you understand why Disney has done what they’ve done, given our current circumstances. While some of their decision-making processes have baffled us – their ultimate goal, is guest and cast member safety. They’ve erred on the side of an overabundance of caution. And while things have been less than efficient on the front lines of Disney planning, it is the caution that carries the most weight… especially these days.

Questions? Need help planning your next Disney vacation? Check out our previous blog posts on or contact me at . I’m here and ready to help you plan!

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