There are so many tales of Walt Disney and the development of that magical place called Disneyland. Some I am sure are merely legend but others can be documented and verified as true.
Tony Baxter, who is now one of the leaders in Imagineering, recalled that when he began working at Disneyland his job was in the Carnation Ice Cream Stand. He remembered when he first started working there Walt himself would come in, chat with the employees, ask how they were, and would ask if they needed anything. Walt was always looking for ways to improve the experience for guests and employees.
The morning shift in preparation for the day at the Ice Cream Stand began at 6am. Somewhere in those early morning hours the delivery truck would arrive out front bringing the milk and ice cream needed for the upcoming day. As the driver got out of the truck to bring in the prodcut, many mornings, the driver would be Walt Disney himself.
The man who had created the park stayed in touch with the park, desiring to enjoy every aspect of the park, and wasn’t afraid to roll up his sleeves and work to make it better.
There were some days when Walt would purchase a hotdog from a park vendor and start walking as he ate. When he was finished eating and was left with the empty wrapper he would take note of where he was standing. If there was not a garbage can nearby there would be one there the following day.
Walt figured out that a person would carry their trash for about 27 paces before placing it in a trash can. If they had to go beyond that they were likely just to toss it on the ground.
Each of the stories above reveal a man who really cared about what he had created. He was passionate about doing what he did well. He thought about the guest, the worker, and what the experience was going to be like. He wasn’t afraid to work and he was always looking for ways to make things better.
The creation of Disneyland didn’t just happen, it took a lot of time and a lot of effort. It took a leader who cared enough to work and pay attention to what was going on around Him. Sometimes I think people need to learn to do that just a bit better.
I have always believed that we are called to make an impact in the world around us. I believe that we were created to make a difference. And I believe that each of us have something of value that will make the world a better place. But that doesn’t just happen. It takes effort, it takes paying attention, it takes a passion for opening our eyes and becoming active participants in this thing called life. If we are willing to do that, then we make the world better.