Minnie and Mickey – myself and friend

Now if only more people had said that to me today and meant it, expressed it with a touch of magic and a big smile, then perhaps this week wouldn’t have utterly sucked as much as it did. Admittedly I was not at Disneyland but I still I want to bring it into my workplace or at least its essence. Having worked in Disney for a brief but truly magical time, we had a host of phrases like this to make each guest (not customer) have a positive experience. One of the best things about working there was  knowing that no matter what disaster occurs or how rude customers are to you there are always your favourite Disney characters around to hug you. I was a lucky enough to have Tigger in my eye line from when I worked on some food carts in Animal Kingdom and just knowing that his orange bouncy presence was around me was enough to instantly cheer me up.There is nothing quite like an instant character pick me up.Sadly now all I have in my eye line is a runway of fluorescent lights. If your character was drawing a large crowd and it was looking like you wouldn’t get your hug in, there was always other character meet and greet locations to source within your park or seek them out in the 3 other parks (as I was based in Florida)

If the emotive embrace of a Disney character didn’t help there were always the rides. Namely the Tower of Terror my all time favourite, the haunted mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean to instantly cheer you up. I MEAN YOU CANT FAKE THIS HAPPINESS – you can’t fake this emotion. I worked there and I still 100% embrace and support the “happiest place on earth” tag line.

Dad and I 1991

I was first introduced to Disneyland parks at age 10 thanks to my parents. The first ride we went on was space mountain and I do have my Dad’s cranky voice saying “ we aren’t going on anymore rides” after what he recounts as a somewhat near death experience but one of my favourite childhood memories. Ever since this visit I have made numerous trips to Disneyland (LA) Disney World (Florida) Disneyland Paris, converted boyfriends and friends and have cultivated an amazing fast pass system and action plan for the more busy periods!

I try to go every few years – even though I have explored nearly every bit I always love the new movies, the new merchandise, the excited kids, parades, balloons, that sweet smell of cinnamon and sugar overload scents wafting down main street, the themeIMG_3511d decorations and attention to detail to coincide with the seasons. THESE BAD BOYS. Ice cream cookies of amazingness.
I mean I could go on and on and on I am a devoted Disney lover and if I have kids I want them to experience the same imaginative playground I was exposed to. I want them fully immersed! Future husband take note.I am sure you get the idea …

I definitely suffer post Disney depression and it is horrific. After being in a wondrous,creative environment where your inner child is let loose and you can sing all your classic disney songs and skip around like a child, get excited over fireworks and squeal when you see a more rare character i.e. the White Rabbit or the Genie – coming back to reality and life is really challenging.

You can probably imagine how detrimental this continual comparison is to my employment since this moment. Nothing compares. Nothing. I am continually hoping a company can fulfil those needs for me. Ok maybe HBO might make the cut but they are yet to employ me…

Corporate culture could really take a leaf out of the Disney way. Maybe even just implementing characters in the office to hug could elevate mood. Buzz Lightyear would be a bit of a treat and then some classics like Minnie Mouse. Imagine Alice and the Mad Hatter running around similar to that of their antics in the Magic Kingdom  – it could just lift the mood. I mean I like my boss mostly and he is very good at his job, especially the counselling element, but he isn’t Mickey Mouse. I can’t embrace him like a small child and squeal with delight – I mean I could but … we have boundaries and he ain’t got nothing on Mickey Mouse. The option to also introduce playing the soothing sounds to the Lion King Soundtrack could help with meditation and stress levels. Posters with quotes from Disney characters could also be of use and guidance such as these.null

You know how there are some shitty coworkers, I mean there’s always a handful and no matter how much I practice awareness, love, forgiveness etc some people just really suck. There isn’t a day that doesn’t go past where I don’t think about 2 scenes that relate to our office and some of the characters in it – sure these clips are both from some of my favourite comedic shows (The Office UK and Seinfeld) but there are some very real truths in them…i don’t think you would see these behaviours displayed within the Disney company…

We all know a Gareth and I think those of you in an assistant position may know a Mr Pitt – if you haven’t watched this it is only 30 seconds and it is hilarious and YES something I CAN relate to.

I have an extensive collection of mouse ears

What about those colleagues who don’t flush the toilet properly, the ones who don’t refill the photocopier with paper and leave the trays empty, the ones who like to point out your mistakes, the know it alls, the ones who steal your stationery purchased with your own money or perhaps one of the greatest crimes, those who take food from the work fridges that is not theirs. In Disney everyone is so happy ( at first that takes time to get used to) they are more willing to do the little admin tasks and other bits and bobs that you otherwise find monotonous. I have never experienced such productivity, compliance and willingness and I think that is because everyone is part of such an innovative and fun space that rarely would people ever behave in the above mentioned ways, I mean there has to be something that people take from disney even from a design and architectural or even engineering or should I say imagineering standpoint, it definitely caters to a wide audience. I mean I saw grown men crying over the replaying of Mufassa’s death in the world of colour event.I mean this company really looks after its staff. Aside from the brand and all it represents –  they consistently go above and beyond.

I know it is not practical to implement some type of ride into the office but hey a slippery slide might help and we all know there are some IT places that have incorporated that into their office spaces. I totally get the psychology behind that.Stress relief people.
Anything that helps you release that inner child and element of fun has to be of value.

Perhaps the best thing at Disney is that anyone in any role be it custodial, food and beverage, executive producer, animator – anyone can present ideas and you never know where they may lead to. It encourages creativity and backs it up with action. If I was honest the only creativity I experienced today was working out what lunch venue to go to and what colour pens I could use for my never-ending to do list.

So just because you don’t work at Disney doesn’t mean you cant embrace some of its awesomeness into your workplace. I might even start using pixie dust in the office (but then again, I will probably just cause someone in our company some level of grief because the glitter won’t be removed from the carpet with ease, then that could strain our relationship with the cleaners, my boss will think I am losing focus and will annoyingly have glitter stuck to parts of his body for months on…oh well)

I will leave you with my favourite Walt Disney quote and hope that we all strive to have a bit of Disney in our workplaces.