Notes from the Happiest Blogger on Earth


Yup, I’m here at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, writing to you from a dark hotel room. It’s dark because my wife and kids, who are normally early risers, are still recovering from yesterday’s marathon of fun. My eight-year-old son and five-year-old daughter, in particular, are loving this – Gianna told me as we boarded the ferry last night, “Today was the best day of all the days.” I think she means the best day of the 2,000 or so since she was born. We’ll try to make today even better.

But I like real estate blogging almost as much as I like building Property Master Software, and almost as much as I like riding roller coasters. So here are a few observations from Disney:

We wouldn’t want to do this every week

When we leave here, I know I’ll regret missing some of the Disney experiences. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to see and do everything they have here. But I think I’d also regret staying longer. Vacation is great, but I like my work. I’m trying to promote that value in my kids as well.

Liking my work is important, because unlike some of the fictional real estate whiz kids you hear about, I can’t ignore my responsibilities for long and still make money. It’s not just email and the occasional blog post. I have features to develop and customers to please.

Taking it one step farther back, I can’t afford to drop this kind of money every week. Also, if I want to live to retirement, I can’t afford to eat like this every week.

Cleanliness really is important

I think our hotel room may be the messiest 300 square feet on the whole Disney property. The rest of the place is utterly pristine and beautiful. You may recall that this is one of the guiding values of Walt Disney World, laid down by the great man himself. There are trash barrels everywhere for you to put your used coffee cup. If you drop the cup on the ground (bad boy!), somebody will sweep it up in a minute.

This has many effects, but one is that it adds to the powerful sense of professionalism you get from the whole Disney enterprise. What does professionalism mean?

  • Professionals are consistently organized
  • Professionals are cheerful, never rude
  • Professionals don’t ignore unhappy customers
  • Professionals keep the “dirty work” behind closed doors
  • Professionals keep their promises

Professionalism projects an air of caring competence. A professional always seems to know how to do every aspect of his job and to want to do it well.

Let me give you one example. Disney “characters” walk around the park taking pictures with kids and signing autographs. But you will never see a “cast member” with only part of a costume. Donald Duck may walk into a locked room, and Karen from Philadelphia may walk out, but my daughter must never be allowed to connect the two. Not only that, but characters like Donald and Mickey never speak to guests. Why? Because the “cast members” can’t do the Donald and Mickey voices perfectly, and Disney doesn’t want to spoil the illusion.

The values of professionalism and one aspect of it, cleanliness, must be applied to our businesses as well. What about your business would make others think, “this person isn’t a professional?” Remember that every such thought kills the confidence you need them to have in you.

You don’t have to do it all at once

This is my fifth visit to Disney World. The first time was in 1973 – the only park was the Magic Kingdom and there were three hotels. Now there are four parks, there must be more than a dozen hotels, and the scale of the place is completely overwhelming.

I sometimes get a little depressed by the scale of what I want to accomplish and the time it will take me to get there. But it’s important to remember that every great accomplishment takes time. The Walt Disney Company has been in the theme park business for more than fifty years, and Walt Disney World opened almost forty years ago. Walt Disney wasn’t a superman, and the people who work for Disney now aren’t supermen. They are focused, have a vision, and work very hard. That’s it.

Yeah, I’m impressed.

Image via Wikipedia

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  1. Sounds like a good time! Disney has gotten it right in terms of running a tight ship, and professionalism is certainly at the core. Translate that to real estate, and perhaps it says something about how we should be running our own businesses? Be professional and thrive . . .

  2. I plan to milk this trip for all it’s worth. The next post will be about professionalism (with a cameo by Josh, don’t worry, it’s positive), and the next will look at the Orlando market (good by current Florida standards).

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