Disney Closes Its Parks & A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow

Disney Closes Its Parks & A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow

Note–March 22nd Update: Today the parks on both coasts noted that their will be closed indefinitely until there is better word on the virus. Knowing that this was not going to end soon, I created a podcast earlier which offers some hopefully inspirational thoughts to get by, no matter your circumstance. Yes, the title seems ironic. But I promise that if you listen, it will all make sense.

You can find our podcast here on PodbeaniTunesSpotifyMyTuner, and ListenNotes. Be sure to subscribe and share with others! The following is a summary, but the meat of this message is in the podcast, so please listen!

Note that my first podcast about Coronavirus was an effort to get out in front of it. In fact, I believe I was the first to do a full podcast that talked about the viruses potential impact on Disney. Still, I got a lot of flack about that podcast. Because of the title, some felt I was trying to create click bait. In truth, the original title could be read in more than one way, and my intent was not to create click bait, but to provide a measured look at the potential impact of the virus. I have since re-listened again to that podcast, and I stand by the approach I took.

I like to think I have a good pulse on all things Disney, but I was shocked at how impacted the parks and cruise line has become in such a short time. And I’m concerned based on CDC statements how long this may really last.

By the way, let me emphasize what I said in the first podcast. The health of people are simply more important than what happens at a theme park. But that doesn’t mean people aren’t impacted by the resort closings. This played out the other evening as I saw College Program Cast Members gathering for group photos and tearfully saying their goodbyes. It was a difficult decision Disney made to end the College program. But their living arrangements were not unlike college dorms, and as most know, those have been largely emptied out to prevent further breakouts by the virus.

College Program Cast Members saying goodbye. Photo by J. Jeff Kober

People feel insecure. They want to have control. They want to be assured. Our notes page, along with our podcast, notes three things you can do:

First: Stay Positive!

In the 50th Anniversary text to the Sounds of Disneyland, we read:

“To convey the thought that life would forever be improving and to provide a comfortable link between the depicted decades, Walt abandoned the use of historic songs and instead asked his staff songwriters, the Sherman Brothers to create a new one. He requested a timeless tune of unflagging optimism, flexible enough to be performed in a musical style appropriate to each act…yet simple enough to stay with the audience long after the show was over:

Now housed in Magic Kingdom, this attraction has its roots in the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair. Photo by J. Jeff Kober

“Richard and Robert Sherman, then hard at work on Mary Poppins returned with “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow.” The buoyant and versatile refrain not only expressed the “spirit and essence” of the proceedings as Walt had requested, but perfectly summed up what Richard Sherman calls the “wonderful positiveness” with which their boss reviewed the possibilities of each new day.

There’s a great, big, beautiful tomorrow
Shining at the end of every day
There’s a great, big, beautiful tomorrow
And tomorrow’s just a dream away

Man has a dream and that’s the start
He follows his dream with mind and heart
And when it becomes a reality
It’s a dream come true for you and me.

This song, penned for the 1964 New York World’s Fair, is a song that people embrace because it embodies the possibilities of a wonderful future. But we forget about what was happening during the years the fair ran in 1964 and 1965. Those were very dark times. We outline many of those in the podcast. And yet, the promise of a new tomorrow was still something people held onto. We need to hold onto a bright new tomorrow as well.

Second: Rise Up! Think & Act Anew

They say in Pandora, Sivako! Rise to the challenge. How can we rise to the challenge?

Tim Cook quoted President Lincoln said in a time of great adversity: “The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew.”

Lincoln silhouetted in Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Consider the following quote

“Have you ever wondered what would happen, if all the geniuses, the artists, the scientists, the smartest, most creative people in the world decided to actually change it? Where, where could they even do such a thing? They’d need a place free from politics and bureaucracy, distractions, greet–a secret place where they could build whatever they were crazy enough to imagine. Hugo, Tomorrowland.

There are some smart ways people are rising to the challenges of this virus. Take a look at this article that includes many examples of how innovation is helping mitigate the coronavirus threat. If people can use technology and artistry and out-of-the-box thinking to address the challenges around them, how can we do the same.

Third: Get “Beezy” and Serve Others

There is a difference between being anxious and being anxiously engaged. Being anxious is allowing a million little things to ruin your world. Being anxiously engaged is doing millions of little things to make the world a little better.

Mary Poppins speaks of the honey bee:

The honey bee that fetch the nectar
From the flowers to the comb
Never tire of ever buzzing to and fro
Because they take a little nip
From every flower that they sip
And hence (And hence),
They find (They find)
Their task is not a grind.

Over its short lifetime of just a few weeks to four months, a single honeybee’s contribution of honey to its hive is a mere one-twelfth of one teaspoon. It is estimated that to produce just one pound (0.45 kg) of honey, the average hive of 20,000 to 60,000 bees must collectively visit millions of flowers and travel the equivalent of two times around the world.

Though seemingly insignificant when compared to the total, each bee’s one-twelfth of a teaspoon of honey is vital to the life of the hive. The bees depend on each other. Work that would be overwhelming for a few bees to do becomes lighter because all of the bees faithfully do their part.

Together everyone can do a little, and the little that we all do can make a big difference. Find someone to bring the magic to. Create a magical day for someone else.

Souvenirs for You & Your Organization

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I optimistic about the future–despite my circumstances?
  • What does a great big beautiful tomorrow look like to those around me?
  • How am I working to create big, beautiful world?
  • How can we Sivako?–Rise to the challenge?
  • How can we use technology to help us better face our current challenges?
  • How can we get “Beezy” and serve others?
  • How could serving others re-focus the anxieties I feel about my own situation?

All of this and more is available to listen to on our podcast. So please be sure to check it out!

Leading in Times of Uncertainty

There’s so much more to the heritage of Disney’s Leadership. Definitely check out Disney, Leadership and You. It’s filled with stories of creativity & perseverance from over 100 artists, imagineers & pioneers within the Walt Disney Company. You’ll get great ideas for gaining better results by effectively working with others. Check it out on Amazon today.

Disney, Leadership and You
Disney, Leadership and You, written by J. Jeff Kober.

J. Jeff Kober