Pixie Dust & Profits | Small Business Podcast for Disney Lovers

Episode 65: Growing Your Business With Collaboration

Aug 2, 2022

Our Summer Series continues this week with another back-to-the-basics episode from Pixie Dust’s past! As you might already know, we’ve been spending the summer revisiting some of our favorite episodes and also providing some much-needed updates from a 2022 perspective! 

This week, we revisit Episode 014, where we discussed the successful collaborations that Disney has created — with some unexpected brands. We dig into Disney’s versatility and ability to leverage any and all opportunities, while also providing some insightful information about how to make brand collabs work for YOUR biz.

Minnie Vans: Disney + Lyft

If you’ve visited Disney recently, then you might have seen the world’s cutest car cruising around Disney property – the Minnie Van! These red buggies, decorated adorably with Minnie’s well-known white polka dots, are Disney’s answer to skipping long bus lines at the end of a long day and receiving faster transport back to your hotel.

But, no, it’s not actually Minnie’s car. The Minnie Vans are a collaboration between Disney and Lyft Services. Disney knew that they didn’t need to build their own proprietary system for this, but they also knew they had a really strong brand that could attach itself to something already established. Enter: Lyft! 🚗

But what’s special about the Minnie Vans? What makes them different? That’s where Disney’s brand comes in. The Minnie Vans themselves are owned by Disney, operated by Disney employees, and only run during park hours/on park property. This adds a level of safety and security to both Disney and their patrons. 

So really, the only part that truly uses Lyft Services is the app itself. This is how Disney maintained their high bar of quality/safety experience within the partnership. 

The Disney/Lyft partnership is an important example of how to be strategic in your collaborations. They recognized a pain point (people wanting a faster, safer way to get around Disney’s properties) and met it in a way that was mutually beneficial to both parties (Disney got what they needed, Lyft got more subscribers to their mobile app). 

How do you apply this to your business? Thinking about the collaborations or partnerships you can find even in the most unlikely places.

You find a brand that is complementary to your field/industry and leverage their audience to sell your product – Presto! You’re in a partnership! 

With a joint venture or partnership, the other person/brand already has credibility with their audience, and that trust they’ve built bleeds into your brand, increasing conversion rates and revenue. The percentage that you end up paying out to affiliates or partners is something that you’d be spending anyways in marketing and promos, but without doing all the audience-building work. 

If you’re thinking a collaboration might just prove lucrative for you, think about the right brands or people for your business. It’s not selfish to think about you, and make sure their branding and visions align with yours. Think about it like this: Even if you are a nutritionist who serves mostly moms, you can still pair up with a local bike shop if they want to help more moms get active. It isn’t necessarily the most logical fit (unlike if you paired up with a prenatal nutritionist, let’s say), but the collab still works — and can prove really fruitful!

Disney & Target: A match made in heaven

The Mickey Mouse clubhouse has officially moved venues – but don’t worry, it’s to another simply magical place most of us know and love: Target! 

In October 2020, Disney and Target worked together to launch 25 mini-Disney stores inside Target locations. They also launched this on their online stores so others in the U.S. and outside it could get the goods.

This was a seriously smart move for Disney. They ended up getting foot traffic that drive sales, but didn’t have to handle distribution, retail, or hiring new employees. They leveraged Target’s infrastructure and assets to sell their exclusive products. 

In return, Disney agreed to open a Target store in Orlando in 2021 on Disney property. For Target, this was definitely a win in itself. The added convenience of having a store like Target is an awesome perk for vacationers who don’t feel like having to go off-site of Disney property for much-needed necessities.

We all know the benefits of a good Target run, after all! 💓

How does this relate to your small business? 

This example is for all of our favorite product-based small businesses! Consider your platforms – do you sell your products on Etsy? Sell your designs to sites like Minted? Maybe you self-published through Amazon, it’s essentially the same idea! 

What you’re doing is taking advantage of someone, or some site, with a bigger audience and a larger platform in order to sell your product. They receive a cut of the sale, but you’re getting more visibility and more traffic.

If you were to have your own site, you have to do a lot of work to drive traffic there – they don’t just come because you built it! But starting on a bigger platform and working your way up is a good way to leverage an audience of your own. And you can always have both, too! So many product-based small businesses use one site to boost the other, like using your Etsy to drive people to your website. 

What’s changed: Exclusive episode updates!

Well, it’s pretty obvious that things have changed – remember that whole global pandemic thing?

Because of COVID, the Minnie Vans went away for TWO years! But don’t worry, they’re back this summer and Disney’s partnership with Lyft is still going strong. Disney also has maintained their collab with Target stores and has officially shut down a large majority of their standalone Disney stores.

But things certainly have changed for the…well, we’ll let you decide!

  • We’ve noticed that Disney’s collabs have become a little more expensive than in the past. Disney has partnered with high-end brands, such as Gucci and Coach, to sell Mickey & Minnie-covered purses and apparel at super high price points. They even recently collaborated with Drake (yes, that one!) to create a collection for his OVO Fest called the “Nostalgic Capsule Collection.” It’s an interesting choice, but it’s definitely getting the Disney brand out there, and making it accessible to people from all walks of life. Disney is becoming chic, trendy, and desirable, all at very high price points.
  • Another new brand collab technique that Disney has been sporting is the renovated Disney Springs outlet. Downtown Disney has officially been reinvented into a high-end, more luxurious-styled boutique waterfront outdoor mall. What this does for Disney is that in order to have a store in Disney Springs these high-end brands (think Lilly Pulitzer) need to be onboard with Disney’s technology (think Magic Bands, Disney Gift Cards). There’s certainly value on both sides, but Disney continues to elevate their brand status! 

Now think about the potential collabs you can have: are they pretty casual? High-end? Both? Look at opportunities from all sides. Ask yourself: How can I serve both our audiences best and how will it benefit everyone involved? There may be different audiences you can reach with a higher-end collaboration, while you may be able to reach even more people with a more casual connection. It’s all about assessing opportunities to see what’s beneficial for everyone.

Download the original transcript right here

Text us! 207-203-6769 ✨

subscribe on

subscribe on

Episode 64: Disney+ Lessons Learned for Your Next Launch

Jul 19, 2022

We’re continuing our Summer Series this week. As usual, we come to you with ideas from the Mouse on how you can better run your online business, but this Summer we’re spending some much-deserved quality time with some of our older and most popular episodes.

This week, we’re revisiting In Episode 012, where we talked all about the launch of Disney+ and one of Disney’s biggest Hot Mess Express launches. It feels weird to think about planning movie nights without the platform now, but during the launch, things got tricky, especially for Canadian streamers! But what that experience did provide was a pivotal example of what a launch might look like (read: not perfect), and the benefits of offering bundles while launching. 

The benefits of bundling 

When Disney+ was preparing to launch, they began sending their target audience (Disney pass holders/vacationers/club members) emails to build excitement and pre-pay for the streaming service ahead of launch day. This was a risky move because, well, there wasn’t even a full or verified list of what was going to be ON the service yet! 

But, that didn’t stop a lot of people from signing up – and that’s because Disney sweetened the deal with exclusive bundle offers that made it pretty impossible to say no. 

Bundling, or stacking offers, is about paying attention to what people on your list are willing to buy that you can pair together for a better price point. The Disney+ subscription had two different options:

  • The Disney+ standalone option for $6.99/month
  • The Disney+/Hulu/ESPN bundle for 12.99/month 

This was a smart bundling move on Disney’s part because ESPN is already under their ownership umbrella, and Hulu was a popular streaming service with an ever-growing streamer base. Plus, the bundling option saved streamers 33% if they had all of those three services on their own, so the possibility of cutting costs or saving that money was a big draw.

Proof that launching isn’t perfect

The most important thing to remember about launching is that your initial launch plan is a guideline — and not everything will go as planned. There are always going to be things that happen that are out of control or that you didn’t expect, and all of this is okay! You need to learn to be flexible and open to learning something new every single time you launch something. 


Let’s go back in time – to 1955 – when Disneyland first opened its doors to the public. 

It was a MESS! 

Guests at the gate tripled expectations, people were making fake tickets to try and sneak in, rides were breaking down, and on top of all of that, Walt Disney was in a dispute because of a plumbing strike! 

He had to decide the day it was supposed to open whether or not the park was going to have working water fountains OR working bathrooms. He chose bathrooms and was criticized for doing it just so people would be forced to buy drinks. It was not smooth sailing.

Cut to 2019 and the Disney+ launch. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, either. In the United States, those who pre-purchased and even those who paid on launch day experienced a TON of tech issues on the platform, including not being able to set up profiles and content being unable to load. In Canada, Disney fans were never even given the opportunity to pre-purchase, so everyone was forced to pay on launch day. They too experienced long wait times for the platform at significantly slower speeds. 

Our point? Disney’s launches have been bumpy, too. We’ve seen ALL types of launches, and hiccups happen! It’s frustrating at the time, definitely, but you learn from it and you optimize for next time, you don’t give up. 

What if Disney decided all those difficulties were too much and he decided to not open Disneyland? The horror!

Learning from the past 

When you’re going through your next launch, think about the fact that Disneyland didn’t have working fountains on the first day, and nearly didn’t have working toilets! Disney+ had tons of streaming issues. Nothing was perfect. 

For your launches, it helps to know that something is GOING to happen, and it’s how you turn it into a learning experience that matters.

We recommend, above all else, having a post-mortem after your launch day. Which is when you sit down post-launch and review what went well, what didn’t, your successes, challenges, and what you can do for next time. 

If a launch doesn’t go well, or as expected, there are ways to redeem your offers: 

  • Market your offer some more!
  • Tweak aspects of your offer that might not be working as expected
  • Start collecting more testimonials to build credibility/social proof
  • Get feedback on offers to make improvements
  • Bundle what you can to offer deals 

Looking forward: Episode updates!

There were so many great lessons to learn about launches from Disney+, and now, 3 years later, we’re definitely able to see that despite the hiccups the platform is seriously successful! 

Things that have stayed the same: 

  • Disney is still very much pushing their Disney+/Hulu/ESPN bundle. They began referring to this package as “The Disney Bundle” in order to make it more enticing for potential customers, despite the content on these platforms not being exclusive to Disney. 

Things that have changed: 

  • The obvious first change is the price, which has increased to 7.99/month, 79.99/year, and 19.99/month for the Disney Bundle. These price increases do reflect the inflation of other streaming services, and the bundle still saves you about 32% if you were to have each subscription separately.
  • Something else Disney+ changed is reducing the delay from getting something that was in theaters to the platform. It’s now only 45 days. (Remember having to wait MONTHS for this??) Reasons for this could be because viewership at cinemas is still low due to COVID, but also Disney is benefiting from building off the hype of the theatrical release, boosting engagement and subscription rates (because you’ll be locked in, not just a one-time payment for seeing a movie like at a theater). 

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t want Disney+ in 2022? With all the MCU exclusive Disney+ shows, the lowest turnaround time from theaters to your living room (for Turning Red it was only 3 weeks!), and they even gave Jeff Goldblum a show for him to talk about…literally whatever he wants! If you’re not tuning in, you’re probably experiencing some definite FOMO. 

Stay tuned as we cover the rest of our Summer Series and revisit some of our best episodes!

Download the original transcript right here

Text us! 207-203-6769 ✨

subscribe on

subscribe on

Episode 63: The Importance of Data in Your Small Biz

Jul 5, 2022

The nostalgia is REAL this week, folks! For the continuation of our flashback Summer Series, we’re taking it as far back as we can this week with our FIRST. EVER. EPISODE! 💗💛💜

Episode 001 aired all the way back in May 2019 when we were just two Disney lovers with a dream for this podcast. To recap: Episode 001 talked all about Disney’s data collection skills using their Magic Bands and how our favorite place on earth makes something like *shudders* metrics actually FUN and interesting to study! 

We also pivot from Disney to discuss how YOU could use measurements to grow and understand your business.

Download the original transcript right here

Text us! 207-203-6769 ✨

subscribe on

subscribe on

Episode 62: Meeting Clients Where They Are

Jun 21, 2022

We’re back with a little help from our former selves to recap and revisit another popular episode from the past! 

Episode 007 (not to be confused with Bond, James Bond) aired almost two and a half years ago. In Covid years that must be something like a decade, right? This episode was so important to us, and to all of you, because we talked all about meeting your clients where they’re at and the steps to take to ensure equal presence and opportunity amongst your client base. We want to recap and also feature some new, exclusive content for you all to expand on these super important ideas. 

Download the original transcript right here

subscribe on

subscribe on

Galactic Starcruiser: Pricing Out Your Audience

Jun 7, 2022

We’ve talked about Disney’s pricey offers before when they rolled out their updated annual pass offers, and now we are going to dive in to their brand new hotel, Galactic Starcruiser. Designed like an interstellar cruise ship, guests embark on the starcruiser together for a 2-night excursion. If you peek out the windows, you will see space as if you are a part of a Star Wars mission. 

Want to know how much this two-night experience costs? $5,000+! Our jaws almost hit the floor with that announcement — but we have no doubt that Disney will fill up the experience in no time. Let’s talk about how Disney positioned their audience to buy into this experience, and how you can do the same with your customers.

Literally Out of This World

Disney guarantees an out-of-this-world experience at their one-of-a-kind Galactic Starcruiser hotel, but it’s still going to be a hard sell for many families (and even the biggest Star Wars fans).

Starting at $5,000, many of the activities and inclusions don’t feel super exciting to us, as you can get those similar dining and experiences at the parks. On the other hand, a really cool part of this experience is that you get to be a part of the storyline during this 2-day excursion. Different from the parks or a cruise ship, the cast members are interacting with you as characters from the movies, and you have a part to play during the experience! 

Disney knows this once-in-a-lifetime experience will be in high demand, which is probably why they priced it so high. They released pricing and initial details back in July 2021, with official booking available in early 2022. It’s a top-tier offer for their Star Wars fanatics, who have been anticipating this grand opening. 

It seems to be a one-and-done experience, as it’s the same storyline each time, so Disney will probably have to refresh their experience in the future. It’s an expensive operation for Disney to put on too, but it’s still not an offer that’s been an “easy yes” for us. At some point, we will probably bite the bullet and go experience it for ourselves!

Start Spreading the News

What does Disney’s $5,000 hotel stay have to do with your business? It teaches us a lot about how to sell a high-ticket offer.

When it comes to your audience and business, it’s so important to let them know about the offers you are going to be releasing (or promotions you have coming up) so they can be prepared and ready! (Especially for high-ticket items like booking a weekend at the Galactic Starcruiser.) Our tips? Leak your exciting new offers as early as you can! Make them feel like an insider with all the secret details, and let them know about the price range, too. You want your customers to be financially prepared when the release date comes around. 

Another thing to consider? The actual price point! We’ve talked about pricing with ascension models before, and you may be sick of hearing us talk about it – but they are so important! You’ve got to meet your audience where they are at. This Galactic Starcruiser hotel excursion is definitely for those in a higher income bracket — and that’s a different type of persona that Disney seems to be targeting with their recent shifts. 

But when you think about releasing high-ticket offers or products, think about your customers. You’ll have clients who need lower-cost items and clients who can pay out higher amounts. What are the differences? What are their pain points? What do they want out of a high-ticket experience? That’s going to be the key to really building the hype for them — so pay attention. It’s important to think through your target audience when releasing these types of offers. 

Are You Ready for Takeoff?

Do you think Disney’s Galactic Star cruiser hotel is ridiculous? Or pure genius? Would you go on this experience? We aren’t quite convinced yet! Text your fairy business godmothers at 207-203-6769 and tell us what you think! 

Don’t forget to subscribe to Pixie Dust & Profits and tune in each week, as we share more tips from the Mouse that can help you grow your small business. See ya real soon!

subscribe on

subscribe on

Episode 61: Slow Seasons in Business

Jun 3, 2022

It’s so weird listening to episodes that aired in “pre-COVID times.” Episode 13 aired over two years ago! It seems like so much of the world, and how we work within it, has changed. We wanted to revisit this important episode, and the tips we shared in it, to remind you and ourselves that maybe things aren’t as different as they feel.

Download Episode 61 transcript right here

Text us! 207-203-6769 🪄

subscribe on

subscribe on

Building Hype: Disney’s 50th Anniversary Celebration

May 24, 2022

Disney’s 50 Anniversary Celebration was one for the books – and we got to enjoy it more than once! Disney teased all the fun stuff they were going to roll out several months prior to kicking off the actual celebration in October of 2021. Based on how they celebrated their 25th Anniversary, we knew we would be in for a treat (but thankfully not the cake-decorated castle from 1996).

While we will definitely geek out over some of the things Disney did for their 50th Anniversary, we are also going to discuss how you can hype up your products and build fanfare for celebrations and milestones in your own business.

Anticipating the Celebration

Disney went all out leading up to their 50th Anniversary Celebration in October — but the preparation didn’t just start in October. They did quite a bit, including physical updates to the park and castle, teasing merchandise, adding special events and parades, and even creating new fireworks shows at Magic Kingdom and EPCOT.

Two months prior to the celebration’s start, they began showing off all the exclusive merchandise in August, with influencers wearing their gear and getting everyone hyped to purchase it for themselves. They went with a theme different from the standard Walt Disney World logo, branding, and colors to create something completely unique that really signified the 50th Anniversary.

With all of the anticipated events for the 50th Anniversary, Disney needed to find ways to get more people in because they’d been hiding it for so long. Add in everyone’s desire to get back to the parks post-pandemic, and now you have a limited exclusive event opportunity. Disney was even able to increase capacity limits after the height of the pandemic. They also announced they were doing away with Fast Passes and implementing Genie Plus in its place. This new product is great for people who want a more flexible “go-with-the-flow” type of experience at the parks as it gives you suggestions throughout the day, predicts wait times, and much more. (That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its drawbacks, however, but we’ll reserve judgment on that for later.)

For advanced access to lines, you now have to pay an extra $15 per person, per day with a Lightning Pass. Their goal with both of these new tools was to help disperse crowds throughout the parks, making their guests’ experiences the best they could be. The previous launch of their Magic Bands was another product they released to improve the guest experience. We just hope that Genie Plus is a smooth launch, as there have been unfortunate struggles with Disney’s IT in the past! 

With new rides, limited-edition swag, and a brand new once-in-a-lifetime fireworks display, Disney lovers all over the globe couldn’t miss out on their celebration. But these massive changes don’t have to feel totally out of the realm of possibility for you. If you have a celebration coming up or want to create some big fanfare around a new offer or sale, you can pull that off with a few small changes.

Hype Up Your Customers

You can get your customers just as excited and hyped up for your products and launches as people waiting at the gates for Disney’s parks to open. Every milestone and product is worth celebrating — like hitting 10k followers or launching a brand new product. Smaller milestones like completing a certain number of orders on your site in a day or being able to take Fridays off in the summer are also things worth celebrating — and they’re things your audience can likely relate to or aspire to! Your customers will feel a sense of ownership in your success. They’ll feel like a part of it, and when you bring them in for the celebration, they become loyal advocates for your brand and continued success.

Take a look at the smaller touches Disney adds for things like their 50th Anniversary. They released a totally new logo and colors for the 50th Anniversary, but they also release new sub-brands for different seasons throughout the year, like new sweatshirts in the fall. 

In your business, think about how you can make small tweaks that feel custom to the season or specific to your audience — without overhauling everything entirely. 

​​Have you been offering the same products year after year? Maybe it’s time for a brand refresh or for new videos inside our program. Change up the colors, put a small twist on your customers’ favorite product, or perhaps update your content pillars. Ask yourself, does this align with what is going on in the world right now? Repurpose things you already have in your business that work! 

Bring Your Customers Along

As you start to refresh your offers or look at them in a new way, we want you to think about how you can build excitement and anticipation for your customers. Remember that, regardless of how big or small the milestone may be, your customers want to celebrate with you! 

Disney did an incredible job of building hype for their 50th Anniversary Celebration and creating FOMO that any Disney lover couldn’t resist. Consider the big and small ways you can create excitement with your customers by giving your beloved products a new look or launching a brand new offer! You might even consider things like giveaways for a business anniversary, discounts to celebrate milestones, and even freebies or bonuses if you hit a certain goal with a launch.

If you’re not sure which direction you should go or what you should really take a loot at first…. We recommend our Stop Squirrel Syndrome Workbook

Peter Pan knew the path he needed to take — the second star to the right, and straight on till morning! If you’re looking for a clear direction of what to do next in your business, check out our FREE Stop Squirrel Syndrome Workbook

It can hurt your business if you’re always chasing the next best “shiny” object you see or celebrating things that aren’t in line with your overall strategy (you don’t want to celebrate reaching a new level in your video game if video games have nothing to do with your brand). 

So, instead unlock this workbook and map out the projects that align with the most important areas of your business — so you’re doing the next right thing for your business and your customers!

Don’t forget to subscribe to Pixie Dust & Profits and tune in each week, as we share more tips from the Mouse that can help you grow your small business.

Be sure to follow us @pixiedustandprofits and text us at 207-203-6769 to ask your business fairy godmothers a question! It really is us who will respond.

See ya real soon.

subscribe on

subscribe on

Frustrating Your Fans: A Cautionary Tale About Disney

May 10, 2022

In August of 2021, Disney announced that they were bringing back their annual pass holder program! Yay! But then… we read the fine print.

Previously, if you planned to go to Disney more than 10 days in one year, it was worth it to have this pass as the annual pass was equivalent in price to a 10 day park ticket. They’ve revamped the program, adding additional tiers where they are charging more for less, taking away perks that were historically included with the annual pass. 

We’re going to discuss the not-so-welcome changes to Disney’s Annual Pass program and better ways that you can unveil unwelcome — and even welcome — changes to your programs and products.

Breaking Down the Annual Pass

Before we dive into the new annual pass program, let’s back up a bit. Annual passes are not for every Disney fan, as you really need to be going to the parks for 10 days, sometimes less if you are taking separate trips, to make it worth your while. In the past, the annual pass holder program has been great for locals and for people who go essentially more than once a year. The other big bonus with annual passes in the past was that it came with perks. You received discounts at certain restaurants, off merchandise throughout the parks, and an included Photopass. 

So what’s new with these reinstated annual passes? There are now four types of non-local passes, two for Florida residents only, and the base prices of all passes have increased significantly. There are also “blackout dates” where you can’t use your pass, specifically high traffic times during the year like spring break and Christmas. We do love the new names and logos on the passes – something we can point out that Disney did right! But Magic Bands and water park access are extra costs, and there’s caps on park reservations, too. They are really pushing their customers to spend more at Disney, offering further incentives for staying on Disney property, like early access to the parks.

The takeaway here is that every business has to take a look at its business model and increase prices at some point. There are labor shortages, the cost of living and manufacturing prices are increasing, we have to consider the impact of the pandemic, and so on. All businesses have to figure out a way to stay profitable. However, we are begrudgingly renewing our annual passes – and it feels like they are “nickel and diming” things with these new passes. 

Before Increasing Prices…

When you are re-evaluating your business’s pricing or offers like Disney just did, you’ve got to take your most loyal customers into consideration. Do you really want them to be the ones taking the hardest hit?

As you’re building your offers, products, sales, and types of promotions think about how they will be perceived from your customer’s point of view. Doubling the price of your program may not increase your revenue because your pool of people who are going to buy into it might shrink drastically. 

Ask yourself: “Why am I increasing the price? What is the justification? Does my target audience change with these price increases?” 

We understand that Disney lost quite a bit of money because of the shutdowns that happened as a result of the pandemic. However, these price increases really ticked off so many of their biggest fans. We’ve heard many people say that Disney is no longer affordable for the average American family; it’s clear their target audience is changing as they are going after a more affluent customer base. 

Before you increase your prices, let your customers know that this is coming down the pipeline and explain why. With a few of our clients, when we had to increase prices due to excessive shipping costs and manufacturing increases, we’d let them know in advance – 30 to 60 day warnings. For the most part, people will understand if you give them a reasonable explanation and increase prices marginally.

Avoid Frustrating Your Fans

Disney definitely bummed out many of their most loyal customers with these changes to their revamped annual passes. While increasing prices is inevitable, no one wants to alienate and frustrate their best customers! We hope you take some of these ideas so you can better reveal changes happening with your products and offers. 

Don’t forget to subscribe to Pixie Dust & Profits and tune in each week, as we share more tips from the Mouse that can help you grow your small business. Be sure to follow us @pixiedustandprofits and check out magic.pixiedustandprofits.com for some free goodies! See ya real soon.

subscribe on

subscribe on

Measuring the Mosquitos in Your Business

Apr 26, 2022

If you had to guess what brought us together several years ago, you would probably say our love of Disney, right? But actually, it was MOSQUITOS

More specifically, how Disney manages mosquitos on their property. If you’ve ever taken a trip to Florida, you know it’s pretty much “swampland.” So, why then when we’re at Disney, we rarely ever get bit?

We totally geeked out at how Disney manages this mosquito problem from an operational standpoint! Disney uses data to find pesky “hot spots” and adjusts its actions accordingly. Keep reading and we’ll teach you how to use metrics to make decisions in your business! 

Managing the Pests

Disney manages their mosquitos in a number of ways, but the most impactful way they keep these pesky bugs away is with chicken coops. The cool thing about chickens is they’re actually not prone to viruses like Zika and won’t get sick if they have it. Every day, they check these chickens and do little tests to see if they’ve been diagnosed with Zika or West Nile. If they find that these chickens are contracting viruses, they know there is an uptick of mosquitos in the area so they can implement measures to address it.

Avoiding chemicals to get rid of bugs was something Walt Disney wanted to avoid, as it would away from the safe environment he imagined Disney to be. So, they use a garlic spray because mosquitoes hate garlic! They have an entire task force dedicated to managing the mosquitos, and only treat the areas where the chickens are experiencing more bites, saving time and money! They use metrics and data, probably on some sort of dashboard, to wisely manage and use their resources to keep the mosquitoes away. 

Disney is also constructed in such a way that there is no standing water throughout their property, and slopes help to keep water from pooling. Water flows or has mechanisms to keep it moving so mosquitoes can’t settle and hatch their eggs. Additionally, the landscaping on the property allows for proper drainage, and flowers and herbs planted throughout naturally repel mosquitoes.  

Fight Fires Strategically

If you can’t tell by now, it is so important that you know how to measure various markers in your business. Often we will finish something up and think, I wonder how many people came through this funnel or how many people converted here? The thing is, if you don’t have the tools or the necessary means in place to capture that data, it’s going to be a lot more work later on to try and figure it out on the backend. We’ve been there, done that! 

Conversion rates, traffic to your site, clicks on trip funnels, opened emails – these are all markers to put in place so you can use data to make decisions for your business moving forward. How Disney handles the annoying mosquito population is a lot like tracking your business metrics.

Metrics Challenge

Nicole here! I developed a Metrics Challenge to help business owners like you figure out which metrics matter for your business, and how to use them to make advised and forward-focused decisions! I want to help you move from a place where you are tracking nothing to tracking something, and this really is a step-by-step guide to get you in the door to start thinking about using metrics to make decisions for your business. 

Think through this…If your ads are getting clicks, are they turning into leads? Are people actually putting their email addresses in or purchasing the thing that you sent them to? If they’re not, then that tells you there’s something wrong with the landing page because you’re getting clicks. People are getting there and they’re not moving to the next step. If they are going ahead and opting in, but they’re not buying the second offer, then there’s a problem with something on the second page. See how we are using the data to figure out where the disconnect is?

Diagnostics is really the heart of metrics. You can see where the drop-offs are happening and then understand where you need to focus your efforts, time, money, or hire support. Feeling like something isn’t working isn’t enough! You’ve got to take a look at your metrics, and this Metrics Challenge will help you get started. It’s the non-sexy stuff that honestly can result in the biggest life leaps and bounds in your business.

Use Your Data

Don’t let words like metrics, measurements, KPIs, or any of these words scare you! Disney has managed their mosquito situation by simply tracking its data and taking action when the numbers show an uptick in bites. By implementing markers and tracking data for your business, you will be able to better understand what is or isn’t working so you can optimize and improve your business, making it more profitable! 
Don’t forget to subscribe to Pixie Dust & Profits and tune in each week, as we share more tips from the Mouse that can help you grow your small business. Be sure to follow us @pixiedustandprofits and sign up for our mailing list to get some fun extras! See ya real soon.

subscribe on

subscribe on

Creating New Products With What You Already Have

Apr 12, 2022

You may have found yourself planning a “staycation” over the last few years as a result of COVID restrictions around the globe. Disney, on the other hand, is always adapting – making the most of any environment they find themselves in!

We had the honor of interviewing Diane Barrowsmith of SixCastleCompany to discuss one of Disney’s innovative brand new offers that launches in the summer of 2022. Disney Cruise Lines are famous for enhancing the high seas, but recently they launched a brand new U.K. Staycations with Disney’s Magic at Sea! 

If you’re looking for some magical inspiration to help you pivot and innovate within your business with assets you already have, keep reading!

Disney’s Magic at Sea

Recently, Disney revealed exclusive UK Staycation cruises lasting 2-4 nights that depart from four different ports in the UK, float about at sea and then loop back to port. Previously, Disney only offered longer cruises leaving from the UK, lasting 7-14 days, but they were few and far between with a hefty price tag attached. With these new shorter cruise offerings, they are tapping into a new audience who may have wanted to give a Disney Cruise a shot in the past, but the buy in was too high. 

What’s really interesting is that Disney already offered a slightly similar model with cruises that depart from the U.S., going through the Bahamas. They are shorter trips without a stop at Castaway Cay, which is Disney’s privately owned island, but rather loop back to Port Canaveral in FL. Disney took what was already successful in the states and brought it over to a new audience in the UK!

It was also such an innovative move for Disney to make during the global pandemic. They found a way to make the Disney experience more accessible to their audiences. These UK cruises don’t leave the UK, going from one port and sailing back around, making people feel safe enough to invest in this unique experience. With the lower end price tag and time commitment, they are able to bring in a brand new audience who may not have otherwise been able to afford a Disney cruise. 

The Magic of a Disney Cruise

You may be surprised to hear that we have never actually been on a Disney cruise before! Yes, we know it’s shocking! Even as Vacation Club members who spend quite a bit of time at Disney, their cruises have a pretty big price tag that can be a deterrent, especially for new audiences.

A Disney cruise is typically for someone who’s been to Disney World and knows what to expect. These cruises stand apart from other typical cruise experiences, so there’s a higher price tag that comes along with this level of entertainment and service. Imagine cast members who cut up your kids’ food for you, servers who remember your drink orders, and who make an effort to really get to know your preferences during your voyage. There is a Broadway level of entertainment in the shows they offer, nurseries and kid’s clubs, along with adult only pools. They really provide an amazing balance for families with their wide variety of offerings and accommodations.

Adapt and Pivot Your Current Offers

While the specific details and prices of these exclusive UK cruises have yet to be released (Disney loves keeping us on our toes!), we can learn from how they use their current assets and offers their audiences already love.

Target a new audience

Ask yourself, where’s another audience that lines up with your current audience that you know you already have a base for? Disney took what was already working in the states with shorter cruise experiences and brought it over to the UK to tap into a new audience. Not only did they use an asset that they’ve already got, but they also encourage this new audience to book future Disney experiences without impacting the audience they already have over in the U.S.! For small businesses like your own, take a look at the assets that you have available and all the audiences that you could potentially tap into and how to match those things up. You may need to tweak and repackage your offer to fit this new audience, but you don’t need to start from scratch!

Ascension Models

We’ve talked so many times about ascension models and you may be thinking…Nicole and Yasmine keep on about these models. But it’s because they are so important! Quick refresh – an ascension model is a ladder of different value offerings that grow with the customer. 

Disney does this with their resorts, ticket offers, dining plans, and more. They used this model again to reach people who may have wanted to take a Disney cruise, but the price tag prevented them from doing so. These shorter UK exclusive staycation cruises appealed to a new audience, in hopes that they would taste a bit of the pixie dust magic on this quick Disney experience, leading them to return and try out Disneyland Paris or even make the trip to the states for Disney World or a longer Disney cruise! They bring people in at the bottom of their model, moving up until they become vacation club members like us!

Pivot your offers

When looking at your own products or services, if something’s not selling, it may not be because it’s not a good product. Perhaps you need to look at the environment it’s in, look at your product description page and how it’s being described. Especially if you have something that people might worry about in this COVID world right now, tweak it a little bit, make it sound safer and more trustworthy! 

Shift with the Seas

You don’t have to have it all figured out! Disney hasn’t even released prices and details for these exclusive UK cruises yet, as regulations and protocols are still ever changing in this COVID world. It kind of reminds us that not everything does go to plan that as a small business owner. The ability to shift and adapt as things out of your control come up emphasize that we can’t strive for perfection. Disney is constantly shifting and pivoting so they can keep bringing the magic to their audiences, no matter what the environment around looks like. 


Don’t forget to subscribe to Pixie Dust & Profits and tune in each week, as we share more tips from the Mouse that can help you grow your small business. And be sure to follow Diane @sixcastlecompany!

subscribe on

subscribe on

even more pixie dust!

bonus BUSINESs builders

get access

We're magically breaking down big-business strategies for your small business in this pack of 3 mini-workbooks and 2 bonus audio files!