Pixie Dust and Profits is a podcast for small business owners who love Disney and want to sprinkle some of that magic onto their own businesses. Join your host, Nicole Boucher. And Yasmine Spencer as they explore the mouse’s $12.6 billion operation and break down exactly how you can apply these big scale concepts to your own.
Welcome to Pixie Dust and Profits with Nicole Boucher and Yasmine Spencer. Now, today, we’re going to be talking about the infamous purple wall. If you’ve ever been to Disney world, you’ve probably walked by it a thousand times, maybe not a thousand, but you know what I mean? This is just a simple, like not flashy purple wall. That’s sitting in Tomorrowland and magic kingdom that people have just grown to love. It started with an Instagrammer. One day they took a photo hashtag did purple wall and launched an entire phenomenon. In this episode, we’re going to be digging into how Disney tapped into this trend and created a whole product line around it and how you can capitalize on trends that your audience are asking for.
So back in the two thousands, Disney was really struggling with this problem where, you know, attendance was down nine 11 had just happened. There was a recession people weren’t coming back to Disney and they were noticing that they were struggling to remain relevant with the new millennial generation. I mean, their parents grew up with very limited entertainment options going to Disney world was a big deal. And it was like a Rite of passage for millennials, parents. But for millennials, they grew up seeing Disney everywhere. They saw it on TV. There’s Disney channel, there’s Disney jr. They saw it on Instagram and Facebook everywhere, but there was no reason for them to becoming there because the old way of looking at Disney was like really sweaty, hot people, riding rides and faded Mickey t-shirts. And you know, that’s not really a pretty picture. Disney really needed to figure out a way to tap into this tech oriented generation.
And they started watching how they were interacting with their brand and amplifying that and putting Pixie Dust on it. Right? So they saw people on Instagram taking pictures in front of a purple wall that probably got cleaned in the mornings and never thought about it again. And that was it. And they capitalized on it. They saw people starting to line up to take pictures of the fashion that they were wearing in front of that wall. So what do you think Disney did? They started to monetize it. There are purple wall ears. There are backpacks, there are shirts. And even if you take out the fact that they created a brand new color, think about the fact that they knew people were taking pictures in front of that to highlight what they were wearing. So they started making clothes that looked like the clothes that Instagrammers wear. So that way they would wear those clothes in front of the purple wall. So they’re wearing Disney gear in front of a wall in Disney world in a Disney. And they’re just perpetuating the Instagram story of you need to come to Disney world because it is a blast to be here. Look, we’re all smiling. We’re all happy. We’re wearing bright colors and you are missing out. So
Disney has taken this trend even further. Think about the last time that you went to Disney or the last Disney family you followed on Instagram, right? It’s not just the purple ears and the cute clothes. Disney has made the entire park experience completely Instagramable. And by doing this, they’re attracting a bigger and bigger millennial audience. Now I know some of you hate that term, but easiest way to categorize people between the ages of 25 to 35 for them, Disney has become a place to go, to have a fun experience, to hang out with their friends and to basically create FOMO. They’ve turned attending Disney world into some form of social currency amongst their peers. Right?
Well, and it’s, it’s like super fun. I mean, they get to come in and just have like oversized treats like a giant chiro. And it’s really just for the picture it’s for the gram, literally. Yeah.
If you’ve ever got one of those, like almost as big as your head cupcakes at Disney, let’s be real. How many of you have actually finished it on your own? You either need like a buddy to help you out, or you’re taking a couple bites and it’s just too much and you might be tossing in a way, but those limited edition and that’s key, different treats that they release throughout the year are what brings people back more and more basically. So they can create fun photos for Instagram and obviously have a great time in the parks.
I just saw a post this morning and one of the Facebook does sneakers that I’m in. And someone was like help. I met magic kingdom and I don’t know where to get those special ice cream cones. It was like an emergency and people were answering her, Oh, you could find this one over there and that one over there. And it was just, it highlights that, you know, they saw that picture over and over again, somewhere. And now they’re in the parks and they need to go spend $7 on it. Yeah.
Another really fun thing that you actually mentioned earlier, Nicole, when we were talking before we started recording, the episode is Dole whip. Now Dole whip is available anywhere, but you always catch people Instagramming it at Disney world because they think it’s like a Disney exclusive thing. And they also think that adult whip at Disney tastes a lot better than the exact same product that you can get at the ice cream shop down the street. Right.
Warehouse. Yeah. And that’s all it comes down to the experience, right? Adult whip on a sunny day after you just got off pirates of the Caribbean is completely different than the Dole whip you get from the barn down the road that sells soft, serve ice cream.
So let’s talk about this audience that Disney has attracted with all of these Instagrammable options like foodie delights and more. We found it really interesting statistic. We tried to look into the shift basically in
Who was coming to Disney world. Yeah. The families versus, you know, adults who are coming on their own.
Exactly. And while we couldn’t verify those exact statistics, we did find some research that stated that 70% of millennial parents and 75% of non-parents who are millennials are more likely than all parents, 59% to say that they’re interested in visiting a theme park in the next year. So the fact that Disney is attracting these millennials. Now they’re when they have young kids or even before that they have kids is ensuring that they don’t have to deal with that situation where attendance is on a decline for at least another like 15 to 30 years, because they’ve basically created a new built-in audience of long time Disney fans who will keep coming back for that awesome experience.
And millennials are more likely to justify the cost of things like this. You know, like 62% of millennial parents and 65% of non-parent millennials think of the park is a good value for the money. And you know, their parents are like, no, it’s really not. There’s only 50% of their parents even agree with that. And I think that’s just comes down to how millennials are, you know, millennials generally value the experience and the story around everything going on. They are willing to invest in that and not in stock.
Absolutely. And in fact, like when we talk about experience, we can also think about how Disney has turned the entire park experience to be more Instagrammable as a benefit for just customer flow throughout the parks. Think about it. If you, if you think like the idea of someone like waiting in line to take a photo in front of a purple wall is ridiculous. Let’s flip that the longer they’re waiting in the line taking photos of a purple wall or their giant cupcake or their Mickey bar is last time that they’re waiting in line with you increasing the wait time for seven doors, my train or parents of the Caribbean or haunted mansion. So Disney has essentially created an attraction out of every element of the park and not just the actual rides themselves.
I mean, they were even watching like how people act in lines just to see how else they can improve the experience in this technology world. Because, you know, they noticed people in line waiting for their favorite rides playing heads up. And so instead of letting people good, keep playing heads up, they created their own app, that Disney park play Disney parks app. And you can play that while in line and it’s like geo location. So you have to actually be near the attraction in order to play that specific game. So one of those games was heads up and they were like, why give people another way out? Like give them the full Disney experience, immerse them 100% in Disney. Let’s give them their own heads up game that has like toy story character.
So how can you take all this and apply it to your own business? I think it’s as easy as looking at the macro trends and the habits that you see from your audience, what are they digging right now? What are they watching? What are they listening to? How are they consuming? Content, I think is the biggest takeaway. So Disney noticed that, you know, people were sharing their experience with an audience and essentially advertising for them by creating that FOMO. But how can you translate this to your business? Well, if you’re noticing that your audience is shifting towards listening to more audio books, for example, maybe that tells you that the way that they like to consume content is an audio form. So next time that you’re putting out a course or any type of program, make sure that you add an audio only version for them because you know that they have the habit of listening to a book when they are driving or on the treadmill, or just cleaning around the house, make it as easy for them to consume your content. So we can actually ensure that they complete your next program and achieve the benefits that you’ve set out for them.
I think the biggest takeaway here for me is to just, just watch your audience, like, go look, see what they’re doing, actually take intentional time to stop. Don’t think about your products. Don’t think about your own business. Just look at the people who are looking at you. You know, you can go over to your Instagram profile, you can click on who’s following you and you can scroll down that list and click five to 10 people every, you know, few weeks and just see, what are they sharing? What are they talking about? Do they like to share things that have quote graphics? Do they like to talk about churros? I mean, just looking at these people that you’ve probably ignored, you know, in the beginning of your business, you might have looked at them all the time, but if you’ve been in business for a year, two years, five years, you’ve probably lost some touch with those people who are following you. And in some ways idolizing you, if you’re a really big brand and they’re using your products, you know, reconnect with them, you don’t necessarily have to go send them a direct message or anything like that, but just see what they’re doing. And if someone’s doing something that really interests you, then go ahead, reach out, send a direct message at something like eight. What are you really into lately? I’m thinking about new ideas for my brand. You know what people love to talk about the things that they love. So it’s a win-win
And that wraps up this episode of pixie dust and profits. And now we’re wondering, what are your takeaways? Tell us on Instagram, you can find us @pixiedustandprofits and let us know what you learned from this episode and what you’re noticing that your audience is doing are super curious. Thanks so much and see you real soon.