Oct 4, 2022
Managing your client’s expectations can be a day job in and of itself. In this episode of Pixie Dust and Profits, we’re talking about how Disney does this so well and how we can do the same in our own businesses!
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Sep 20, 2022
You know how going to any Disney property is absolutely magical? It’s all thanks to the amazing cast members!
So today, we thought we’d extend the lessons of that podcast and talk about some times that cast members went above and beyond their duties for us… and how you can apply that to your own business!
As many of you know, Nicole’s mom is disabled.
She can’t see very far and uses a cane to get around. So, one day on our vacation, my husband, child, and I went to Universal Studios. Mom couldn’t come as it was too much walking for her. She stayed behind and took a little stroll around the resort. By the time we got back, she was absolutely glowing with how kind the cast members had been to her. They walked her around, were supportive, and made sure to go out of their way to let her know that they NEVER felt inconvenienced.
That experience alone meant so much. They showed my mom how valued she was as a person, customer, and disabled person.
Recently, I (Yasmine) took my daughter to Disney World for the first time. I’d scheduled it right before COVID, and then of course the next two years were spent running through cancellation after rescheduling after cancellation.
When we were finally able to go, I took my husband, daughter, and mom. All my daughter could talk about was how excited she was to meet Goofy. When she finally met Goofy, she absolutely melted into him. And that sweet cast member let her hug him for as long as she wanted.
That was an absolute core memory for all of us. I said to Goofy that she had been waiting the whole trip to meet him, and he signaled that he had been, too!
When you run a business as magical as Disney and create experiences that your customers will remember for the rest of their lives, there’s more than one benefit. The first is, of course, that you create loyalty in your customers.
But the second is that when your customers have bad interactions elsewhere, those interactions stick out. So, how can you apply these lessons to your business and make sure you have good interactions with customers?
Read the room: This is one of the things Disney does so well. The characters and cast are extremely smart about paying attention to customers’ spoken and unspoken needs. When they do character dining, they intuitively know which tables they need to spend a few extra minutes at.
Even during COVID, when character dining was completely off, they still made sure to do poses and give you great opportunities to take photos.
Acknowledge them: Every single positive interaction that we remember had one thing in common: we left that interaction feeling acknowledged. The most important thing you can do for your customers is to make them feel acknowledged and seen.
When people comment on your post, try to respond to as many as you can, as quickly as you can. And definitely try to respond in a timely manner!
Try to anticipate needs: When you can preemptively anticipate your customers’ needs and direct them to more resources, you’re giving them that additional level of service that makes them feel seen, heard, and supported.
These are all things that make your customers feel valued and respected. Go the extra mile and do above and beyond service. Yes, you don’t HAVE to do it. But I promise you, when you go further for your clients and customers, they will remember it and, more importantly, come back to you!
We’d love to know… how do you sprinkle the Disney magic in your business? We’d love to hear from you!
If you want more great ideas from us, we’d love to gift you our free business bundle! See you next week!
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Sep 6, 2022
Wow! We’re back with another season of Pixie Dust & Profits, and we’re so excited for all of the things we’ll be chatting with you about this season.
And in true Disney fashion, we thought we’d kick this season off by recounting a recent magical adventure to Disney World that ended… well, not so magically!
Originally, me (Nicole) and my family were supposed to go to Disney World back in January. But due to some unforeseen circumstances, that trip didn’t end up happening. So we delayed it until this summer when we decided we’d go out to Florida for a total of 10 days, and hopefully be able to explore Universal Studios in addition to Disney World.
For the first part of our trip, we had an absolute blast! But by day 4, I noticed I had lost my voice.
At first, we didn’t think too much of it. Between the screaming rollercoasters and the fact that we were masking everywhere (including in the 100-degree heat), we figured it was nothing to worry about.
A few days later, I had a cough that would come around every few hours. I took a test, but it came back negative. As a precaution, I started masking in the hotel room, just in case.
Everything was fine until the morning right at the end of our trip, when I woke up with a 99.8 degree fever! That was the day we were going to go to Animal Kingdom (which is my child’s favorite), as well as have breakfast at Tusker House.
Unfortunately, my COVID test came back positive that day. Immediately, we canceled our plans and informed the front desk. They asked us to stay in our room for a bit. But then, they allowed the rest of my family (who were all negative) to explore the resort while I stayed in the room.
With young kids (one of whom is very highly special needs), that became difficult quickly. Since the rest of my family was still negative, they all went home, while I stayed behind in the hotel.
Disney was absolutely wonderful throughout this entire situation. Despite the fact that our tickets were meant to expire, they actually put new tickets in our account. I was able to text management whenever I needed, and they would bring my mobile orders up to the room. (Yes, the millennial in me was having SUCH a hard time accepting help from complete strangers.)
Okay, I know this is a bit more of a personal story than we normally give you. But I cannot stress enough how accommodating and amazing Disney was! They comped our next tickets, got me my food, allowed me to extend my stay in the room.
For comparison, when I called our car rental company to let them know, they were pretty difficult and wanted to charge me over $300 to extend my rental by ONE day!
The Disney staff was so amazing, and there’s a bit of a lesson to be found in there: as businesses, when we take care of our customers and give them the best experience possible, those customers will want to come back again and again!
In fact, I feel like I missed out on the Disney experience this time, and because they were so kind to me while I was going through COVID, I already want to go back!
I still paid for the room and my food. But I will be back as soon as I can, simply because the customer experience they provided was so top tier.
The thing is… Disney has no idea I have a podcast. If I had had a really terrible experience, I could have spoken about it on my podcast. I could have talked to my friends and family members about it.
The key takeaway here is that this is how you both win and lose business. When your customers come to you with an issue or a roadblock, it’s important that you empathize and look at it from their point of view. If you can, go the extra mile for your customers. How you act in these instances will impact the outlook on your brand and business as a whole, as well as loyalty.
People are really grateful for these opportunities, and giving them to your customers will make you lifelong fans.
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Aug 16, 2022
We’ve got a Super Summer Series Surprise for you! For those who have been following along, or those who have just arrived (welcome!!), this summer we’ve been revisiting our favorite Pixie Dust & Profits podcast episodes from seasons past.
So far, we’ve had such an amazing time listening back to these popular episodes AND giving you updated information from our 2022 perspectives on the topics. This week, though, we’re giving you something a little extra! ✨
When we decided to revisit Episode 020: Balancing Priorities & Surviving in the Day-to-Day, we immediately knew it was going to be different from other Summer Series episodes. We recorded this episode in April 2020, right after the lockdown started. This was deep in shutdown, and we had just begun to see some of the biggest business shifts in history happen right before our eyes.
Of course, things have changed considerably since COVID first came on the scene, and it might not make sense to look BACK at this episode… so instead, we made a new and improved version of the episode!
So, let’s discuss what’s happened with Disney since July 2020, and what we can take away from their projects and operations to support our businesses through hard times.
On March 15, 2020, Disney closed its magic gates (so very sad) only to reopen them four months later in July of the same year, but with some pretty strict rules in place for returning park guests.
They began with “soft” launches, each park receiving a different day to reopen with attendance capped and a new reservation service in place for all guests. This service included all areas of the park from attractions, to restaurants, to stores, to modes of park transport. Some of the new major safety measures that were instituted included:
✅ Temperature checks & required face coverings were mandatory for all visitors and cast members
✅ Magic bands were used whenever possible to facilitate mobile interactions rather than face-to-face (specifically in dining locations).
✅ An increased use of plexiglass barriers between guests and cast members
✅ Annual passes were no longer available for purchase; only existing annual pass members could renew.
✅ And the hardest pill to swallow: No parades, fireworks, or character meet-and-greets, and yes, that included character dining. 😭
Despite it all, Disney still remained confident that they could give their guests the same magical experience they’re known for. They even created the “social distancing squad,” a group of friendly cast members trained to enforce safety rules in a fun, energetic way. In all, Disney did a great job “protecting the magic” of the parks in a post-COVID existence. And hey, some form of Disney is always better than no Disney at all!
Now that it’s been two years since their reopening, Disney has done away with a lot of the stricter guidelines: masks are optional, and parades, fireworks, and character dining and meet-and-greets have all returned. However, there are still some things that remain changed.
✅ Annual passes are very hard to get, and when you can, the prices have increased from previous years.
✅ Disney’s reservation system remains in place and is looking like it’s here to stay. You still have to reserve the park you want to visit on the day you plan to.
✅ You cannot “park hop” until after a certain time of day (2 pm most days, but it may vary). Gone are the days of spontaneity!
After over a decade, the FastPass system is a thing of the past. Move over and make room for the new kid on the block, Disney Genie+.
Genie+ works a lot like the old method. You purchase the add-on ($20 a person) and have ultimate access to the Lightning Lane on 19 different Disney attractions. But there are limits to this magic, of course. When you choose to use a Lightning Lane on an attraction, you cannot reserve another Lightning Lane spot on a different attraction until you’ve either already completed your previous ride or have waited 2 hours. On top of that, you cannot use Genie+ repeatedly for any of the rides. So, if you plan on riding Haunted Mansion 20 times in one day, be prepared to wait in line for at least 19 of those rides.
It is interesting that Disney used the time that they were closed to innovate something like their line system. If the parks never closed, would something like Genie+ even exist? We don’t think so! While Disney does address some visitor pain points with this new method, a drawback of the Genie+ system in comparison to the FastPass system is the inability to choose a specific time to return to the attraction, which might leave you racing across the park madder than the Mad Hatter.
When we talk about our “new normal,” we’re seeing so many changes. We saw a ton of businesses pivot — especially ones whose services or offers were mostly held in person. We also saw that many people had to decide how to grow their business while kids were at home, family members needed care, and if spouses or partners were laid off.
It was a time of rapid change, and we’re still feeling the ripple effects today. As we navigate a post-COVID world, there are a couple of things to take from Disney’s decisions:
☝ Be aware of the current inflation situation.
Inflation is at a record all-time high, and you need to respond accordingly! Is it time to raise your rates? Do you need to raise your team members’ pay? Remember, what you’re paying yourself right now isn’t what you were paying yourself even a few months ago. If you don’t want to increase rates, how can you decrease your expenses?
✌ Be flexible – on a whole different level.
One of the things we’ve realized is that we want to ENJOY more of what’s going on around us. Don’t miss out, be intentional in slowing things down to open yourself up. Some of this means personal expense choices, like diverting savings or not making investments you planned to make. It’s okay to do this! Life is short, make it sweet.
We want to hear how your priorities have changed in this “new normal”//“post-COVID” world!
Reach out to us, we love receiving and answering Instagram DM’s!
If you’re interested: we are currently taking applications for the next Pixie Dust Live event, click here to submit yours today!
And if you’re planning a trip to Disney soon, and want to understand more about programs like Genie+ before you get there, visit our good friend Wish Upon a Planner® for all the ins and outs you’ll need for your next magical adventure with the Mouse! 🏰🐭
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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.
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!
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.
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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.
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:
Things that have changed:
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!
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Jul 5, 2022
Join us as we talk 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.
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Jun 21, 2022
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.
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.
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Mar 15, 2022