Winnie the Pooh ride at Disney World

Episode 38: How Much Capacity Do You *Actually* Have? (Transcript)

Feb 23, 2021



Intro (00:01):
Pixie Dust & 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.

Yasmine (00:26):
Hello and welcome to another episode of Pixie Dust & Profits ever wondered why some lines at Disney take so much longer than others. And it’s not just a super fun queues as you’ve probably gathered guys have different capacity levels. Like for example, Haunted Mansion that tends to move really quickly because it’s, it’s a continuous run of dune buggies that are just like constantly going through the ride. So you don’t have to wait for someone to be like done their experience before it’s your turn to go on. Then you have rides like avatar which, you know, hotline can really, really drag on during peak periods. It can go up to like hours and that’s because they can only accommodate 96 people, but it’s a five minute experience. So you have to wait until those 96 people are done and then like a minute or two for like the loading and offloading before. It’s your turn, which is why the line queue is so interactive. And there’s like 20 minutes of pre ride, like stuff that you go through to keep you entertained because let’s face it like a two hour wait for a five minute ride can seem a little bit excessive at times, especially if you got like young and you don’t want to wait anyway, what I’m getting. Yeah. It keeps

Nicole (01:36):
You entertained, but the pre-write experience also teaches you how to get on the ride and efficiently. So that way they can try and make that, you know, five minute ride time, plus two minutes load and offload as fast as possible so they can get more butts in seats.

Yasmine (01:52):
Very true. And that keeps the flow through moving a lot faster. So what we’re trying to get at here is Disney was very intentional about knowing how many people they can support on their riots and planning their cues to match that or lines as you guys call them in America. So again, for a ride like avatar, like yes, it can sometimes go outside of sort of like the physical rights structure and the line extends like way out. But once you sort of get in there there’s enough like entertainment and education and pre-show stuff planned to keep that really going. And when it comes to businesses, especially businesses that support people, whether it’s like in a course or like a mastermind, or even like one-on-one with a service, it’s really important to map out how many people you want to serve in order to give everyone the whole experience. Exactly. And give everyone that like level of experience that you want to deliver. So no one is feeling like they’re missing out. And so you don’t feel like overstretched because as business owners, when we feel exhausted and overwhelmed, we start to resent our business and that’s when things have to go south. So before we get into that piece, I think we’re going to talk about a few more examples where Disney has really mapped out how many people they’re serving accordingly, Nicole, or you walk us through the differences between Disneyland and Disney World.

Nicole (03:19):
Yeah. So Disneyland obviously came first and they were learnings that came out of operating Disneyland that they incorporated into Disney world. So for example, the big thing is that waltz once saw a cowboy in tomorrow land in Disneyland and said, Nope, Nope, can’t do it. It breaks the experience from that. It breaks the magic, right? And so when they made Disney world, they made Magic Kingdom over there with these utilities or corridors that are actually the first floor of Magic Kingdom, the castles on the second floor. And you know, those corridors are used to get from one point to another. And that really helped them understand the flow of moving people, how much they could support the caveat being that they have since learned in the 50 years that Walt Disney World has been around that Utila doors don’t scale very well when the park started getting more visitors than ever before, you’ve got more employees than ever before.

Nicole (04:15):
And those quarters can get quite quite crowded. And it’s hard to move things from point a to point B. And so, and the other parks like Epcot and animal kingdom, they’ve actually learned a better way of doing this. They just put a dirt road in a circle around the parks on the outside. So you can get anywhere. You want to go by just having an, a buggy and go into the other side of the park from the outside of the park. And so those are learnings they’ve learned about how they can grow and scale employee wise, right? So it’s a little bit of a different example because it’s not about capacity of customers, but capacities of your team and how you can serve everyone. And the other really big example and Yasmin, and I have both done this, we’ve done holiday parties and we have done dessert parties. And I know right now with COVID, those things are not happening. We can’t wait for them to start happening again. But for example, together, we went to the star wars, dessert party, where we got to, we got to give them money to, to eat cookies and cake. They, they just had a very limited menu of extra things and alcoholic beverages that were, you know, star wars inspired. And we thought to me, I think Kylo Ren and

Speaker 4 (05:30):
Ever over that, maybe. So we got to

Nicole (05:32):
Do those things. And then you get like priority seating for the fireworks show, which that is probably one of my favorite shows. I love wishes, but the star wars show, it was really good too. But you know, we paid extra for this experience and they know they can only serve a certain number of people, but let me tell you what they had the square footage mapped out to get as many people as possible into that little room. And they know their capacity, they know how food they needed to have on hand. They know how many drinks they needed to have. They knew exactly the timing to get it. So that way everyone could see the characters that they paid to see and get a little snack and then move on to the show. And so they plan things, knowing exactly how many people that can get in there.

Nicole (06:14):
And then they price accordingly. They update that price. It’s a little more premium of an experience. You’re essentially paying them to hold your seat in line for the firework show. And so we have all these things that they keep in mind and in your business, whether you’re a service provider or you sell products, it’s very important to know just how many widgets can get through the system and each point of the system. And so it might sound a little bit machine line to you, but whether you’re talking people or you’re talking about products, you can know exactly, okay, I have this many people in my waiting area, or if it’s a product, your storage area, and I have this many available slots to be sold, whether it’s are people in a mentorship program or products that are waiting to be sold through your website, you know, okay, this is how many are available for sale.

Nicole (07:06):
And then, you know, in the next step, how many you can ship all at once or how many you can serve at once. And so that’s a really big topic that we want to talk about today is like how many people can you actually serve at once? And is that a true reflection of who you can serve? Or is that a, I wish I had this many people because then I’ll hit this revenue goal or this, you know, vanity metric of having so many people in my program. So we really want to talk about like who, how many you can serve and in the corporate world, this is called span of control.

Yasmine (07:38):
Yeah. So I think we’re going to start off with one of my favorite things to talk about, which is planning for all the work involved when launching a product. The greatest example that I can think of. And I feel like I bring this up constantly because like, people don’t really always map this out is when you’re doing like one-on-one coaching, for example, or even group coaching, you always think like, oh, it’s like a one-hour call. So I’m just going to book an hour in my calendar for it. And that means, okay, I’m I have like an hour out of like 40 hours a week that I’m dedicating to this one thing that is not always true. My friends, you forget about the pre-work and the post-work that comes with any type of coaching or service-based support that you’re keeping to people. If you’re jumping on a meeting, you always have to prep for the meeting.

Yasmine (08:22):
It’s a very rarely, you can just like, sort of like turn on your zoom and be ready to go. You want to review notes from the previous week. You want to make sure you have things prepped and ready to go your list of questions and just like really bring yourself up to speed. So the call is productive. And then after the call ends, you got like notes to type up, you’ve got action items to do. So once you do this often enough, you sort of tend to understand that like it takes at minimum, usually 30 minutes before the call and 30 minutes after the call, if not more, to really have a productive and efficient call where you’re prepped and you can actually start implementing action. So you don’t forget them. So also in this one hour call turned into two hours. So if you look at your calendar and think, wow, I 40 hours a week, if I want to save like 10 hours for marketing, then it’s, I can take on 30 coaching clients.

Yasmine (09:11):
You’re wrong. You can take on 15. And even that I think is a little crazy because you’re not really giving yourself any room for things that pop up. So make sure whenever you’re, you’re planning any type of meeting based support that you block off a half an hour beforehand and half an hour after think of it as like travel time for a meeting, right? You, you know, once, if you’re going to like offsider, or if you’re meeting up with someone it’s not just the hour that you lose in the day, it’s the time to get there and to get back. It’s the same thing with prepping for the meeting and making sure that you’re deducting that time from your availability, but also what you’re charging for it.

Nicole (09:49):
Yeah. And from the product based side of things, if you are launching a new product, you need to have an accurate idea of how many people will purchase this, you know, to make your initial order obviously. And also, so that way, you know, when to stop the back orders, because if you do sell out because you plan for a certain amount and sold more, you might accept back orders for a certain amount of time. And you want to make sure that that time in between the launches of the product and the restock is not so long that people forget about it and they’re not excited about it anymore. And they’ve moved on to the next thing, but also you don’t want to take so many back orders that you’re now fielding and three weeks from now, a lot of customer service complaints. And so there’s a lot of inventory management stuff that you can do to make sure that you can actually support the product that you are selling. And as Yasmin mentioned, the services that you’re offering,

Yasmine (10:44):
The other thing that we want to look at is with the products that you’re taking on, just making sure that you’re resourced accordingly to handle it. I know that sometimes we get really excited about all the big ideas we have and the easy solution of course, is to just hire more people to get it done. Well, all of a sudden you have to manage all those people. It’s not simply a matter of like, Hey, I have this idea. Let me hand it off to so-and-so and it’ll just get done. You’re going to have to brief them check in on them, make sure you’re giving feedback and all this work that you’re trying to get off of your plate suddenly like balloons up because you’re spending more time in just like the day-to-day and not necessarily freeing up the time to focus on stuff. And if you’re saying well, like Yasmin might not supposed to hire anyone ever, no, we’re not saying that at all. It’s just, you got to move things slowly. So rather than taking on 10 projects at once, pick one or two and staff accordingly for it. So as you’re trying to grow your business, you’re not overwhelming yourself in the process. So again, this is more of like, not necessarily capacity in terms of customers, but just your own internal resource capacity and what you’re capable of managing.

Nicole (11:52):
Yeah. And the funny thing is there’s so many clients out there who will hire and have this ginormous team. And then they, like, I hired everyone to take over things. So I would have more free time for myself or free time to develop new products I want, or a new marketing channel I wanted to do. And they find themselves with less time because they have to explain things or double-check things or review things. And so one thing that gets skipped over a lot when making these hiring decisions is in the corporate world, middle management really has like a pen ham or bad taste for a lot of people, but there’s a reason that it exists because one manager can’t handle direct reports like more than 10 direct reports. And it depends on the job. You know, if it’s something where it’s, you know, baggers at a grocery store, maybe they kind of handle 20 direct reports because they need to do everyone’s schedule.

Nicole (12:46):
If it’s in a different type of role, maybe 10 is a lot, maybe five is a better number, so that number can change. But there’s something to be said about. There’s a span of control for any manager and that’s why middle management exists. And so a lot of teams will build up staff up accordingly and never put in a middle manager because they don’t see that as a value added expense. Right. They don’t see that as something that’s going to give a return on investment. And usually at this point when they have a big team and they’re trying to manage it all themselves, there’s two paths and how long they take my, it might be years before they hit the certain path, but they’re either going to burn out, trying to do it all themselves and refusing to hire a middle manager because they don’t even know that’s an option.

Nicole (13:32):
It’s not that they are cognizantly saying, no, I don’t want someone to take care of the team. They just don’t even know that that’s an option or B they start saying no to a lot of things I wanted to do, and they try and suck it all up themselves and just do it all. And don’t really end up in a better or more efficient spot than they were. And so I hope that this helps you think about capacity in a lot of different ways, from the number of customers you can serve to the number of widgets and products. You can send out the door to the resources on your team to hiring how many people you can manage. Capacity is a really big issue when you’re getting towards scaling. And we find that people who think upfront about what they can handle or what they need to do, we’ll have a better plan in place for when they actually hit those numbers.

Yasmine (14:19):
Thanks again, for tuning into another episode of Pixie Dust & Profits. If you’re not following us on Instagram, you can follow us @pixiedustandprofits and let us know what your current capacity struggles are. We’d love to just get a sense of where you’re at and weigh in on how you can resolve them. And if you’re not on our mailing list, which we highly recommend that you’re on because we’re coming out with a couple of cool things and you’re going to want to be the first to know you can sign up at That’s all from us this week, and we’ll be back in two weeks and see you real soon.

Intro (14:51):
Bye [inaudible].



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