The Magical Express

by Andrew on February 11, 2011

I recently spoke at the Walt Disney World complex and instead of renting a car, I used the resort’s free shuttle bus, Disney’s Magical Express. 

While riding the bus, the onboard video told me that Disney has now developed a downloadable app that you can use to locate Mickey, Donald or any of the Disney characters.  If you’re in the middle of the Magic Kingdom and your kids need to find Mickey, you simply use your app, which in turn uses GPS to locate him within the park.  Pretty good marketing idea and a money generator to boot since you have to pay for the app.

The thing that really stood out to me while at Disney though was something subtle. On the way back to the airport, my driver did a nice job of being fun and humorous with the passengers.  Once at the airport the bus made a stop at each of the two terminals.  At our first stop (I was riding to the second stop), the driver unloaded departing passengers and loaded those waiting to go to the resort.  He was ready to leave when a teenage girl waved her arms and ran to the bus.

“Is this the right bus?” she asked.  He told her that her hotel was not at Disney and that she would need another bus that left from the other terminal.  However, instead of telling her which bus to take, he said, “You can just ride on my bus, I’m headed to the other terminal.”

That was nice.  He didn’t have to do this.  She was not his customer.  What happened next was amazing.  The rest of the girl’s family appeared, two adults and two children.  They did not speak English and the father was pushing a luggage cart piled so high that you could not see him pushing it.  The driver got off the bus and loaded their luggage to take it to the next terminal. 

Remember, they were not his customers.  It took him about two minutes to do this.  Why is Disney a special place?  Many of those employees (officially called “cast members”) look at their job in an extraordinary way, going out of their way to help others.  Most drivers would have simply told the family that his bus was not the right bus. I guess that is why his bus is, after all, Disney’s Magical Express.  If you want to be an extraordinary leader, a little “extra” makes the difference. 

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