Friday, August 21, 2009

Mickey's 10 Commandments

Marty Sklar (if you don't know who he is stop reading) came up with a list of commandments Imagineers (more importantly, Disney top brass) should follow to maintain the high standards of storytelling Walt set forth. These commandments are how Disney distances itself from other "amusement" parks and the reason guests continue to come back. Do you think that these are still valid? Does Disney Parks still live by these standards (both creatively and business operations)? What do you think?

1. Know your audience - Don't bore people, talk down to them or lose them by assuming that they know what you know.

2. Wear your guest's shoes - Insist that designers, staff and your board members experience your facility as visitors as often as possible.

3. Organize the flow of people and ideas - Use good story telling techniques, tell good stories not lectures, lay out your exhibit with a clear logic.

4. Create a weenie - Lead visitors from one area to another by creating visual magnets and giving visitors rewards for making the journey

5. Communicate with visual literacy - Make good use of all the non-verbal ways of communication - color, shape, form, texture.

6. Avoid overload - Resist the temptation to tell too much, to have too many objects, don't force people to swallow more than they can digest, try to stimulate and provide guidance to those who want more.

7. Tell one story at a time - If you have a lot of information divide it into distinct, logical, organized stories, people can absorb and retain information more clearly if the path to the next concept is clear and logical.

8. Avoid contradiction - Clear institutional identity helps give you the competitive edge. Public needs to know who you are and what differentiates you from other institutions they may have seen.

9. For every ounce of treatment , provide a ton of fun - How do you woo people from all other temptations? Give people plenty of opportunity to enjoy themselves by emphasizing ways that let people participate in the experience and by making your environment rich and appealing to all senses.

10. Keep it up - Never underestimate the importance of cleanliness and routine maintenance, people expect to get a good show every time, people will comment more on broken and dirty stuff.

Martin Sklar, Walt Disney Imagineering, Education vs. Entertainment: Competing for audiences, AAM Annual meeting, 1987


Hoot Gibson said...

I dunno if they follow most of these rules. It doesn't seem like it. I think a good addition for Imagineering might be "If you don't have any talent, get out of this building".

JStone423 said...

I agree Hoot. Also, it should have said "Never take the lowest bidder"(as in whoever created Cali Adventure).

David said...

I think they still follow these rules, but at a minimum. They are getting back to the basics, but it takes time to undo what has been done for so many years.