This is how your brand story becomes magical

Dan Salva
4 min readMay 22, 2019

One of my favorite experiences at Walt Disney World didn’t happen in Walt Disney World.

Let me set the stage. Like many parents, my wife and I made the pilgrimage to the house of the mouse with our boys. We had scrimped and saved. We even drove the umpteen hours from the middle of America down to Orlando rather than pay the airfare for 5. You see, we wanted to spend our money on the things that would result in the best experience, and multiple friends had told us that it was worth staying at one of the Disney World hotels instead of opting for a much cheaper hotel off the property. Even though it felt smarter to stay a few more minutes away, we bit the bullet and ponied up the extra for the Disney World hotel.

Now my three boys were just little guys back then. Which meant that when we went on a family road trip, we were accompanied by a menagerie of stuffed animals. There were Muttsy and Barkus and Puppy (Puppy got the short end of the stick when it came to naming). And there was a whole supporting cast of Beanie Babies and other characters. Of course, the whole entourage accompanied us into the hotel room.

Leaving for the park the first morning was an exercise in organized chaos, getting everyone dressed and out the door while trying not to leave the room a total mess for the hotel staff. I felt bad about the rabble of stuffed animals that the staff had to corral or work around. I vowed to do a better job of gathering them in the next day. That is until we returned in the evening.


The business of happiness

Disney has referred to itself as ‘The Happiest Place On Earth’. This points to the Big Audacious Meaning of the organization. There is a great quote in The Disney Institute blog that elaborates:

As he was preparing to pitch what would become the purpose of Disneyland to Walt and Roy Disney, Van Arsdale France once said, “My goal, as I saw it, was to get everyone we hired to share in an intangible dream, and not just working for a paycheck.”

Dan Salva

Dan is an expert brand strategist and author of the book Big Audacious Meaning — Unleashing Your Purpose-Driven Story. He is a founder at Will & Grail.