Friday, February 6, 2015
Happiness is.... sharing the dream of Disneyland:
Van France, Founder, Disney University
What does a brand new Cast Member have in common with a Cast Member celebrating his or her 40th service anniversary????
Simple: They both have a passion for creating happiness.
Van Arsdale France introduced the uniquely Disney philosophy of "creating happiness" back in 1955, before Disneyland opened its gates. Walt Disney understood that his new concept in family entertainment would require training curriculum that was just as unique as his park, so he personally hired Van to establish an unparalleled employee orientation program. Van had a background in creating employee training programs for, among others, the U.S.Army and airline industry. But Disneyland presented a unique challenge.
"Disneyland at that time was still very much Walt's dream," Van said in an interview before he passed away in 1999, recalling the challenge of communicating the concept to the park's first hosts and hostesses. "There weren't too many people that understood what he had in mind." Yet Van identified a common thread between Disneyland and all the other organizations he worked with prior: a team needs to work together towards a goal. And at Disneyland, what better goal could there be than creating happiness for others???
With that in mind, Van emphasized Cast Members' responsibility to understand and cater to Guests while never losing their enthusiasm. In 1962, he proposed the University of Disneyland, designed to instill in Cast Members the philosophies, resources ands skills required to deliver a level of guest Service unsurpassed by any other organization. The Disney University concept would eventually become a model for other companies, and it wasn't long before it expanded to Disney operations across the globe.
Van France's legendary career of promoting Walt Disney's philosophies has provided an invaluable foundation for our orientation program-known today as Traditions-as well as the DU growth and development opportunities that provide continued inspiration to our Cast. France was named a Disney Legend in 1994.
remember talking with him during my career .... Dr Lee