Disneyland, Overcoming Adversity & Success.

60 Years ago today Disneyland opened in Anaheim California. That’s old news, but the story of Disney is a lesson in imagination and overcoming adversity.

Sleeping Beauty Castle Disneyland - Wikipedia CC

Sleeping Beauty Castle Disneyland Р Wikipedia Creative Commons

One of the websites I use for researching topics to write and speak about is This Day In History. That’s how I know why today is the anniversary of Disneyland. It’s a useful and interesting site.

The Walt Disney story is well covered in the This Day in History article, this post is not about Disneyland itself but something buried in the paragraph about its opening day.

The theme park opened before it was ready.The first day was chaotic, food ran out, crowds of uninvited guests used counterfeited passes to get in, a woman’s shoe got stuck in tarmac and a boat almost overturned.

By today’s standards and expectations, a disastrous opening day. But Disneyland not only survived that adversity, but thrived. It now gets 14 million visitors and generates almost $3 billion in revenue a year.

The first lesson is that something does not have to be perfect before it is ready to be launched or released. That applies to blog posts, books, new products and new services as much as amusement parks.

The Ready, Fire, Aim concept is good enough for most things if not for brain surgeons, airline pilots and rocket scientists. You can get an excellent book about Ready, Fire, Aim here (affiliate link)

The quest for perfection is often the greatest excuse for procrastination. We put off taking action because we are hiding behind the fear that we are not ready, our creation is not good enough.

The second point that struck me is that there was no word in the article of Disneyland being fined by the authorities, sued by inconvenienced visitors or crucified in social media for the opening day catastrophe.

While twitter, Facebook and smart phones were still decades into the future, articles and news reports by crusading reporters and letters to the editor were the popular media of the day.

Other reports of the opening day mention massive traffic jams, 100F temperatures, complications from a plumbers strike and a gas leak.

But none that I can find mention any form of legal action by the authorities, the courts, consumer rights groups or dissatisfied customers.

Can you imagine how a major public attraction overcoming adversity that serious on its opening day would be treated today?

Unbridled political correctness would make sure that:

It would have countless government agencies demanding that it be closed down.

Other local and federal authorities would be falling over themselves to issue fines and penalties.

Consumer groups would be bleating for compensation.

Special interest groups would be crying discrimination.

Lawyers would be advertising on TV for “victims” to join class action suits.

Social media do-gooders would be conducting the biggest viral vendetta in history, calling for mass firings and public humiliation of as many alleged evil corporate executives as possible.

How times have changed.

I am not an anarchist, we need reasonable laws to protect our societies but we don’t need excessive legislation that stifles entrepreneurship and business creation.

The pendulum has swung too far so that we now have those that clamour for “rights” dictating what the productive sector which finances those rights, can or cannot do.

A case of the tail wagging the dog.

What do you think?

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  2 comments for “Disneyland, Overcoming Adversity & Success.

  1. July 17, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    Fantastic article!
    I was privilged to be at Disneyland on day #2.
    Of course rmebr I was just an eager 12 year looking for FUN……
    And boy was it!
    Never remeber my Mother or any other adults complain, just sharing the exuberation of having such a wonderful experience.
    We have become Jaded, for sure.

  2. July 19, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    Yes. The tail wagging the dog.
    The whole freaking USA is like that today. I do not understand the constant negativity so many people have these days. It never ceases. It feeds on itself.
    I try to look on the positive side.

    Your list under, “Unbridled political correctness” is so right on. So sad.

    What I want to know is how did we become like this? And #2, how do we change it????????

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