Disney Company SWOT Analysis and Employee Challenges




The enchantment of Disney Animation had charmed the audiences for decades and is one of the leading producers of enlivened animated movies. The Disney studio had created more than 53 feature animated films in over three-quarters of a century—beginning with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937 through to Frozen, released in November 2013 and awarded the Oscar for Best Animated Feature in March 2014 and also happens to be a first-class Studio for technological advancement. However, in order to reach such a popularity in animation world they have taken considerable steps to change how their organization used to function.

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Prior to 2010, Disney animation studio had a typical structured organization, which was unequipped of meeting the challenges found in a modern dynamic business environment, and it wasn’t always easy to work across departments to innovate including increasing demand on advanced technology. In 2010 Jonathan Geibel was recruited as the Director of Systems at Disney Animation who perceive the key issues of the studio that lies in organizational structure and collaborated with Ron Johnson to restructure the studio by flattening the hierarchy. He envisioned a dynamic organization with the agility of a startup company, breaking down traditional silos, empowering engineers, and supporting experimentation. As a result of this it helped in eliminating most of the challenges and issues that emerged in the past to acquire proficiency in the organization by improving the communication across all levels of the organization.


Disney Animation Studios begins from a small organization and evolving into a vast, convoluted, complicated, and hierarchical organization. At a certain phase of development, work processes involving various departments began to prevent the company from making innovative products. At the company’s inception, films were made manually, whereas innovative technology has taken over. To adapt to evolving conditions, e.g. increased technological complexity (cutting edge- computer animation and creative storytelling), and to produce convincing and engaging animated films, Disney Animation’s departments needed to improve their workflow and productivity.




Non substitutable

Viewer strength





Product recognition



Yes, the studio is one of the world’s leading and renowned animated movie producer



Potentials in the E-Commerce by means of IT Skills


No, about all competing companies are evolving in IT to enter the market



Successful Execution of Digital Strategy


No, since most companies have started getting the most out of from modernization operations






High-level and productive incorporated IT infrastructure of the studio enhances operational skills and increase information of the most recent market trends.

 Their diversity in the workplace is also a major strength, especially when the studio intends to operate on the global market.

Their leadership’s vision of changing the company’s atmosphere for better innovation.

Disney high product quality buildups, brand loyalty improves the company performance in a competitive market which makes it difficult for other competitive companies to gain popularity and outnumber Disney fanbase viewers.


The irregularity in both the studio’s management style with its employee and reaching out for resources instead of focusing on fundamental strategic aims of the studio to reach the pinnacle of animation world make the Disney studio directionless.

The decision-making process in the studio takes too long due to complex and structured organization, causing costly delays.

Their concentration is mostly been to fascinate the viewers from an age group those are young generations.

Unanticipated management practices that occurred in studio weaken the capability of the organization to operate effectively and expand its product line.

There appears a risk of adverse attitude within studio environment, which impedes employees from thinking creatively.


Increasing social media marketing can be a great prospect for Disney studio if it can guarantee solid online presence on various social networking sites.

 As a result of changing times, users can lean to new and unique products.

The development of new technologies to assist the art of animation creation can be exploited to instill the innovation in business operations.


The increasing number of successful competing firms affects the ability of the studio to secure and expand its fan base.

The fact that new cutting-edge technology is available to all from which competitors can take advantage by excelling in technology before the Disney studio could.

The fact that online movie platforms can also affect Disney revenue which may cause them to hire new technology readily.  

PROBLEM: Lack of Communication Among Departments

Preceding 2010, Disney animation studio worked like a traditional organization having complicated, hierarchical and structured organization with silos in which each division manager rivals each other so as to seek more resources to be successful and do the best conceivable work inside their own teams, not necessarily working towards the company’s goals. It was occasionally seen the flow of resources among different silos, even when it was obvious that moving resources to other areas was in the best interest of the studio and may help in solving mutual problems, as sharing would result in loss of resources for the group, so each group contended with others and further augmenting internal problems.

PROBLEM: Decision Making Power

 The 50-person department was organized in traditional units, each consisting of 15–20 technical staff. Meetings were held one-on-one with group members, and like clockwork every few weeks the entire group met in a formal conference room. The studio actualized a ‘top-down’ approach of management in which supervisors, managers, leaders and other executives coordinated project and tasks from upstairs offices, and  often the final technical decisions were made by managers and not within the teams who knew the most about the innovation and technology and could have more realistic and progressively sensible understanding what was currently effective. Top-down reorganizations were rarely made to adapt changing technologies. At the time of these shifts, individuals were often reassigned into new groups, reporting to a new manager.

PROBLEM: Lack of Employee Motivation

Like in most of the traditional organizations in Disney studio people with higher titles would get larger private workplaces and others might be placed in cubicles, in this way managers and other leaders get isolated from employees who needs motivation and support from top leaders to empower them for critical thinking and surrender more thoughts. In addition, as Disney animation studio had large number of people in each department who were sometimes not assigned according to their specialty, the studio weekend in improvisation.

PROBLEM: Employee Shuffling

One of the techniques that Geibel and Johnson were trying to implement was Team lead with primary and secondary members in each team. The Team leads was a good idea to help those with technical background to move up in organization but at the same time it was unfair to those who have given years in studio and couldn’t make it to higher level before less experienced employee that would make them demoralized. Similarly, making it necessary to have primary and secondary members in each team would result in more work pressure due to which employees could get exhaust that would impede in creativity. Also, continuous shuffling from one team to another may give rise to problem of dual reporting and hard to keep communication path flawless which may cause probable conflicts and hamper organizational functions.

Vision of Leadership

Geibel and Johnson has the characteristic of leadership to influence employees to voluntarily engage in organizational goals and also have vast experience in both engineering and management where they learned a lot about the difficulties and perspective from the Systems department of Disney Animations and were quickly able to comprehend the issues running in studio. In order to change the environment of the studio and bring about the best possible skills and working condition the studio began making consistent enduring and vigilant stride in every department (starting from small groups) before rolling out in entire department to limit the failure of risk of the transformation.


Organizational Design

The Disney animation studio should make changes to their organizational design – change the way toward delegating and coordinating tasks and resources to accomplish targets for the company rather than for own departments.

They should adopt more of ‘Organic’ approach than ‘Mechanistic’ approach.

Organic – flexible, minimal focus on procedures and rules, autonomous teams, broadly defined jobs, and decision made at lower levels.

Dynamic environments, innovation key.

Mechanistic – bureaucratic, focus on following procedures and rules through tight controls and having specialized jobs, with decisions made at the top.

Stable environments, uniformity and control important.

This “organic” approach will be de centralized, less formal and has a narrower control span that will give some decision making power to employees at lower level who knows what is best to implement in field apart from just managers making decisions , it will also encourage employees in studio to get involve in innovation and development that will give a sense of responsibility and give an awareness of other’s expectations and participative mindset in an organization. Also, by making small autonomous teams it will increase the exchange of resources i.e. departments no longer battling for resources and sharing when necessary. It will enable small teams to quickly adapt new technology and improvise the situations to promote an open and creative environment within the studio.

Formation of Small Teams

Forming small-autonomous team is a good way to collaborate and to function task that Disney may want to enforce due to the fact that every team member may have unique skills either in technical, administration or present great ideas, these abilities will moreover assist in performing at a degree higher than that of an individual employees. Additionally, small groups tend to be more successful when job require speed, innovation, integration and rapidly changing technological environment which is quite suitable for Disney studio.

Employee Motivation

“The first secret of effectiveness is to understand the people you work with so that you can make use of their strengths.”

One of the things an organization ought not do is to isolate the managers from employees. Managers of all levels should be central to where the most activity is taking place and not concealed  away in remote private offices since employees in general be encouraged by having extraordinary individual to work with, challenging problems to work on, and being given the ability to do that, and feeling like we esteem what they contribute. Moreover, leaders being involved with the work ensured that they and their teams were engaged and sharing a vision this would help Disney to get more creativity from their employees.

Also, to get the best out of the employee following four emotional drives and levers need to be satisfied, although it could be restricted through the company rules, but individual managers can pull those levers to deal with them and generate strategies for employees that can boost motivation despite organization constraints.






Primary Lever





Reward system

Differentiate good performer from normal and mediocre performer

Draw incentives clearly to performing ones







Encourage trust and bond among coworkers

Admire joint efforts and cooperation

Encourage sharing and best practices





Job Design

Model jobs that come up with distinct and vital roles in the organization

Create jobs that are meaningful and nurture a feeling of commitment to the organization





Performance-management and resource-Allocation processes

Redouble the transparency of all activities

Develop trust by being straightforward and clear in awarding rewards, and other forms of acknowledgment


Source of table: Employee motivation: A powerful New Model


The previous organizational design and approach selected by Disney was right for the work, and they were performing but looking at the future environment of the ever progressive, cross-disciplinary, and dynamic film making industry, one can see that it required a high level of integration, versatility and flexibility. While implementing these recommended structures it will require noteworthy time and care, Disney Animation will experience changes that will improve the organization and enable it to deliver innovative products and be competitive in the market.

If the mentioned above recommendation is implemented the following results would occur:


It will expand the resource engagement and its management with the help of small autonomous teams.

Managers empower employee more instead of managing.

Employees will felt more entrust, and that they are being coached.

It will advance an open and creative environment.

The organic organizational structure will help in getting the best group set up in place instead of a responsible group.

Small teams will have more self- sufficiency that can rapidly adjust to new technology and different circumstances.

Some Drawbacks of Recommendation

Making of small autonomous team creates few issues of obligation and responsibility, which makes it hard to comprehend who makes decision.

The autonomous team might sometime not allow to do certain tasks.

With the expulsion of silos and manager’s presence may make some introvert employee difficult to work around.


Edmondson, A.  Ager, D. Harburg, E. Bartlett, N. (2015, May 18). Teaming at Disney Animation. Retrieved from https://hbsp.harvard.edu/coursepacks/601618.

Organizational Design and Change. Retrieved from “Black board PPT”

Zaleznik A. (2004, January). Managers and leaders. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2004/01/managers-and-leaders-are-they-different

Management levels. (2006). Retrieved from https://www.referenceforbusiness.com/management/Log-Mar/Management-Levels.html

Nohria, N. Groysberg, B. Lee, L.E. (2008, July-August). Employee motivation: A powerful New Model. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2008/07/employee-motivation-a-powerful-new-model


Euro Disney Case Study

Disney Company is one of most successful operator of theme parks in the world, and their theme park in America and Japan achieved great success but the situation in Europe is not so good. The article uses some aspects of the Hofstede’s cultural dimensions and Trompenaars’ research on organisational culture to compare the cultural difference between America and France, then find out three mistakes that the company made in managing its Euro Disney operation through the case study. In the following sectors, the three lessons the company should have learned about how to deal with diversity based on its experience will be described. More rapid development in the trend of multinational companies, the cross-cultural management has become a major part of business. The purpose of this paper is to obtain some favorable factors to the future development of Euro Disney by the above analysis.

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Trompenaars classify the corporate culture into four kinds: the family, the Eiffel Tower, the guided missile and the incubator. The dimensions he used to distinguish different corporate cultures are equality-hierarchy and orientation to the person-orientation to the task (Sanchez, Paul. 2004) . The America corporate culture is belong to the third one, this kind of corporate culture has task-oriented characteristics, the employees should comply with some fixed rules and have high efficiency. The employer always pay more attention to your work results rather than the process, they request the employees should be loyal to the professions and projects greater than be loyal to the company, so the atmosphere in the company is some serious. Compared to the America corporate culture, the French corporate generally do not have terms of the corporate culture. The French company will never give you a sick book which tell you what you should do and which kind of language you should speak, but these things are very clarified to every branch. Only in this way the culture can show flexible and efficient. Many people will find it very strange how could be so efficiency under the circumstance that having not a detail arrangement and rules. This is a wonderful phenomenon in The French corporate. In a word, the French company pay more attention to human and the corporate culture which think highly of the deep-rooted relations between people and there is a relaxed and harmonious atmosphere in the company.
The three mistakes
In determining the target market did not take into account cultural differences Euro Disney’s choice of location focus on the aspects of financial and population, then Euro Disney theme park located in the populous central Europe. Disney executives did not see that Mickey Mouse and intellectuals in the region of the left bank of the Seine in Paris can not live in harmony and France is serious about their intellectual. In retrospect, Paris is not the best place to establish such a theme park, so the establishment of the Disney parks is a declaration of war to intellectuals of French. Disney’s manager stated publicly some of the criticism is “the nonsense of a small number of business” would not help them a favor. This may can be well operated according to American culture, while the French pay more attention to their own cultural elite and regard this refute as attack of national quality.
Having not adequately take into account the habits of the French when arrange the service kinds Disney do not provide breakfast because they think that the Europeans do not eat breakfast. In addition, the Disney company does not provide alcoholic beverages within the park, but the French habits are different, they are used to drinking a cup while taking lunch, which aroused the anger of the French. Disney executives did not estimate that the European are not interested in vacation in theme park so much, in the attitude of Disney Company the European will be happy about spending a few days in a theme park like the American and Japanese, but middle-class in Europe just want to “get away from everything around” and go to the coast or the mountains, and Euro Disney is the lack of such appeal.
No combination of French culture to the local staff management Disney has taken global standard model as same as the Japanese business, they transplanted the American culture to France directly then doing this result with a serious clash of cultures. The Disney Company use many measures that departed with the local culture, for example, in the Euro Disney, the France worker are requested to comply with the strict appearance code as the other theme parks in United States and Japan do, the workers are asked to break their ancient cultural aversions to smiling and being consistently polite to the park guest even must mirror the multi-country makeup of its guest. In addition, the Disney Company brought their U.S. Pop culture to France and fought hard for a greater “local cultural context”. The French people think that this is an attack on their native culture, so they adopted an unfriendly attitude toward to the arrival of the Disney, including the protest come from the intellectual and the local residence and farmers.
The three lessons
Multinational companies should target market accurately Even in the same country or regional market, the traditional culture makes different control power to different people. Multinational companies should be fully based on detailed market research to find the weak links in the market and make a breakthrough, use the “point to an area” model to expand. For example, McDonald’s opened in the Chinese market, its target is no longer work for the busy working-class, but the children. The golden arches mark, the joy atmosphere of the shop, the furnished toys, full of playful ads, as well as various promotional activities specifically carry out for children, these have a tremendous appeal to the target customers . McDonald think that adult eating habits difficult to change, only those children whose taste not yet formed are the potential customers of Western fast food culture, the McDonald received Broad market recognition and have huge market potential.
Multinational enterprises should pay full attention to the importance of the influence of cultural differences on marketing Face to the new multiple culture environment, the multinational enterprise should take an objective acknowledge about the cultural differences of the consumer demand and behavior and respect it, abandoning the prejudice and discrimination of culture completely(Burnett, Sally-Ann, Huisman, Jeroen, 2010). Moreover, multinational enterprises should be good at finding out and using the base point of communication and collaboration of different cultures and regard this base point as the important consideration factor when plan to enter the target country market. After all, the fundamental criterion for a successful business enterprise is whether it can integrate into the local social and cultural environment. The multinational enterprises should improve the sensitivity and adaptability to the different culture environment.
Multinational enterprises should make full use of the competitive advantages of cultural differences and promote international marketing The objective of international cultural differences can also be the basic demand points of different competitive strategy. In the international market, launching culture marketing activities and highlighting the exotic culture and cultural differences in the target market can open the market quickly. Companies should strive to build cross-cultural “two-way” communication channels, it is necessary to adapt to the host’s cultural environment and values and carry out the business strategy of localization to make it can be widely accepted by the host country local government, local partners, consumers and other relevant stakeholders . Effective cross-cultural communication on the one hand contribute to cultural integration, but also can create a harmonious internal and external human environment for corporate management.
From the Euro Disney’s failure in the initial stage, we should realize deeply that cultural factors play enormous role in the process of expanding overseas of the enterprises and lack of cross-cultural awareness will bring out failure of the business. With the increase and deepen of the economical contact, transnational marketing received more and more attention. If the multinational companies can not handle properly the culture difference between foreign markets and home market in the whole marketing management process, the result will be that low profit with higher cost even lead to bankruptcy.

The Diversification Strategy at Disney

The story of Disney is that of a company founded in 1923 by the Disney brothers, Walt and Roy. In the beginning, the company was referred to as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio and later incorporated as Walt Disney Productions in 1929. Walt Disney Productions made its mark for many years in the animation industry before venturing into television and live-action film production. Something else also happened before Walt had the breakthrough with Mickey Mouse. Before Mickey, there was Oswald, the Lucky Rabbit. But because he didn’t own the copyright, Walt lost the rights to Oswald, a bitter lesson that was to shape his company positively in the future. That experience thought him very early the value of intellectual property and Disney has used that knowledge to tighten controls over its properties as well as build defence against entrants and competing incumbents. The characters at Disney are well protected and the brand created out of them are so strong that they deter competitors from ever trying to imitate (4)

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Disney World, a family books lodging months in advance at a hotel inside the park. It does so because it knows that the hotel has the best location, is highly demanded, and will provide good hospitality. Being lodged inside the park, the family eats at Disney-owned restaurants and perhaps buys Disney merchandise. All the while the family willing pays prices that are higher than would be charged by comparable hotels, restaurants, and theme parks. It does so happily because it considers the experience a good value.
But wait, there’s more. Consider what makes Disney World the world’s number one destination resort in the first place. It is fueled by the positive experience generated by other Disney productions – most likely the lovable characters of the Disney family. While in the park, children clamor to meet the Disney characters scattered throughout the park. This memorable and emotional experience further fuels demand for home videos, books, television
broadcasts, or retail purchases. And the kids (and often parents) can’t wait for the next trip to Disney World, completing the cycle. This complex but carefully orchestrated web of complementary businesses is the ‘Magic of Disney’. It’s what drives major advertisers such as Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola to pay for the right to feature Disney World in their own promotions.
Disney and Diversification:
Disney’s diversification didn’t start today. In 1928, its first cartoon was released. One year later, it licensed a pencil tablet, then the Mickey Mous Club (MMC) was formed as a vehicle for selling Disney’s products under one roof. Within a short time, the membership of the club grew to 1million members. In 1949, the company diversified into music was was even said to have produced training and educational films during the war. Diversification produces synergy. Diversification strenghtens the existing business and the entire new business created. According to Strickland et al (2010), Diversification can be related or unrelated. It is related if the activities of the businesses complement those of the firm’s present business in a way that increases or adds to the competitive advantage. In order words, related diversification leads to strategic fit which itself creates opportunities. Opportunities to
a) Transfer technological know-how (that are competitively valuable) from one business to another.
b) Lower cost by combining the performance of common value chain activities
c) Leverage or exploit use of a well known brand
d) Get valuable resource strength and capabilities across business
But if the businesses being diversified into have no competitive and valuable value chain that fits with the the value chain of the present business(es), then the diversification is said to be unrelated as there is no strategic fit.
Walt Disney understood the interrelation of new industries to each other right from the beginning, something that continues to be the source of competitive advantage to the company till today. Encapsulated in the ‘Magic of Disney’, the story goes thus.
Family take a trip to disney, book into a hotel (owned by disney) inside the park.
While in the park, the family eats at disney-owned restaurants, buy disney merchandise. It doesn’t matter that they are paying higher for accomodation and meals compared to other hotels.
Children meet the disney characters everywhere in the park which leaves a long lasting emotional experience. The children and their parents end up buying videos, books, TV broadcast which they take home with them. All of these make them look forward to another visit to the disney and the circle continues. The integration of these complementary businesses is the ‘Magic of Disney’.
Ever since, Disney has expanded its operations to cover theatre, radio, publishing, online media etc. Until the early 1980’s Disney focused on the family creating entertainment for the home and the family. As a result, they were clearly differentiated in the market from their competitors. All of that was to change around 1984 when Michael Eisner took over as CEO. Like Walt Disney, Eisner was an innovative and intuitive leader and his era marked a turning point for the company that was haemorraging for cash and that soon became the target of takeover by several companies.
Eisner’s goal was to evolve a company that would grow by 20% a year. To achieve this, Eisner followed these three principles which include keeping its cost down so it doesn’t erode its profit, operate the core business in a profitable manner and find new businesses that could integrate with Disney and guarantee an annual growth rate of 20% for the company (1). To acheive a 20% growth rate, the business had to diversify, exploring synergies in new industries, and overseas expansion. Overseas expansion is inevitable when the local domestic market has reached a near saturation point.
Some of the early businesses Einser was to add to Disney’s portfolio include the Disney Store, Euro Disneyland and the purchase of KHJ-TV, Disney’s first broadcasting outlet. Also, the company established a major television presence and increased the number of films released from 2 in 1984 to 15-18 yearly (1)
Disney’s expansion and diversification efforts was driven purely by the need to attain an economy of scope that will give it the desired market dominance as well as the economies of scale to bring down its cost of business. It pursued this strategy throughout the 90′ using a combination of diversification into areas that were a natural extension of their current business as well as such other areas where they had less synergy but obviously had found potential opportunities. Both of these led to the birth of Disney Cruises, Pleasure Island and the incorporation of theme park management into its business model.
Despite the huge successes recorded, it was questionable whether the diversification into some market or aquisition strategies pursued with some companies such as ABC actually enhanced the shareholders’ value. The presumption is that when two companies who are leaders in slightly different fields combine, both would be better off by the synergy created between two of them. But Disney and ABC are both leaders in providing entertainment and both with extensive networks in creativity and production (2). When firms cannot leverage on their strenghts following an alliance, then they stand the risk of diluting their brand to a point where they will not be able to make the profits necessary to return good value to their shareholders (2)
Today Disney has grown beyond the traditional amusement parks, movies, television shows, clubs, or books business. Its stable of businesses include Disney Cruise Line, Resort Properties, Radio Broadcasting, Musical Recordings and sale of animation art, Anaheim Mighty Ducks NHL franchise, Interactive software and internet site, etc. Whether these businesses are related or unrelate to Disney’s core business is not an issue as long as it produces synergy that strengthens Disney’s position in the market and creates value for its shareholders. Throughout its history, Disney has, with minor exceptions, shown the true value to shareholders created by synergies frrom thoughtful diversification (3) . The company’s corporate strategy identifies the fact that while Disney may have some ‘magical’ products (its core products), its strenght is not in the products themselves, but instead in the way in which they interrelate and complement each other. (3)
Disney’s diversification efforts further increased the ‘magic’ of Disney. Television advertised the movies, which advertised the hard-goods and which advertised the television shows. So instead of paying to advertise Disney’s products, people were charged to be exposed to advertisement.
When you consider its portolio of businesses, it will be right to say that Disney has pursued a combination of related and unrelated diversification. Take for instance Resort properties. Thats real estate. But Disney has used this to to make its customer live out the disney experience right on disney’s properties as opposed to going to a third party environment to watch Disney Movies or lodged in a different hotel and visiting disney park.
The Result:
Is the diversification strategy working for Disney? The simple answer is that the numbers are there as proof. Since the coming of Eisner, revenues grew from $1.6 billion in 1984 to $2.9billion in 1987 largely as the result of the pursuit of diversification as a strategy for growth. One of Eisner’s greatest achievement was how he placed creativity as Disney’s most valuable asset and supported this as a leader to get the best out of his core innovation team
Walt Disney Company strategy of diversification has helped grow its business in overseas market . Between 1988 and 1996 revenues grew from $3.4 billion
to over $12 billion with the most growth coming from films amd its consumer products. Not all overseas expansion were successful. For example, the Euro Disney had a lot of challenges and could not live up to expectations as a result of several cultural issues faced by the company.
Disney is now active in the hotel and resort businesses, the Vacation Club business (a natural extension of the hotel business), the cruise business and sports etc.
For a company that relies heavily on its strong culture, Disney must manage its growth and acquisitions carefully without loosing sight of the “single most important factor that has brought the company where it is – the strong synergies and symbiotic relationship between its various businesses” (3)

Why did Euro Disney Fail but Disneyland Succeed?

Many of Businesses in America make detailed assumptions about the potential of expand their business to other countries and structural models of organizing which can be easily failed to consider the cultural differences. One of the examples of the outcome to intercultural business is Disney Corporation’s European venture. Due to lack of cultural information of France as well as Europe, further on their inability to forecast problems, Disney acquired a huge debt. False assumptions led to a great loss of time, money and even reputation for corporation itself. Instead of analyzing and learning from its potential visitors, Disney chose to make assumptions about the preference of Europeans, which turned out that most of those assumptions were wrong.

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Until 1992, the Walt Disney Company had experienced nothing but success in the theme park business. Its first park, Disneyland, opened in Anaheim, California, in 1955. Its theme song, “It’s a Small World After All,” promoted an idealized vision of America spiced with reassuring glimpses of exotic cultures all calculated to promote heartwarming feelings about living together as one happy family. There were dark tunnels and bumpy rides to scare the children a little but none of the terrors of the real world . . . The Disney characters that everyone knew from the cartoons and comic books were on hand to shepherd the guests and to direct them to the Mickey Mouse watches and Little Mermaid records. The Anaheim park was an instant success. In the 1970s, the triumph was repeated in Florida, and in 1983, Disney proved the Japanese also have an affinity for Mickey Mouse with the successful opening of Tokyo Disneyland. Having wooed the Japanese, Disney executives in 1986 turned their attention to France and, more specifically, to Paris, the self-proclaimed capital of European high culture and style. “Why did they pick France?” many asked.
When word first got out that Disney wanted to build another international theme park, officials from more than 200 locations all over the world descended on Disney with pleas and cash inducements to work the Disney magic in their hometowns. But Paris was chosen because of demographics and subsidies. About 17 million Europeans live less than a two-hour drive from Paris. Another 310 million can fly there in the same time or less. Also, the French government was so eager to attract Disney that it offered the company more than $1 billion in various incentives, all in the expectation that the project would create 30,000 French jobs. From the beginning, cultural gaffes by Disney set the tone for the project. By late 1986, Disney was deep in negotiations with the French government.
To the exasperation of the Disney team, headed by Joe Shapiro, the talks were taking far longer than expected. Jean-Rene Bernard, the chief French negotiator, said he was astonished when Mr. Shapiro, his patience depleted, ran to the door of the room and, in a very un-Gallic gesture, began kicking it repeatedly, shouting, “Get me something to break!” There was also snipping from Parisian intellectuals who attacked the transplantation of Disney’s dream world as an assault on French culture; “a cultural Chernobyl,” one prominent intellectual called it. The minister of culture announced he would boycott the opening, proclaiming it to be an unwelcome symbol of American clichés and a consumer society. Unperturbed, Disney pushed ahead with the planned summer 1992 opening of the $5 billion park. Shortly after Euro-Disneyland opened, French farmers drove their tractors to the entrance and blocked it. This globally televised act of protest was aimed not at Disney but at the US government, which had been demanding that French agricultural subsidies be cut. Still, it focused world attention upon the loveless marriage of Disney and Paris.
Then there were the operational errors. Disney’s policy of serving no alcohol in the park, since reversed caused astonishment in a country where a glass of wine for lunch is a given. Disney thought that Monday would be a light day for visitors and Friday a heavy one and allocated staff accordingly, but the reality was the reverse. Another unpleasant surprise was the hotel breakfast debacle. “We were told that Europeans ‘don’t take breakfast,’ so we downsized the restaurants,” recalled one Disney executive. “And guess what? Everybody showed up for breakfast. We were trying to serve 2,500 breakfasts in a 350-seat restaurant at some of the hotels. The lines were horrendous. Moreover, they didn’t want the typical French breakfast of croissants and coffee, which was our assumption. They wanted bacon and eggs.” Lunch turned out to be another problem. “Everybody wanted lunch at 12:30. The crowds were huge. Our smiling cast members had to calm down surly patrons and engage in some ‘behavior modification’ to teach them that they could eat lunch at 11:00 AM or 2:00 PM.”
There were major staffing problems too. Disney tried to use the same teamwork model with its staff that had worked so well in America and Japan, but it ran into trouble in France. In the first nine weeks of Euro-Disneyland’s operation, roughly 1,000 employees, 10 percent of the total, left. One former employee was a 22-yearold medical student from a nearby town who signed up for a weekend job. After two days of “brainwashing,” as he called Disney’s training, he left following a dispute with his supervisor over the timing of his lunch hour. Another former employee noted, “I don’t think that they realize what Europeans are like . . . that we ask questions and don’t think all the same way.”
One of the biggest problems, however, was that Europeans didn’t stay at the park as long as Disney expected. While Disney succeeded in getting close to 9 million visitors a year through the park gates, in line with its plans, most stayed only a day or two. Few stayed the four to five days that Disney had hoped for.
It seems that most Europeans regard theme parks as places for day excursions. A theme park is just not seen as a destination for an extended vacation. This was a big shock for Disney. The company had invested billions in building luxury hotels next to the park-hotels that the day-trippers didn’t need and that stood half empty most of the time.
To make matters worse, the French didn’t show up in the expected numbers. In 1994, only 40 percent of the park’s visitors were French. One puzzled executive noted that many visitors were Americans living in Europe or, stranger still, Japanese on a European vacation! As a result, by the end of 1994 Euro-Disneyland had cumulative losses of $2 billion. At this point, Euro-Disney changed its strategy.
First, the company changed the name to Disneyland Paris in an attempt to strengthen the park’s identity. Second, food and fashion offerings changed. To quote one manager, “We opened with restaurants providing French-style food service, but we found that customers wanted self service like in the US parks. Similarly, products in the boutiques were initially toned down for the French market, but since then the range has changed to give it a more definite Disney image.” Third, the prices for day tickets and hotel rooms were cut by one-third. The result was an attendance of 11.7 million in 1996, up from a low of 8.8 million in 1994.
Problems and underlying cultural differences
The Case of Euro Disneyland can represent a lack of cultural focus and awareness of concept which was a globalization of the Disney Corporation. Difficulties that Disney Corporation met are typical for a multinational corporation which has not implemented cross cultural management and strategies. In fact, Disney Corporation failed to adapt to the French environment and to foresee the influences of foreign and domestic factors. Organization and management relied mostly on American cultures, experiences, and understanding. By not identifying certain cultural differences, Euro Disneyland created an environment that was not acceptable by the European culture itself.
Cultural differences between the US and France has been ignored by Disney. One of the themes of Euro-Disneyland was American. Like other Disneyland in other places, Disney followed one of its two major traditions of not serving wine, despite the attitude among the French that alcohol was a fundamental right. And also restaurants were all American foods. The only exception is Fantasyland which re-created European fables. The recipes in American restaurants were also indistinctly adapted for European tastes. As a consequence, different regional American food was introduced to Americanize the Disneyland in Europe.
Intention of Euro Disneyland was to continue Disney’s traditional design in that it shared the many features and attractions of other Disneyland. Wide spread market research was conducted and also the cultural adaptation was expressed in such things as designs for park, standards for employees, and habits for eating. In the research, Disneyland was among the top three tourist spots for Europeans when they want to travel U.S., Euro Disney emphasized on making the Disneyland extremely American to visitors. The hotels, rides, and themes of the Disneyland were mostly named in a way of an American flavor, appealing to the European appetite for an American experience.
However, the Euro Disneyland received many complaints from the visitors that Euro Disneyland is too Americanized. Some of the associations and the media in France have expressed cruel criticisms condemning the risk of cultural imperialism by Euro Disney. Appearance of Americanized Disneyland in Europe would encourage damaging American brand of consumerism. For some others, Euro Disney became the symbol of America and even of anti-American parties.
Disney was tried to hire employees of different nationalities proportional to expected visitor as 45% of French, 30% of other Europeans, 15% of outside of Europe, but most of the visitors were from France. Disneyland’s employees were trained by managers and supervisors to ensure high quality of services and reliable managerial practices. While European managers were trained at other theme parks, foreign managers were also sent to Euro Disney to work. Although Euro Disney mainly hired Europeans to work in the park, most of the top managerial places were held by the hands of American experts.
Standards of judgment for the jobs in Disneyland were criticized by applicants, and the press. The argument revolved around Disney’s grooming requirements. Euro Disney insisted on a strict dress code which was much stricter than other jobs such as a ban on facial hair and colored stockings, standards for neat hair and fingernails, and even a policy of appropriate undergarments. So applicants felt that requirements were unnecessary for a job like cast member of theme park.
One of the challenges that Disney faced was convincing the French cast members to break their cultural hatred of smiling and of impoliteness to visitors. While Euro Disney successfully trained cast members, but more than 1,000 employees left their jobs within the first nine weeks of opening of Euro Disneyland. Main reason why they left was long working hours at the park. And managers couldn’t understand the European habits and ethics of work, and the working style was not the Europeans were used to in the past.  
3.2 Solutions and recommendations
Euro Disney needs to take controls of the management resolution and analyzation of their problems and concerns based on their own practice in other places. Thus, there is also the essential need of understanding and appropriate plans for the gap of cultural differences such as acknowledging the characteristics and attitudes of the national Europeans in terms of the business knowing what can work on mutually both sides and accomplishing good marketing strategies which can work for Euro Disneyland.
Euro Disney should incorporate with some customary European aspects in order to accommodate the preferences of European visitors and French. Euro Disney already brought out the foods from the world. Many restaurants fortunately were custom-made to the European of less spicy food. Only one of the parks which called Fantasy land carried European dishes out, which have a variety of origins such as Germany, Spain and so forth.
It seems the visitors are waiting long lines for rides or food since there was no regulations and no tolerance of such practices in France or even in Europe. So this matter also caused weak attendance.
The financial and business plan must undertake concrete evaluation and perhaps Euro Disney can use some other plans and strategies which can help changing the structure of the park, framework of the planning process into a modernized one and convincing visitors to choose Euro Disney over any other parks by having some special events such as discounts and gifts.
Lessons learned
Until such time that problem faced Euro Disney by false assumptions and wrong plans, Disney seemed to perfect theme park as it never did a mistake or such a failure. In case, some mistakes were obviously shown in the result.
We can learn several lessons from this Euro Disneyland case. As we plan, we should always have concrete business planning before deciding on the actual process of the project, applying all the potential needs and understanding cultural differences.
Also, value of the financing control is also a lesson and that in every aspect of business function, integrated assumptions concerning to financial problems should be improved and value of managing menaces has to be accurately reviewed and to be trained with positive thoughts and motivation in order to solve problems and concerns in every business environment.
The business performance of Euro Disneyland was not that great and stable. It couldn’t have right assumptions on the European market and there has been cruel European recession such as increase in interest rates and French currency value. The preliminary plan was not ample and accurate in providing resolutions to Disney problems and concerns that arisen.
A major criticism on Euro Disneyland was that it is neither international nor French in nature, and it failed to satisfy Europeans at all. Many of the visitors could not figure it out the theme of Euro Disneyland that whether it is going to be a European park, an American park, or a French park. In the meantime, the cost for Euro Disneyland was also an issue for some visitors. Many of the French visitors had been discouraged from coming because of the cost such as housing cost, souvenirs, admission cost and so forth. Attendance was kept on decreasing and the company of course, had great financial loss.
Euro Disney gave people who couldn’t afford to go to America an identical experience as same as in America. However, the Euro Disney was failed to please French visitors, even European visitors but made them to complain about the long lines, and poor service.

Development of Animation at Disney

Research Paper

“You must not let anyone define your limits because of where you come from. Your only limit is your soul.” – ​Ratatouille.

​  Walt Disney’s fame all started in 1923 when a bankrupt animator moved from Kansas City to Hollywood to collaborate with his older brother in the making of a small movie studio.

This small studio would eventually turn into billions of dollars in revenue from numerous movies and 12 Disney movie-based amusement parks across the globe and another 51 resorts for Walt Disney fans to visit. Walt Disney directly was involved in 81 films while in Hollywood. Many of these films were such a huge success that the stories of them are known by billions of people all over the world today, over a half a century later (Shah, 2018). Walt Disney’s success could not be achieved on his own, without the help from many skilled animators. Today, even after his death, the Disney company continues to choose the right people and that has proven to be the equation to the Disney success story found within their films. 

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Josh Meador proved to have quite an imagination with his films, his ability to create astonishing art helped his animations. Meador played an important role in the making of  ​Pinocchio (1940), and in the 1958 “Disneyland” television episode “Tricks of Our Trade,” he recreated his role as animation supervisor for the “Rite of Spring” segment of ​Fantasia (1940), developing the technique of using bubbling mud to simulate the lava. He animated on most Disney features and numerous shows of the 1940s and 1950s, including ​Dumbo (1941), ​Bambi (1942), ​Saludos Amigos (1943), and created animation effects for ​Song of the South (1946). Meador helped greatly during the making of these Disney movies (Walt’s Animation and Special Effects Master: Josh Meador, 2017).

 Meador joined the Disney Organization in 1936. As a special effects’ director, he was part of the Academy Award winning team for 20,000 Leagues under the Sea in 1954. The work he was most proud of creating was the water effects in Cinderella, Bambi and the fire and mud scenes in the Rite of Spring in Fantasia (Animation Reel for Disney Effects, 2016) Cinderella stories are the most popular type of fairy tales today and are often found in Disney’s most popular films. A Cinderella Story has taken on a theme of its own. The original Cinderella Story was in fact Cinderella.  A Cinderella story is found when a character is at a lowest point in their circumstances and unexpectedly reaches great success. Producers use Cinderella stories portray themes and morals by creating characters that at first struggle but are patient, never panic, and are willing to sacrifice to eventually have a happy ever ending. The producers of Disney allow the audience to connect with the character, in this case Cinderella, Cinderella is patient while her evil stepsisters turned her into a slave. Disney created a theme that good things can happen to good people just because they are generally good. Cinderella even though her carriage becomes a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight proved true love prevails as the prince searched his kingdom until he found her and fit the glass slipper on her foot. Disney allows what appears to be a sad story for Cinderella to end with the best possible ending.

 Meador’s second job was being an artist, his use of creativity and passion for art made him such a great animator. Disney understood this, as Meador was coming up to his twentieth year with The Walt Disney Studios, he wanted to put more of his time into his fine art painting but Disney did not want to lose him. In 1955, Disney called Meador into his office and negotiated a compromise. Meador would be free to paint full-time, but when Disney needed him, Meador would remain under contract on an “on-call’ basis (Walt’s Animation and Special Effects Master: Josh Meador, 2017). Both men grew to like the arrangement. Under it, Meador did some of his most memorable work such as world-famous Sleeping Beauty. 

Ward Kimball joined Disney Studios in 1934 as an animator. He eventually became involved in all aspects of animation production, most notably as the designer of Jiminy Cricket for the film “Pinocchio.” Disney and his team created unique ways to display morals found in his films. These creative ideas helped young children remember important life lessons from the movie. Animators often created different physical characteristics that helped the audiences develop a theme. For an example, in Pinocchio a small lie turned disastrous for each of the Disney characters. It is obvious that Disney felt that children needed to be honest and at the same time felt that adults must also be true to their word. A disobedient child must learn to be good.  Disney and his producers created a movie that illustrated to children that Pinocchio who longed to be a real boy had to prove that he was worthy of becoming a real boy by eventually being willing to sacrifice his life for his father. The producers decided with the animations that a wood toy that comes to life can’t be influenced to do bad things. Pinocchio seemed to have choices to make and Disney provides the audience with both the good and the bad of his decisions. Eventually Pinocchio chooses the right path, as illustrated by the producers turning Pinocchio into a hero.    

Kimball was also responsible for the redesign of Mickey Mouse.  His work was often ‘wilder’ than the other Disney animators and was unique. “Ward Kimball is one man who works for me that I’m willing to call a genius”. – Walt Disney. Ward Kimball won two academy awards for the best animated short films (About Ward Kimball, 2014). ​Jimmy Cricket in Pinocchio became the first of many star characters Kimball animated and supervised, which include the crows in ​Dumbo, the title song in ​The Three Caballeros, Jaq, Gus and Lucifer in ​Cinderella, at least half of the characters in ​Alice in Wonderland, and many more. ​ ​

Another producer/animator was Les Clark. Clark ​after putting a lot of time into ​Snow White, decide to go on to animate some of the most loved Disney characters, including Pinocchio, Cinderella, Alice, and Tinker Bell. He then became a well known and trusted director, he first became a sequence director on Sleeping Beauty, and then as a director on informational shorts such as ​Donald in Math Magic Land.  Clark was well known for his ability in making  rhythmic animation that timed well with musical sequences, and also had a like for emotional acting. He always aimed to please, a personality trait that Walt needed among some of his more outspoken animators.​ ​In an effort to improve his skills,  Clark attended art school while he worked at the Studios,he believed artists never stop working . His skills indeed did improve  and he was soon tasked with the important and difficult job of animating the seven dwarfs in Walt’s first full-length animated film, ​Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Les Clarks hard work and creativity earned him the reputation of being one of nine of the main animators for Walt Disney (The First of the Nine: Les Clark, 2017).

Millions of children watch Disney movies each day and as they watch they begin to develop their own interpretation of the fantasies displayed in the films. These themes and morals from these kid-based movies are often portrayed to the youth in ways that they can easily understand. The animators and directors purposely created these films in order to send a message that can be remembered by the younger audience. In Snow White there are many themes that the Disney writers and producers made evident to anyone who watched the movies. These themes included work ethic, teamwork, and staying unified against all odds even when it appeared there was no way to win. The producers created an evil queen that looked the part,  which allowed the audience to infer she was evil and could not be trusted. The animators had to create an illusion that children would recognize the good guys from the bad guys. On the other hand, Snow White was created to be a “perfect’ character which allowed the audience to be sympathetic to her. In the movie, Snow White runs away from the queen and goes into an empty house, where she finds seven small men who are also very hard working like her. Due to the groups work ethic they eventually help Snow White defeat evil. Disney and his producers believed that they had a purpose other than just entertainment for their movies. The themes of teamwork and defeating the odds are prime examples of Disney’s visions found in his movies.

Lasseter is widely credited with engineering the success of Pixar Animation

Studios through a synthesis of cutting-edge computer animation and classic storytelling. He is best known for his work on films such as ​Toy Story (1995), the first fully computer-animated feature, and its sequels (1999, 2010) and he won an academy award for best short animated film. Lasseter directed the initial effort, ​Toy Story, which featured many talking toys. It became the highest-grossing film of 1995 and earned him a second Academy Award, this time for special achievement. Lasseter went on to direct other successful Pixar films for Disney—namely, ​A Bug’s Life (1998), a comical adventure featuring animated insects, and ​Toy Story 2 (1999), a sequel featuring further adventures of the toys from the 1995 hit. He directed ​Cars

(2006), which followed an array of anthropomorphic vehicles. During that time Lasseter also produced such Pixar films as ​Monsters, Inc. (2001), about the clash between the monster and human worlds, and ​Finding Nemo (2003) (John Lesseter Biography, 2019).

Bird fell in love with the art that comes within animating, he was taught by Milt Kahl, one of Disney’s reputed Nine Old Men.  He rejoined John Lasseter at ​Pixar​ in 2000, and then he developed his second animated film, ​The Incredibles (2004). He directed his third film, ​Ratatouille in 2007. Both films place among Pixar’s highest-grossing features and gave Bird two Academy Award for Best Animated Feature wins and Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay nominations. His second live-action film, ​Tomorrowland, starring George Clooney, was released in May 2015, it had some success but nowhere near the success of his first three films (Brad Bird, 2016).  In 2018, ​Incredibles 2 was released, which Bird wrote and directed.

The Walt Disney Studios, where Glen Keane learned how to animate from legendary Disney artists Eric Larson, Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston—three of Walt Disney’s “Nine Old Men.” Some films allowed Keane to work with Johnston, a man whose love of trains common among many animators at the Studios during Walt’s tenure—reinforced the importance of childlike wonder to the art of animation. Each character brought new challenges and deeper insights for the young animator, but the caliber of Keane’s work brought praise from his mentors. animation and computer-generated imagery (CGI) in ​Tarzan (1999), ​Treasure Planet (2002), and Tangled (2010). Box office draw and Financial rewards- But it also paid off: 101 Dalmatians broke box office records on the Thanksgiving weekend of release and was the top grossing film.

​At the 1939 Academy Awards, Walt Disney was presented with an honorary award ​“for creating Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), te film was recognized as a significant screen innovation. The movie has brought smiles to millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field for the motion picture cartoon. This  film is is well known in hollywood and has broken many records in Hollywood. It was a ​massive critical and commercial success with an estimated collection of ​$8 million (Make Believe: The World of Glen Keane, 2018).

​ In 1989, the United States Library of Congress deemed the film ​ “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry. The film is ​ranked among the 100 greatest American films by the AFI (American Film Institute). It was also named as the ​greatest American animated film of all time in 2008 (McNary, 2018).

​  The golden age is the most successful time period in Disney History. Walt Disney is unquestionably the most decorated director of all time with 22 academy awards and 59 nominations. He has been awarded 4 honorary awards.  In today’s era, over a half a decade after Walt Disney’s death, Disney’s team continues to use the same ways to portray morals and themes throughout their childhood films.  Movies like Toy Story, Frozen, Cars, and Ratatouille still illustrate themes of good triumphing over evil that hard work is a strong moral character and the human compass according to Disney always points towards a happy ending (Suarez, 2016).


“About Ward Kimball | Biography | Conductor, Animator, Jazz Musician, Screenwriter, Bandmaster | United States of America.” UpClosed, upclosed.com/people/ward-kimball/.

“Animation Reel for Disney Effects Animator Joshua Meador.” Maya Tutorials, Maya 3D Training, Home of SimplyMaya, simplymaya.com/sm-news-articles/32/animation-reel-for-disney-effects-animator-joshua-meador/.

“Brad Bird.” Pixar Talk, 26 Mar. 2018, www.pixartalk.com/pixarians/brad-bird/.

“John Lasseter Biography.” Encyclopedia of World Biography, www.notablebiographies.com/newsmakers2/2007-Co-Lh/Lasseter-John.html.

“Make Believe: The World of Glen Keane.” The Walt Disney Family Museum, www.waltdisney.org/blog/make-believe-world-glen-keane.

McNary, Dave. “2018 Worldwide Box Office Hits Record as Disney Dominates.” Variety, 3 Jan. 2019, variety.com/2019/film/news/box-office-record-disney-dominates-1203098075/.

Shah, Meet. “Walt Disney: Story from Failure to Success.” SetQuotes, SetQuotes, 20 Sept. 2018, www.setquotes.com/walt-disney-story-from-failure-to-success/.

Suarez, Ana Luisa, et al. “The Evolution of Disney Films From Snow White to Now.” Hollywood.com, 25 Mar. 2016, www.hollywood.com/movies/the-evolution-of-disney-films-from-snow-white-to-now-60557826/#/ms-22719/1.

“The First of the Nine: Les Clark.” The Walt Disney Family Museum, www.waltdisney.org/blog/first-nine-les-clark.

“Walt’s Animation and Special Effects Master: Josh Meador.” The Walt Disney Family Museum, www.waltdisney.org/blog/walts-animation-and-special-effects-master-josh-meador.

“Ward Kimball (Creator).” TV Tropes, tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Creator/WardKimball.