Consistent Quality Documentation

You’ll recall that in the film Tangled, Rapunzel asks for new paints for her birthday. She’s constantly painting, as a means of occupying her time. But she’s also expressing something very deep within her sub-conscious, something that tells her who she really is.

After the film premiered, designers thought that it would be great to take the look and feel of Tangled and put it into a small courtyard once occupied by the Fantasyland Skyway. It would be a respite, a break area for guests needing to hit the restrooms, grab a drink, take a seat or re-charge their mobile device. It’s a popular crossroads for guests moving between Fantasyland and Liberty Square–so beautifully crafted–that many a passerby wishes it offered some thing even more than just a plaza.

A plaza themed to Tangled brings guests to one end of Fantasyland. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
A plaza themed to Tangled brings guests to one end of Fantasyland. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Creating the look of Tangled didn’t just happen. Designers were very careful to craft that appearance–from hanging lanterns to signage; from roofing and thatching to Rapunzel’s signature paint style. It wouldn’t be surprising to know that the very colors used in mimicking Rapunzel’s room were the exact shades used in the film. Certainly those colors were documented in creating the film, and were available to designers in building this small section of the park.

Even before this project was constructed, it was determined what the palette would be on the entire color scheme of this plaza. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Even before this project was constructed, it was determined what the palette would be on the entire color scheme of this plaza. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Now imagine for a moment that overnight painters coming and going into the women’s restroom end up accidentally spilling paint over this mural. How do you fix that?

Rapunzel's own artistic touch marks the entrance to the ladies restroom. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Rapunzel’s own artistic touch marks the entrance to the ladies restroom. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Kept backstage in electronic form is a replete data base that documents all of this. It holds all of the colors, tones and shades shown in this mural. It also suggests which type of paint to use. Other electronic documents show what it looked like in the design as well as in the completed product. With that technical information, a talented painter (and they have some very talented painters) can repaint that wall in short order.

Why does this matter–and what does it have to do with customer service?

Would it surprise you that a leading competitor nearby does not invest in this technical, but obvious process? When similar things happen to their attractions, they have no technical resources that document what was done and what paints should be used to re-paint it. What’s the cost of not having that technical documentation on hand?

  1. Guessing as to which paint color and type of paint to use.
  2. Poorly painted, spotty work remains afterwards suggesting that it wasn’t painted right. Or,
  3. The entire piece will have to be repainted since it’s uncertain what color to use.
  4. Time is wasted trying to figure out which of the above approaches to take.
  5. Scratched and ruined surfaces remain in view of the Guest while all of this is being determined.

That’s what makes Disney a world-class leader. It’s not just that they have created beautifully themed parks. But they have developed the quality guidelines that document and ensure that those parks remain beautiful. Imagine having those kinds of tools available to do the job right the first time. It’s what makes Disney, Disney.

Conversely, imagine the frustration when you don’t have those resources to depend upon, and you end up wasting time trying to figure out how to make it work. Consciously or subconsciously, you become like Rapunzel, wondering what your life is all about, as you go day in, day out, having to do your job without the tools to do it right the first time.

So ask yourself, what are the processes, documentation, guidelines, and quality assurances you need to have in place to guarantee that you consistently deliver a world-class experience to your guests? What investments do you need to make? What time and frustration will you save on the back end when you’ve made the investment necessary? Your answers to these questions may very well determine whether you are a world-class organization or not.

1 thought on “Consistent Quality Documentation

  1. Thanks for the behind-the-scenes peak into one of the greatest locations in the Magic Kingdom, and for the lesson for all of us who are dedicated to service excellence.

    This often-maligned “just a bathroom” (not!) is such a fantastic representation of the Disney details, just as you illustrated. It’s an experience in its own right and I believe you are right on point to feature it.

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