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Top 10 Programming Lessons Learned at Disneyland (part 2)

Top 10 Programming Lessons Learned at Disneyland (part 2)

In an effort to continue to increase the quality of our programming at our youth camps, the Mount Hermon Youth Team took a trip to Disneyland to learn more about excellent programming.  Many critics poked fun at our “field trip” but it ended up being an amazing experience.  After our day at Disneyland, we spent some time debriefing and we came up with the top 10 lessons we learned from our visit to Disneyland.  This is the second installment of those lessons.

6. Darkness (and purposeful lighting) allows you to control where people look
We noticed that almost every ride was inside so that the lighting was under full control.  Disney determines where you look with lighting.  It could be colored lights, spot lights or even black lights but they had full control over the focus of each ride.  The only inside ride we noticed that wasn’t dark was It’s a Small World which is so visually overwhelming that you don’t have time to look at anything else.

7. Waiting in line is an opportunity to build anticipation
In many amusement parks, waiting in line is a necessary evil that has to be tolerated.  At Disneyland, waiting in line is part of the experience.  Disney goes to great lengths to build anticipation for the experience to come as you wait in line.  They do this by capitalizing on all 5 human senses.  They are drawing you in and preparing you for the experience as you wait in line.

8. Getting into the park is 1 transaction
Disney makes it easy to get into the park.  You may have to wait in line but it only takes 1 main transaction to get into the park.  And once you are in, you are welcomed by bright colors, sounds (in our case it was a marching band) and smells.  You really do feel like you have walked into a different world when you walk through the gates.

9. Transitions are important
There are so many transitions at Disneyland and I never really noticed this until I was intentionally looking.  When you transition between lands/regions, you are very aware of it.  You walk through something (like a castle) and enter into a region that is themed differently.  This very clearly communicates that you are leaving one land and entering another.  On rides, movable walls were often used to transition from one section to another.

10. If you can fool the senses, you can fool the mind
I didn’t realize the extent to which Disney capitalizes on the 5 human senses.  There were recorded sounds such as jungle noises, fake radio broadcasts and thunder that added to the experience.  Music tone and volume were also used to control the mood.  The textures of the walls waiting in line for Indiana Jones made you feel like you were in a cave.  Lighting, or lack there of it, was used to control mood.  These are just a few of the numerous examples of this.  Disney drew us into each experience by capitalizing on the 5 senses.

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