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Old 09-01-2009, 06:39 PM   #1
Jeanieblue114
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The Disney Institute Lives! Enjoy it in WDW, DL, or your own home town-A REVIEW!

(This is a Review of the Disney Institute Program day class that I attended in Pittsburgh, PA. The extended original DI class is offered in WDW as well as DL. I posted it under trip reviews since WDW offers this extended version. Please move the thread to a more appropriate place if necessary, but I couldn't figure out where else it would fit best).

On to the Review........

I recently had the pleasure of attending the Disney Institute Keys to Excellence program when it came to Pittsburgh, PA (June 3, 2009). As someone who has visited Walt Disney World every year since I was 3-years old (I’m 38 now), this was a great opportunity for personal growth. Not to mention the joy of getting more insight into the ‘Disney Way’!

Many of you may remember the short-lived Disney Institute of the past. I never attended, but have some limited memories of it being at the World. I believe it was what is now the Saratoga Springs Resort/DVC. As the Disney Institute, it was a resort with a spa and had class offerings for those who wanted to learn about some of Disney’s insider information. I remember there being classes on cooking, animation, and creating topiaries among other things. It seemed to just fade away and I haven’t seen anything about it in years.

Well, a few months ago a friend of mine, Rob, who is a nurse and a huge Disney fan, mentioned that he wanted to attend the Disney Institute program for healthcare. Of course, I looked into this immediately! I was shocked to find that the Disney Institute still exists, just in a different form.
There are currently 2 types of options for experiencing the Disney Institute. The first is a program offered at the World in Orlando (most of these are multiple-day events). The second is through a one-day offsite traveling program that is offered all over the United States and several other countries. (More on this one later, as this is the program that I attended).
The details of the programs are listed on their website, www.DisneyInstitute.com, and it has links to various offsite city programs as well. The program that I attended was located in Pittsburgh at the Pitt School of Business, and the specific website for that program is www.keyspittsburgh.com. The individual offsite programs seem to each have their own websites with the details. The official name of the program is The Disney Institute Keys to Excellence. They mentioned during the class that they are updating the website. So, if you have difficulty finding information, email them or call them. They are very responsive and helpful with all questions. Email: WDW.Event.Reservations@DisneyWorld.com Phone: 407.566.1738.

The programs are focused on teaching the ‘Disney Way’ for business, service, loyalty, leadership, management, and quality. The ON-PROPERTY programs include class lectures, course materials, on-stage and in-field behind the scenes experiences in the Disney Parks and on-property, breakfasts, lunches, park hopper passes, and accommodations (usually at the Yacht Club). Additional tickets and resort nights are available at reduced rates and other guests not attending the classes may accompany you in the resort room.

The Orlando experiences that include all of these things are priced at:

$499.00 (1-day class), $3,995.00 (3 ½ day class), $6,495.00 (5 day class)

Various discounts are available. Some promotions also occur from time to time, including free accommodations which results in a $1,000.00 discount.
(Some classes are also listed as available at the Disneyland Resort. They are the same prices as the Orlando on-property classes. Accommodations included are at the Grand Californian.)

Many organizations are listed for accepting the Disney Institute classes (both on-site and off-site) for Continuing Education Credits for a wide variety of professions.

.....continued on next post
__________________
1974-2002 Disneyworld Off-property annually
2003 Dolphin Resort
2003 Disney's Vero Beach Resort
2003 Disney's Hilton Head Resort
2004 Disneyworld Good Neighbor Hotel
2004 Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotel
2005-2008 Disneyworld Good Neighbor Hotel Annually
July 2009 3 Nights Disney Good Neighbor
Sept-Oct 2009 5 Nights Disney's Old Key West
Feb-March 2010 Disney's Hilton Head Resort +1 month off-property
July Weekend off-property
September 2010 Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas-Jambo
December 2010 Disney's Old Key West Villas
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Old 09-01-2009, 06:46 PM   #2
Jeanieblue114
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Now for the information on the OFF-SITE programs.

Fortunately, for time and monetary reasons, the offsite touring program is becoming more available and has MANY locations throughout the year for the 1 day program. We (myself a lawyer, my husband David an engineer, and our friend Rob, a nurse) attended the Disney Institute Keys to Excellence in Pittsburgh, PA. This program is considered a ‘snapshot’ of the multi-day courses offered at the World. The cost is $395.00 per person and some small discounts are available. This fee included the course materials for the class as well as all of the meals and snack breaks. In addition, the cost of the class is deducted as an ‘alumni discount’ if you choose to attend the class at the World. No hotel is included in the price of the off-site program.

The agenda included a 7:30am Registration and Continental breakfast, a class in Leadership, a Refreshment break, a class in Management, a Buffet lunch break, a class in Customer Service, another Refreshment break, and a final class in Loyalty. Each class was 90 minutes long. We were done before 5pm.

Even in Pittsburgh, Disney was able to bring some of the magic to us. At registration, we were given our materials and provided a very lovely continental breakfast with cakes, fruit, bagels, and drinks in a lounge area that was available to us all day. It seemed that we were eating all day. Additionally, an elaborate hot buffet lunch was provided and two snack breaks. There were chocolate covered strawberries the size of my fist in abundance during the afternoon snack. The main ‘classroom’ was a ballroom set up with large round tables much like a wedding reception. There were about 300 attendees at our class. The room was decorated in 100 mylar Mickey and Minnie balloons tied in bouquets, the tables were sprinkled with Mickey icon confetti, Disney classic music (including the electrical light parade theme) played during all of our break times, and several large screens were set up in the room for viewing the various video clips and slides that were used during the program.

Our instructors/presenters were life-long Disney employees who now travel the country teaching the Disney Institute Keys to Excellence classes. They also are part of the team that teaches the Institute classes in the World. Their names were Carmen and Jeff, as noted on their official Disney name tags. Now, of course, listening to lectures all day has great potential to put everyone to sleep, but Carmen and Jeff brought the Disney magic. They were very mobile and moved all over the room. They also worked in a tag-team type of style. Every so often, they would ‘toss’ the presentation to the other. This really kept it moving so that we didn’t numb out to one particular voice. They never read from notes and they both presented in a very conversational type of style and incorporated their own Disney experiences as they spoke. The most motivational part of the program was the ‘treats’. I don’t remember the exact name for them, but it was something similar to “MPI’s” or something like that. It stood for Motivational Plastic Incentives (or similar). They were little plastic Disney character figurines that they gave out all day as people answered questions or participated. Everyone seemed to enjoy getting the little treats and it kept people participating and the class moved quicker.

At our lunch break, they gave out about 6 pairs of Mickey ears that say Disney Institute on them. These were just during a fun break moment for answering Disney trivia. (Finally, a moment for the real fans!!) By the end of the day, Rob had a plastic Ariel, I had a plastic Daisy Duck, Sebastian and a pair of Mickey ears, and Hubby had a plastic sorcerer Mickey and a pair of ears. Yes, out of 300 people there and 6 pairs of ears, we got two of them. I answered the question about Walt’s wife’s name- Lillian. Hubby knew that EPCOT stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. (I call it Every Person Comes Out Tired. Carmen mentioned that it also means Every Parent Carries One Toddler).

I would also like to mention that a company called Solution Infusion organized the Disney program. It is also the name of the company that bills you for the class, and their logo is shown on the Disney Institute website for the Pittsburgh program. One of the SI employees, Elizabeth, was OUTSTANDING. She bent over backwards all day to make sure that everyone had everything they needed. She responded promptly to emails and really went above and beyond to make herself available to anyone who had any questions or needed anything. After the class, Elizabeth also sent out lovely Disney Institute Certificates of Completion to those who requested them by email.

Overall, the program was a great experience. I was only there for personal enrichment and to gain another level of Disney experience. There are many little insider Disney techniques and tricks that you learn about during the class that I found extremely interesting. But, I will say that the class is definitely geared towards business and networking. Many people were there as part of a group from their company for management training or team building. I was surprised that VERY FEW people were huge Disney fans like me. (I would assume that would be different for a class held on-property.) In fact, all of the men at my table were clueless about anything Disney and focused very much on the Pittsburgh Penguin’s race for the Stanley Cup. One even had a picture of Sydney Crosby from the Pens and the poor Disney presenter (Jeff) was groaned at by most of the 300 attendees when he didn’t know who that was. (I live here and I didn’t know who that was either.) The true purpose of the program IS to provide techniques for better business. It certainly strives to do that. However, I feel that the REAL concept can be lost if you have never lived in the Disney experience to truly understand what the presenters are trying to explain.

The morale of this experience is, GO TO DISNEYWORLD and live the magic. Then enjoy the Disney Institute to learn how to make the magic happen.


Any questions? Shoot me a note and I'll do my best to answer them.
Thanks for reading and look for my upcoming Trip Report to the World with my first time on the Dining plan and an upgrade to OKW.
__________________
1974-2002 Disneyworld Off-property annually
2003 Dolphin Resort
2003 Disney's Vero Beach Resort
2003 Disney's Hilton Head Resort
2004 Disneyworld Good Neighbor Hotel
2004 Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotel
2005-2008 Disneyworld Good Neighbor Hotel Annually
July 2009 3 Nights Disney Good Neighbor
Sept-Oct 2009 5 Nights Disney's Old Key West
Feb-March 2010 Disney's Hilton Head Resort +1 month off-property
July Weekend off-property
September 2010 Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas-Jambo
December 2010 Disney's Old Key West Villas
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Old 09-02-2009, 09:51 PM   #3
Jeanieblue114
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__________________
1974-2002 Disneyworld Off-property annually
2003 Dolphin Resort
2003 Disney's Vero Beach Resort
2003 Disney's Hilton Head Resort
2004 Disneyworld Good Neighbor Hotel
2004 Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotel
2005-2008 Disneyworld Good Neighbor Hotel Annually
July 2009 3 Nights Disney Good Neighbor
Sept-Oct 2009 5 Nights Disney's Old Key West
Feb-March 2010 Disney's Hilton Head Resort +1 month off-property
July Weekend off-property
September 2010 Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas-Jambo
December 2010 Disney's Old Key West Villas
Jeanieblue114 is offline  
 



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