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Disney's Core Competence


									Disney’s Core Competency

       Walt Disney once noted: “I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that

it was all started by a mouse”. (Disney Dreamer, 1998). Walt Disney’s original core

competence was cartoons and animated movies. By combining Imagineering with

engineering Disney’s company reached unparalleled success with the creation of the first

full length animated movie. This success led to new ideas and one of them was to open a

park, a different kind of park. In Disneyland Walt used new technology to bring his

characters to life. He called them “Animatronics”. (Magical Kingdoms, July 2008)

Together with unique storytelling and high quality of service Walt Disney created a

magical environment for his guests which none of the competitors could quite duplicate.

It became Walt Disney’s core competency. Disney once said: “Anything that has the

Disney name to it is something we feel responsible for.” (Disney Dreamer, 1998)

       This competency is driven by superior Disney products and most of all by cast

members and their renowned guest service. It’s always been a challenge to keep up with

high expectations of the guests. To continue to improve its business Disney has set up

new cast member standards in the form of the Basics (Meeting the new standards,

December 2007). The new standards expect cast members to create and reinforce

“magical” experience for the guests by being approachable, engaging, and willing to go

above and beyond.

       As the company developed, many new lines of businesses have been added such

as retail, media, and sports. The danger has been to overextend and lose track of what the

company does best. In order to stay competitive the company had to realign and shifted

attention from retail to those which are the cornerstone of the company – intellectual
property. To reinforce its animation business Disney purchased Pixar in 2006. In the

acquisition statement it read: “Animation is the foundation upon which the Company

was built and for years was a core competency. However, in recent years Disney placed

less emphasis on animation and, as such; the Company was not at the forefront of the

digital revolution and did not produce many animation movie hits. With Pixar, Disney is

now further on the technology curve and can exploit some synergies in marketing,

production, and distribution.” (Walt Disney Company release, January 2006). In 2009

Disney purchased another company, Marvel. This move further enhances Disney’s

competitiveness and extended the collection of its characters. (CNN, August 2009).

       The special strength of the company is diversification. In addition to four parks in

the US Disney currently has a park in Europe, plus two parks and one more on the way in

Asia. Disney’s largest sales revenue is from media sold outside the US. Disney has its

own cruise line with regular operation of two boats and is adding two more in January of

2011. (Cruise Talk, June 2010) Many regular Disney guests own part of the Walt Disney

World resort through “Disney Vacation Club”, the company’s timeshare program.

Disney’s tour operation business “Adventures by Disney” offers guests special tours

around the world. (Adventures by Disney, n.d.)

       Everything the company does carries the special “Disney touch” – a seal of

quality and outstanding service. Though the company has some challenges with the

economic downturn, it continues to grow leaning heavily on what the company does best

- providing “magical” experiences to guests and consumers.

Disney Dreamer (1998), Walt Disney Quotes.

Retrieved from:

Josh Buchanan, Matthew Covarrubias, James Gills, T.J Lovejoy, Craig Wuollet, Meeting

the new Standards (December, 2007), Executive Summary, P. 3

Retrieved from:

Walt Disney Company release (January, 2006) Comments on Acquisition of Pixar

Animation Studios. Retrieved from:


David Goldman (August, 2009), CNN, Disney to buy Marvel for $4 billion

Retrieved from:

The History of Disney’s Animatronics (July, 2008), Disney Blog at Magical Kingdoms

Retrieved from:

Mr. Papa (June, 2010) Cruise Talk Retrieved from:


Adventures by Disney, Retrieved from:

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