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Disney U: How Disney University Develops the World's Most Engaged, Loyal, and Customer-Centric Employees

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  736 ratings  ·  72 reviews
With a Foreword by Jim Cora, former Chairman of Disneyland International

"A leadership blueprint, applicable in any organization." -- Captain D. Michael Abrashoff, U.S. Navy (Ret.), and author of It's Your Ship

"When I first arrived at The Walt Disney Company, I was surprised to find I had to go back to school--at Disney University! There, I learned the fundamentals of guest
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published March 26th 2013 by McGraw-Hill Education (first published January 1st 2013)
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3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  736 ratings  ·  72 reviews

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Feb 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013

I'm not the target audience for this book. I don't have a business and I don't usually read non-fiction. But I do love Disneyland and always have. Some of my best memories come from trips to Disneyland whether it was with my parents growing up, Grad night & Mormon Night at Disneyland with my friends as a teenager or as a parent taking my own kids. For me it has always lived up to its name as being the Happiest Place on Earth. So when I saw this book on Netgalley I requested a copy and starte
Feb 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
When discussing the Disney Institute book with my previous manager he mentioned that there was another book written by a gentlemen by the name of Doug Lipp. Of course that night I went on a hunt for the book and couldn't find it in the city. So I promptly ordered it and was excited to read it.

My obsession with Disney's level of customer service continues to grow. Their ideas and way they do things are so simple yet so amazing that those who have been to Disney know that they are walking into a t
Dec 19, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, business
This is a quick read about how Disney teaches employees about service and about the creation of Disney University. It's also an appreciation of the fellow who Walt Disney asked to start the University, Van France. France shows up time and again as the intelligent and thoughtful and sometimes gruff coach to Disney workers. The best parts of the book for me were the descriptions of how Disney narrows down the focus of training of employees to a few concise terms. By focusing of fewer objectives, i ...more
Nov 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read a surprisingly large number of books on business management. I do this not only because of my authorial enterprise, but in an attempt to improve on my "day job."

"Disney U" is the story of Van France's legendary staff training program, begun at Disneyland in the 1950s and continuing (with updates along the way) through the present day. Author Doug Lipp looks at what France called the Four Circumstances (Innovate, Support, Educate, Entertain) and uses them to examine things like new employe
Dec 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
The best part was the summary at the end of each chapter. I found it repetitive and also more of a tribute to Van France who created Disney University than a management book. There are some good anecdotes and I had some ideas for my work. An easy skim.
Mar 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Had to read for a class, but wasn't the worst "textbook" I've ever had to read (I also just love Disney).
Apr 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Read my full review:

My opinion: Periodically, a business book pops up that it will be a game changer in the business world. We saw this with Jim Collins book GOOD TO GREAT and my whole-hearted belief is that we will see the same thing with Doug Lipp's Disney U.

In grad school, there were 4 organizations that were emphasized as being best practice examples of not only successful business models, but leaders in a customer centric business approach. Disney was one of these com
Sep 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Best book on business culture I have ever read. Doug Lipp does a great job using Disney anecdotes to keep the readers attention. I have read many business management books that struggle to capture a concrete message and my attention as a reader; this was never a problem when reading Disney U. I also particularly enjoyed how this book was not a mere summary of past Disney or management books. Mr. Lipp clearly has untapped insight on how Disney operates their customer service University. I highly ...more
Gustavo Herrera
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
A few years ago, I was feeling frustrated with my job. I felt I was talented in what I did, but I guess as the great Victor Frankl would say, I hadn't found out yet what my "Meaning" was. I am grateful for that situation, because it is in those moments that your brain makes the truly important questions about yourself and about your passions. I won't bore you with the exact conversation I had with myself, but basically I found out that what I loved about my job was creating culture, trying to mo ...more
There are few things as thrilling as being able to say that I went to Disney University. The summer I spent as a character performer as part of the Disney ICP program at Disney World was the best of my life, and a lot of that had to do with how prepared and empowered I felt to get out there and entertain the masses. Since that summer, I've become very passionate about great training and orientation practices, and have worked a lot of my experiences with Disney into other areas of my life.

My dad
Merry Miller moon
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was our reading series book for our professional development at work. Basically it uncovers the things that make Disney such an amazing place to work. Beginning with Walt Disney and then Van France, the man who created the Disney University. Doug Lipp was the person who was in charge of Disney University at Disney Tokyo. I found it amazing that Frank Lloyd Wright was hired to give classes and lectures to the animators of Disney-could you imagine? Van established four key components to ...more
Jack Alexander
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. The Disney company has set the bar and this book explains how they have kept the vision of Walt so long after he died. Unlike Walmart who has lost their culture since Sam died, Disney continues to live the culture he started for his “cast” members. Would you rather lay bricks or build a cathedral. Life is all about the perspective you take and Walt realized that the lowest level of task could have a profound impact on the organization.
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: disney, polar-bear
Hands down one of the best books anyone can read on the importance and implementation of corporate culture. Disney U is full of easy to understand ideas to transform your workforce into a committed, powerful force for customer service and company pride.
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Un excelente libro para conocer la cultura organizacional de los parques Disney, y tambien como fueron creados, y muchos de los retos q tuvieron q atravesar. Es un libro de temas de Recursos Humanos muy util para varios sectores de servicio.
Michelle Lehman
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed it! Especially the story of Haunted House in Tokyo Disneyland!
Mark Stapel
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 10, 2018 rated it liked it
I have a friend who used to work for Disney, it sounds like a dream to me :D

This was interesting to read about. I enjoyed it.
Aug 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Nothing groundbreaking here. I was hoping for more insider tips/knowledge from this one.
Kasey Lange
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really good content for someone new to the organizational comms field
Apr 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
Excerpt from my full review at

Something that popped on my radar earlier this year was the Disney College Program, a training program that allows college students to study and work in Walt Disney World or the Disneyland Resort for a full semester. It’s touted as a great way to develop skills and the famous brand of Disney customer service, both significant assets for a young graduate seeking full-time employment in the future.

I scoured blogs and YouTube channels fo
Dejean Smith
Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I. Loved. This. Book.

If you think Disney U is written just for those in upper management, you are sadly mistaken. If you think Disney U is written just for the Disney fan, you are sadly mistaken. This is a book filled with great insights as to how to just plain be better human beings as well as (as the subtitle states) develop the world's most engaged, loyal, and customer-centric employees.

I am by no means a business person. My degrees are in the liberal arts. But I do expect to deliver and rece
Feb 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Good book.

Key takeaways - Train what you want to see happen. Disney trains cast members because they are dressing up to be superheros for many who come to the park. They must embody those cast members.

Language is important. They call employees castmembers, crowds are audiences, and customers are guests.

Have one foot in past and one foot in future. To make sure they kept a foot in the past, Disney did training on Walt Disney and some key aspects of the company ***.

Business is a combination of ar
May 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
In my haste to buy all books dealing with Walt Disney World, I bought this one. It's actually about Disneyland... And I've never been to DL, so I could care less. There is one chapter on WDW, but all the chapters are pretty small. First off, this Lipp guy really loves Van France. I read the entire book and I still don't really know (or care) who France was. This book isn't relevant to anything in my life, though you do have to be careful not to assume this is about the Disney College Program. It ...more
Bonnie J.
Mar 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While Doug does tend to go a little over the top about Van France, you have to admire the man. He, and Mr. Walt Disney, had alot of great ideas when no one else was able to use common sense to come up with them and he didn't apologize for any of it. My kind of guy. If you read or have read many leadership books, the message in most tends to all be the same. What I've found is that different authors have different ways of speaking to people and, because of that, Doug Lipp is an author that really ...more
Amanda [Novel Addiction]
Jan 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
I work in public service, and as anyone that has can tell you - it can be rough. So I pick up books like this, motivational business books, in order to get myself back into the right mindset. Same reason I pick up a lot of books that focus specifically on my career (librarianship) - I want that motivation and good feeling that comes along with reading something like this.

It also helps that I am obsessed with Disney. And that I do want to move into management in the future. So really, this book d
Apr 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have loved DIsney since I was a baby. My mom says I was an original Mouseketeer. I watched every Disney movie when they came out and the Wonderful World of Color on Sunday evenings. When I got married, I honeymooned in Walt Disney World in Orlando. When I had children, their rooms were decorated in Disney characters. When my younger daughter was ill, her Make-a-Wish trip was to…you guessed it - Walt Disney World. So I guess the Disney "system" and the Disney University works.

Disney's vision, r
Laura Rasmussen
This book has some really great ideas - Disney always does, but it falls down on the execution. It outlines the processes that makes Disney's training programs (from orientation to executive education to volunteerism to employee recreation), and how each program strives to educate, entertain, innovate and support their employees. Unfortunately, the author forgot to entertain the audience - his readers. And the narrator was super boring and bland (after I decided I couldn't take listening to the ...more
May 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
I've been a Disney Store Cast Member for a year, and decided to take this book out from the library with the hope of learning more about the Company. I took copious notes as I was reading.

The three star rating is because I was hoping for so much more. It was good to reinforce the stuff I've learned as a CM, however, I was hoping to learn things I didn't know. The book seemed to be mostly common sense. There were some great anecdotes about Walt, some really nice quotes. I liked how the book illus
Jul 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If you are in a business that involves people in any way, this is a must read.

There are many simple yet profound training and leadership principles peppered throughout the book. These principles, if applied with diligence, discipline and sincerity will no doubt revolutionize any workplace.

But the most encouraging words in the book are the anecdotes that show how Van France (Creator of Disney University), like Walt Disney himself had all the X factors that simply cannot be taught: true care for
Brent Dunn
Jun 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
Not all that interesting or helpful. The book has some interesting stories, but they aren't enough on their own to be worth the read.

The ideas offered are pretty obvious: make training interesting, manage by walking around, keep improving your product, etc. Disney isn't successful because they are the only ones who do these things, they are successful because they do them so well. But the book is short on any practical advice for actually executing these ideas.

I did like the summaries and quest
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Free Books, .99, ...: Book Giveaway - Disney U 1 18 Jun 02, 2013 12:31PM  
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Gordon Douglas Lipp known as Doug Lipp is a consultant, speaker, and author based in Fair Oaks, California. Lipp is an expert in leadership and customer service. He is the CEO and President of G. Douglas Lipp & Associates, a consulting firm
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“The trouble with people is that we get hardening of the mental arteries, cirrhosis of the enthusiasm, and arthritis of the imagination,” 0 likes
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