The Disney Effect – How Walt Disney Could Have Been The World’s Greatest Personal Trainer


I don’t know if you know this or not, but the word on the street is that Cars Land at Disney’s California Adventure is the hottest place to be in southern California right now (if you’re between the ages of three and ten).
Fitness Marketing like Walt Disney
Last Thursday we took Andrew and Chloe to Disneyland to check out the new Cars Land. I gotta say, Cars Land is everything they said it was and then some. I probably had more fun than my kids did.

But this blog post isn’t about Disney and their newest attractions… it’s about how you can use the Disney way to boost your fitness business and put yourself in a category of one… where you can charge what you want, where clients pay, stay and refer, and where the client experience at your fitness center is in a class of it’s own.

Lets look at the facts for a moment….

According to the talking heads on TV we’re experiencing a global economic recession. Unemployment is higher than ever. Gold is falling in value and uncertainty is at an all time high…Blah, blah, blah… gloom and doom…the sky is falling!

Frankly, it’s all bullshit.

We live in the free world. YOU control your economy and no one else. The only way anyone else can control your economy is if you allow them to control your thoughts.

I can go on about this all day long… but for the sake of argument lets just say that the talking heads on TV are right for a moment.

Then it stands to reason that businesses that are considered a luxury and not a necessity should be struggling, right?

The theme park industry especially is struggling.

In fact during the last few years most theme parks have trimmed their hours of operations. Some even reduced their entry ticket price, and many others have “closed down” during the slow season, while others cut back on staff to save money (even through it negatively effects the customer’s experience)

You know what’s funny all this.

Disneyland can care less. To Disney, the economy is just fine.

It’s costs over $80 for one person to get into their parks. That’s one park by the way – Disneyland or California Adventure… not both.

Disney has no off season. It’s always ON season!

They don’t cut their prices – instead they deliver an experience to their guests (customers) that their competitors simply can’t.

Last week, we were at Disneyland on a random Thursday and the attendance at Disneyland was 62,000 people. And the attendance at California Adventure was 28,000 people. What economy issue?
Not only does Disney change more to get into it’s theme parks. They are also masters at getting you to HAPPILY pay more while you’re there.

In fact, while in line for the Lightning McQueen’s Radiator Springs Racers attraction Disney had vendors walking through the line and selling popcorn, cold water, and ice cream for $4 each.

People where falling over themselves buying this stuff – us included 🙂

Here’s one of the three vendors I saw while in line…

marketing a fitness business
And it’s probably no surprise to you that practically every ride exits into a merchandise store. I mean you may as well buy a few things while you’re there.

Disney is a PERFECT examples that proves that as long as you are delivering value and exceeding the client’s expectations, you can charge whatever you want… and people will happily pay.

I’m convinced that if Walt Disney was alive today, and if he chose to become a personal trainer this is how his business would operate.

First off Walt wouldn’t call himself a personal trainer, he’d call himself a transformation expert, a fitness specialist, or fat loss expert, but not personal trainer.

Like my good friend Alwyn Cosgrove says, there’s a lot of ‘bad’ stigma associated with the name “personal trainer”.

There’s the meat head trainer

There’s the “I date my clients trainer”

There’s the I don’t charge what I should be charging trainer

Walt wouldn’t want to be associated with any of those trainers.

I imagine the first thing he’d do in creating his category of one is to distinguish himself from his competitors by calling himself a body transformation expert.

He’d then guarantee results or your money back.

He’s also make the workout experience different than any other workout you’ve gotten. Plus it would be fun and the kind of place that you’d want to come back to often.

In fact, Walt would make your training experience so fun and results driven that you’d be talking him up all day long – which is why most of his business would come from referrals.

Make no mistake about it, Walt Disney would be a personal trainer marketing machine.

I worked at Disneyland for nearly six years. I got to see first hand what made Disney so different. One thing I learned about Walt Disney while working there was that he went against the gain on most things and thought differently (out of the box) than everyone one else around him.

See Disney doesn’t call the people that work for them employees, they call them cast members. marketing for personal trainers

They’re not “rides”, they’re attractions.

You’re not the customer, you’re the guest.

As a cast member you’re always “on stage” and the show is always going on.

That’s how Disney looks at itself, a great big stage show, and not just an amusement park.

And even when Disneyland’s competitors attempt to copy them and recreate their magic, Disney always creates faster than others can copy.

That’s what a market leader does… innovate, create, stay on the cutting edge, and make things better.

One of the best business lessons you can get in life is not from a book or seminar but from real life experience which is why I think every fitness business owner should visit Disneyland or a Disney theme park and study their marketing and guest service model if you really want to put your business light years ahead of your competitors like these three fitness pros have.

B 🙂