Dec 6, 2009

3 Lessons From Disney World Trip

Just got back from spending several days at Disney World. I always learn something about relevant children's ministry while I am there. I came back from this experience with three words stuck in my mind. Here they are...

1. Details. Disney hits it out of the park when it comes to details. Here are some examples. This is a picture of the shampoo bottle from the room we stayed in.



They could have just put a regular shampoo bottle in the room like most hotels...but notice they put their logo on the bottle and soap. It's small details like this that take a company (and cm) from good to great.

Speaking of details...we were on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at this spot...when suddenly our boat stopped.



After sitting there for a few minutes, the overhead lights inside the dark ride came on. A cast member informed us that the ride was having technical difficulties and begin pushing our boat back to a spot where we could get out safely.

This resulted in us walking thru the backstage area of the ride. I got a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the little details that make the ride come to life. The behind-the-scenes stuff didn't have the pizzaz that the "face" of the ride had...but it is what makes the "magic" happen. The magic is simply all of the behind-the-scenes details being executed with excellence.

BTW...we got a free fast pass that was good for any ride for any time of the day for our troubles. Another detail that shouted excellence even when something malfunctioned.

A great children's ministry handles details with excellence.

2. Celebration. Throughout the parks, you will see the words "Celebrate" and "What Will You Celebrate?"



While I was riding the monorail, the overhead speaker conveyed this message. "There is so much in life to celebrate...birthdays, anniversaries, graduations...we are here to help you celebrate...what will you celebrate?" This entire year they have given free admission to people on their birthday. I saw people everywhere that were celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, honeymoons, and more.

A relevant children's ministry partners with families to celebrate the significant milestones in their lives. Baby dedication, accepting Christ, baptism, graduation, etc. are great opportunities to celebrate with families.

3. Interactive. I noticed that more and more rides and shows are becoming interactive. Passive entertainment is being replaced with interactive entertainment. People sent text message jokes that were used in one show, in another show everyone voted for the person they wanted to win, and in another show kids and families were selected to come on stage and participate.

Space Mountain had been closed for months, but recently re-opened.

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I wondered as I got in line what would be different. The biggest difference...interactive video games you can play with other people while you are waiting in line. Speaking of interactive...I've been wanting to ride one of these for a long time...Disney made it happen for me!



A relevant children's ministry will engage people in interactive, participatory learning instead of passive learning.

Details!
Celebration!
Interactive!

These three elements can help your ministry to children and families be relevant!

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