It’s no secret I enjoy nearly all things Disney. I enjoy the parks, the movies, and the commitment to excellence woven throughout all of their projects. So, when I come across a book that reveals a bit more about some of the people that helped establish the company in it’s early years, I like to put it on my reading list.
Most recently, I read It’s Kind of a Cute Story, written by Roland Crump and Jeff Heimbuch. Roland, known as Rolly, was one of the early Imagineers who worked first at the animation studios, and then at WED.
While it’s filled with tons of interesting stories, there are some takeaways as well. As always, whenever you set out to read a book, you should also make a point to learn something from it. Don’t waste the investment, right?
Here’s a few ideas/quotes:
“If it’s a ton of fun and an ounce of information you’ll reach the teachable moment.” – Dr. Charles Lewis, on working on EPCOT
Without going into the great history of EPCOT (what it was going to be and what it now is), this singular idea was the driving force for the project. It’s a similar idea to what we see in kids educational television today. A simple idea, or a basic truth, wrapped in a creative, engaging method or form can have an amazing impact. This applies to kids, students, and adults. By no means does this mean you can present a “watered down truth” in your kids ministry. It actually means the opposite. It means you have to find the one, singular, most important idea, and present it in a memorable way. This is one of the reasons I like Orange curriculum, among others, for kids at Journey. Blowing up soda or sliming your small group leader can, in fact, have eternal value.
“Every student is different. You have to talk to them differently because everyone has different styles…Don’t make them do a project that would be hard for them to grasp. You have to get their confidence up first and then nudge them along into these new areas.”
There are many ways to apply this idea. I think it applies to a new believer growing in his/her faith, helping him to see the successful simple steps. Trusting God in the small things leads to trusting Him in bigger things. He leads in steps so we should shepherd the same way. We can also see the value in applying this to the teams we lead. When someone begins serving on our ministry team, we have to celebrate the success along the way, and where they excel in areas.
We have help people walk out in their gifts. Then, we can confidently go into anything that God is calling us to. I’ve seen this first hand. We recently had a kids’ team leader from Journey make the step to move to Uganda to help deaf children. When I talked with her, I asked, “Six years ago, would you imagine that you would be doing this?” “Never, “ she said. But saying yes to the steps along the way prepared her for this amazing new adventure.
“He had a vision, he knew exactly what it was going to be and how he was going to get there. It was almost like he’d slice through it and he knew every ingredient that was there because he lived it himself to create it.” – speaking of Walt Disney
We have to believe God for a bigger vision. I’m always amazed at what people can do when they have a clear vision. So, we should pray for this in our own lives. It doesn’t mean you’ll end up building a theme park. But having God’s vision for your life certainly means you’ll live the abundant life He promises.
“No matter the project, Walt clearly saw its common denominator. He recognized the essential skills and talents of people he assigned to work on his projects. He always picked the right people. He never talked down to you. He always spoke your language and he always kept your interests in mind. It amazed me how he could talk to anyone about anything, without skipping a beat, and with perfect sincerity.”
In everything, no matter who you are, it’s always about people.
*I should note that while the book is a fun read, it has some objectionable language and material. Please use discretion for that reason.