Disney World behind the scenes

Posted: February 28, 2013 by jennroig in Commentary, English
Tags: , , , , , , ,

If you hear about Disney World, it’s likely that images of Mickey, Donald or Princess Aurora will come to your mind. But that’s only a small part of what the full park is. In fact, the place is so huge and prepared to accomodate so many preferences, that you could spend a pleasant day without meeting one of those fairy tales characters, en case they might annoy you. It make sense then that it is the most visited theme park in the whole globe.

(c) disneyworld.disney.go.com

(c) disneyworld.disney.go.com

I was there last weekend, invited by my family. It’s an enormous property, acres and acres of land containing four smaller theme parks inside the mother name: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Considering I can’t stand a lot of speed or altitude, and I’m passed the age of getting excited with Mickey or The Pirates of the Caribbean, they decided to take me to Epcot. I must say that against all odds, I had fun.

Half of Epcot is basically the science park, and the other half  is a cocktail of stands representing different countries from Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. In other words, the American attempt to raise awareness about the fact that the Earth is bigger than just North American, so there’s actually a world beyond the borders of the USA.

So, what I found interesting of my trip was not the raids -which I admit were interesting and funny- but the concept of culture and management that it’s behind the visual structure. To be noticed, I’m talking about Epcot with no idea about what goes on in other parks.

living with the landApart from being a source of job for countless people, and one of those places where money don’t stop flowing despite financial crisis or inflation, Walt Disney World has transformed itself into a sustainable, and environmentally friendly business. I am not including socially conscious, because to be honest, I can’t tell.

As soon as you enter the premises, you notice that street lights run with solar energy, the same with several of the buildings where solar panels are visible. But Living with the Land is one of the most interesting raids in this sense. living with land 2It focuses on research on agriculture, using the minimum possible resources, with the goal of developing techniques and methods to cultivate and harvest crops in hostile conditions.

This would seem the perfect place for such research activity. The land of dreams hosts the dream of growing plants, for food and oxygen, that eventually could be taken into the space, or other planets. Of course, improving and enhancing the results of agriculture in infertile terrains on Earth is also on the menu, but it really seems like a side effect.

In order to do so, the company offers scholarhips and interships. State-of-the-art labs are on the sides of the “crop fields” where there are banana trees, cucumbers, tea, cacao, oregano, eggplant and an endless list of plants.

FranceBut biologists and biochemical are not the only interns in Epcot. When you go to visit the foreign stands, most of the service staff is representented by citizens of those cou ntries, Japan, Germany, France, Mexico, or Morocco. This students get the opportunity to come for a year when they can improve their language skills, get to live in an international environment, and get familiarized with a different kind of management, cultural setting and maybe economy.

The water is recycled, the energy used is renewable,  the transportation is shared, the air is clean. The purpose of the facility is to provide quality time to families, offering fun and education. I’m not sure what’s the average salary for the workers, or whether or not they receive bonuses and health coverage and paid vacations. But I do believe that it is a business model from which to start building.

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