Disneyland And Universal Studios – More Than Just Theme Parks!

Lazarus Real Blog


After spending an incredible two weeks in LA, including a few memorable days in Disneyland, Disney California Adventure Park and Universal Studios Hollywood, I wanted to share some of the life and business lessons I learned from these mind-blowing theme parks!


1. Patience Is Key

No matter what time of day, what time of year or what the weather has in store, one thing is certain – when you visit any of these parks, the best rides will ALWAYS have the longest queues. And let’s face it, queueing sucks! No matter how hard they try make the experience that much more enjoyable, an hour is an hour, and if you have young kids who are waiting in the hot sun, nagging to drain that last 14% of your phone battery, it feels like 3…. But when you finally get to the front of the ‘Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey’ ride at Universal Studios, you step onto that ride and then get off a whole 4 minutes later, that sense of excitement, enjoyment and pure exhilaration makes it all the worthwhile!

This is life. There is no such thing as overnight success or instant gratification. It takes blood, sweat and tears and a lot of patience. But with that patience and perseverance, there is an awesome ride to be had with lots of ups and downs that will hopefully leave you with a big smile on your face. And no matter how long it takes you to get to where you want to be, you will be yearning for more despite the wait!

So, remember, the best rides have the longest queues. Be the best you can be, whether in your personal or professional life and people will want to be around you, refer business to you, or quite possibly, queue up to see you!

2. Bite The Bullet – Take That Risk!

Some of the best rides are the most terrifying, but unless you challenge yourself and take that risk, you will never experience euphoria and you will never push yourself to do more.

Don’t wait for your family, friends or colleagues to describe what you missed. Get out there, bit the bullet and experience it for yourself. And once you’ve overcome that sense of fear, you will almost certainly want to do it all over again!

Risk taking is scary. It takes guts and there is no guarantee of success, albeit when it comes to Disneyland or Universal, you can rest assured that safety is paramount and you’ll be fine…… unless of course, the ride goes upside down 😊

While ‘The Incredibles Incredicoaster’ may not be for everyone, biting the bullet can pay huge dividends, particularly for your confidence and character. So, go on, live a little. You never know where it could take you on your personal journey.

Plan ahead

3. Plan Ahead

No matter when you head to Disneyland, weekday, weekend, school holidays, public holidays, rain or shine, it is going to be busy. Busy means ridiculously long wait times, so plan ahead.

Disneyland has a fast pass system that allows you to obtain a certain slot time to bypass the queue if you have obtained a fast pass. But you can only obtain one fast pass within a certain timeframe before you are allocated your next pass. So, plan ahead. Do your research, work out where you want to go first, what ride is going to be busiest as the day goes on and how you can maximise your time in the park. Tickets aren’t cheap, so you don’t want to spend 3-4 hours of your day standing in queues or wandering aimlessly.

Whether it’s Disneyland, Universal or life in general, planning ahead avoids time wastage and procrastination and allows you to think clearly and maximise what precious time you have to accomplish your goals. In some instances, spontaneity is great, but when time is of the essence, plan ahead! You’d be surprised at how much more efficient you will be!

Photo: Who would have thought eh? “Homer looking over my shoulder 🙂

4. Keep A Watchful Eye

These theme parks are big, bustling and exciting places with so much to see and do. If you have kids, they will almost certainly be rushing off to explore something new.

If you are anything like me, or the thousands of other parents I watched as I strolled through Disney, you are constantly glued to your phone. Nowadays, there are Disney apps to guide you through the parks letting you know the wait times on your favourite rides. You can even place a coffee order ready for collection as soon as you step off a ride. So, it is not hard to find many parents navigating their way through these parks with their heads buried in their phones.

But it only takes a small distraction to lose your precious child in the sea of thousands. So, be careful, be watchful, be vigilant.

In life we all get distracted on a daily basis, so much so, that we lose sight of opportunities that may be right in front of us. Keep a watchful eye. Always be present, always have your wits about you and focus on today.

roller coaster

5. Be In The Moment

When waiting in queues for over an hour, it is inevitable your mind might wander, particularly if you are plugged into your electronic device. Suddenly you are hit with thoughts about work you are missing, the money you have spent on your trip, the reality of life when you get back home, or whatever else you might be tackling in the “real world”….

…. but if you have children and they tap on your shoulder wanting to share an experience they have had during possibly the most exciting day of their little lives, be present, be in the moment and pull your sh#*t together. Share that happiness with them and forget about everything else. It will still be there at the end of the day.

And let’s face it. They too will be standing in that same theme park in years to come probably thinking about the same stresses of life. Preserve that innocence for as long as you can and lighten up. If you are in the moment, you can put your worries behind you and also experience that happy place.

Starwars LA

6. Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself

These theme parks are huge and no matter how much you plan, you will never get to do everything. So, while you should always plan ahead to maximise your time, don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get to experience every attraction. You can spend time beating yourself up or you can spend time reminiscing on what an awesome day you had with your loved ones. How do you want to spend your time?

WWe have 24 hours in a day and 7 days a week to achieve whatever the hell we want. If you plan ahead, you are present and you live a little, the world is your oyster.

akuna matata

7. Hakuna Matata

Whether you are 5 or 80 years old, theme parks cater for everyone, and when it comes to Disney, there is nothing quite like seeing Mickey Mouse in the flesh – even if he is just some random dude dressed in a mouse costume.

So, have fun, chill out and don’t take life too seriously.

If it’s only one Disney phrase you should remember, in my opinion it’s gotta be “Hakuna Matata – it means no worries!

Quite simply, it’s a science, an artform and something we should strive for in business..

8. Strive For A Well-oiled Machine

If you dig under the surface, Disneyland and Universal are so much more than just theme parks. They are calculated business empires designed to maximise profits every single day of the year …………. even on Thanksgiving. Wow!

Whether its the entertainers that stop to take your photo, the popcorn, candy floss, drinks stations and food outlets that are scattered throughout the parks, or the multiple ticket offerings, park hopper benefits, special packages or fast pass options available, these parks are designed with one thing in mind … making money! But to maximise profits, people must be willing to spend money, and so these parks go above and beyond to make the park experience one their customers will never forget.

From the moment you step onto Main Street and you are blown away by the shops, the characters and parades, to the moment you leave the park at the end of a long day having been captivated by an amazing light show or fireworks extravaganza, these parks know how to get your blood pumping. It’s that overall impression that makes the difference. The attention to detail and the mass appeal to all walks of life. There is method to the madness. A well thought out strategy to ensure you to tell your friends, your family, your colleagues, and even your pets about your phenomenal experience.

The thought process, the data, the analytics behind it all. Quite simply, it’s a science, an artform and something we should strive for in our own business. While we can’t all build Disney empires, we sure can focus on getting to know our target audience, really connecting with our clients or customers and providing a product or service that makes us stand out from the crowd.

safety rules

9. Read the Warnings

The USA is probably one of the most litigious counties in the world. There is a reason there are so many warnings and disclaimers everywhere you go in Disneyland or Universal. In fact, some rides have so many restrictions, it’s not actually the ride itself that scares you off. Are these warnings really necessary? Do I need to have a law degree to know my rights?

The answer is, Yes and No.

Yes, these warning are necessary, because even if it is the Happiest Place on Earth, not everyone that attends Disneyland is going to see it that way, and some may be looking to cash in.

These warnings are in place to protect you and more importantly, to protect Disney or Universal from any claims one might allegedly have. Remember, they run a very well-oiled machine – even down to the legal matters, which have no doubt been carefully crafted by the most expensive law firms around.

And No, you don’t need a law degree to understand these warnings. The bottom line is that you choose to attend these rides at your own risk. Of course, if there is some major fault and you get seriously injured, you are well within your rights to take appropriate legal action, but if you disobey a height or age restriction for example, and you get injured in the process, you better have very deep pockets if you want to take on the big guns!

I am the master of my fate – I am the captain of my soul

— William Ernest Henley

Dream big

and Finally…..

10. Dream Big!

When you walk through these parks, you can’t help but feel the energy, the excitement, the adrenalin. There’s never a dull moment. The wheels are always in motion. Everything is moving forward at a rapid pace!

There is so much to take in, so much to see and do and so much one can learn if you just open your eyes. It’s quite simply a magical place to be. But it did not start out that way. As Walt Disney himself once said, “If you can dream it, you can do it”.

And that is all folks!

So, dream big, give it everything you’ve got and don’t let your dreams only be a dream. Start living and make your dreams come true. Don’t dream of success. Wake up and work hard at it. Nothing is impossible. What are you waiting for?! DO IT! JUST DO IT! YES, YOU CAN! JUST DO IT!

Thanks Shia Lebouf Thanks Nike and thanks Disneyland, Disney California Adventure and Universal Studios, Hollywood for the wonderful memories and life and business changing lessons!

Unfortunately, life is not always a holiday, and you will have to focus on business ventures, new challenges will arise, and you do need to stay ahead of the competition, however, we can learn valuable life lessons when we take time to stop, observe and look around us at what makes things work and apply it to our lives.

I am now back at Lazarus Legal hustling and feeling all the better for it after a well-earned rest. If you need legal assistance, Lazarus Legal and our team of lawyers provide legal services across a range of practice areas. Call us on 02 8644 6000 to start a conversation!

Thanks again for reading my Lazarus Real blog, where it’s all about “Keeping it Raw, Real and Personal”. Feel free to leave comments below and I look forward to chatting.

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