Before things went south, Kyle actually went South, to Disney World and delivered to us the greatest photo ever taken. Kyle and Mickey are best friends for life.
He didn't go for pleasure (guys, he didn't go on ANY of the rides), but for business. Every year Kyle attends the Corn Party, the most amazingly named conference for people who have pumpkin and corn maze farms in the United States. They travel to a new place each year, and this year, it was in Disney World.
In true Kyle fashion (actually I think this is probably a trait of many of the Corn Party goers, which make them hilarious and awesome), when we sat down to talk about Disney, we didn't talk about the rides or the food or really any of the things that normal people who go to Disney get excited about. You know what we talked about? Laundry. We talked about laundry.
One of the stops on Kyle and company's "business behind the magic" tour was the employee area, which is the area that manages the 75,000-strong employee Disney force. This, by the way, is 20,000 more people that is in the whole city of Dubuque! Kyle was amazed by the system they had worked out - for every employee, there are 3-5 pieces for their uniform, making 400,000-some pieces of clothing for Disney to maintain, keep track of, and launder. Everything is equipped with an RFD chip that tracks it's movement from when an employee checks it out to when it goes through to the laundry at one of Disney's four laundry facilities.
With thirty-some resorts and that many employees, they have some serious laundry needs. At the one facility that Kyle and his group visited, Disney washes as many towels and sheets and uniforms in 1 day that, at home, would take 75 years, running our machines 24 hours a day. That's from 1 of their laundry facilities, and they have 5 of them. So it's massive. Just massive. And Kyle was massively impressed with the hundreds and hundreds of carts filled with clean towels ready for redistributing. After his visit, he couldn't look at the towels at his hotel the same.
Besides the towels, Kyle was also fascinated by the group's visit to a place called Creative Costuming, which is the area that takes care of the employee costumes, from the characters to the shows. He got to see the process of making a costume for Disney, starting from a rough sketch to the creative re-working process, to the making and cleaning and maintaining of the costumes.
Everything Kyle saw on his trip showed him that Disney is incredibly aware of and incredibly caring towards both their guests' and their employee's experience. Everything from the buttons to the equipment to the consideration of the costumes is precisely planned and thought through. When you go to Disney, you have an experience, and they work really hard to give that to you. Kyle got to see all the effort and love behind the fancy facades and sparkly entrances.
These parks get 54 million visitors a year and it's a far cry both in geography and scale from our little Lancaster farm, but as always, the Corn Party delivered many amazing lessons in guests' experience, in attention to detail, and in the wonderful work of providing a wonderful place for families to gather and love their time together. Definitely lessons we'll bring back to you guys here on the farm.
PS - Kyle did have a little fun. He went to a parade. Once. And ate some ice cream.
Fun on the farm...in blog form!