Perfecting the Customer Experience is a unique, three day benchmarking program held twice a year in Anaheim California. The workshop provides open enrollment participants serious business lessons in a fun, immersive environment.

Your facilitators, Jeff Kober and Ted Topping are your hosts in this intense, small group program that allows participants to see the business behind the wonder of Disney.

Participants walk away with new ideas for taking their organization, whether in the public, private, or non-profit sector, to new heights.

Jeff Kober views business from a Disney background. Ted Topping views Disney from a business background. Together they will help you experience both from the crucial perspective of your customer.

Formerly a leader with the Disney Institute, Jeff Kober, president of Performance Journeys, has authored several books and apps on building strong brands and developing high performing cultures.

Ted Topping is president of Creative Insights, a service-design consulting firm in Vancouver. Known globally for his work in retail, he is author of the best-selling book Start and Run a Retail Business and numerous magazine articles.

As authors, speakers, and consultants, both Jeff and Ted work with organizations to create sustained results in a consumer-facing business.

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FROM: Perfecting the Customer Experience A Disney Dispatch Feature

Disney Souvenir Books

Helping Customers Promote Your Product




One of my favorite Disney treasures are the Disneyland, Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris souvenir books I have owned over the years. These ambassadors of magic were affordable memories I could bring home and study over and over again.

My first one I purchased when I visited Disneyland in 1972 as an 11 year old. Along with a map of Disneyland and a LP of The Haunted Mansion, I thought I had come back to Phoenix with a treasure. It showed pictures of Disneyland being built, of detailed aerial views you couldn’t get elsewhere, and of the park’s newest land, Bear Country. And on the back pages was a spread showcasing the Disneyland Hotel and a whole new Disney Park, Walt Disney World. It’s invitation: In Florida-STAY and PLAY in the “Vacation Kingdom of the World!”

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These souvenir stands have traditionally served a duo role: To provide last minute items as Guests enter the park (sunblock, hats, autograph books) and last minute items as guests leave the park (memorabilia). In more recent years they seem to be more focused on items when entering the park.


I've collected these books for more than 40 years. Some date further back as I've collected them from various places.

Three years later I saved up my money to stay at the Disneyland Hotel (a whopping $50 a night); but it would be more than 15 years later before I stepped foot in the Sunshine State. In fact, in the case of Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris, I owned souvenir books that I had ordered in the mail long before I had a chance to actually visit those resorts. My mind quickly grasped the Magic Kingdom and even the entire Walt Disney World Resort property, but I could scarcely put my mind around the huge exhibits and attractions that made up Epcot Center, as it was then called. As for EuroDisneyland, my first one was written in French. But that didn’t stop me from carefully studying the photos showing the intricate details of this beautiful park. Absolument fantastique!

While in decades past there were several locations you could buy these books in all the parks, you could always guarantee they would be on sale in the souvenir stands located at the entrance. Walt wanted to make sure that they were available to the Guests as they exited the park. The story is told that the folks in merchandise complained to Walt about the souvenir books. It cost them some $24 cents back then to create booklets back in the early days of Disneyland. Walt told them to sell it for $25 cents. “How can we make any kind of profit if we only sell them for a penny more than what it cost?” Walt’s thinking was entirely different. He reasoned that the less it cost to buy the book, the more people would buy them and place them on their coffee table for friends and neighbors to look at when they came by their home. In essence, Walt saw the souvenir books as paid marketing more than sources of revenue.

Ironically in this digital age, you won’t find souvenir books on sale as you exit Disneyland and Walt Disney World. In fact, souvenir books have all but faded from the scene at Walt Disney World. Still the concept works. Paid advertising still makes sense, whether it’s in the form of a .99 cent iPhone/iPad app, or downloading Disney TV travel shows that showcase the Disney Cruise Line. Finding low/no cost ways for your customers to promote your products and services makes more sense than ever. It’s paid marketing that invites your future customers into your place of business.

These concepts and so many, many more are covered in Perfecting the Customer Experience, held in Anaheim, California. For more information on this program, please contact Jeff Kober or Ted Topping. The next public program is February 21 to 23, 2012. Companies may prefer a private, tailored experience. Neither the program nor its facilitators are associated in any way with The Walt Disney Company


Editor’s note: Ted Topping’s May 2011 article “Disney Wonder Brings Magic to Vancouver” is available here.


For more information about Perfecting the Customer Experience, please contact Jeff Kober or Ted Topping. The next public program is February 21 to 23, 2012. Companies may prefer a private, tailored experience. Neither the program nor its facilitators are associated in any way with The Walt Disney Company.

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