Excellent service operations understand the unique challenges of managing services and experiences. The Walt Disney Company's value proposition, or purpose, is to create a magical experience for customers. To deliver on that, service and employee systems must be designed in a manner that work together. After years of planning, construction, employee training, and marketing outreach to its largely Chinese guests, Shanghai Disneyland (SDL) finally opened its doors on June 16, 2016. Certain classic Disney elements had been customized for China, and others reflected the traditional Disney brand. The Walt Disney Company had done its homework?but the "unknowns" needed to be identified and remedied. Had the Walt Disney Company tailored its service offerings appropriately to the target market, and what adjustments, if any, were needed?
This material lends itself well to exploring a storied service company on numerous dimensions?operational performance and strategy, service trade-offs, attribute maps, and many general management issues across functions, especially whether the company has been able to understand Chinese cultural differences in such a way that profitability will occur faster than in its other non-U.S. locations.
Instructors may choose to use the case as a capstone to "The Walt Disney Company: Mickey Mouse Visits Shanghai" (UVA-OM-1545), which is set on the verge of SDL's opening.