Jeff Barnes and Beyond the Wisdom of Walt

Will Talks Biz podcast Episode 26 Jeff Barnes and Beyond the Wisdom of WaltThis week we continue our conversation with Jeff Barnes and Beyond the Wisdom of Walt. This book explores lessons from Epcot at Walt Disney World, which was Walt Disney’s final dream before he passed. Walt did not like sequels. After the success of Disneyland countries around the world kept calling wanting their own version. However, Walt’s response was always the same; “No. there will never be another Disneyland.” When Jeff finished writing his first book, he had a similar sentiment. However, as he explored the history and lessons, he found that there was another story to tell. He completed Beyond the Wisdom of Walt two years after his first book.

Key Takeaways:

{5:11} Beyond the Wisdom of Walt tells the story about the leaders that had to pick things up after Walt Disney’s death, starting with Roy, and how they saw that final wish and dream of Walt through.

{6:52} Walt was interested in building a team that had the best ideas, then letting them go and seeing what they could create. That was far more important to him than position, power, authority, and organizational charts.

{8:48} A reporter from the Orlando Sentinel had a one-on-one meeting with Walt. She asked him if he was the one buying all the land just South of Orlando. He gave her about a dozen reasons why he would want nothing to do with Orlando or central Florida. She left thinking, “he sure knows a lot for someone who doesn’t want anything to do with it”. Soon after that meeting, they broke the news that the mystery industry was Disney which prompted a quick press conference to announce that Disney was in fact coming to Florida.

{12:38} As of now only a little over 25% of the land purchased in Central Florida has been built on.

{14:05} Magic Kingdom was a necessity in order to provide the resources needed for building what he was calling the experimental prototype community of tomorrow, which was to be a domed city for the 21st century.

{14:37} Roy Disney got phase one of Walt Disney World open, but died two months later. That stalled the rest of the project including the vision for Epcot as a city.

{19:08} Jeff continues to collect and build out stories and lessons from the international parks and cruise ships. Eventually he will use those to create the Worldwide Wisdom of Walt.

{21:37} The utilidors at Magic Kingdom are a way to carry out Walt’s vision of great guest service, which includes the environment that people are immersed in or guarded from.

{24:09} Walt recognized that his dream was not going to be possible if he did it alone. That is a good reminder that you need a team, like Walt needed Cast Members, to help make your goals, success, and dreams possible. They are never going to be more invested in you, your company, or dream as you are in them. So take the time to invest back into your most important resource; the humans in your company.


“Walt knew that it {Epcot} was a fluid vision, and I think we have forgotten that.”

“Most of us love Disney. Why not take something you love and use it to level up in your life and business?” “I love my mission and I love my purpose because I love Disney.”

Connect with Jeff Barnes:

Book Jeff to Speak

Beyond the Wisdom of Walt book

Beyond the Wisdom of Walt audible

Connect with Will:

Book I Can’t Read: A Guide to Success Through Failure


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