Adding Even More Magic to Walt Disney World

Setting the Stage

It takes much more than just magic to help Walt Disney World earn its title as the “most magical place on Earth.”

In 2013, after more than 15 years since its last renovation, Disney announced the largest expansion project to date for the Orlando, Fla., property formerly referred to as Downtown Disney.

Renamed Disney Springs, the 120-acre outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment district’s expansion included 150 new tenants, a doubling in size of the mall area, two new parking garages, additional traffic improvements, new attractions and more.

Even by Walt Disney World standards, it was a massive undertaking. Fortunately for the House of Mouse, Beyond Benchmarks co-founder Staci Nayeri served on the project’s industrial engineering team.

The guest experience is at the heart and soul of everything Disney does, with its industrial engineering team a key cog in evaluating, planning and executing every detail of expansion projects — all in the name of providing guests a positive and seamless experience throughout construction and renovation efforts.

Disney Springs

Disney Map

The Approach

Disney studies, plans and prepares for every aspect of the guest experience — even down to the restrooms. No detail was overlooked as Staci’s industrial engineering team oversaw data analysis and project planning in a number of key areas:

Parking
Parking demand data was gathered and summarized from existing car counters, then combined with projected growth and demand to determine the size of two new parking garage structures built in previously surface lot areas.

During construction of the new garages, Disney Springs experienced a 40% reduction to its already-constrained parking situation. Data was collected to gauge and estimate ongoing parking requirements for employees and cast members, with multiple models developed to test different temporary parking plans and estimate shuttle demand.

Walkways
Previously collected data and new information was leveraged to analyze guest flow and projected capacity crowding levels through walkways both within Disney Springs and to neighboring Disney properties. This led to recommendations for increasing the width of key, highly traveled pedestrian walkways.

Restrooms
Previous studies had been conducted examining restroom utilization and guest flow throughout the Disney Springs complex. Combined with new expansion plans, the team was able to project guest volume and adjust restroom fixture needs across each area. This analysis justified the addition of new restroom facilities throughout specific areas of the property.

The Results

Searching for parking, having to wait to use the restroom and navigating crowded walkways can add unnecessary stress to a family’s long-awaited dream vacation.

Staci’s expertise in analytical decision support, process improvement and strategic operations helped Disney pull off of its Disney Springs expansion undertaking while largely eliminating any negative effects felt by guests throughout the three-year project.