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Bob Iger @ USC Global Conference discussing Shanghai Disneyland, Star Wars & Global Strategy

In October 2015 the University of Southern California (USC) hosted a global conference in Shanghai to discuss Innovations for a rapidly changing world. The featured guest was Robert Iger. USC posted a 40 minute conversation between him and Willow Bay (Director of the USC Annenberg School of Journalism & his wife) discussing Shanghai Disneyland, Star Wars, Innovation, and more.

Some quick notes from Part I which covered Shanghai Disneyland:

  • Authentically Disney, distinctly Chinese
  • Create everything in Mandarin then translated back to English
  • Entertainment will make up 40% of park experience
  • Entertainment directed by local/Chinese talent – Tarzan was the example
  • 70% of the menu will be Chinese, 20% other parts of Asia
  • Shanghai Disneyland has been a “pet project” of his since 1999 and he has been very involved in the details of the new park down to tasting just about the food on every menu at the park
  • An example of difference is no Main Street in Shanghai
  • An example of something learned in Hong Kong is how long families wanted to spend eating. It was almost twice as long as planned so they had to expand seating capacity to match this
  • Expecting multi-generation and large parties visiting Shanghai Disneyland which influenced the choice in attractions for the park and modifications to designs
  • By the time Shanghai Disneyland opens over 100,000 people will have touched something related to the project. Currently there are 10,000 construction workers, 3,000 others on site. Many are living on site, Disney houses over 10,000 workers.
  • 50 million consecutive man hours with no major injuries at Shanghai Disneyland construction site
  • New technologies in the park – utilized modern technologies, example is Pirates of the Caribbean that uses magnets to move the boat through the attraction, so no tethers and much more freedom of motion for speed, direction, and turns

Some quick notes from Part II:

  • Have to hire 10,000 cast members to work in the park including 1,000 performers
  • Talked about Star Wars in China as well as U.S.
  • Creativity, Global Growth and Innovative technology his original goals when taking over as CEO and still holds true today after 10 years.
  • 1938 Walt Disney received honorary degree from USC & Snow White opened in China
  • What is your next adventure after retiring in 2018? Will have worked 44 years for ABC/Disney, answered he does not know but is looking forward to it.
  • Balance between innovation and legacy/heritage of the company is a challenge
  • Largest producer of films in India (Bollywood), last year released all time box office holder in India, not opening a theme park

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