Beyond the Castle by Jody Jean Dreyer (Jason’s 1st Impressions)
In Beyond the Castle – A Guide to Discovering Your Happily Ever After, Jody Jean Dreyer shares her insights, business & life lessons using stories from a 30 year career with the Walt Disney Company. Like many she was a Disney fan growing up and visited Walt Disney World as soon as she could, which happened to be during its first year. She went on to work for the company. During her career Jody worked her way through twenty-two different positions starting with the Walt Disney World College Program and working her way up the ranks to a senior vice president. Her career included time as a WDW Ambassador, member of the Disneyland Paris Opening team, head of corporate synergy and special projects as well as Senior Vice President for Disney Worldwide Outreach.
I found this to be a good read. Many of the lessons and topics discussed were relatable and her Disney examples were interesting. Disney is used as a vehicle to share what she has learned over the years and how she applied these to life both inside and outside the office. In addition to experiences she shares some interactions with people over the years and how those relationships informed decisions and outlooks.
Me being the disneygeek that I am would have liked to have seen more Disney in the book. The Disney stories are used to support broader points which work from a narrative context but I always zero in and want to know more about the Disney people and experiences vs the life lessons. Many of the topics and experiences discussed I could read a whole book on.. for example the opening of Disneyland Paris or more about the year as the Walt Disney World Ambassador and her quest to learn more about the various roles cast members have around the resort. I really found these plus the princess summit to be the most interesting aspects of the book from a Disney angle.
If you are looking for an interesting read that will impart some useful life lessons acquired through a long career of Disney experiences this book is one you should consider adding to your library or reading.