It wasn’t until I was in college that I found out one of our family secrets that both my Grandfather and Great Grandfather were on the initial construction crew for Disneyland.

It’s one of those things that when you tell someone you get one of two responses: “Yeah, Right!” or “Wow, Neat!”, though the first response is usually silently spoken behind a polite smile.

My grandpa would come home from work and try to describe what they were building and the details that went into it. Nobody at the time could understand what he was talking about “Your building a … castle? For real? You built a … tree? Why not just plant one?” He and Disney actually had a personal relationship as well. Disney would sit on one of the docks for lunch. None of the other construction workers felt comfortable enough, but my grandpa would sit right next to him and have lunch together talking about families and dreams.

Disneyland has far more educational value than half the school slums in our country, but you have to dig for it. Try reading a few books on how Disney performed his work before the next time you visit… or just to learn a few tips and pointers to improve your own personal business and achievements. Our family favorite is the “One-Up”.

When Disney walked into a room to see the story boards (a concept he invented and everyone uses today) he would listen to people’s ideas and envision something fantastic. When it came down to building the parts, whether it was a ride in an amusement park or a frame still for a movie, he would look at it and say to the engineers and artists … “That’s great. Now one-up it.” One-up means to overachieve… to excel.

When we build something we get stuck in the forest and can’t see it through the trees. When we step back we can see areas of improvement. “One-Up” means changing how we see things for a minute… to step out of our mind, or to step into a fresh mind depending on how you view it … and making the experience better.

With the common proverb (by Julius Caesar) that “experience is the greatest teacher”, it makes sense that walking through one of the greatest creations of the greatest teacher of details, magic and experience (speaking of Disneyland and Disney) would lend to teaching a thing or two.