Walt Disney began his Disneyland and Walt Disney World dreams, all because he played with his children.

When Walt created Disneyland, he did so because he wanted to have more wholesome play opportunities for his family, and where other families could also spend memorable time together. Since he couldn’t find it, he began his quest to create it.

To this day, the Disney Parks and Resorts welcome millions of families into a magical place where parents and children bond over the love of play, of exploration, and of adventure. However, when I had a chance to chat with some of the corporate cast members recently, I was really surprised at the behind-the-scenes research that Disney is doing to understand family dynamics and the ways families experience Disney together. I thought Disney was all about cool rides and fantastic shows. They are. But the development of those things is not about profit and loss statements, the latest technology or global trends. They also try to create, and foster, smiles and the memories between caregivers and their children (and grandchildren).

While Walt has not been directly behind the growth and exploration opportunities that Disney Parks and Resorts has created in the past 40 years, the basic philosophy Walt envisioned about creating opportunities for parents and children to connect in a way that they don’t do at home, is a paramount goal for Disney Executives today.

Disney has partnered with the Center for Childhood Creativity to study how children learn and how parents can help with the learning. By understanding and sharing the research globally, for use at home or in school, the Disney Corporation, through its charitable foundation, is sharing its discoveries to provide positive parent/child relationships and child development.

Plus, every type of shared experience, activities and behavior that parents and children engage in together at Disney can impact facets of a child’s development. Thus, Disney is trying to understand these facets so when you visit Disney Parks and Resorts, or watch Disney movies, you can have opportunities for connecting, engaging and exploring as a family. For many families, a Disney vacation is the place to reconnect. Or Friday night movie night with popcorn and a Disney film is a place to reengage with kids. With busy schedules at home, the stay on Disney property or in Disney parks, or a Disney book or a Disney Movie, can be a time to leave the ‘real’ world behind and step into magic. The magic of family.

You can read the research and the efforts at www.disneydiscovertogether.com. It is really impressive and has given me a greater understanding of the depth behind Disney.

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