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Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Magic of the Space Center.

Hello Troops,
Take a minute from your battle with ignorance and let me share a thought.
Many times throughout the years we've all heard Space Center visitors say,"This is better than Disneyland!". Each time I hear that I wonder how that can possibly be! Disneyland has everything from expensive, imaginative rides to restaurants and shopping. The parks are squeaky clean. The sets effectively transport you from the daily grind to the world of imagination. I'm an admirerer of everything Disney. So...... being a fan (I don't own a pair of Mickey ears so I don't consider myself a FANatic) I'm honored to hear such things but really couldn't, until now, accept the statements as truth.

I recently returned from a week at Disneyworld. That week gave me multiple opportunities to compare and contrast the best theme park in the world to our humble log cabin approach in Pleasant Grove. I could write a small book on the subject but today I'll share my greatest realization.

I noticed that when people get off a Disney ride they speak briefly about the experience. You hear things like: "That was awesome," to "I think I'm sick," to "That wasn't what I expected," to "That drop almost gave me a heart attack!". You also hear them talk about others in their group:
"Did you see mom's face?" and "I thought Dad was going to throw up!"
The ride discussion quickly ends and the family starts talking about the next meal or hurting feet or exclamations to hurry to get the next Fast Pass. The ride discussion ends quickly because every participant had THE EXACT SAME EXPERIENCE! They were side by side. They all saw the same thing, heard the same sounds, smelled the same smells, and jumped at the same time.
A further discussion is pointless because every comment you make is answered with "We Know, we were there,".

Now compare that to a group leaving one of our simulators after a fun 2.5 to 5 hour mission. Read the points I make below and see if I'm not spot on with this observation:
  • We hear from moms that their children's mission talk continues all the way home and then on for days afterword - Why?
  • Each person on a Space Center mission gets a different ride! Think about it. You have the captain who experiences a somewhat different mission than a security officer. Each person picks up certain story points that others don't because everyone does a different job.
  • Only by sharing your mission experience with the team does a team begin to understand the entire mission. A mission is like a jigsaw puzzle. Only by putting the pieces together do you get to see the picture.
  • Humans are story tellers. That is what we like to do when we get together. Think about your family gatherings. The adults set around and tell stories to each other. Think about the time you spend with your friends. Don't you tell each other stories? That's right, you're sharing your daily experiences and insights. If we don't have stories to tell, the conversation turns silent and we move on to another group where stories are still being shared.
We have these stories because we all experience a different aspect to life. Are you getting my point? We slaughter Disney in one very important aspect - our 'rides' give everyone something different. In addition to that - our rides continue well beyond the time spent in the ships. The mission residue continues for years to come as stories pass from person to person on the semi-shared experience.

This is the magic of the Space Center! It has taken 18 years to really understand but I think I get it. What are your thoughts? Share them if you would using the 'comment' feature of the Blog.

All the Best,
Mr. Williamson
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