DBE project in the spotlight: Develop an attraction for Disneyland!
Practical assignments form a large part of the curriculum at NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences, and you’ll find yourself working on real-life projects more often than sitting in a lecture hall. One of the standard assignments for our Leisure & Events Management students during the 'Concepting Leisure' semester is to develop an attraction or experience for Disneyland Paris. And of course this includes going on a field trip to the theme park itself!
Dive into the target group
Concept development involves a lot of preliminary work. You first need to do extensive research into Disneyland and your target audience. You create a user-persona passport to create a profile of your chosen target group that includes their values and needs. Based on this user-persona, you can develop a value proposition for your concept.
After this, the testing can begin, and of course you do this ... in Disneyland! With a group of around 150 students, you leave in buses for France, overnighting close to the theme park. You test out your value proposition with your fellow students and step into the shoes of each other's target groups so you can explore all the ideas that have been developed.
Bringing the story to life
Disney is well-known for its storytelling, so once back at NHL Stenden you develop a storyline appropriate to the tested value proposition and bring this story to life. Creativity is important: you can come up with whatever you like, as long as it is within the strategic principles of Disneyland Paris.
You then transform our classrooms into the worlds in which the stories take place, with light, sound, smells and acting so that all the senses are triggered and the value proposition can come to life. "We see are so many different creations,” says coach José Westerhof. “You’ll see students wandering through the corridors dressed up as animals, as Captain Hook or Tinkerbell. If you come for a look around during that period, you’ll wonder what’s going on!" The assignment ends with each of the student groups presenting their concept in front of a management board made up of lecturers. Coach José: "I am always excited about seeing the results the students come up with."
A semester full of concept development
The entire semester in which this project takes place is devoted to concept development. Although most of your time will be spent working on your Disney project, the whole curriculum focuses on the knowledge and skills you’ll need in order to carry the project out. The assignments in your English classes are linked to writing skills, you’ll hold a TED Talk as part learning how to present, and there are supporting workshops about such subjects as stimulating the senses and giving pitches. It’s a method of learning that means you learn what you need, when you need – and get to apply it in practice straight away.