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Dr. Jeffrey A. Barnes        

World-Renowned Disney Historian & Bestselling Author

The first time Jeff Barnes visited Disneyland, he hated it. The experience just wasn’t for him, and he couldn’t imagine coming back to ride a ride or have an ice cream cone on Main Street.

But after a chance encounter with the life story of Walt Disney, Barnes’ mind was forever changed about the man and the kingdom he created. He fell in love with Disneyland and became a forever-fan of the man who built an empire based on a loveable mouse.

Barnes is a Walt Disney historian and the author of two bestselling books, The Wisdom of Walt and Life Lessons from Walt, each capturing the details of this entertainment legend’s life and the lessons his successes and failures can teach us all.

A motivational speaker and workshop presenter, Barnes channels his love for Disney into engaging live and virtual experience for audiences, helping them learn life’s greatest lessons and discover the foundation of the magical destinations that are loved around the world.

When he’s not giving a personal tour of a Disney park, you’ll find Barnes exploring local ice cream shops or traveling throughout the United States visiting friends.

Speech Topics

Think Bigger, Lead Better, and Achieve More Using The Wisdom of Walt

Go beyond what you know about Walt Disney’s success and take a look at what it really took for him to succeed against the odds. In Jeff Barnes’ inspirational keynotes, your audience will step inside Walt’s story from a business perspective.

Learn how he overcame impossible odds to create the world’s most popular cartoon character, the world’s first full-length animated feature film, the world’s first theme park, and the world’s most valuable and beloved entertainment company.

Jeff will take your audience on a magical journey and use the wisdom of Walt to demonstrate how to lead like a visionary and achieve greater goals in your own organization.

Going "All In" Toward Goals & Dreams

Walt Disney went bankrupt in 1923. Rather than giving up, he boarded a train with $40, a single suitcase, and a one-way ticket. This “All In” decision forever changed the course of history.

Get inspired to achieve your greatest dreams and find the courage within yourself to keep going in Jeff’s signature keynote.

In this keynote, your audience will:

  • Learn to keep moving forward in challenging times.

  • Use courage to confront conflict.

  • Stop looking and start leading.

  • Let go of limiting beliefs.

  • Dismiss the doubters.

Lessons from The Happiest Place on Earth

Walt Disney refused to settle. He was often challenged on all sides to eviscerate his vision for the sake of cutting costs or compromising to the demands of others. He held fast. The lessons on customer service and providing a phenomenal guest experience are extensive.

In this keynote, your audience will:

  • Learn “The Power of Vision”

  • Discover the importance of influence.

  • Understand the strength of empowerment.

  • Accept accountability.

  • Lead through example.

  • Pay attention to the details.

  • Value consistent encouragement to create teamwork.

Walt Disney and the Power of Resilience

Walt survived an impoverished childhood, and he lived through the Spanish Flu, World War I, and the Great Depression. Despite everything, he still managed to build “The Happiest Place on Earth.” He also bounced back from Disneyland’s opening day disaster to welcoming one million guests in less than 7 weeks.

Learn how Walt turned his troubles and (many) obstacles into opportunities, and how you can do the same!

In this keynote, your audience will:

  • Learn how to do the “Next Right Thing.”

  • Know how, in the midst of a crisis, to pivot, innovate, and be resourceful.

  • Be like Walt, “Never be beaten at anything.”

  • Find focus, seek solutions & take responsibility.

  • Rely on themselves and their network.

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