Wilderness Lodge Self-Propelled Linen Cart Patent

Test Track and backstage Epcot
Test Track and backstage Epcot.

What you are about to read was written years ago. It is part of my Disney Creativity and Innovation Insights book. It is randomly being shared today…

Disney Lodgekeepers (housekeepers at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge) had an idea shortly after Disney’s Wilderness Lodge opened in 1994.

To maximize daily efficiency with the fewest number of linen-room trips for supplies, Lodgekeepers packed as much onto their linen carts as possible.

A heavy linen cart on a carpeted floor is hard to push.

In the mid-1990’s Walt Disney World was unveiling Performance Excellence – an unprecedented management reorganization.

The primary goal was to tap into the knowledge “library” and experience base of the front line Cast Members.

The secret leadership ingredient that went missing from all previous “empowerment” initiatives was leadership involvement and approval.

Performance Excellence was designed to provide the missing link.

When the Cast said they wanted a self-propelled linen cart (like a self-propelled lawn-mower), leadership checked with our linen-cart vendor and you can just imagine their response.

Cool idea, but no.

Such a thing didn’t exist.


So Disney leadership relayed the message to the Cast and the Cast responded, “But you said this time we promise.”

Long story longer – guess who co-owns the patent for the first ever self-propelled linen cart?

Additional backstory:

Disney’s Central Shops (where we build the Magic) and the linen-cart vendor partnered to invent the cart and receive the patent.

A Disneyland Merchandise Executive was visiting Walt Disney World – specifically, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – and noticed the self-propelled linen cart in her hallway.

She took an existing idea and made it work for the food and beverage carts at Disneyland.

Can you imagine how heavy a beverage cart is that’s full of cases of bottled and canned drinks?

Creativity, for Disneyland Merchandise, didn’t mean invention, it meant adaptation.

•  •  •  •  •

This website is about our HOME. This is the fifth of five daily, differently-themed blog posts about: (1) mind, (2) body, (3) spirit, (4) work, (5) home. To return to Mid Life Celebration, the site about MIND, click here.

By jeff noel

Retired Disney Institute Keynote Speaker and Prolific Blogger. Five daily, differently-themed personal blogs (about life's 5 big choices) on five interconnected sites.