Top Tips: Cast Member Interactions
August 16, 2018
Cast Members of the Disney Parks are essential to the overall Disney experience. To help us get the most out of these brilliant employees, guest blogger Lexie has provided us with some great tips, in her first post for Down Under Disney! Enjoy!
It’s easy to forget that for some, Disney theme parks are not only holiday destinations, but workplaces. Did you know that Disney World is America’s largest single site employer, with just shy of 90,000 employees. What’s that? It takes a lot of people to make a lot of magic? You’d better believe it!
It takes a lot of people to make a lot of Magic at Walt Disney World.
Take a second to think about their situation… For the people that bring the Disney park magic to life, it’s not all princesses and pixie dust. It can be tough to keep a smile for up to 12 hours a day (not to mention manage a range of challenges at lightning speed). Don’t take it personally, but at times it’s also tough to deal with you, the guest! On any given day a Disney theme park employee will come into contact with anywhere between 200 and 2,000 guests. Some of them kind and considerate and others just plain rude! We are all human, so a little bit of kindness can go a long way. More than that, there are a few simple things you can do to unlock some extra magic (you’ll earn some brownie points with the kids for sure). After all, it’s the people that you meet along the way that can make a Disney visit even more special. We all remember that one person who gave us (or our kids) that extra big Disney grin.
As each cast member role at Disney holds its own challenges, I’ll introduce general pointers and will focus on specific roles in the weeks to come. “Cast member, what’s that?” you say. Take a read of my top tips to learn a little about Disney etiquette and make sure you are memorable for all of the right reasons.
Despite being the happiest place on earth, it’s not always easy for cast members to keep up a smile!
1: Not just an employee, but a “cast member”
If you think about it, everything in Disney parks is part of a show. There are sets, costumes, scripts and even… cast members! Each Disney park employee, whether they be on stage or behind a register, are performing a role in the magic that is your Disney trip. That’s right, everyone working in a Disney park is technically a “cast member”. If you refer to an employee as a cast member, they’ll know straight away that you are a real Disney lover. This will take your employee – customer relationship to a new level. It’s magic! Go for it, call people “cast members” and just see the conversation, smiles and extra magic that comes your way.
Getting to know cast members can make your trip that much better! Photo Credit: Ryan Ward
2: Search for the location’s hidden mickey together
If you look hard enough, you’ll find a little Mickey Mouse in every single Disney park location. Whether it be a shop, attraction or restaurant, there will be a creative little mickey just waiting to be found. Cast members love quizzing guests on their location’s hidden mickey. When lines and wait times are long, searching for a hidden mickey with the nearest cast member can help pass the time and distract from that 120 minute wait to meet Elsa ha! Your kids might even find themselves with another mickey sticker if they spot the lil guy.
3: Ask for little details and tidbits
There is a lot to take in at any Disney park. Don’t be overwhelmed, it’s all part of the experience, go with it. To help you process the magic, cast members have received significant training on each element of the guest experience. Ask them about it! Too often the weeks spent in training go unused. Cast members are just bursting to talk about their location, their park and knowledge on all things Disney. Why not start up a conversation about the castle, or ask why there are trash cans every twenty steps. You’ll be amazed at how knowing little facts will make your trip that much more fun!
4: There is no place like home!
More often than not, cast members are far from home. In particular, WDW cast members are likely part of the Disney College Program. This means that they are from around the world and away from their families. Not only will they be secretly homesick, but they will have interesting knowledge to share about their local culture. No doubt your kids would love to know more about Chile or France! Simply ask your cast members about home and you’ll kill some waiting time and save on geography lessons! More than that, if you find a fellow Aussie, it can be particularly heartwarming. There is something special about running into Australians overseas, a warmth of Aussie pride will overcome you both and an unforgettable moment could jump out. Ask away!
Chilling with characters (and compatriots) always reduces homesickness!
5: Patience, Please and Thank you.
There is nothing worse than a guest who wants to rush a cast member and not acknowledge their efforts. Think of the millions of families that come through the parks each year – they are not all as nice as yours. Part of the Disney parks magic is the face to face interaction with someone who makes magic for a living, remember that. Take your time, be patient and be kind. They know the line is long and they are doing their best. If you’re able to show a little gratitude, you’ll stand out from the crowd and might even unlock an extra smile. If your kids are particularly well behaved, mickey stickers or colouring sheets might appear! You’ve got it, manners are magical.
Treat Cast Members well and you will all feel a little bit more like this.
That’s it, a few simple tips to bring a little more magic to your next Disney visit. They are simple, but easy to forget. Give them a go and I guarantee you will not be disappointed. Who knows, you might even make someone’s day.
Lexie is an avid Disney fan who has great experience with the Disney Parks. She spent 6 months working at WDW in the Cinderella Royal Table restaurant and volunteered for 4 years on Dizradio.