Magic happens every day at Disneyland. I don’t understand how it happens, but I’m so thrilled that it does. I hear stories of pretzels bought for crying children, simple stickers handed out to transform a frown to a smile, families being chosen for special events and more.
Disney never fails to surprise me with its commitment to excellence. That’s a big part of why I do what I do – because I believe in this company, its purpose and its Cast Members.
Today, I’d like to talk about how to thank those Cast Members who went out of their way to make your day special. Follow me to learn how.
First, I’d love to share with you just a handful of magic my family has encountered over the years we’ve been visiting. I’m jotting down the first things that come to mind. The list is much longer than this.
- At our first family visit in 2002, Carter was invited to meet the conductors and ride “tender” – up close to the conductors.
- During the same visit, 2 year old Carter stood in near tears at Mickey Mouse walked off, as it was his time for a break. He saw Carter, called him over and spent some one-on-one time with him, above and beyond what someone would encounter during a regular meet-n-greet experience.
- While learning to pin trade, Carter could not decide between two pins that a Cast Member was wearing, so the CM gave him both for his single trade.
- Carter was chosen to be part of an impromptu band performance in Town Square with the band members and Donald Duck (who mocked him the entire time, playfully).
- Sally, Jack Skellington’s friend, went out of her way to ‘compare scars’ with my sister, Caroline, who received 18 stitches at our WDW visit last year. She took Caroline’s phone and insisted on taking selfies of the two of them together.
- Cinderella took Lainey’s hand and walked her to the castle, chatting along the way about all things princessy.
- I was chosen to “pilot” the Mark Twain Riverboat. (And, everyone knows I should never be given such power.)
Thanking Cast Members
When I think to thank a CM, it’s always after they go out of their way to do something for me. Just recently, I was inquiring about an ornament for a reader and could only find one on the shelf for display. The CM not only searched the store for more, but also went to the stock room to check and then searched the computer as well. Finally, she got out her book to look over old inventory to try to predict what we could be in store for this holiday season, discussing pricing and such along the way.
I talk to a lot of CMs during the day, so I know there will always be a good possibility that I will forget his or her name when it comes time to leave a thank you (details coming next on that). So, I’ve started the routine of taking photos of their name badge so that I can recall the name at the end of the day, when I’m usually finally able to leave the thank you. If you don’t feel comfortable taking a photo, make a note in your phone – jot down his or her name and where you encountered the CM.
Shannon from WDW Prep School has some cute ideas on how to thank the Cast Members directly. Check those out, as they’re a fun way to show your gratitude, too. Cast Members love any show of appreciation.
Or, go straight to management and make it official.
If you are in Disneyland, visit City Hall, which can be found in Town Square, to the left as you’re walking into the park, just after you pass under the tunnels.
If you are in California Adventure, visit The Chamber of Commerce, which is also to the left, as you walk into the park, just past Oswald’s Store.
You will stand in line for a moment typically and then will then have the chance to inform the Cast Member on duty of what your experience was. A half sheet of yellow paper will be filled out with information. Here is what the Cast Member on duty will ask of you:
- The Cast Member’s name who you are thanking.
- What time of the day this occurred.
- Where you were when it occurred. (Park, land, general area, etc)
- What happened.
The Cast Member will do all the writing after you explain what happened. You don’t leave your name or contact information. It’s a simple thank you and that’s it.
****Note: In the exact same fashion, you have the opportunity to leave a “concern” as Disneyland calls it, or a complaint. Disneyland goes above and beyond to hire quality people, but if you have a bad experience, you are welcome to alert the park with that issue, too.
Why It Matters
These little yellow slips of paper that are filled out go directly to the Cast Member’s manager and they are recognized in small and big ways for their accomplishment. These also go in their permanent Disney file, which can lead to transfers or promotions. If the department that the Cast Member works in is having a giveaway or a reward of some sort of special recognition, this will put them in a better position to receive that prize. The small time it takes for us to make this stop and show our gratitude can go a long way for these CMs.
As a society, we are often very quick to make a call or send an email if someone has upset us. I encourage you to take action – with the same urgency – to thank a Cast Member at Disneyland or California Adventure. The staff at these parks works so hard to ensure we all have the best visit ever and I absolutely believe they deserve more recognition than they receive.
And, if you leave the park without the time or ability to thank a Cast Member, please call Guest Experience Services at 714.781.4669. They can help you in the same manner as if you had walked into City Hall or The Chamber of Commerce.
Cast Members work incredibly hard, friends. Let’s give them some recognition!
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