Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Making a Cast Member's Day


 Last Friday for my first Florida Flashback Friday, I mentioned something I've done in the past to show thanks to the characters at Disney for what they do. But there are Cast Members (the name for Disney employees) all around the parks and resorts who go above and beyond and really show the Disney spirit.

I work in public service at a library, and I know that even at as laid-back a place as a public library we still sometimes have patrons who get angry and vicious. Even though Disney World is set up as a place apart, where people smile at strangers and friendly faces are everywhere, there are still many a parkgoer who enters this space with anger and selfishness. 

I've seen it many a time: exhausted CMs (Cast Members) who have to stand there and take a tongue-lashing from a vacationing jerk who thinks that the rules don't apply to him, or he should get special treatment because of all the money he spent on his vacation (like we aren't all in the same boat). Honestly, I can think of very few other jobs where the employee is so constantly expected to exude enthusiastic happiness and kindness under such high-pressure circumstances constantly trying to beat them down. To me, every CM who smiles or is kind and friendly is a hero for overcoming all of these difficulties to still exude the spirit of Disney World.

That was a bit of a rant, I know, but I want to make it clear just why I feel it's so important to encourage these CMs when they go above and beyond. Every day my husband and I start our day at Disney World not only with a conscious resolve to enjoy ourselves and be happy, but with a desire to keep our eyes open for opportunities to encourage others. Along those lines, we usually end up writing out at least one message to an outstanding CM on most park days (at Guest Relations).

Here's how it works, to the best of my understanding.

When you encounter a CM who goes above and beyond, make note of that person's name. They all wear badges.

First name is fine...don't weird out the CM by asking for their full name. Make mental note of the time and where you're at.

Later that day...there's no rush...stop by the Guest Relations location near the front of whatever park you are visiting. When your turn comes, explain you've received excellent customer service and want to leave kudos for the Cast Member.

Now, here's the tricky part. The CM behind the desk will give you one of two forms. There's the Applause-o-Gram, which I've heard is a nice message to the CM, but does nothing for their record.

Apparently the form you want to ask for is a "Guest Service Fanatic Card." The Fanatic Cards go on the CM's permanent record, and can enter them for prizes each month.

Be sure to fill out all of the details you remember in order to ensure your message is delivered to the right person. Include your information, the time the experience took place, the location, and any details you feel might make your kudos stand out to the CM's supervisors.

Now, if you forget in your end-of-day exhaustion to leave a good word for the CM you appreciated, don't despair! If you're still at the parks, you can stop by the Guest Relations location at whatever park you are visiting and still leave a message for the CM, even if they work at another park. Still try to put down as much information as you remember.

Even after you get home from your vacation, even then you can leave a good word for a Cast Member.  Write an email to:

Make sure you include your name, where you're from, your telephone/e-mail, and when you visited.

I can personally confirm that this works, as we forgot to leave kudos for an especially great CM last trip, and I emailed when I got home. Not only did I get a personal email back (the first email was a form email,l but after that I got back a personal message), but I also received a phone call from the supervisor of the CM to let me know that they had been recognized for their service.

Seriously, do this takes maybe five or ten minutes out of your Disney day (which, on Disney time is nothing at all) and means so incredibly much to the person you encourage. There are other ways to encourage CMs as well, and I'll talk about those in the future, but this is by far the way that most directly affects their job.

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