Mickey, Magic and Memories

8939221Being a Cast Member is all about creating happiness for our Guests. Cast Members can make or break someone’s vacation.  Although there are many magical moments you experience while working at the parks, there is another side to the magic that Mickey doesn’t always tell you about . . . the Guests.  Guests can be perfectly charming or they can be perfectly difficult (the latter are often my favorite).

As a Cast Member, you get a variety of less than intelligent questions from less than well meaning Guests.  The Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playground and the Voyage of the Little Mermaid show are perfect examples.  I know it can be overwhelming coming to Walt Disneyworld and planning what shows and attractions you can enjoy all in a day’s time, and I know that the Show Times Guide, which coincidentally states all the shows and show times, can be a little confusing, and the giant board with the attraction wait time can be easy to miss, but that’s where us Cast Members come into play.  We’re here to answer all your questions such as, “What time does the 3:00 parade start?”  “Do these stairs go up or down?”  “The sign says it’s a 45 minute wait, is it really a 45 minute wait?”  “The sign says 2:45, does that mean the next show is in 2 hours and 45 minutes?”  “Where’s the potty?”  “Does this door go in or out?”

Questions like these that have prompted a fellow Cast Member and I to start thinking about creating our own theme park.  Among all our brilliant ideas, I must say I have the best idea for this theme park.  Before a Guest can buy a ticket, he or she must take an I.Q. test.  Don’t worry it’s nothing difficult and it won’t take more than five minutes.  It will just ask simple questions such as:

When you see a yellow line, do you stand behind it, on it, or past it?
Upon approaching an attraction, what does the board with the wait time mean?
Nine times out of ten you can’t take food or drinks onto an attraction.  True or False.
The park closes at seven does that means all attractions are closed at seven?

For me, the most magical moments with Guests occur at the Playground.  The conversation usually goes as follows:
Hi!  Welcome to the Playground!” says Esther, the most cheerful Cast Member at the Studios.
“Thank you,” says the distracted Guest.
A few feet later one can hear the Guest mumble to his or her companion, “What is this?”
Finally, they turn around and ask, “What is this?”
“It’s a playground,” I reply with a smile.
“A what?”
“A playground.”
“It’s not a show?” says the distraught Guest.
“No, it’s not a show.”
“Where’s the show?”
“We don’t have a show here,” I answer.
“So this is just a playground?”
“Yes, this is just a playground.”

If I had a dollar every time I had this conversation with Guests, I’d be a rich woman!  But in spite of the many questions, there are moments with Guests where you remember why you’re here.  Like when a little girl gives you a hug because you picked her to be your First Mate at The Voyage of the Little Mermaid and she just happens to be Ariel’s biggest fan, the little boy who blows you a kiss because you gave him a sticker, the mom who is overjoyed when you choose her and her two girls to be your First Family and sit in the front of the show because her girls were sad that they had to say goodbye to their dad that morning because he had to go back to work.  It’s the moment where a husband and wife come up to you with an autograph book and ask for your autograph to thank you for creating magic and happiness – They were celebrating their anniversary, but were more concerned about thanking the Cast Members than making it to shows and attractions.  It’s also the Guest who watched you find a “Lost Parent” and thanks you for helping that parent even though they were just bystanders and did not know the family.  It’s the girl who asks you to tell Ariel that she says hi.  It’s the boy with special needs who thinks you’re a princess simply because you said hi and gave him a sticker. . .  Its unexpected moments like these where the real magic happens.

Walt Disney once said, “Of all the things I’ve done, the most vital is coordinating those who work with me and aiming their efforts at a certain goal.”  Well Walt, there are still some of us here who think of you and create magic and happiness for our favorite mouse.

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