Top 5 Ways to Thank Disney Cast Members
As this week of Thanksgiving continues, let’s take a moment to appreciate the people who most deserve your gratitude. While working for The Walt Disney Company is a dream job to many, one that they hold from a young age, the reality is a bit different.
Working for Disney, especially at a theme park, is trying. The pay’s not great, the hours are rough, and some of the customers don’t act like they’re at the Happiest Place on Earth. Despite all of these challenges, cast members loyally soldier on, believing that they serve a higher purpose by sprinkling dust on guests and thereby adding extra magic to many lives. Yes, Disney employees are noble beings worthy of high praise. Today, let’s examine a few tangible ways that you can show thanks to cast members.
Thank Them by Memorializing the Experience
Cast members like to feel included. And one of the realities of working at a Disney theme park is that you will get your picture taken frequently. It’s not a job for the camera-shy. The oddity of the situation provides an opportunity for you.
When a cast member goes above and beyond with their customer service, ask them to take a picture with you. This isn’t an usual request for Disney workers, and most will happily join you and your party in a photograph. It’s a wonderful way to commemorate the experience. The only caveat is that cast members tell me that they find the situation a bit strange if you only want to take a picture of them. That’s a more invasive request, so please don’t do that.
Thank Them by Tweet
Do you use Twitter any at all? Assuming that the answer is yes, you should follow @WDWToday. It’s the official in-park Twitter feed for Walt Disney World. Similarly, @Disneyland is the official account for Disneyland Resort.
These two social media feeds love to give a hearty pat on the back to deserving cast members. When you have a wonderful story to share about great customer service, simply make a tweet about it. Then, add the notation of #CastCompliment along with the cast member’s name and the location where you received the act of kindness.
Disney monitors this hashtag to identify terrific job performances. They will track down some of the deserving cast members and award these workers with certificates or plaques. It’s a tremendous source of pride for the cast members, and some of the stories may give you warm fuzzies, too. You can even bookmark this link to see all the cast compliments in real-time.
PS: Disney actually adds cast member compliments to the work records of the various employees. When you tweet your thanks, you’re helping a worthy Disney worker in their career. Disney weighs this factor when choosing job promotions and salary increases.
Thank Them by Notifying Their Superior
Disney has shift bosses just like at any other company. Each cast member has a direct superior who is in charge of and responsible for job performance. These onsite coordinators get to dole out the plum assignments, and they also have some influence over job shifts. Remember how you used to hate working on the weekends in college? Even at Disney theme parks, that’s still true.
A kind word to a shift supervisor helps the cast member the same way that a tweet does. You’re letting a direct superior know that one of their workers is special. It again leads to a commemorative certificate of job excellence plus a notation in the employee file. A worker with a lot of cast member acknowledgements is more likely to get desired shifts and off-days. Plus, it’s an easy way to become the teacher’s pet of the work crew. Bosses always love the employees that make them look good.
So, when you have a great encounter with a cast member, ask to tell their boss. Some Disney employees are modest about this stuff, but don’t let them dissuade you. They deserve the showing of gratitude, right?
Thank Them by Phone
Did you know that some people still use their telephones to talk, not just to text? It’s true. These technological dinosaurs believe in the lost art of conversation. If you’re one of them, which is to say if you’re like me, you can call Disney’s Guest Services phone numbers to tell your tale of cast member greatness. The phone number for Disneyland is (714) 781-4636, and the one for Walt Disney World is (407) 824-4321.
Thank Them by Writing a Note
Are you a person of letters? Penning the perfect note is my second-favorite way of thanking a cast member. You get to go into specific detail about what the Disney worker did as well as how it positively impacted your vacation and maybe even your perception of Disney as a company.
If you don’t want to wait until later, you have another option while you’re at the park. Head over to Guest Relations and request a comment card. You won’t have as much room to write, and so you’ll have to be less verbose. Still, you can quickly get the point across, and the cast member will receive instant gratification that much sooner.
Thank Them by Personalizing Your Gratitude
This phenomenon is a relatively recent one. A few years ago, some enterprising Disney guest had the bright idea to reward cast members with special thank you notes. Word quickly spread about the concept, and it’s now become THE best way to thank a cast member. Seriously, many Disney workers proudly display their favorite thank you notes on their social media pages and sometimes even their refrigerators and walls.
All you need to take this step is a blueprint you can use to print a slew of cards. Sites like Pinterest have plenty of options, and other sites have detailed models. You can find many suggestions online for the best way to create cast member appreciation cards.
The only advice I’ll add to the chorus is that you should pick your favorite Disney character as the basis for the card. In doing so, you’re showing the cast member something about yourself. For the same reason, you should always identify your family and the purpose of your vacation. Something like “Jones Family Summer Disney Trip 2018” lets the cast member know who they helped and why it mattered.
When you make your own thank you card, the underlying purpose is that you want to show gratitude to a cast member in a memorable, unique way. As such, personalization is crucial to the process. Give of yourself so that the cast member knows exactly how thankful you are.
I’m firmly of the opinion that every frequent Disney theme park visitor should carry cast member appreciation cards with them at all times. Disney’s workers deserve that sort of positive reinforcement, and we should give thanks for their constant excellence on the job.