Part of the magic guests experience while they are in Walt Disney World stems from the personalized experience Cast Members deliver to guests. Here is how you can thank them for the care they devote to taking care of guests. Whether it is a grand gesture doused in Pixie Dust, an offer to snap a photo of your family, or a friendly conversation during bag check, Cast Member (CM) interactions with Walt Disney World Resort guests go a long way towards shaping guest experiences.
I have yet to go on a Disney trip where a CM didn’t go out of the way to make a member of my travel party feel special. It is part of the reason I am a repeat visitor. I have seen photographers turn into comedians to make a toddler smile. I have seen tears over a lost toy melt into smiles over brand new gifts from a cast member making note of a lost item. I have seen bus drivers turn into EVC driving coaches.
Sure Cast Members are paid to do their jobs, but some of them go above and beyond to spread the magic, and I am delighted that there are a number of ways to thank them.
1. Say Thank You!- This may seem simple and obvious, but it can never be said enough. Cast members experience a lot of complaints and ingratitude day in and day out. People get tired and grumpy, a combination that can fuel negative interactions. Sometimes just saying thank you as you pass through security, when you receive the towels you asked for, when your food appears on the counter, or when you exit a bus might not be such a little thing. It is even sweeter if you are traveling with kids and teach them to thank the people who run the show.
2. Write a Thank You Note- My children have taken to the practice of taking simple thank you cards to the parks. My littlest traveler loves pulling a card out from behind her back to hand to people who make her smile. She has a knack for choosing CMs who probably don’t get a ton of recognition: those who are tasked with re-parking strollers, the security guards at bag check, the character attendants who hold Sharpies for the forgetful, the people pointing the way to the buses at night. Her older sibling plans his “Thank Yous” out a bit more discerningly. For example, he has already written a note for our next trip addressed to one of his heroes: the person who operates Space Mountain. I keep a few in the bag myself. So if someone carries my tray for me or gifts my children ice cream, a toy, or an extra turn on a ride, I have a card ready most of the time. Hand written notes work, but you can also print out little notes using a template.
3. Tweet a Cast Compliment-I created a Twitter account JUST so I could tweet out Cast Compliments (and also to follow @thepiratekenny, of course). I used to write guest services and still do if I have a LOT to say about someone, but Twitter does the job when it is a quick story that can be described briefly. If you want to Tweet cast compliments, simply make note of the CM’s name, town, where you met him/her, and a summary of your interaction. Be sure to add the hashtag #castcompliment. You can direct your Tweets to @WDWGuestService. They will probably respond to you. What’s more, they will print out the tweet and present it to the CM, and sometimes the CM will even respond to your Tweet!
(NOTE: the handle used to be the @WDWToday you see pictured, but @WDWGuestService is the new way to Tweet about your favorite CMS)
4. Send an Email-If your note of gratitude will not fit in a Tweet, as several of mine have not been able to, you can upgrade to an email. Again, remember to include the Cast Member’s name, town, where you met him/her, and a summary of your interaction. Cast Members receive recognition when guests shout them out in this way. Direct emails to [email protected] The compliments are passed along to the CM and his/her leadership team and noted in his/her file.
5. Visit Guest Relations-If you have time, you can also visit Guest Relations in person and handwrite your words of gratitude. You can visit Guest Services in the park or in your resort hotel. So if you happen to have a good experience, and you can catch Guest Relations with no line, hop in and submit a handwritten compliment. Again, they are passed along to the CMs and their leadership teams.
6. Mind your Behavior-Respect the park rules and be kind. Don’t be that guest who lets the weather, sleep deprivation, exhaustion, or mild disappointment of something that didn’t go quite according to plan get the best of you and take over your words and actions. It is true that there are some problems that are worth addressing with guest relations, but try not to take those experiences out on Cast Members who cannot provide the service you need. Guest Relations is there to listen and will try to resolve problems you may experience during your trip.
7. Tip IF it is appropriate-If you loved the service you received at a table service restaurant or the little towel animals Mouse Keeping created, go ahead and show it with a tip. However, keep in mind that many CMs cannot accept tips and instead opt for a different way to say thanks.
If you encounter a CM who makes your trip feel extra magical, make a note of his/her name and town if you want to send out a compliment later. Some people like to make a note on their phones, and some people even ask to take a quick photo of the CM’s name tag. Regardless of how you thank your favorite cast members, you are sure to send a little bit of magic back at them.
Have you ever encountered a Cast Member who made your visit more magical?