What started out as a pleasant day at the Disneyland Resort ended with a stellar magical Disney moment ruined by an ill-tempered Cast Member.
Since moving back to Southern California from Boston in late October, I have been to the Disneyland Resort a lot. I have had countless encounters with Cast Members and had no complaints whatsoever. If anything, I went to City Hall to talk about several great experiences that I had. In fact, one of my all-time favorite things to do at the park is to observe the Disney characters interacting with guests. (There are a couple of Trip Reports floating around about me marveling at how well the experiences played with guests.)
But tonight fellow MiceChatters and friends of MiceChatters had a run in with one of the rudest Cast Members I have ever met.
After a long, fun day at both parks, we decided to go to a couple of attractions at the end of the night. MC member, General You, had wanted to ride Roger Rabbit, so we were going to make our way from Main Street to ToonTown when we noticed something odd and something most of us had never seen before: Mickey Mouse on Main Street USA... alone.
Okay, I have never seen this before and I have been coming to the park since June 21, 1981. It was exciting. So Not Afraid, General You, Evil Minion, Cupcake and Cupcake's partner went up to Mickey who was decked out in his Year of a Million Dreams tuxedo near the Disney Showcase store. Mickey was busying himself by inspecting the nearby railings insuring that they were spotless by giving them the white glove treatment… literally. Being the Disney Geek that I am, I gave Mickey a big 'ol hug and told him that he looked lonely so we came to keep him company. We all crowded around him and were basically telling him we were happy to see him. His CM assistant, Nathaniel, overheard our conversation and said sarcastically, “Yeah, I bet he’s thrilled to see you, too.” I mean, this guy was already in a bad mood which had zero to do with us.
We ignored his comment and focused on Mickey. Mickey was great. He showed us his new duds and even pointed out his Mickey cuff links. We had Mickey to ourselves and it was wonderful.
When I noticed a few people crowding around, I asked him if we could take a picture with him. He said yes and we asked Nathaniel to take our pic. He was helpful at first. We lined up and he had us reposition ourselves a couple of times saying that there was a glare that was obscuring our pic, so we moved. Lo and behold when he clicked, there was no flash. Not Afraid went to attend to her camera to activate the flash. Nathaniel handed the camera to Not Afraid and she told him that she was going to adjust the settings to activate the flash. At this point, Nathaniel was already dismissing us. He told us, "You need to fix that, it's your camera. I can't fix it. We need to move this along, there are people waiting."
I am positive that we were not the first people ever to have a flash not work in the history of character picture taking in Disneyland. I mean, cut us some slack, it happens. In fact, the flash was probably disabled in the first place to accommodate the “no flash” rules in DL attractions.
So, we’re totally feeling uneasy about this CM. To break the tension, Cupcake leans over to Mickey and says, "I think he's a little grumpy at us." The point was to place humor into a very uncomfortable situation.
Mickey agreed with Julie and nodded his head. Nathaniel hears this, Cupcake says, "I'm just kidding."
Not Afraid fixes the problem and hands the camera back to Nathaniel. He refuses to take it. He says with his hands up, "Nope. I'm done."
No Afraid tries again.
"Nope." He says.
Then Mickey pantomime pleads for Nathaniel to take the picture.
Nathaniel says to all of us (Mickey included), "You guys are on your own."
So Cupcake removes herself from the picture and she takes it while Nathaniel stands there watching us. We thanked Mickey and began to walk off.
This totally stellar moment was completely ruined.
As we were walking off, Not Afraid, living up to her username, decides to confront this guy on his rude behavior. She asks him, "I'm sorry what's your name?"
He doesn’t tell her his name, he shows her the nametag and points to City Hall and says, “City Hall is over there. Make sure you tell them the whole story.”
For two seconds, we decided not to pursue this incident further. We were thinking we’d just brush it off. But then we changed our minds and made a U turn on Main Street and headed for City Hall.
On our way, I noticed two CMs that looked like leads having an impromptu meeting in front of the Emporium. Everyone else walked to City Hall. I decided to ask these leads if I could speak to them. (In the past, I tried to register a complaint with City Hall about Rockin’ Space Mountain. They handed me a 3X5 card with an address to write a snail mail letter to. I wanted to speak to a human, but oh well.) This time, I definitely wanted to speak to a human.
Before approaching the leads, I ran into a Million Dreams CM and asked him to introduce me to the leads. He informed me that they were not leads but managers. I told him I had a complaint and he told me that these were the people to talk to.
The two managers I spoke with were very pleasant and interested in what I had to say. I told them the entire story.
“But he eventually took the second picture of all of you, right?” One of them asked me.
“Nope. He refused.” I told them.
They were quite surprised and visibly upset at this. I even told them that Mickey couldn’t get him to take our picture.
The managers offered me a new picture with Mickey that they themselves would snap, but being that I was now separated from my group, I thanked him and didn’t take him up on it. (Besides, as General You said later the moment was long gone now.)
The managers apologized up and down for Nathaniel and even offered us a front of the line pass for one attraction for our entire group. I didn’t take it. It wasn’t about me wanting something for free, it was more about them hearing about this awful experience.
They thanked me for our talk and headed off to speak to the CM.
So, after our spin on Roger Rabbit, we decided to take a tour through Mickey’s House. That way, we were guaranteed a picture with the big cheese with all of us this time.
I guess the moral of the story is: Dreams do come true at Disneyland, but sometimes you gotta make them come true by yourself.
PS ~ Despite our run in with the grumpy Cast Member, we had a great time. I’m glad we said something to management, though.
Here are our pics:
General You, Evil Minion, me, the Big Cheese, Cupcake's partner and Not Afraid
Pic by Cupcake
Us, Cupcake and HauntedMansionMike included this time.
(I like Mickey in his classic duds better...)
Pic by Mickey's House CMs