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Thread: Not Just a Job

  1. #1

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    Not Just a Job

    After reading a lot of these threads & experiencing the parks myself, I have come to the realization that a lot of us have forgotten what we are there for. This is not an attack, but a wake up call. As Cast Members, we cannot control the actions of a Guest or the actions of the Company. We can control the actions of ourselves though. A lot of Cast Members seem to have forgotten that it is a PRIVILEGE & HONOR to even be selected to work at one of the Disney parks. A true Cast Member is one who is in the "Disney Zone" thus making it not a job that you have to do, but something you look forward to wanting to do everyday. Those of you who are in the "Zone" know who you are and know what I am talking about. I agree, the Company of late as well as some Guests do make it more difficult to stay in that "Zone" than in years past, but as Cast Members, if everyone just throws their hands up and forgets what they are there for, NOBODY WINS! I applaud any current Cast Member who understands this and goes out of their way each & everyday to give 110% to the Guest Experience. This is what working at a Disney Park is all about. The Emotional Reward. Disney Zoners, please post your thoughts.

  2. #2

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    Nice post. the problem is two-fold. One, the caliber of both the average WDW guest and CM has fallen greatly over the past decade and two, Disney used to value both its cast and guests, but now management openly treats both groups with contempt.

    No amount of pixie dust is gonna change those realities or magically turn the clock back to 1975, 1985 or even 1995.

  3. #3

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    As a Castmember in one of the resorts I find that an increasing number of guests expect far too much. When it rains, they want to be compensated, when they come on the busiest weekends and the lines long, they expect the hotel to compensate them for that. We even had one guy expect us to give him a free night because of a bad meal at a Red Lobster off property. When you are working in a high guest contact area and you hear more complaints than comments, it begins to wear down even the best Castmembers.
    You go out of your way to provide a little extra magic, and you get nothing in return, even in the form of a simple smile or thank you, after awhile you also begin to think why should I bother.
    I love working at Disney, it's the main reason I moved here. I don't care that the pay is lower, I'm working where I want to work and happy to be there. I try hard to do the best I can, and go the extra mile. Unfortunately at least once a day there is one guest that makes me think why should I bother.
    I was at the park one night waiting for Wishes. There was a guy and his family eating ice cream sundaes or cones from the ice cream shop. When they were finished, do you think they could have dropped their garbage in the trash can they were using as a table. Nope, on the street it went.
    You also don't wait until the day you arrive and decide to eat at Cinderella Castle for breakfast the next day and expect to get a table, just because you sre staying in a Disney resort.
    I hate it when people state the caliber of the Cast is down, if it is, then guests are also a cause of it. After all, a person can only take being yelled at, threatened, spit at, being accused of screwing up ones vacation for so long. The expectations of many guests are out of this galaxy (Mickey Mouse does not come to every guest room and say goodnight or welcome to every child nor do you get a Magic Kingdom Castle view just because you are on property. Pop Century is quite far for that to happen.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by ti2gr
    The expectations of many guests are out of this galaxy (Mickey Mouse does not come to every guest room and say goodnight or welcome to every child nor do you get a Magic Kingdom Castle view just because you are on property. Pop Century is quite far for that to happen.
    Quite an interesting commentary and I just wonder if the COMPANY is responsible, at least in part, for setting up this expectation. It has become such a competitive market out there for the American dollar (I'm sure particularly for the travel dollar spent) and it seems the Disney advertising would have all of us believing the magic is around every corner.
    I remember taking my very first cruise on the Disney Magic in 1998. Since I had never been on any cruise before, I relied heavily on the printed material I'd received from Disney to tell me what to expect.
    What I found in reality was a good bit different from all of the promises made in the promotional brochures and travel documents. Not that it was a bad cruise, but I think there were some things that were over-sold. IMO, it is better to undersell and over-deliver than to set up such high expectations that are unrealistic to live up to.
    Yes, we guests should all be intelligent enough to know what is real and what is the magic of television commercials, but some out there just aren't savvy enough to know.

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    I always treat cast members with the utmost respect when I visit the parks. But it never fails to amaze me how many people seem to "check their brain" when they go on vacation.

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    ^^^ Indeed! A lot of people are monsters when they're on vacation, and treat CMs like dirt. I just don't get it - I mean, these people are here to help make our stay at Disney more magical - why yell at them?
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by AllisonWonderland
    Quite an interesting commentary and I just wonder if the COMPANY is responsible, at least in part, for setting up this expectation. It has become such a competitive market out there for the American dollar (I'm sure particularly for the travel dollar spent) and it seems the Disney advertising would have all of us believing the magic is around every corner.
    I think this is bascially true. Remember the commercial a few years ago for WDW, where the family was checking into what looked like a Grand Floridian room? The bellman opened up the balcony window, and the little boy went "ooooooh" at the spectacular view of the castle? Now, never mind that this view doesn't exist from any hotel room, anywhere on property. Just imagine the people that checked in during that time, wanting a castle view, and getting a teeny little castle way over there across the lagoon.

    You put it well, Allison - better to slightly underpromise and overdeliver. But that's not the way of modern marketing. It's too bad, as the Disney properties are so spectacular as they are as to not really need overselling, yet they do it anyway. It's no wonder people are disappointed from time to time.

  8. #8

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    Isn't it amaizing when you go on vacation to some other place like Washington DC, New Orleans, the general public will almost come back with a sad story. But, once you step on WDW property, we believe we're all walking on clouds and everyone is there at our beck and call.

    I think part of this because adults believe WDW is the same place we visted as a kid. My daughter never knows that I may have to ask for something that isn't right or might need the attention of a CM, and she shouldn't either.

    This year will be my 3 trip in as many years, and I feel good in saying that I've never had any problems with a CM at any point. They have all be respectful and done what they can when they can. I have seen the other side of the coin as well and feel bad that my kids have to watch someone lose their cool.

    I turn into a 5 year old once I get onto property and most of it is knowing I will see Mickey in a few minutes, but alot of credit is due to those first CM's you see at the check in desks or welcoming you to WDW.
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  9. #9

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    slowbee,
    I agree with what you're saying and it is at least 50% (probably more) about guest attitude. The job of Disney CM is not for everyone, I'm sure. Those who make our vacations truly magical deserve so much credit and there are so many wonderful people out there willing to take that challenge. Most of the time, if we are polite in our requests, we'll get more than we asked for.
    We may check our brains at the gate, but we should most certainly not leave our etiquette standards behind as well.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by ti2gr
    As a Castmember in one of the resorts I find that an increasing number of guests expect far too much. When it rains, they want to be compensated, when they come on the busiest weekends and the lines long, they expect the hotel to compensate them for that. We even had one guy expect us to give him a free night because of a bad meal at a Red Lobster off property.
    Yes. It's pathetic. It's called entitlement mentality. And I'm sorry if this is going to sound nasty to a CM that has to deal with the pubic daily --and I don't envy you one bit -- but Disney has been its own worst enemy with this.
    Starting sometime in the early-mid 1990s Disney's great reputation for guest service, something much deserved btw, became a blanket excuse for people to ask ... or demand anything. Worse, Disney management began to give in, thinking it was better to comp a night or a few meals or some tickets, rather than lose a guest that was spending thousands. Because of that switch in policy two things happened:

    1.) Idiots were allowed to take advantage and even steal outright from the company left and right in order to keep them as happy customers (not guests);
    2.) Guests with GENUINE concerns/complaints often got terrible service because CMs were (rightly) suspicious of every guest that had a problem/negative experience. Often real problems went ignored or were paid lipservice because CMs simply didn't care, especially low level management where many of the faces of Disney were folks that were WalMart and Burger King rejects.


    Quote Originally Posted by ti2gr
    When you are working in a high guest contact area and you hear more complaints than comments, it begins to wear down even the best Castmembers.
    You go out of your way to provide a little extra magic, and you get nothing in return, even in the form of a simple smile or thank you, after awhile you also begin to think why should I bother.
    I love working at Disney, it's the main reason I moved here. I don't care that the pay is lower, I'm working where I want to work and happy to be there. I try hard to do the best I can, and go the extra mile. Unfortunately at least once a day there is one guest that makes me think why should I bother.
    I was at the park one night waiting for Wishes. There was a guy and his family eating ice cream sundaes or cones from the ice cream shop. When they were finished, do you think they could have dropped their garbage in the trash can they were using as a table. Nope, on the street it went.
    You also don't wait until the day you arrive and decide to eat at Cinderella Castle for breakfast the next day and expect to get a table, just because you sre staying in a Disney resort.
    All I can tell you as someone who knows many people who either work or worked for Disney (from hourly park CMs to mid-level managers to WDI creative to executives), I can say without a doubt that you either learn to put up with it, leave and keep your sanity or stop caring altogther. (My choice would be to leave, but that's a personal quality of life issue).


    Quote Originally Posted by ti2gr
    I hate it when people state the caliber of the Cast is down, if it is, then guests are also a cause of it. After all, a person can only take being yelled at, threatened, spit at, being accused of screwing up ones vacation for so long. The expectations of many guests are out of this galaxy (Mickey Mouse does not come to every guest room and say goodnight or welcome to every child nor do you get a Magic Kingdom Castle view just because you are on property. Pop Century is quite far for that to happen.
    Well, I'd like to say I'm sorry for saying that, but I'm not. It's a fact. I don't know how old you are, what your life experience is and how long you've been with the Mouse. But I've been going to WDW quite regularly as a Floridian since 1974. CMs were universally damn close to perfect in the 1974-85 era. From 1985-1995 most were still very good, but you'd regularly experience a bad apple or two everytime you were at WDW. In the last decade, CMs are at best a 25-50-25 proposition in my experience. 25% are still great or very good. They care about guest service and understand they are part of an incredible legacy. 50% just look at WDW as another job. They may give good service, bad service or just in between, but they don't 'get' Disney. They don't care about pixie dust or magical vacations. They care about getting through the day and how managment is going to screw them over in a new costcutting manner the next day. The other 25%? Well, they are the type of CMs who would never have even been considered as recently as a decade ago. They have bad personalities, appear slovenly, many can't speak English (even if its their native tongue), wouldn't smile at a guest if you put a gun in their back and are generally miserable. Many of them have serious issues, either emotional, physical or psychological, if not criminal (I've oberved Disney job fairs on this) issues. They say WalMart to me all the way, but they were probably rejected there.

    By far the best CMs I have experienced over the past 2-3 years have been folks who don't need their paychecks -- College Program kids, retired seniors and, recently, Hong Kong trainees.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by AllisonWonderland
    Quite an interesting commentary and I just wonder if the COMPANY is responsible, at least in part, for setting up this expectation. It has become such a competitive market out there for the American dollar (I'm sure particularly for the travel dollar spent) and it seems the Disney advertising would have all of us believing the magic is around every corner.

    GREAT point. Disney is responsible in large part.

    Recently, instead of creating true magical experiences, Disney just markets 'the magic' ... and as anyone with a clue can tell you, it's quite difficult to market something that doesn't exist.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Labuda
    ^^^ Indeed! A lot of people are monsters when they're on vacation, and treat CMs like dirt. I just don't get it - I mean, these people are here to help make our stay at Disney more magical - why yell at them?
    I know this was likely rhetorical, but when I have I ever shut up (don't answer, that was rheto...nevermind) ...but Iggy, a lot of people are monsters period. It just doesn't come out whe they arrive at WDW. What scares me is that Disney allows so much bad behavior (sometimes criminal) to go on in the zest to grab every last penny from consumers.

  13. #13

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    I was at the opening Star Wars weekend this year and I witnessed a lady screaming at a CM because it was so busy over by Star Tours and if she had know she wouldn't have come, they never posted it on the web site... blah blah blah. It was disgusting, I wanted to tell the CM that I would take care of this for her and then start screaming back at her, but for some reason I didn't think that would help the situation.
    He felt like his life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.
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  14. #14

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    It's sad to read of all of this rudeness among Disney guest. Last week I visited WDW and never encountered a single rude cast member. Also, I treat each of these people with respect. I want "good show" and generally get it. Sure, there was the guy at the Marina at Wilderness Lodge who was overworked, but he was pleasant, and well...if I had to single out a single CM who provided bad service it was my server at Coral Reef Restaurant in the Living Seas pavilion in Epcot.

    However, I have a work friend who was also at Disney at this time giving his elderly parents the works trip at Polynesian Resort on concierge level. I talked with him the other day and he was absolutely amazed about his experience and the attention offered to him and his family. He goes to WDW about once a year and had never experienced this attention to detail before on any prior trip anywhere in the entire resort. He knew from past visits about WDW's usually excellent customer service, but this.... well...

    In a small way, I must admit my jealousy, but then I thought of my week at WDW. I did not encounter a single CM providing me bad service (except for my Coral Reef waiter...and he was tipped accordingly btw). The vast majority of CMs were exactly what I expected. And from this jaded New Yorker, that's saying something!
    Last edited by RonNYC; 06-13-2005 at 10:16 PM.

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    ..And you got to meet TDLFAN!!! Now, how cool is that!?!?!?

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