Sunday, April 4, 2010

I was Thinking About Thinking a Thought....but Decided I'd Write Instead


Pardon the slight LOST reference ahead...

I always talk about the Cast Member difference. About how we are in the business of making the guests happy, and as Major Paine says, “Business is good.” We go out of our way to make sure each guest has the best time possible at Disney World. This concept takes on different names, whether it’s “The Disney Difference” or “Magical Moments” or even “Just doing what I love.” But no matter what you call it, it works. It is why the guests come back again and again and again. They know that every time they come to Walt Disney World they can expect the same level of guest service. It is the constant.

But the problem with my constant prattling on about well…the constant, is that up to now I have forgotten to stress the absolute importance of the second part of the equation, the variable. But what is the variable in this equation (Cast Member + ? = Perfect Disney Experience)? Before I continue, let me point out two things: 1) This is obviously a simplified version of what I’m sure is a large equation full of fractions and multiplication and other ‘algorithmic’ doo-dads, but I’m not a math major so we are sticking A+B=C. 2)'?' Can equal whatever you want it to equal but because I rule over this magical kingdom known as the Purple Folder, it equals what I say it equals and that’s that…….so meh.

Anyways, back to faux math and the variable. So again, what is the variable? Well, it is the people around you, or at least most of them. I was writing a post on the different types of guests (which is still in the works) and when I was working on “the true Disney guest” two particular instances immediately came to mind. During one of our vacations to WDW I was charged with the task of getting fast passes to Test Track for the four of us that were there (my mom, brother, sister, and myself….I’m not sure where the other’s were). Anyways, I ran up ahead only to find out that Test Track was out of passes for the day. Discouraged, I turned around and I was ready to head back with the news when an older company two FP machines away called me over and handed me five FP that were for later in the evening. Apparently their group was able to get a dinner reservations for a restaurant in the World Showcase but it was during the allotted time. And rather than throwing them away or keeping them but not using them, they walked all the way to Test Track where I guess they figured someone would want them and gave them away (to me, SCORE!). I thanked them and that was that. Sort of…

You see, years later and this singular act of kindness still comes to me as I write these posts. And not just now, but when I was on the program as well. Most guests come to Disney World for anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks (roughly, I account for the European travelers here on ‘holiday’). In that time, they are trying to take in the full Disney experience because most of them don’t know the next time they’ll be back. We on the College Program however, can come and go as we please for months. We wake up in the morning (maybe feeling like P. Diddy, maybe not) and we say to ourselves, “Where do I want to go today? I can go for a swim, enjoy a nice walk around the block, or hey, what about a stroll down Main Street?” But I find myself getting further and further away from the point. Their kindness, in giving the FP, stuck with me.

The other instance that cames to mind (and maybe it’s just an EPCOT thing) as I write this happened at Soarin'. We had gotten to EPCOT around one in the afternoon and as you would expect, the FP for Soarin’s were just about out but we were able to get some for something like 9 or 9:30 (it’s been over a year, cut me some slack on the time). So my roommates and I (the aforementioned “we”) headed into the World Showcase where we proceeded to eat drink and be merry. Anyways, we were having such a great time that before we knew it, it was time to use the FP. Well, we decided that we would rather just stay in the WS and so we found a group of people roughly fitting our group size and we gave them the passes and told them that they were for the current time, their reaction though, I did not expect. They were from up north (maybe Pennsylvania?) and it was they’re first time to Disney World. One of the big things they wanted to do apparently was Soarin’ but the line was always about two and a half hours and the FP were generally out by the time they got there (I wonder what they would have thought if they saw the Toy Story Mania line). Any who, they told us that we made their vacation and thanked us and such. A small gesture and it made all the difference.

That is why the guests and guest interactions are such an important part of the Disney equation. What they (and we on our days off) have such a big impact on the overall experience. Now, I’m not telling you to give up your FP every time you have one, because we are allowed to have fun too. But keep this in mind don’t forget that even when you are a guest in the parks, you have just about as much of an ability to make a guest’s day as any Cast Member. Be a “true Disney guest” and as always….

Have a Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah-Day!!!!