Cast Member Appreciation Month Stories

The Disney Parks are truly amazing pieces of art and entertainment but there is an often-overlooked portion that needs to be given some thanks.  It is not an attraction, marvel of architecture, new technology, or animatronic.  Quite the contrary, this piece of the park really is a living, breathing, attraction in itself.  It is the wonderful Disney CAST-MEMBER, and June of 2010 is Cast Member cast-member-ribbonAppreciation Month at The Magic in Pixels.  Without the Cast-Members, the Disney Parks would just be another place to go to blow off some steam and have fun, but the Cast-Members personally, and often thanklessly, transform Walt’s Dream into what we all know and love today.  Day after day, these dedicated individuals go on-stage in the heat, rain, and crowds to add another dimension to the experience.  By performing their roles with enthusiasm and vigor, they can personalize your experience into a one-of-a-kind magical moment and make your children feel as if they are on top of the world.

My family has benefitted many times from the generosity and graciousness of the Cast-Members and now it is time to give something back.  It is really quite simple:  without the dedicated, loyal, and selfless Cast-Members, the Disney Parks would lose their spirit and soul.

We have all been touched, affected, or had magic done for us by Cast-Members and all of you can help The Magic in Pixels celebrate the Cast-Members by digging into your photo archives (and brains) and coming up with your favorite photos and stories and sending them in for inclusion in the celebration.  Please be sure to include date, location, the Cast-Member’s name (if you have it), and a brief story about your experience and why you would love to share some appreciation for him/her.  Even if you don’t have a photo, your stories are certainly welcome- the more, the merrier.

With all of your help, this could really be something special for the Cast-Members, who truly need to be thanked and shown how much we all appreciate their hard work.

Please send your submissions to tim (at) themagicinpixels (dot) com.  Thanks!

 


Here is what you had to say!  Clicking on any of the images will take you to a slideshow featuring all of the wonderful cast members that we recognized here.  Thanks for your contributions and if you haven’t sent them in yet, please do!

BarbB writes: 
“This pic is of “Helen” – a lovely cast member who was working near the Aloha Isle area in the MK when we were down in Disney 22/04/2006, helenwhile my daughter was pregnant.  My daughter was approached by a little girl re: pin trading, and did a trade with her.  Moments later, the child’s grandmother approached my daughter with a string of verbal abuse in Spanish saying she’d taken advantage of the little girl (she hadn’t).  Helen was nearby, and very courteously acted as a mediator, got a Senior CM involved, and graciously resolved the situation.  My daughter was given a certificate good for a free pin by the Senior CM, and you can be sure we stopped by City Hall to put in a huge thank you to Helen.”


Craig writes: 
brad brucie jimi-janet“Brucie has been with the company over twenty years.  She was at Pleasure Island.  She was chosen to help open Top of the World Lounge at Bay Lake Tower.  She loves her job both at Top of the World as well as Disney itself.  Jimi was one of the best cast members ever at the Contemp.  He was a top-notch concierge who would do anything he could for a guest and was always so genuinely nice about it.  He left the company to further his education and is now enrolled full time at college.  Janet is a 20 plus year veteran at the contemporary.  She always does what she can for a guest and always is happy to do it.  She is one of the best, always smiling, always happy.  Brad Smith is our DVC guide. He is super professional, loves Disney, always calls back, and works very hard to make DVC fun to buy and understand.”

Mandy writes:

“As a cast member myself, I must say THANK YOU.  This is truly wonderful.”


Jeff writes:

“I’ll say one thing, Backlot Bob and everyone else involved in the contest at Pixelmania! last year are amazing!  Thanks for taking the time to do that for us!”

 


Michael writes:

“Many years ago when my family was at WDW for my sister’s Make A Wish trip, a cast member (I don’t remember her name) working at the souvenir cart at the exit of Splash Mountain asked my sister if she was having a good time.  This was right after she rode Splash for the first time and the big drop really scared her so of course my sister answered no.  So, the cast member grabbed on of those fake cast member name badge pins they sell and gave it to my sister which immediately brightened up her day.  It is amazing how such a small act of kindness by a cast member can create a magical moment for a guest.”

 


Ray and Nancy write:

“The date was September 2006.  Nancy and I had been married 5.5 years and never took a honeymoon because at the time we got married her employment as a Certified Athletic Trainer didn’t allow her to get time off of work (granted we gave them very little notice we were getting married…haha).  By the time she changed careers, my job was in full affect and I couldn’t get significant time off.  So time just kept clicking away with now real vacation….

So, we booked a trip to WDW in 2006 on the Magic Your Way Platinum Plan and stayed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

To add to the magic we were able to secure the Chef’s Table at Victoria & Alberts. The evening of our meal at the Chef’s Table, Nancy was getting ready and realized she forgot her hair pins.

Since we were staying on a concierge floor, we went to the concierge and asked for assistance. There was only two places we could go to get it and it was either the spa at the Grand Floridian or the spa and Coronado Springs.  It turned out that the Spa at the Grand Floridian was about to close but they told our concierge to send us to the Coronado Springs location. 

Since timing was tight, the concierge got Nancy a cab, made sure he knew where she needed to go and made sure he’d wait for her to bring her back. I went back to the room to get ready (it takes me a long time to get my tie tied in such a way so I have everything lined up right)

Well, Nancy came back and was very flustered.  Apparently, when she got to Coronado Springs, the cabbie wasn’t really sure where to get her, but found a CM on one of those golf carts and they spoke to him and the CM offered to drive Nancy to the Spa and the cabbie would wait there.

When Nancy got there, the spa was in the same space as the Health Club and she walked in and was immediately greeted by the manager of the Health Club who walked her to the spa where Nancy had asked for a couple hair pins.

The person over at the Grand Floridian (who we later found out was not only the manager of that facility but the manager over all the spas on property) had called ahead and informed them that Nancy would be coming and needed a couple hair pins.

Well, the CM at Coronado Springs went off on Nancy about how she couldn’t get any unless she paid to have her hair done and that she was sick and tired of those people at the Grand Floridian dropping problems in her lap.

The Health Club manager apparently got visibly upset and told the girl behind the desk to just give the guest a few hairpins that in the greater scheme of things it is not expensive.

It turned into quite the altercation and eventually the Health Club manager went behind the desk, found a box of hairpins and handed it over to Nancy and told her to have a nice dinner (she had told her story about us getting the Chef’s Table). Nancy told the Health Club Manager that she only needed 10 at most and didn’t need a whole box, and his response was, “I know you don’t need a whole box, but I think you deserve the whole box” and then assisted her back to the cabbie.

Well, at this time, I hadn’t met Tim and the only forum I was a member of was Michael’s at Explore The Magic and I listened to Inside the Magic and Mouse|Tunes podcasts.  But I did know that you needed to tell someone when you have a bad experience.

So, while Nancy was getting ready, I went back to the concierge desk (on the concierge floor) and spun the whole stressful tale to the people there (there were 3 concierge CMs and one of them had managerial authority) then went back to my room.

Within 15 minutes of getting back to the room, there was a knock on the door and it was the manager from the Concierge floor with African-themed gifts (one being an AKL branded pen and wood carved case).  Well, he told me that Disney or not, that is an unspeakable level of customer service and he wanted to make sure we knew that he didn’t appreciate it and hoped these “trinket” would properly convey how he felt.

Fast forward a couple days and we were at the concierge desk again getting some information about Le Nouba that we were attending that night when that same manager walked up and recognized us (another thing we loved about the concierge floor that they remembered our names all the time).

He informed us that not only did he report the incident to the manager at the Grand Floridian (this is when we found out that she was over both the Coronado and Grand Floridian spas) but she wanted to make sure the CM was formally reprimanded.  It turned out the Grand Floridian manager was so upset about Nancy’s treatment that the CM was reassigned to a location that had no guest interaction!!!

I dont’ have names of CM’s and I don’t have pictures (heck, this goes back to my point&shoot days when I went 10 days to WDW and only took 300 pictures) but it was the most memorable experience with CMs at WDW AND DL that we’ve ever had.”

 


Carolyn and Jill write:

We’d like to share with you our magical experience while visiting Walt Disney World from December 3 – 6, 2008.  We are annual passholders, and frequently visit the World.  We have often talked about attending the Christmas Day Parade taping, and our dream became a reality in 2008 with our plan for a much needed “Adult Girls Only” trip.  We had no idea how much this short getaway would add magic to our lives!

We had tickets for the taping segments on both Friday and Saturday.  We were standing under the train station on Friday, awaiting instructions on where our group would stand for the taping, when we overheard (“eavesdropped”) on an individual’s (Michael) conversation regarding the day’s events.  We initiated a conversation with Michael, who turned out to be the manager of the Rock ‘N Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror merchandise shops.  Michael adopted us immediately, and took care of us.  When his group was asked to enter into the small area to see David Cook’s performance, he asked us to go with him.  Michael played the cast member role perfectly, even out of uniform.  He graciously made sure we could see the action at all times.  At one point, he even provided us with bottles of water, for which he wouldn’t accept reimbursement from us!  We enjoyed our afternoon so much with our new friends that we made arrangements to meet up for Saturday’s taping segment.

On Saturday morning, we again met up with Michael and his group.  We were then shown to the VIP section, where we had prime viewing spots for the parade and later for the Castle Forecourt taping by Miley and Billy Ray Cyrus.  We had such a fabulous time, and we believe it is all thanks to Michael and his generosity. This was such an unbelievable experience – and as I write this, I am still amazed, impressed, and completely overcome by the hospitality shown to us by Michael.  He truly exudes Disney Magic!!!  Not only did he extend kindness to us, we also observed the same kindness, thoughtfulness and caring Michael showed to everyone he contacted.  He helped hold a guest’s child so the child could see (and to give the guest a rest from holding the child). He also assisted a physically disabled guest in stepping up on the tiered platforms during David Cook’s performance and continually made sure she was okay.  There are many other instances in which Michael sprinkled the pixie dust for all those around him.

Our magic didn’t end on December 6, 2008.  While at Disney, I (Carolyn) had spotted a High School Musical Minnie plush toy that I thought my daughter would love.  However, I didn’t have time to pick it up before leaving the park.  Michael arranged to have the toy shipped to my home address as part of some additional magic.  When I asked to reimburse him, he informed me that Mickey was pleased to send it, and it is part of his job to be able to pass on the magic to others.  Again, another way that Michael truly went above and beyond to share the magic!

We have been truly blessed to have met someone so wonderful, and we are just so happy to have developed such an amazing friendship – one that we believe will continue for years to come.  We still keep in contact with Michael, and look forward to meeting up with him on future trips. 

We believe Michael is a superb representative of the Disney organization, and should be honored for his dedication and commitment to ensuring that each guest he comes into contact with experiences the Disney magic!”



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I’ll say one thing, Backlot Bob and everyone else involved in the contest at Pixelmania! last year are amazing!  Thanks for taking the time to do that for us!

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