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Have Disney’s Cast Member Attitudes Changed for the Worst?

Have Cast Member Attitudes Changed for the Worst?
Credit: Disney/ Canva

Disney is well known for their customer service. Cast Members make up an exceptional group of people equipped with the magical ability to be patient when the rest of us blow our tops.

Suppose we consider the ridiculousness that a Cast Member most likely endures during a shift. In that case, it’s easy to understand that they may sometimes only partially adhere to the Disney standard of Customer Service. This isn’t to say that we should be okay with Cast Members being rude, but I feel that it’s understandable that sometimes the smile is hard to fake.

However, guests report more often that Cast Members have been rude to them. Most of the time, upon elaboration, it is discovered that the Cast Members may have lost their patience when their reasoning with guests wasn’t getting them anywhere.

Mickey Mouse Looking into a Car

Credit: Walt Disney World Cast and Community

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Reflecting on my experiences, I have noticed a decline in some Cast Members’ ability to be pleasant. One incident that happened recently took place at EPCOT. I was standing in line to pick up the newest Annual Passholder magnet when the Cast Member attempted to instruct me on where to go. I could not hear her and let her know that I struggled to hear in one of my ears. I politely asked her to repeat herself.

Instead of giving me the block of instruction again, she pointed at where I was to go and said, “Hearing aids would be nice.”

This wasn’t said funnily; instead, it felt rude and demeaning, like she insisted that I should be wearing hearing aids because I couldn’t hear her. Truth be told, I don’t wear them in the parks because sometimes they can be too loud.

I chose not to respond but was shocked at the comment, and as my hearing issues are out of my control, I was a bit hurt.

Disneyland Cast members

Credit: Disney

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In my personal experience, this event was a definite outlier. This isn’t the standard approach by Cast Members. I understand this. So when I do encounter a Cast Member who isn’t having the best day, I try to give a little bit of grace.

However, other people seem to have had the displeasure of encountering less-than-helpful Cast Members lately. Although many people who complain about Disney staff end up telling on themselves at some point, there seems to be an uptick in accounts that are actual and not the guests’ fault.

Twitter and Reddit are full of accounts of recent visitors who have had a not-so-magical time due to Cast Members. The threads do their best to explain the behavior, mostly explaining away poor attitudes and work ethics.

Most blame ill-mannered adult guests or high-maintenance influencers for getting on the last nerve of Cast Members. Honestly, I get it. I could not imagine dealing with the day-to-day guest behavior at Disney Parks. There is absolutely a correlation between guests’ antics and rude Cast Members.

Cast Members

Credit: Disney

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As more guests remove themselves from rides, drink too much in the parks, or get into physical confrontations, the stress of being a Cast Member increases. This is an easily observed measure becoming an ongoing problem at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World.

That isn’t to say that if you’re on your best behavior, you won’t encounter the wrong Cast Member on a bad day. I did nothing wrong in my situation and was met with a sly response that held little empathy for the fact that I couldn’t hear.

Generally speaking, the complaints regarding Cast Member behavior directly result from Guests disregarding rules or having too much fun. As I said, my situation and others like mine are typically outlying events.

About Michael Arnold

Michael is a father, husband, and an Army Veteran. Michael spends his weekends at Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando checking out new merchandise and food. Michael is a graduate of the University of Alabama and has an education background in Public Health. You can find Michael riding Pirates of the Caribbean over and over again or binge watching new Marvel and Star Wars content. Han shot first. Thor is the strongest Avenger. Roll Tide and Wash Your Hands!

2 comments

  1. We actually noticed different behavior when Chapek was put in charge of the Walt Disney World Resort and Parks division before taking the CEO position. Funny thing though, we didn’t know he had been put in charge of that division. We thought of Disney as our vacation of fun, didn’t follow the corporate stuff. It wasn’t until a few years later, when Chapek took over as CEO that I discovered that the year we noticed substantial changes was the year he had taken the position of parks. We always went once a year, but we noticed the change in attitude, not once when he took over the parks did we hear “Have a magical day!” as you left a store. Cast members talking amongst themselves, and ignoring customers needing help. Merchandise had changed to cheapy plastic, so that year no special souvenir was bought to go in our living room. Each year from then on it just went down hill more and more. I really felt like I was at a Busch Gardens park, which we were accustomed to since we were passholders for 20 years until my daughter graduated high school, but the Disney employees were behaving the same as our Busch workers in Virginia. To say we were stunned is a complete understatement. Our final trip to Disney was in 2019, and we just couldn’t handle it anymore. Gone was the magic we had embraced since our daughter was 7 years old. It’s true, prices go up, but when you no longer feel like a valued patron, you take your money elsewhere. And we did.

  2. Interactions have gone down hill and fast! We have stayed 4 times with our first being in 2022.
    In the first two trips all cast members were amazing!
    In the 3rd trip, they were mostly ok.
    In the trip we got back from 2 weeks ago, it was horrible! There was 1 excellent interaction, a couple great ones, then the rest were mediocre, with about 10-15% just being horrible!
    There were more than a few times the cast didn’t even greet us as we were entering the parks (we always try to smile and thank the cast members, even with bad interactions, many times it was met with a deadpan reaction). We were there during a slow week (Feb. 3-10), so really no excuse (not that there ever is).
    There were a few times in stores that they were so rude we walked out.
    I am wondering if it is part of this “act your wage” laziness going on. If so I would love to see Disney clean house!
    We are going to DL our first time in Sept. hoping for better cast members there. We honestly don’t know if we will go back in 2025 for Disney World.

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