Disney World Cast Members are known for going above and beyond when it comes to customer service. Their willingness to do what it takes to keep the experience magical for Guests is a significant factor that keeps us returning. A customer-first approach ensures that our time in the parks is magical and immersive. Happy people spend money. Good memories create a desire to make similar ones. This approach is how Disney makes you feel like the experience is tailored just for you. It’s how they ensure return visitors and maximize the need to jam as much as you can into your trip.
The friendly disposition of Cast Members isn’t an accident. Firstly, Cast Members are a special breed who take pride in creating magical experiences for Guests. Secondly, the requirement to present in such a manner helps increase Guest satisfaction and boosts the value of Disney’s products and experiences. You can tell the difference if you’ve ever visited a non-Disney theme park. When we talk about magic at Disneyland or Walt Disney World, this is the difference. This is how it is made.
With every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In this case, the response is that a growing number of Guests express unnecessary entitlement in the parks. We hear and see an expanding amount of stories of visitors acting out. From inappropriateness to not following clearly stated rules, Guests practically do as they wish with little fear of consequences. This is partially due to the environment that Disney has created within their parks, but it isn’t the fault of Cast Members.
Recently, we’ve seen many videos of Guests having meltdowns, departing rides whenever they want, or engaging in all-out brawls in the parks. There are several first-hand accounts from Cast Members of Guests using inappropriate language with Cast Members and even carrying out lewd acts in the parks. Because Guests maintain high expectations of Disney staff and employees, it’s almost as if they feel like they have free reign to act outside of what would typically be expected behavior.
A large majority of this behavior is directed at Cast Members. Recently I watched as a disgruntled Guest screamed at a Cast Member manning the queue for the Rise of the Resistance attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. If you’re familiar with this attraction, you know it often goes down as it is a complex ride system. As the Cast Member tried to share whatever update he could, the Guest kept screaming at him. Remember, this was probably a kid working in the Disney College Program who’s been in the sun all day and has no control over the ride’s efficiency. But the Guest continued to call him names and belligerently claim that his entire vacation was ruined. Eventually, the man was given an experience pass to ride something else or return once the experience ran again. Sadly, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this happen. Most would be upset when a ride goes down, but instances like this are becoming more common. The expectations of Guests are no longer set in reality but instead in their own unrealistic version of what should happen.
We understand completely that you paid a lot of money to be here. So did I and the many others impacted by the long lines or show cancellations or the fact that your balloon popped. It’s about perspective, with a dash of not being entitled. If you expect nothing to go wrong, everything certainly will. That isn’t Disney’s fault; it’s yours for not understanding that real human beings, flawed human beings, are doing everything they can to create a memorable and magical experience for you. Bad things will happen. Murphy’s Law still applies inside the Disney bubble.
Do you really think that Disney wants TRON to go down? Do you feel that’s an efficient way for them to keep Park visitors flowing from ride to ride? Is it so bad that you must return a little later or wait a little longer to ride Slinky Dog Dash? No, it’s not. Disney will do anything within reason to make the situation right. What more could you ask for?
It’s challenging to watch employees at one of the most inclusive companies in the world be berated and verbally abused by Guests who feel they deserve to be treated better than everyone else. I wish more people could relax their expectations and roll with the punches. If not for the sake of my own experience, for the sake of those trying to make sure we all enjoy ourselves.
Imagine it’s your first trip to Walt Disney World as a child. You encounter a Guest using profanity directed at another Guest or Cast Member over something out of their control. Now imagine if you’re that child’s parent. Better yet, imagine you’re that Cast Member’s parent. I doubt you’d appreciate the impertinent approach to problem-solving that so many Guests decide to take. Why can’t we simply treat others as we expect to be treated?
Instead, we complain about Genie+, high prices, and long wait times instead of simply being thankful that we get to experience a vacation that many wish they could. We don’t think about how we helped create the need for a new lightning lane system, hiked the prices up, and made the long lines. Just like we generally create situations that lead to atrocious behaviors toward other Guests and Cast Members. Instead, we blame Disney. We choose to approach problems with negativity. We decide to let a ride failure ruin our vacation. We choose to keep coming back to Disney. It’s not their fault; it’s ours!