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. 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 struggle 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.
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.
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.