10 stories of ways ways cast members create magical moments at Disney theme parks:
The Disney theme parks have become such a popular place but there is something truly special about them. It’s not a just a typical amusement park – it’s the themeing, the creative attractions, the atmosphere. And a huge part of what makes the parks feel so magical is the people working there. Disney’s employees, called cast members, go above and beyond in their service to guests.
If you’ve been to any sort of local theme park, such as Six Flags, you know the attitude of the workers doesn’t even compare. At Disney the CMs will go out of their way to be friendly and kind. The ones working behind the scenes are taking care of things you might not even realize to make your trip special. Disney does a lot to stand out, but it’s the people who make it happen. There are so many ways cast members create magical moments for visitors.
Of course we are in difficult times right now, and Disney has let go of over 35,000 cast members as of this time. All sorts of people were included in this – full time, part time, people who have been with the company for over 20 years, everyone from custodial to entertainment. It’s the entertainment ones who are making the big headlines – guests recognize them specifically as their character and feel a connection. They worry it means some of this entertainment will never return.
But I think it’s really important to remember all of the cast members right now who weren’t necessarily on the front lines or in the spotlight. Many of them have families to support, or have dedicated their lives and careers to Disney. Or maybe they were just starting out and were fulfilling their dream of working there. Whatever the situation, it’s these people who probably provided many of the wonderful memories you might have of past Disney trips.
There are ways you can help, including donations (Tom from Disney Tourist Blog has a great resource here) – but I wanted to highlight just how special cast members are. I asked my readers to share stories about ways cast members create magical moments and how a cast member made their trip a little more magical, and I’m happy to share them today.
The thing that strikes me is that none of these stories are things a cast member had to do – it was a way they wanted to make a guest feel special or do something just a little bit more. Hopefully as you read these you will be as blown away as I am with how remarkable cast members truly are, and why every single one of them should be appreciated. The ways cast members create magical moments are special and unique.
One other thing it’s important to keep in mind when you read these stories – don’t go there expecting them to give you “magical moments” or free stuff. Go for the love of Disney and you will be pleasantly surprised when something magical does happen!
Ways cast members create magical moments at Disney:
1. Giving a free dessert
“If you read this blog you probably know I love the orange bird and citrus swirl. Back in 2013 or so there was almost no orange bird merchandise available, so I had handmade ears and a shirt. I went to order a citrus swirl and the CM at the window was so excited to see my orange bird stuff that she gave me the treat and said ‘It’s on the mouse!’ and didn’t charge me.” – Submitted by Becky G.
2. Taking care of you when you’re sick
“Once I was staying at Yacht Club alone and got very sick — extremely weak and couldn’t hold anything down. My parents ended up driving 5 hours that night to pick me up. But while I was there, I was hungry so I ordered room service. A kids meal that I thought would be the lightest thing to eat. The cast member who brought it to me realized how sick I was and came back with a ginger ale and chicken soup broth (he strained the noodles out for me) and he continued to check on me until my parents picked me up past midnight. That was like 2010 but I will never forget how kind he was and how he looked out for me!” -Submitted by Jessica W.
“3 years ago at French Quarter, Max fell sick. We happened to get a call from Mousekeeping just asking if we needed anything and if we had plans to go into the park. I told her about Max and she asked if there was anything she could do for him and asked if he had an appetite. I thanked her and told her that I will check to see if they have chicken soup at the quick service. About 30 mins later she knocks on the door with soup (which was specially made) and also a Pluto for him and a Mickey for Ellie along with some candy. She also gave me her personal cell number just in case we needed anything else.” – Submitted by Jenni Ann
3. Making the whole day magical
“When we were selected as Family of the Day (June 2012) the twins were 6 1/2 years old, so the whole experience could have been scary or overwhelming to them, but we had an escort named Scoop and he got down on their level and explained every detail. He made it an extremely fun and memorable day! Mickey and Minnie were so welcoming and kind, and the driver of our fire truck made sure each boy had a chance to actually ring the bell and sound the siren as we toured the park before opening. Each and every person and character involved never once failed to explain how “special” they were.” -Submitted by Janet T.
4. Giving you an extra ride without waiting
“We went to Disneyland the weekend Galaxy’s Edge opened and my friend was so excited and emotional at seeing the Millennium Falcon in person that she was crying tears of happiness. A CM offered to take our picture and then a moment later came back and told us he’d talked to Hondo and had a special assignment for us. And he led us to the FP line of Smugglers Run (which wasn’t in use because they weren’t doing fastpass for it in the beginning). So the first time we rode we walked right on without any wait opening weekend!” – Submitted by Becky G.
5. Arranging a private character meet and greet
“When we were very young, all my brother wanted to do was meet mickey, and every time we were told he would be somewhere, we missed him. He finally sat down and sobbed on the sidewalk. A cast member asked if we needed help, and arranged a private meet and greet for us, complete with mickey stickers and more. I’ll never forget his kindness for a sad little boy. My brother is now a DVC member” – Submitted by Emily D.
“We are DVC members and our home resort is BLT. The community hall is our favorite place and some of the cast members have become family. As soon as they see us back home, they always have a little something special for the kids. Last year while in the community hall, Peter Pan came in and started playing with the kids. We were the only ones in there so it was just us and Peter for about 30 mins. Imagine as a kid, sitting on the floor, playing with Peter Pan toys with the real Peter Pan!!” – Submitted by Jenni Ann
“This didn’t happen to me, but was told to me by the cast member (James). He was our tour guide when I took the Backstage Magic Tour, and throughout the day he’d tell us anecdotes about working at the various attractions.
When he was working at the Beauty and the Beast show, way back when it first opened, one of his duties was to help families with wheelchairs navigate down to the front rows. One day he was helping a family with two kids in motorized wheelchairs, and as they were chatting the parents mentioned that this was their kids’ “Make a Wish” – they wanted to meet Belle and Beast.
At the time, Belle and Beast unfortunately didn’t do meet-and-greets, so the only way to see them was in the show. James told the family to enjoy the show…..and then he snuck backstage and asked to see the stage manager.
6. Finding the pin that you’re looking for
“A few years back, Amy was collecting Pascal pins. A cast member working the register at the resort food court noticed them on her bag. We mentioned that we were trying to collect them all. She said that she thinks she saw one on the pin board that is just for cast members in the back. She excused herself and came back with one we didn’t have!” – Submitted by Michael H.
7. Creating unique experiences for you
8. Looking out for people feeling down
9. Giving out special pins
10. Providing magical upgrades
Thinking about a trip to Disney World? Check out my Ultimate List of Disney World planning resources to get you started. If you’d like the assistance of a travel agent at no extra cost to you, email me at [email protected] and we can start planning and booking your trip!
Other blog posts of interest:
Ways to brighten the day of any Disney cast member
2021 Disney World trip planning guide
What to do the month before you leave for Disney
Some of these stories got me a little teary-eyed. After my dad retired, he worked at Disney World on the Jungle Cruise. He really liked working there, but ended up leaving because he couldn’t get enough time off for vacations. I’ll have to make a donation to help out Disney employees in his memory.
Debbie Kolacki says
What wonderful stories! So many people have lost jobs and are suffering because of the pandemic. I hope that things will get better soon for them and we will see an end to the rise of economic inequality.
Kait | Slumber & Scones says
These are great stories! I always love these little magical moments. One time, a jungle cruise skipper saw me whispering the punchlines to jokes along with him, and let me stand up and host for a couple minutes. It was so fun!