Capturing The Cast Members

I secretly want to be a cast member…or an Imagineer. Who wouldn't? I think being a cast member would be a hard job, but you would be working at the happiest place on earth! Cast members are the ones that make the magic happen every single day and I love them for it! I really don't think I've ever met a cast member that I didn't like! I have even spotted former cast members working around town and have in instant respect. The newly promoted to front line manager at my local Target? Cast member. He shared it with me while I was struggling to remove my Disneyland cell phone case (because it's not protective enough for my clumsiness) and put on a new case I had just bought. Now, every time I go in and see him, we smile at each other with the knowing smile. He says Disney taught him everything he knows about customer service (this was about a week before his promotion).

Every time I am at the parks, there are usually several cast members that do something that makes my heart want to explode with happiness, because it is just that AMAZING to me!  It's actually, usually something very small…to them. But so BIG to me. As I was creating the iPhone apps, the cast members were something that I wanted to make sure were on the list and I challenged myself to start documenting it. As I have made an effort to do this, I am getting better at it. I don't always remember though…which makes me sad. Sometimes, I remember to get a photo, but forget to get their name…which isn't good either (but not a total fail). Now, that I have my Capturing Magic apps AND use them at the parks, it is easier to take a quick photo and add the cast member's name in the notes section. Then, when I get home, that information is in the metadata of the photo AND I can export it and email it to myself (along with all of the information for the other photos taken and notes I added). No having to try and remember a name.

Here are a few cast members that have created extra magic for me:

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When I was at Disneyland last week Lyndsey gave a few of my friends (a.k.a colleagues from The Daily Digi and Digi Show) Honorary Citizen of Disneyland buttons. I was so sad. Then, suddenly, from her pocket, she pulled a button out for me. I squealed so LOUD with delight that a plain clothes supervisor came form somewhere within a minute or so to check and see if everything was okay. I was about to cry from sheer delight and we had to explain that. She was a little taken back I think and I was almost completely speechless. I just kept nodding my head, but was able to remember to get a photo (I know, they give those buttons to just about anyone that wants one, but let me have my moment)!

 

When we were at Disney World this past December, we had two character breakfasts planned. The second one was at 1900 Park Fair at The Grand Floridian. My daughter has always been timid with characters and doesn't like to meet them, but thankfully, we had already had some really great character experiences so far, so I wasn't worried about this breakfast. But, when we got there and she realized there would be characters, she was not happy. She was really grumpy in fact and said she would not meet the characters. Just as I started thinking, “Great, I spent all of this money on this breakfast…” Donna popped over to our table and worked her magic (in every way) and before long, this is what I saw:

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That breakfast turned out to be one of the most memorable meals of our vacation and my daughter was pleasant and happy AND excitedly greeted each character as it was our turn.  I love Donna for that!

 

Kira was working in the New Fantasyland (on the bridge to Belle's Village) and I was taking photos of Minnie Me. She came over by me and whipsered, “I know exactly where she is.” I wasn't too sure what that meant, but as we talked, I knew that Kira was familiar with Minnie Me's escapades. Kira gave me some great information about New Fantasyland and some tips that helped me navigate through everything new. I had heard how full “Be Our Guest” was and how no one could get reservations, but this was the day before the official opening. Kira suggested that because we had Mickey's Christmas Party tickets for that night, I should walk up and try and get a reservation. I wouldn't have even tried if it weren't for her suggestion, but we were able to eat dinner at Be Our Guest later that night. It was magical!

While I was absorbing all of these things, I thought I lost Minnie Me, because she was gone when I looked over (hello, we were on the BRIDGE). Thankfully, Minnie Me had only laid down right where she was, and hadn't jumped off the ledge! Thanks Kira!

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Then, there's Cody. Sigh. Cody! Our family met him in August in Disneyland. He was the handler for Aladdin. My youngest, once again, wanted to have nothing to do with any characters…even Aladdin (can you get more non-threatening?) Cody worked HARD to get her to warm up to him and trust him. It was adorable. It didn't take too long before she was completely smitten! She decided she would have her picture taken with Aladdin IF her brother and I came AND she could get a photo with Cody too (she actually really only wanted a photo with Cody, but I wasn't sure that would go over very well, so I bargained with her). The past two times I have gone back to Disneyland since, she has asked me if I would say hi to Cody. That makes my heart melt!

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As you are capturing magic moments with cast members, here are few tips:

  • Remember, they are working, don't prevent them from doing their job. If they are a ride loader, it's probably not the best time to try and snap a photo with them (okay that is a pretty out there example, but you get the idea).
  • If you have a hard time remembering names, like me, and don't have time to make a note, ask if you can take a photo of their name badge
  • Don't be afraid to ask for a photo with them and even an autograph. I've found that most Cast Members really do love it.
  • Chip and Co has a great post about how to thank a cast member. I haven't done this yet, but need to. I wonder how late is too late? Never?

 

Have you had a cast member add extra magic to your vacation? What did they do? Were you able to document it at all?  I would love to hear in the comments!

 

  • I hadn’t ever talked to a cast member before, and didn’t even know that you could! haha When we went in 2011 it was our 4th and last day in the park, and my daughter wanted to meet Donald. We hadn’t been able to catch him the entire trip! While my husband was riding a ride, we sat up front to see if he would come out. He didn’t. I finally got up the nerve to ask a cast member! She was SO NICE! She pulled out her sheet and told me exactly where and what time he would be coming out! I was finally able to get a photo with him! I didn’t even think to get her name!

    Our last trip we went on my husband’s birthday. I got him a birthday pin, of course, and I LOVE that the cast members really go all out when they see them. Cast members were shouting at him above crowds and in lines, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TRENT! It was awesome, and makes me want to take my little ones on their birthday’s!

    • Steph

      I was in Disney World with my parents on my dad’s birthday and I made him wear a button. He was embarrassed at first, but then, I think was okay with all of the attention. It made me REALLY want to do Disney on my bday too!

  • I LOVED this post Steph!! And hello, CODY!!! I think he’s secretly Aladdin dressed in his normal clothes like in the movie. HAHA!! I’d want a picture with him too! ha!

    We have a special cast member that we see every trip named Pat – Magic Pat actually. I scrapped a page about her a couple years ago: http://www.brittishdesigns.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pid=236

    Loved the post. CMs are the best!!

    • Steph

      Wow Britt! What a FUN experience! Totally magical!

  • Sara S

    I have a written several emails to Disney after we’ve come back home to praise some of their cast members and always received a nice reply back. We also like to praise our waiters and waitresses at the restaurants when we get great service. They work at the most magical place on Earth but I’m sure the guests are not always the most magical so I like to make sure they get the recognition they deserve!

    • Steph

      I agree, the guests are most likely not magical all of the time!

  • Lindsee

    Thank you Steph for taking the time to thank Cast members, not many people do. Another CM found this post and sent it to me (I am the CM in that first picture with you). I have used the story of our meeting several times when teaching other CMs about the importance of spreading magic. Keep up the smiles! I hope that every trip you have to Disneyland is magical.

    • Steph

      Lindsee!!! Thank you so much for taking time to comment! Once again, YOU brought some magic to my day and made my week! 🙂