Kitty-Chan, of the Broke Hoedown blog (get it? Baroque Hoedown.. MSEP anyone?) writes about where the real magic with Disney’s Year of a Million Dreams promotion might be found… with the Cast Members who are suddenly freed up to make a the day of a few guests.
And this is where the brilliance of this new campaign lies. A lot of Cast Members appear to truly delight in making guests feel extra-special, granting them small favors and acts of kindness. …
By and large, my experiences at Disney parks have always been enhanced by small favors and special treatment. Just on this latest three-day trip, there were many such moments that did not appear to be officially sanctioned and certified Dreams, and which in fact brought us a deeper satisfaction
This is a lot of what I imagined would happen when Disney first talked about cast member empowerment back in the mid-90s. Is the queue too short to make FastPass worthwhile to staff? Then shut them down and let that CM work some magic elsewhere in the attraction. Pins, Hats, Free Desserts, offered on what seems like a whim.
But as mentioned elsewhere in the article, it takes a certain breed of cast member to find the joy in this ‘extra work’. But it is exactly that ‘extra work’ that always set Disney Cast Members apart from other themeparks and establishments. It’s what made Disney alumni very sought after in the business market. And it’s a little sad that hiring standards have been lowered so far that Disney has been forced to institutionalize ‘the magic’ in a contest instead of implementing it through better hiring, training, and making it part of the day to day normal operating procedure.
That said. I’m still glad they’re running the promotion. I think the affects on CM moral are noticable. The parks just look better these days. Thousands of guests a day are having ‘dreams come true’ in a multitude of ways. Now I can’t wait for the winter holiday season, which is always my favorite, to arrive. Carolers and Hot Cocoa are magical too.
However, I have faced a personal struggle with this contest. Three times over the course of three days I was one person away from winning a ‘Golden Fastpass’. All three times the ‘Dream Squad’ started handing out fastpass lanyards to the guest directly behind me in the queue. The first time I was able to run around and win after riding and then quickly exiting the attraction. But the second two times there was nothing I could do about it. The frustration of just missing out built up in me until I wasn’t enjoying the parks anymore and I had to leave to gain some perspective. I hope this is not happening to other guests (local or not).
All I really want are two pair of the YOMD Mouse Ears for my wife. She collects them. I suppose I have better chance of winning them than the average guest as I’m a local and go a couple times a month (or more). But if you know where I could win a pair, I’ll be very grateful. I’ll let you know how my quest turns out.