Year Of A Million Dreams, where the real magic lies

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.

2 thoughts on “Year Of A Million Dreams, where the real magic lies”

  1. Before the YOMD started when we visited the park. It was early July of this year. We had our own little special treatment from a Disney CM. We had been waiting on the parade at MGM, and my wife started playing a ring toss game with one of the CM’s when no one else would. Well, later that day when we went to the Fantasmic show, we were walking in, and the CM from earlier that day was there, and instantly recognized us. She said to another CM about my wife, “There’s my adopted Mom!!” “Let me take you to some good seats….” Well, she took us all the way down to the very front and center. Best thing ever!

  2. My kids and I were walking on the back side of disneyland (towards the petting zoo area). I am not good with directions, but on the way to the petting zoo from Fantasyland, there’s a restroom area, beyond that area, you will see two huge gates on each side. The dream squad will normally come out of that gate with two huge black bags. You have to follow them…they usually go towards Dumbo or the bridge by thunder mountain. Hope this helps…btw, they usually hand it out about 10-11am.

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