Not long ago, although it seems like long ago, we planned a visit to Disneyland Resort. We had everything arranged, but at the last minute our son, who had just arrived home from finishing his freshman year in college, decided that he wanted to convalesce at Disneyland rather than at home. We thought that staying at a hotel on property would be a nice reward for his hard work and top-notch grades. Luckily, my wife is a Disney travel agent and was able to score a last-minute booking at the Paradise Pier Hotel. Nice. We had never stayed there but were looking forward to the cool beach theming, having a sweet view of the World of Color, and catching Donald’s Beach Party at the excellent PCH Grill, which was in full swing.
The drive was uneventful, weather was good, traffic was light, but when we checked in at the hotel, mayhem ensued. There was no record of our pre-paid hotel stay in the computer, and the hotel was full. The cast member and her supervisor were on the job, however, making phone calls, checking their computers, talking to the manager, but after half an hour, nothing. What happened next reminded us that Disney cast members frequently go above the call of duty to render customer service that is surprisingly (and refreshingly) good. No, not good, excellent! Our cast member, MJ from Tucson, did everything right. She explained the problem in simple terms, she took ownership of the problem, she was calm and reassuring, she told us what she was doing to resolve the problem and why, she involved all the right problem-solvers, she kept us updated, and she went the extra mile to make sure that we were comfortable and fed, and that our bags were secured. She took our bags to the bell captain, coordinated with the PCH Grill to comp our meals, and told us she would have our room ready when we returned. We were able to relax, calm our nerves, and enjoy a fun and delicious meal with Donald and his friends.
When we returned, our room was ready, we retrieved our bags, and for our troubles MJ had arranged for each of us to get all-access fast passes for the parks. Turns out that at the time we booked the room, there had been an upgrade to their booking software, and our reservation was lost in the process. This was an unfortunate situation, but knowing Disney, they’ll learn from this. There’s also no question that the folks at the Paradise Pier Hotel more than made up for the inconvenience, and they did it with such calm and such class that even now, months later, we’re still impressed and grateful. That trip turned out to be one of the best ever, so we owe MJ and her colleagues a debt of gratitude, and we wanted to thank her but we weren’t sure how to do that other than just telling her and shaking her hand, which we did. But we wanted to do something extra for her, like she did for us. That’s what led me to research other ways for a Disney guest to say “thank you” to a Disney cast member.
We were already aware of a couple of ways to thank cast members, having benefitted from their help in the past, but we wondered about the best way to say thank you for MJ’s sincere efforts on our behalf, and as we looked into this, we discovered a few things that we think are worth sharing.
An easy way to recognize an outstanding cast member while you’re physically in Disneyland park, is to go to City Hall in Town Square (near the main entrance), give them the cast member name, area of the attraction or area where the cast member works, and a short description of the service they gave you that led to the thank you. Guest Relations staff will fill out a report that will go the the cast member’s supervisor, and they will see that the cast member is officially recognized and rewarded.
If the cast member happens to work in Disney’s California Adventure park, simply go to the Chamber of Commerce located on Buena Vista Street just inside the park entrance (look to your left at the start of Buena Vista street), and they will take an official report from you as described above.
A more immediate and public way to recognize your cast member is to tweet out your thanks via Twitter using #CastCompliment. This hashtag is monitored by Disney guests, cast members, and Guest Relations, so not only will everyone see the cast member’s good deeds, but the cast member and their supervisor will see it as well. Here’s an example:
If you prefer a good ole’ phone call, you can contact Disney’s Guest Correspondence Line at 714-781-4669 at any time and leave a thank you message for a cast member in any of Disney’s divisions. The message will be relayed to the cast member and their supervisor will be alerted to the excellent service they are providing.
If you’re thanking a cast member who works in a Disney resort or hotel, you call the facility switchboard directly and ask to speak to the General Manager about a cast member who went above and beyond. Phone numbers for all of the Disney hotels are listed here, just click on the hotel where you stayed and it will give you the contact numbers. I’ve found that facility managers are always willing to call you back, and are extremely knowledgeable and helpful.
If you prefer to send your thank you via email, the Guest Services email is email@example.com, simply use “Cast Member Thank You” as the topic, and in the email give their name, where they work, and a short description of how they helped you “plus the magic”, and they will make sure the employee receives your thanks and is recognized publicly.
A very nice thing to do is carry thank you cards. When a cast member gives you excellent service, simply hand them a card and give them your heartfelt thanks. Even better, leave an extra card that they can give to their supervisor with your name and phone number, so they can be recognized among their peers. You can get small thank you notes at most office stores, or even better, use this free template that we made for you, and print your own cards at home. Don’t have a thank you card handy? No worries, a business card works just fine.
If you’re at a Disney restaurant or other food service location, there are several easy ways to say thank you: Leave a good tip, shake their hand (after distancing is over), write a thank you note on the bill with a comment for their manager, call their manager to your table and recognize the excellent service you received. Use your imagination, it’s Disney after all 🙂
If all else fails, you can submit a comment to the Help Center website. Though not the ideal way to say thank you, I’ve been assured that your thanks will get to the right person. Simply browse to the Help Center Website, choose General Disneyland Resort Information for the subject, and include the employees name, worksite, date, and a short description in the Your Question section.
And that’s all folks! Disneyland cast members go above and beyond to give all of us great service so that our stay at Disneyland is as magical as possible. Let’s reach out and let them know that we appreciate their devotion to providing excellent service.