Monday, October 14, 2013

How Disney Makes Magic

Time to make a case for one of the many reasons I'm a Disney geek. It's the way the staff and management treat their guest at Walt Disney World. 

This is not my story. It's an experience of my pastor, Tim, and his family during their fall break this past week. 

While in Florida on vacation Tim made plans to preach on Sunday, October 7 at a church, just outside of Orlando.  

A kind church member, who was a cast member at Disney's Magic Kingdom offered to get them into the park for free that Tuesday. 

After the morning church service, he and his family went to check in and spend a few days at the "Little Mermaid" section of the new "Art of Animation" resort in Walt Disney World.

When the family arrived at Animation Hall, it was packed full of other guests in line to check in as well. The wait was over 2 1/2 hours. 

The reason for the long lines was that the reservations computers throughout the entire Walt Disney World resort were offline. 

As they got in line for the long wait a resort manager came by. He sincerely apologized and explained the reason for the wait. He gave those in line a free one day park pass with the park hopper encouraging them to go use their pass and come back later when the issue was resolved. 

Tim decided to wait for as long as he could before he had to leave to go back to the church to fulfill his obligation to preach at the evening service. 

His wait was in vein. By the time he had to leave he had still not gotten his room key. 

Because this is a lengthy post, I'll make a long story short. Thanks to the go-the-extra-mile attitudes of 3 Disney cast members (2 resort managers and a check-in agent) by the time Tim and his family were checked in that Sunday night they had been given 12 free one-day park hopper park passes. 

Add that to the free admission because they were the personal guests of the church member, Pastor Tim, his wife, his son, and daughter were able to spend 4 days in the Walt Disney World parks. That's close to a $1500 value FOR FREE!!!! It changed their vacation from fun to magical.

Tim told me he still can't believe that his family could be that lucky. Ultimately it could be considered a blessing from God. But it was facilitated by handful of people who are part of a culture of outstanding customer service: Walt Disney World cast members. The company's devotion to raising the level of their guest's experience is legendary.  

The degree of enjoyment and the memories that is the result of Disney cast members going the "extra mile" for guest is what has become known to Walt Disney World fans all over the world as "Disney Magic." It's what sets the Disney parks apart from ordinary amusement parks. 

Each week I explore a plethora of Disney focused podcasts, emails and newsletters. I read about dozens of examples of acts of kindness by Disney World employees that transform the vacation experiences of resort guests.

Although they were relatively small, I experienced some of Disney magic during my 2010 birthday trip to "The World."

Being allowed to sit up front on thrill rides like: Expedition Everest, Space Mountain, and Thunder Mountain Railroad and having dozens of cast members wish me a "Happy Birthday" made for some special memories of my 50th birthday for me. 

My pastor's story is one of the best "Magic Moments" I've ever heard. What makes it particularly special is that it happened to someone I know very well. I'm happy that it happened for the sake of Tim's family. But as a Disney fanatic I'm totally jealous. 

By the way, I'm not easily setting aside the idea that Tim's experience was mostly a blessing from God. 

You see, in October our church celebrates Pastor Appreciation month. Church members are encouraged to show our pastoral staff what they mean to us by blessing them in some way. Perhaps the Disney thing was God's way of participating. 

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