Do you have questions? We have answers! Each week, a Diva or Devo will share some of our best tips with you as we answer some of your questions. This week, Undercover Diva answers the questions you have for the people who keep the parks and resorts alive.
1) How do you handle guests complaints?
I love this question because it is really part of my every day job. Unfortunately working at the place where dreams come true is not always a walk in the clouds. I love my job, but I was never fully prepared for just how rough it would be to be blamed for things you have no control over. For me, I’ve learned to take things with a grain of salt. I know I have never single-handedly ruined someone’s expensive vacation, though I have been accused of it more than once. I’ve learned there are some complaints I can help with or answer questions to, and some complaints I have to say “I’m sorry” and let them walk away. I’ve also learned to try and let the bad complaints roll off and focus on the good moments that happen. I know that the guests don’t know how to do my job, so when they complain when I know I am doing my job right, I remember that it’s hot, they have been waiting in line a long time and that they probably didn’t do their research or know what to expect when they came to Disney.
2) What is the policy for tips or gifts for CM’s who make my stay extra magical?
This is a great question that I wish more people would ask about or look into before their stay. Essentially, cast members are not allowed to accept gifts or tips from guests, but there are some exceptions. Some cast members can accept tips, but mainly the ones you would expect- servers, housekeeping, room service, bell hops, and maybe one or two more roles I haven’t heard about. Most others will not be able to accept tips. As far as gifts, the smaller the better; if you truly want to give a cast member a gift one of the best things you can do is find their manager and compliment them to the manager or to guest relations. But I have received some small trinkets that I have been able to accept. I got a magnet once from a family to show they appreciated my help, I also received a small gift bag with small playing cards, a note and a $5 Starbucks gift card. I know I was able to keep the second because the guest had given it to me after they witnessed me dealing with a particularly hard situation, and my manager at the time saw no reason to take it from me. But if you are thinking of putting together gift bag, remember that all cast members are supposed to ask managers before they are able to accept a gift. My best recommendation is to maybe even just make a business card or magnet like the one I received and state that you appreciated them going above and beyond.
3) Any advice for someone who wants to become a CM?
It’s not going to be all rainbows and butterflies. Yes, it’s an awesome job with great perks, but you are also going to work hard in some rough condition. When it’s 100 degrees outside, you are still going to have to wear your itchy costume and stand in the sun. When it is pouring rain and thunder storming worse than you can imagine, someone has to stand outside and tell people that your ride is closed and listen to them complain. And yes, one little thing you say could be the last thing a guest wants to hear and it may launch them into a rant on how you ruined their entire vacation. You will work long shifts and probably holidays, so keep your head up high. This will also probably be one of the best jobs you will ever work. You will get to see a little girl visiting with Make a Wish meet her favorite princesses. You will get to help couples get engaged, and see more than you can think to help with. You can help people get asked to prom, help little kids get passed their fear of speaking to people, and help make someone’s first trip to the parks more magical than they ever could imagine. If you prepare yourself for what you will be getting yourself into, you will love your job. As far as the interviews, they are looking for people who will help contribute to Walt’s vision. If you are passionate about Disney, you should have no problem. Remember that a lot of the roles that are available require you to have previous experience, and remember a lot of movement in this company is not always about what you know, but who you know. Good Luck!
4) What is your favorite magical moment that you have ever witnessed as a CM?
I actually have two that come to mind when I think about this question, and both involve kids. I’m here for the kids, which is why these are my favorite. Back when I worked at Princess Fairytale Hall, I both hated and loved the Hall. We got a lot of angry people, but once they met the princesses their anger would fade and magic would appear. My favorite story involves a little Make a Wish girl, who if I could be honest, didn’t look very good. As she made her way in to meet Cinderella and Rapunzel, you could see her eyes light up. After a while, we noticed they weren’t asking for any more people to come into the meet and greet room. The guests in line were starting to get a little more than antsy and we didn’t really know what was going on. When we got the opportunity we went to check on the situation and found the little girl, along with Cinderella and Rapunzel, sitting on the floor in a circle as her parents and the character attendants watched on. It was a beautiful moment, one I’m sure will stay with the family forever, and one that makes me step back and realize that sometimes it’s not so bad to let other families wait a little longer for one family to make some of their last memories together. On a lighter note, a moment I wasn’t directly involved with happened at my new location at Haunted Mansion. One of my good friends had a boy approach him and ask how he could become a butler at the Mansion. The boy told my friend that it was his life dream to be a butler at the Mansion and that it was his favorite ride. Well, my friend happened to have the time and opportunity so he told the boy that he could help him become a butler today. We have a magical moment at the Mansion where we dress a kid or two up in miniature versions of our costumes and let them open the doors to the ride and let people in. The kids love it, and so do the guests outside who have no idea that a cute little 6 year old kid is going to yell at them and say “The master will see you now!”. So my friend had the boy wait and went and got this costume and let the boy help open the doors a couple times, then of course they got right on the ride and the boy got to wear the costume the whole time. When he came of the ride he had a grin from ear to ear and his parents had tears in their eyes seeing him so happy. These are the moments I work for.
While I have many dream roles, my ending dream role is to be a stage manager for the shows on property. I went to school for musical theater and found a passion for stage management and found I have a talent for it. And of course I love Disney and want to stay with the company as long as I can. If I could combine job passion with my passion for Disney, it would be one of the biggest win/win situations I could ever think of. And if, heaven forbid, I ever had to leave Disney, I know I would be able to easily get a job where ever I ended up, having such esteemed experience under my belt. I would love to work with all the shows in Hollywood Studios, because they are some of my favorite shows on property, especially Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage!