The thing happened. You stood in line for 4.86729 hours, you listened to the same looped soundtrack through 7 times, You know “When Will My Life Begin” by heart forwards and backwards and now your little girl got her picture with Rapunzel. You are the dad of the year forever (or until the next obsession starts). But you’re a smart guy. You know when credit is due and Rapunzel deserves her share of the thanks.
Now you can’t give her money (I mean, she has tons already), so the easy way out is gone. How do you then thank your cast member for the wonderful time you had? Come to think of it, the guy running Space Mountain for you rocked hard too and deserves thanks as well. How do you let him know? Do you treat the costumed characters differently than the non-costumed? Let me tell you:
TIP 1: Chat them up
Cast members generally love to have real conversations. I went onto some internet forums and met Ryan who works at the Pandora conservation initiative who told me that one of his favorite things he gets to do at Flights of Passage is to talk and have a real conversation with the guests, even if it’s just a quick hello.
Also note, your cast members work at Disney. They know their stuff and have opinions on it too. I remember one of my favorite memories being right before I met Vader. There was a cast member about my age running the line and we just chatted it up about the new Ducktales show. Good times. These people love Disney and love to socialize so feel free to chat with them.
BONUS TIP: regardless of how the CM is dressed, all Cast Members need to stay in character. So characters at the Haunted Mansion will act differently than one at Peter Pan’s flight. Feel free to play along and become another part of the experience!
TIP 2: Take Note (Give them too!)
Another cast member by the handle TravelWithMeDear spoke to me about how they love to get small thank you notes. Again, castmembers can’t take money, but many families would make custom tokens or thank you notes to give to cast members. Something small that can be put in their pocket.
Obviously, this doesn’t work for your costumed characters. turns out they don’t make Princess dresses with pockets. So this same CM told me the best substitute is to sincerely tell them “Thanks, you really made my day”. It’s not as solid or permanent as a thank you note but it’s the best way you can get the message across to Donald.
The digital equivalent of this would be Twitter. You can find many of the cast members on Twitter, but the official Guest Services of Disney on Twitter is @WDWGuestService and you can use the #CastCompliment on any social media platform for a CM Shoutout!
TIP 3: Talk to your local Legislator
This works best for your costumed characters, though is the preferred method for many cast members, and I didn’t know about it until I checked with my CM friends. If you have a good experience with a cast member, You need to pull out your travel journal (if you’re a paper addict like me. If not, then your phone works), and make a note of the location, time, and name. You can then go to City Hall and let them know and they will pass the message to the appropriate people. A good experience like this also gets recorded in their employee files as something called a Guest Service Fanatic Card (sometimes called a Cast Compliment card) so it REALLY helps them out.
Again, this works for everyone. So if Woody made 26 years of life worthwhile you can go to city hall and say “hey, Woody at Pixar Pier at 4:52 made my day awesome” and they will make sure “Woody” gets the message.
Your CM’s work hard to make your Disney experience one to remember. So return the favor by utilizing these tips to thank your cast members. Talk with your castmembers, feel free to hand out a thankyou note, and be sure to report good behavior to City Hall. You can also thank us for the information by leaving a comment, sharing these tips, and checking out our travel agent at All For Dreams travel. I hope to see you at the Magic Kingdom again soon and until then, remember to keep wishing on stars.