When it comes to Disney World adventures, fans know that one of the many reasons the parks are so magical are the folks that work there. Cast members work at Disney for the sheer love of joy and many go out of their way to make the experiences at the parks lifelong memories. Whether that means giving an extra greeting or bringing an extra treat after dinner, CMs are the unsung heroes of the park experience.
Knowing several people who have worked in the parks, the love of magical memories for cast members feels unparalleled. And, considering how many guests they can see on the busiest days of the year, their kindness often feels unparalleled too.
One of my favorite cast member interaction memories is from several years ago when my now-husband and some of my best pals were doing a Disney adventure. We were seeing Illuminations in EPCOT but I felt ill all night. I ended up getting sick, my worst public nightmare, and a nearby cast member brought me water and made sure I was okay. That sounds like such a small gesture, but to me at that moment, it cemented my love of Disney and its people.
But for actual CMs, magical moments can come in droves. As is the case for two of the CMs that wrote in to tell us about their favorite memories.
So I only worked as an actual cast member for WDW for three weeks because the pandemic cut my college program short. But I knew I needed to share a story that happened to me before I was a CM because it was the whole reason why I applied to the DCP in the first place.
In September of last year, I was with one of my performing friends and we were at Hollywood and Vine at Hollywood Studios. We had seen Minnie, Donald, and Daisy at this point in time and Goofy was coming to our table. When he arrived my friend asked him to take a picture with both of their backs turned and their right fist up in the air. The reason why they did this photo was that we had a friend who passed away from cancer a few years prior who had a special connection with Goofy. However, we didn’t tell him this when he was at our table.
Then Mickey came to our table. The first thing he noticed is our shirts since we were both wearing Chuck E Cheese ones. It’s a tradition that we always wear them to Studios as they used to film their show tapes for the restaurant at the park. Mickey pointed to my friend’s shirt first to indicate asking if he was a “friend” of Chuck E, he nodded his head yes. Then he turned and pointed to me to ask the same question, I said: “Yup I’m a friend of him too Mickey!” He then pulled us both together and started moving his hands in an up and down motion. I knew right away he was trying to ask why there was a height difference between us so I said “Well Mickey Chuck E’s a bit of a different mouse so he’s able to change height” Mickey then said that we should be there performing for him. I then said, “Well Mickey I’ve already tried three times but never made it past the first round!”
Mickey then took me by the shoulders, shook his head no, and asked for my autograph book. I was a bit confused because he had already signed the book at this point, but what he did after made me break into tears. He took the book and wrote “Don’t give up! You got this! You’ll make magic here soon, I know it!” I was SHOCKED. This was magic BEYOND my wildest dreams. As I to teared up, Mickey continued to hug me and wipe the tears from my eyes, which was really personal to me cause that’s what I do as a performer when someone is crying with me.
I thought the magic was over after that, but there was still more.
After all of this happened I flagged down one of the character assistants to say what had happened. I told them about Mickey, Goofy, and everything regarding our friend with cancer. A few minutes later, the assistant, who I believe was named Jordan, asked us if we would be sticking around for a few [minutes.] We said that we would be and she told us that Goofy wanted to do something special for us.
That was a private session with Goofy in the photo pass spot at the front of the restaurant. Not only did we receive that, [but] we also were given a complimentary printout of the photos and a free voucher for any photo frame we wanted in the park.
And after all of that, a month later was when I was accepted to the DCP.
This was just an absolute life-changing experience and I will never forget it.
I was a greeter in Disney Springs and a Children’s Activities Coordinator at Animal Kingdom Lodge.
In my time I’ve seen so many amazing cast members going out of their way for guests: food servers giving small treats to young guests, people escorting lost guests, special pin tradings and winnings, and especially when people make jokes or good conversation.
I did my best to be one of those.
One time I chatted with a lost family that was visiting from Japan and I helped them translate into Japanese since it’s my second language. I guided them to get a good meal, and they seemed surprised that someone understood Japanese in Florida.
Afterward, they told me how grateful they were for my help.
Other times I made magic include hiding special pins and having guests answer trivia questions to win them. And when they saw what they won, many times they would light up or get ecstatic. The little bits of magic went a long way.
However, one of the best times I can remember comes from guests dancing with me to the music. Usually, I’ll tap my feet to the rhythm, but some guests will go right out and jam to it, and I can’t help but join them. One time it even turned into a mini dance-off! I so appreciate it when I can help people feel comfortable enough to express themselves like that in public.
When things go back to normal, I hope to make more magic in more ways.