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MouseStation 250 - Catching up with CMO Justin Muchoney

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Featured Topic: Catching up with CMO Justin Muchoney

Mark met Chief Magic Official Justin Muchoney at the Magic Kingdom while he was working at a special Annual Passholder preview of the new Tinker Bell movie. He had already spent the previous evening handing out candy at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and was going to spend the next day at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.

Since we last talked with Justin, he had helped out at the Toy Story Mania openings at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland (where he got to watch the Pixar Play parade while standing next to John Lasseter). He also went to Magic Meets in Harrisburg, PA. In August, he participated in a cast event at Walt Disney World and also presented a key to the kingdom to Michael Phelps after a parade in the Magic Kingdom. The week before our interview he was in New York City for the "What Will You Celebrate?" announcement.

Since this is the first time that Disney has selected a Chief Magic Official, so they're really almost making it up on the fly. They're liking what they're seeing in Justin and he's having a great time handling all of his duties.

Justin notes that each time he's fulfilling his CMO duties it seems surreal, but at the same time it enhances his faith in people, his belief that good things will happen and dreams come true, and that if you take the time to put a smile on someone's face, good things are contagious. He carries that feeling back home with him long after his time at the park is over.

Justin hopes that his approach to the position is having an impact on the folks at Walt Disney World. His open-mindedness, his personality and his friendly approach is getting him great feedback. He's started to build relationships with cast members and regular guests, and that's exciting to him.

He's glad that people are still enjoying his application video for the CMO position. He notes that the office chair used in the video did have to be replaced.

They do surprise him with many of his duties, but he's got a trip to California tentatively scheduled for early December, a January visit to CareerBuilder to talk to them, and a couple of trips back to Walt Disney World in early 2009.

Mark asked Justin how he saw the What Will You Celebrate/Celebrate Today campaign as different from the Magical Gatherings campaign. Justin noted that there's never a bad reason to celebrate. He noted that there would be some great new options to help people celebrate, and that the free admission on your birthday is because a birthday is something that everyone celebrates. He also noted that instead of asking people to celebrate at Disney's party, Disney is asking people to let them help celebrate their party.

Justin wanted everyone to know that dreams really do come true. Getting the CMO position has allowed his dreams to come true and to participate in the magic. He feels that the hospitality and guest service and magic of Disney is very much alive and well in every cast member, guest, attraction and entertainment offering that he's seen. He wants everyone to believe that great things are going to happen to them as well, and he hopes that they're going to make Disney a part of those plans.

Mark and Mike will be interested to see what Disney does with the CMO program as Justin nears the end of his tenure. Mark sees the benefit of the CMO program as providing a "voice of the people" at official Disney events, though the Disneyland and Walt Disney World ambassadors could certainly handle those duties if Disney so wished. He's not sure where the program is going long term yet, but we'll see what happens after Justin's term is over.

Last Week on MousePlanet

Once again, Andrew Rich, down at MousePlanet Global Headquarters, told you what you may have missed on the MousePlanet site last week if you're not visiting regularly. Let us know what you think about this segment!

Listener Feedback

John Papas and Michael both wrote in to say that they liked our show with Shawn Coomer about Hong Kong Disneyland and asked if we can do some more shows about overseas parks. We'll talk to Shawn about coming back on to talk about the Tokyo Disney Resort, but we're looking for listeners who have been to Disneyland Paris to join us on the show. Let us know if you're interested.

Gary Arsenault wrote in to clarify what a lithograph is and to note that our earlier discussion of Disney "lithographs" that are distributed with Disney DVDs. We refer to them as "lithographs" because that is how Disney describes them.

Kevin-John from Erie, PA called in with some coping tips on how to handle missing Disney's Halloween celebrations. He suggested renting the Tower of Terror movie and the Halloween series from the Disney Channel, The Haunted Mansion with Eddie Murphy and The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. He also suggests downloading Haunted Mansion music and the Boo To You parade music from iTunes and the Boo To You parade, Happy HalloWishes fireworks and other Halloween videos of the parks from YouTube. If you get hungry, you can pick up some of the types of candy that are distributed at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Finally, he suggests making either funnel cakes or warm cookies with ice cream as are sold at Sleepy Hollow Refreshments.

Mark and Mike agree with some of the suggestions, but aren't big fans of some of them. Mike can't remember the candy brands distributed at the Party, though he enjoys the Lion King pecan clusters and the Fantasia mint chocolate bar, while Mark feels strongly that the Hershey Treasures are his favorites from the Party.

CHOC Walk/Team MousePlanet

For more information on supporting Team MousePlanet at this year's CHOC Walk, go to the Team MousePlanet page or get information on the MousePad discussion forums.

Feedback and Other Stuff

We've put together a new listener survey to help us learn more about you and what you like most about this podcast. This one is much more targeted than the old Podtrac survey. Please take a few minutes to fill it out and let us know what you think.

Send us feedback via email or by calling our toll-free feedback line at 1-866-939-2278. Don't forget that we love voicemails because then we can put your voice on the show!

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Wrapping up

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Thanks to our audio engineer and sound editor Steven Ng.

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The MouseStation crew (@MouseStation) currently consists of Mark Goldhaber (@MPMark) and Mike Demopoulos (@MPMike).