Cast Member Storiesby Shoshana Lewin, staff writer
Warning: Grab a tissue, because this round of guest stories will make you cry. From Walt Disney World store cast members sneaking families through back entrances to buy a souvenir, a Disneyland attraction CM who gave her pin, to a child who lost hers to a very romantic night at the Polynesian Resortthese run the magic gamut.
For the CMs and future CMs reading this: you'll note that most these "bits of magic" took very little time to accomplish, but their trail of pixie dust lasted a long time.
For the guests reading this: Please keep the Cast Member stories coming... and that includes ones from Hong Kong, Tokyo, Paris, the Disney Stores, Adventures by Disney, Disney Theatricals, the El Capitan & Studio Store, Disney Vacation Club and the Disney Cruise Line.
First of all, I just want to say that I love this Web site. It's great to know that there are others out there that are touched by the magic of Disney.
My wife, three kids and I just recently got back from our first trip to Disneyland. This was a lifelong dream for my wife and me. I had grown up always wanting to go to Disneyland and as I got older, the expectations got bigger and biggeralmost to the point that there was no way that the actual event could live up to what I had built up in my mind.
We finally decided that the time was right; my oldest was 11 and my middle child was 7, and we wanted to go before my 11 year old was to old to capture the magic (or what we thought was to old, little did we know!). As we were flying in we were trying to catch a glimpse of the park and couldn't find it, all the while I am thinking that obviously Disneyland can't be as big as I have been expecting. As we were shuttled to our hotel we were trying to catch a glimpse of anything, and could only see Disney's California Adventure park attractions, now I am worried that Disneyland could be a disappointment, compared to what I have built up in my head.
As we walked into the park for the first time, and walked through that brief train tunnel, I was absolutely blown away. There was Goofy, Donald, and MinnieI went from 32 back to 8 years old instantly. As we approached the castle, I began to cry, realizing that a lifelong dream was coming true. We walked around in awe for a full day (from 9 a.m. till midnight). What I had built up in my mind couldn't even touch what we experienced. The next day was Saturday, which also happened to be the day of the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie premiere. We did not know that this was happening during our trip till we got there, and we were concerned that our trip would be diminished because of this. As it turned out we embraced it, and it is a highlight of our trip.
This is where our appreciation for the Disneyland cast members comes into play. The crowd around the red carpet was unbelievable and trying to get around the grandstands was a bit challenging, but the cast members made it so easy; they handled the crowd perfectly. The other thing that stood out to us, was how clean the park was. Even with all those people and the crazy commotion of the premiere, the park was spotless. My wife and I both still tell people how impressed we were with the cast members keeping up with the cleaning. Every cast member we encountered was so fun and delightful that it just added to the magic. They made our trip an absolutely magical experience. We came away after three days feeling like we didn't even scratch the surface of Disneyland Park.
My thanks to all the cast members, and we cant wait to go back. We are talking about going back again this year, if not, then for sure next year. We are hoping to make it an annual event.
As I read the experiences of guests at the resorts and cry, it all comes back to me. The two trips we have taken in the past two years. The first year 2005, we were there for five days our first trip in 20 years for most of us (mom, dad, nanny and grandma) and the first trip for my kids who were 11, 7 and 8 months. We did most of the character meals and two stand out the most.
On the second day we did Breakfast With Minnie and Friends at the PCH Grill. My 7-year-old was all eyes at the characters around. When Minnie came by to say hi all she could do was look in amazement and cry, as she sat holding Minnie she proceeded to tell her, wow this really is the most magical place on earth. Needless to say there wasn't a dry eye at the table.
We then did the Breakfast with Pooh in the park. Wow, we weren't really impressed with the food but Pooh Bear made it all worth doing again and again. The baby was amazed at Pooh Bear, looking at him like, "Wow he is really there alive, not just a toy."
As we all ate our breakfast we had a special babysitterPooh Bear. He came over and didn't leave the table for at least an hour. He took Samantha out of her chair and to the floor they went. Trying to get her to walk and playing with her. We have so many pictures (that are time stamped) we don't even know what one is our favorite.
Being Disney fanatics we decided that we had to go again next year, this time it was family10 for 10 days this time. Everyone went. All Samantha could talk about was Pooh. So we did the same breakfast again expecting it not to be as memorable as it was the first, boy we were wrong. As we sat down Samantha saw Pooh and yelled "there he is." We tried to explain to her that he would be over soon, being 2, that worked for a short amount of time. She got occupied eating her breakfast and watching every step Winnie the Pooh made. Finally it was her turn, she stood up and wrapped her arms around him and almost cried. Then looked at me and said, "Momma, it's Pooh." Wiping the tears from my eyes I said, "Yes honey, I know."
She talked to him for what seemed like forever. We got family pics and let him on his way. Soon she was met with Tigger, another favorite. The restaurant was almost empty at this point. Tigger took her from her seat and they played and ran around the restaurant looking for Pooh Bear. Then when the returned to the table they had a jumping contest. Everyone was laughing and crying with joy. Minnie Mouse was brought to the table by Tigger to meet Samantha, Sam thought this was so cool, but asked where Pooh was. Minnie stayed there while Tigger motioned he would get him. A moment later Pooh was back this time for a long time. As Pooh and Tigger played with Samantha they created the magic that she will forever remember. When it was time to go, Pooh took Sam by the hand to the front of the restaurant and then they came back, and they brought with them the fairy godmother. Pooh then presented Sam with a packet of honey. Sam's eyes lit up like the 4th of July: "He gave me honey!"
The fairy godmother then told Sam that he gave that to her because she was his special friend and he only shares honey with his special friends. Sam cherishes that honey packet to this day we have it in a shadow box with a picture of Pooh Bear feeding her breakfast. We are counting the days till our next trip in October. She can't wait till we celebrate her birthday at Plaza Inn with Pooh Bear.
Another fond memory we have is of my 8-year-old last October. We had gone to see the movie on the 50th anniversary. When we entered in she started to talk to a CM about what was in the building. As they were talking the CM had asked why she doesn't have any pins on her lanyard. As Brittany hung her head down in disappointment she explained that she had one and lost it. And she can't find another one. The CM asked her to look at her pins and see if it was there. No she said. And she asked the CM where she got the princess pin she was wearing and she told her from working there.
The CM then unclipped the pin and gave it to Brittany. Told her this can be her first one now. Brittany gave her a hug and started to cry and told her thank you. She now has a very special pin that she still looks at on a regular basis. Her lanyard hangs in her room. Every time we read anything on Disney, tears come to our eyes with magic in our hearts.
Last year's trip started to be a bad one when we had to change our reservation due my father's unexpected death. Thanks to the magic of Disney and the wonderful cast members, we were able to enjoy the trip that we had first thought about cancelling.
Due to the magic of last time and being able to feel like a kid again we will be spending another family vacation of nine people for 10 days.
I've thoroughly enjoyed reading through all of the Cast Member stories here on MousePlanet. It really goes to show you how above and beyond some of them go to make your Disney trip truly magical. I have two stories, both of which happened at a young age.
The last time I visited Magic Kingdom in Orlando, I was maybe 12 or 13 (I'm 16 now), and my family and I were waiting to board Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. As I neared the loading platform I noticed that one of the cast members was extremely into his character, cracking jokes and generally making the guests laugh and smile. He had a funny accent, too, which was very well done. As we were about to board the train, he had asked in his country accent "Any o' you kind folks happen ta have a piece o' gum with ya?"
My mom, always the one with practically everything on hand, dove into her fanny pack, took out a piece of gum, and threw it over to him. He was clearly delighted, tipped his hat, and said "Thank ya ma'am! You just earned yourself a second ride!"
My whole family was surprised, we had never expected to get to ride twice just for a piece of gum! When the first ride was over, he asked if there was any seat that we liked the best. I said the back, because you got the most air time back there. So before letting anyone else board, he escorted us from the middle seats all the way back to the very last seat. The second ride was just as fun as the first, and I felt like a celebrity (considering the line for the ride was more an hour wait). It's something that I'll always remember when riding Big Thunder Mountain. I guess it just goes to show you that generosity goes a long way!
And now for the most memorable story: On my 5th birthday, my family treated me to a visit to Walt Disney World. It was my first time, and I was so excited that I remember jumping around in the car before we even entered the gates.
The cast members didn't know it was my birthday however, only my family and me. After a wonderful day of fun, we went to watch the fireworks.
While watching, apparently I looked so mystified that I caught an older cast member's attention.
She leaned down to me and asked "Are you enjoying the fireworks?"
I said "Uh huh!"
Apparently my parents had told her it was my birthday without me knowing, as well as my name, because she then said "Oh, so you're Greg! The little boy whose birthday is today!"
I was amazed! I asked how she knew, and she said "Mickey told me. He said that he was going to do a big fireworks show because he wanted to celebrate your birthday! These fireworks are for you!"
I was in such a state of shock and joy, and I had smiled so wide that my face hurt. I was so amazed, I felt so special, that Mickey actually knew who I was, and did this whole fireworks show for me! It truly sparked my love for all things Disney from that moment. I wanted to go every year, and we did. I loved it so much, and still do to this day. Amazing how one total stranger can change your life forever.
I'm sitting here, a 44-year-old father of two young daughters, with tears in my eyes. My girls, ages 6 and 7, have yet to make their first trip to the Happiest Place on Earth, but when they do, I hope we have the same experiences for them that I just read about. I have been in love with Disneyland from the moment I knew it existed, and can't wait to share this love with my children. The CMs are the ones who make it much more special. Thank you again, you really made my day!
We've only been to WDW oncein 2001. That we are still planning our next trip with great enthusiasm will tell you what a great time we had! One reason for this is our experiences with the CMs we came in contact with! There was at least one person each day that made this vacation "magical."
A Snow White in Epcot made our family's day with a pouting 4-year-old much happier. Our 4-year-old daughter was sulking because she wanted to go back to Animal Kingdom instead of "boring" Epcot. When we saw Snow White, we of course wanted a photo with her (at least my other daughters ages 14 and 9 did). When she saw that my littlest was not going to smile, she knelt down and said oh so sweetly, "Come on now, you don't want to be called Princess Grumpy all day do you?" The look on my daughters' faces was priceless! And even Princess Grumpy grinned!
Another CM was manning the end of the line at the Living Seas. We had been there earlier in the day and had gone through the souvenir shop inside. Again, my youngest, had seen a stuffed manatee there she just had to have. Thinking that we could find something less expensive somewhere else in the park, we talked her into looking elsewhere. Of course, nothing doingshe had to have that manatee and no other shop carries manatees and you have to go through the whole ride to get to the shop at the end! (did I mention the line was way long?) We were explaining why we refused to do all that (and she was upset, but not throwing a fityet) in front of the building when this young lady asked if she could help us. I explained our story. She told my daughter that she understood why she would want that particular toy because she was from Florida and loved all the ocean animals, especially the ones that often got hurt by humans. Then she took my daughter and me through the employee hallway and into the shop through a back door where we could purchase the animal and make my daughter's trip! She didn't have to do that; she could have made us wait in that line, but she took my daughter by the hand and validated her love of animals. So great!
Our two magical moments occurred in 1995 when our daughter, Belle, was about 3 years old. She is actually named Isabelle, after her great-grandmother, but we have had great fun with associating her with one of Disney's best role models for girls, as well. Anyway, we were at MGM Studios on this occasion. We were to eat breakfast at what was then the Soundstage studio, and were walking along Main Street when we encountered Sarge. Belle asked him for directions to the restaurant.
He promptly took her by the hand and marched her over to the studio in true Marine style, taught her how to salute and departed. It was great fun for her. We then ate our breakfast, after which she purchased a plastic lamp that had the genie's voice and would talk if a motion sensor was triggered. We then went up to visit with Aladdin and Jasmine and they spent a great deal of time with Belle, looking at the lamp and talking to her. Later that day we were watching the parade, when Aladdin and Jasmine came by on the float. Belle was on her grandpa's shoulders, and it must have been the same two cast members as Aladdin and Jasmine, because I saw Jasmine spot Belle, and turn to Aladdin and say, "Look, there's Belle," and both of them waved to her and blew her kisses. She was deliriously happy all day, because these three actors were so kind, and gave her special treatment. Those were our family's magical moments.
I have been going to WDW all my life, the first time as an infant in 1972 all the way to the present. Though my parents have both passed on, some of the most wonderful memories I keep of us as a family are from our repeated (at least twice a year) trips to WDW. Still, as magical as it has always been for me, it wasn't until several years ago when my wife Kathy and I took our eldest daughter Yanitza (little sis was too little) to WDW for her 7th birthday that I got the full impact of what the Disney magic could be.
Passing through the turnstiles to the Magic Kingdom, a cast member overheard us saying Happy Birthday to Yanitza and called her back to the turnstile. He pinned a "Today's my birthday!" button on her T-shirt and told her she had a very important call waiting at City Hall. He was very formal about it and Yanitza was blown away, feeling very important. At City Hall the cast members reacted as if they had been anxiously awaiting her arrival and provided her with a phone right away. When Yanitza picked up it was a "Happy Birthday" message from the Big Cheese himself, Mickey Mouse. It was a wonderful start to a day filled with other magical moments. Yanitza was given postcards themed after each attraction we went on signed by the cast members, she was included in the Green Army Men street show at the Studios, and on one occasion after a cast member spotted her eyeballing a Mickey lollipop in one of the Main Street shops, the CM chased us down the street after we'd left to bring it to her with a "Happy Birthday" wish and a smile. Finally, Yanitza had the misfortune of leaving her new Goofy hat and ears lying around somewhere, and was heartbroken she'd lost them, when a CM working a merchandise cart in Fantasyland overheard and brought her a new one, no questions asked.
The treatment our daughter received was second to none and to this day she talks about it as do my wife and I, usually getting a little teary-eyed in the process. For two generations now, the WDW magic has been a part of our family and is still going strong. This was quite awhile ago, Yanitza is now 11 years old, but after reading some of the stories posted in Cast Place, I just had to share.
This isn't so much an interesting story but a coincidental one. When I was 6 I went to WDW for the first time and when me and my family where settling in for the parade I saw a CM by the name of Todd. This to me at that time was a big deal for me as I had never met anyone with the same name as me before and I was apparently so excited he let me put on his name tag and help set up for the parade for a short time. And as he took his name tag back he said to me "you'll be a CM just like me one day and you'll have one of your own!"
This is very ironic because next year I am going out to WDW to work as a CM in Disney's International Program. I was told this story only a few weeks ago and had no recognition of this story before this.
We stayed at the Beach Club Villas on our last trip. I called ahead of time to see if I could buy a basket of goodies to have in our room to surprise my daughter when we arrived. I talked to Tracee at the front desk. She said the resort wasn't able to prepare purchased baskets, but said if she was working the day we arrived, she'd try to have a card autographed by a character, and a balloon waiting for us. She said she couldn't guarantee she'd be working or that she'd have time to do this, but would make a note of our request.
We were very pleasantly surprised when we found a big bouquet of balloons, and a personally autographed card from Mickey along with a picture to my daughter welcoming her to WDW in our room! What a wonderful way to start our stay at WDW! Thank you Tracee!
During my many trips to WDW in the past few years, I have had some good and some bad CM experiences. I told myself that I was going to start paying more attention to their names and thanking them for a job well done. Well, I wish I had written this guy's name down, as he was full of Disney magic! I went to WDW for a trip with some online friends. We had just had a fabulous dinner at Chef Mickey'slots of food, lots of pictures and lots of laughs. I was still in a great mood as we walked down Main Street, taking a left toward Adventureland, walking right past the Crystal Palace.
As I walked along, I was singing to myself, "Be Our Guest": "Be our guest, put our service to the test."
Well, I thought I was singing to myself, but it was out loud. One of the Photopass photographers was watching me as I skipped along. I said sorry, as I stopped singing. He said don't be sorry, cause "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" and I joined in and we were both singing at the top of our lungs. The rest of my group joined in and we were dancing around. Pretty soon we had a crowd around us clapping and laughing.
I meant to get this CM's name, to tell Disney how full of Disney Magic he was, but I was so caught up, I forgot. So thank you Mr. Photopass guy for making a memorable moment of just walking around the park.
I have never had a bad experience a WDW. I've just discovered this site and your columns so this overall experience is almost four years old now.
My wife and I were at WDW on our dream honeymoon in September 2002. We had driven overnight form Massachusetts due to my wife's fear of flying, which she is going to face for this year's trip. When we arrived at the Grand Floridian at 7 a.m. the cast member at the front desk was a sight for tired eyes. First the wing our room was in was actually under repair (I believe to replace the sinks). My wife started to get nervous we would not have the romantic view promised. The CM assured he would do everything Disney possible and within a moment gave us a room I'll never forget: Top floor, two balconies unbelievable view of everything around Seven Seas Lagoon. It is in such a spot I can see it many of the Disney vacation DVDs and point it out to people. The second night we were there we came back to room with a platter of cheese and crackers and a bottle of Korbel Champagne and a note from Mickey and Minnie.
The parks, restaurants, dinner shows and resorts treated us extra special because we were on our honeymooneverything from spotlight dances and toasts at the "Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue" and Luau at the Polynesian; a photographer session at the Magic Kingdom where we had run of the park and then Disney took the pictures and made an album for us for free.
The most touching moment though was on the one year anniversary of Sept. 11all the parks stopped. Guests and cast members from every level of position gathered at the hubs of the parks. We were at MGM and guests and cast members from all over the world stood together listened to a speech from President Bush. Then guests and cast together sang patriotic songs and cried and comforted each other. Even though it was a day to remember and mourn, the Disney magic just seemed to bring everyone together and reminded everyone that everything would be OK. That day was special. I never remember names of certain CMs for more than a week. Now that I know this column exists, I will make sure I write the names and experiences down during my December trip so they all get their proper acknowledgement.
I want to share my experience with an outstanding CM while at WDW. This happened not in a park or resort, but in one of the stores at Downtown Disney last November. My daughter-in-law, granddaughter and I were waiting in line to check out when we heard a voice leading us to an open line. Once at the counter we saw the CM seated in a wheelchair behind the counter. My daughter-in-law explained to the CM how my 5-year-old granddaughter liked to organize the racks and shelves in stores where someone had misplaced an item and that she one day wants to work in a store. The CM invited her to stand beside the counter where the CM had her help scan the items, run the credit cards, fold and bag our items. She patiently answered all questions and shared her enthusiasm at working at WDW. The photo of my granddaughter and this CM are in the album and remind us of the true Disney magic. While she wasn't Belle or Cinderella or Snow White, she was our favorite "princess" of the trip.
We're sorry that we didn't remember her name and reply directly to her supervisor, so we hope this message gets to the right person.