Working at Disney for some is more than just a job. Working at Disney is the opportunity to change someone’s day, to make a difference and to positively affect someone’s life. Sometimes it’s the little things – a high five, a badge/pin, a big smile and a greeting, some stickers. Sometimes it’s super cute things like the gentleman in the Disneyana store who looked after Paul & I when we bought a Mary Poppins picture on our honeymoon trip. He passed a phone to me saying “It’s a call for you.” On the other end was Minnie congratulating us on our wedding, then Paul spoke to Mickey. It was magical! These incidents happen daily, and sometimes….extraordinary examples make the news. This is the beautiful side of Disney which we love. Caring, concerned, warm-hearted, kind, thoughtful cast members who go above and beyond to help someone and restore everyone’s faith in human nature. We’ve chosen our top 3 stories and we hope you love these as much as we do!
Amber had been going to Disney world her whole life, from being a very small child. There was one employee who made her trips super special and that was the cast member playing Snow White. Amber met her for the first time when she was 2 years old and Snow White remembered and recognised Amber every visit, calling her by name. Amber says that she was “the definition of Disney magic to me.”
Not very long ago, Amber returned to the park as an adult and was queuing to meet the Fairy Godmother – who she recognised straight away. And who recognised her. A very happy reunion indeed!
We’re back with Snow White! This time it’s a family who were in the park recently with their 6 year old non-verbal autistic son Brody. He’d been coping pretty well during the trip, but that day he was just overwhelmed, hot and tired and when it was his turn to meet Snow White, he had a melt down. Unfazed, the cast member playing Snow White held Brody, soothed him, then took his hand and led him away from the noise and the crowd. The look on his face on the final photograph says it all. Lauren and her family paid tribute to the cast member on social media and the story went viral. We hope Disney rewarded their Snow White because she handled the situation wonderfully and made a huge difference to Brody and his family that day.
Last but not least, we have the cast member Samantha Burns helping Jessica Thomas at Animal Kingdom. The family had evactuated to a Disney hotel during Hurricane Dorian. Jessica had hoped to stay at the hotel to work, but she went with her kids to the park. She struggles with claustrophobia and panic attacks and once she was on the ride vehicle for Na’vi River Journey, she became distressed and got off the ride with her daughter – that’s when Samantha spotted her heading for the exit. She helped Jessica back on the ride and gave her time to adjust and feel comfortable. Samantha then offered to ride with Jessica and her daughter, an offer that completely took Thomas by surprise.
“It did not even occur to me to ask that,” Thomas said. “You wouldn’t think — I’m sure my husband would be like, I could have rode with you, I was with you! But it was different, how she said it. So I’m like, ‘OK,’ and I asked — and I know she was probably like, ‘This weird lady’ — I’m like, ‘Can I hold your hand?’ And she’s like, ‘Yes!’ She did not skip a beat.”
For the duration of the ride, Samantha held Jessica’s hand and pointed out relaxing details, like nearby exits, the fact that the water was shallower than it appeared to be, and a turn that meant the ride was nearing its end. Simultaneously, Burns also entertained Julia, pointing out the animals and exciting details on the ride and tickling the toddler.
“She’s like, ‘Look, Julia!’ and then at the same time, ‘Are you OK? Are you OK? How are you doing?'” Thomas explained. “Just amazing, all that support. … I am a family law attorney. I deal with people’s emotions all day. All day, I deal with emotions and calming people down and walking them off the ledge … so to have someone doing that for me was just indescribable.”
Once again, a cast member going out of their way to improve someone’s day – to make sure that people have a good time.
Have YOU ever experienced that extra sprinkling of magic fairy dust? Do you have a cast member story to tell? Drop a comment below – we’d love to hear all about it.