Walt Disney once said “You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality”. Cast members at Disney Parks and Resorts all around the world are perfect examples of this. As a Disney fan, I can safely say that all my vacations have been touched and made magical by the cast members. Notice that they are called “cast” and not “employees”, because every interaction is considered to be “on stage” and part of the show.
From Imagineers to character attendants, food servers to mousekeeping – the real magic of Disney vacations can be directly attributed to it’s cast. Think back to some of your most magical moments at Disney parks and Resorts, can you remember it? I’m willing to bet that a cast member had a direct hand in almost all of them.
So how do you thank a cast member?
1. Speak to a manager or leader
It is always best to give some real time feedback when you can. Ask to speak to the manager and tell them about your experience while it is fresh in your mind. This is easier to do in places like stores, dining locations and resorts. If a supervisor is not readily accessible (like at a character meet or attraction), make sure you note the cast member’s name and time so that you can relay the information to Guest Services. Make sure you TELL someone! It’s important to share this feedback of good service or a magical experience so that the cast member can be recognized for their efforts.
2. Take to social media
The hashtag #CastCompliment has been used to call out fantastic cast members online. I have personally used it myself on Twitter a few times. While my recent search online has not shown any replies from official Disney accounts, I still believe that it’s a great way to recognize someone publicly. You can combine this with a visit or email to guest services online.
My favourite experience using the #CastCompliment on Twitter was way back in 2017 when I had the same Minnie Van driver a few times, and she was fabulous! We always had so much fun chatting with her and I needed to let someone know how fantastic she was.
Here’s Mary getting my thanks – it was fun to see the message made it all the way to her!
3. Donate to say thank you
As a result of the current pandemic, many cast members have unfortunately found themselves out of work. While these cast members are are no longer making magic for guests, they did – and they created the vacation memories that we will all cherish for a lifetime. They need more than our thanks right now, they need our donations.
Where do you donate? How can you contribute?
Emily Lartigue, a furloughed Walt Disney World cast member created the Cast Member Pantry to help her fellow cast members after they were laid off or furloughed from Walt Disney World. This fantastic service allows cast members to pick up some much needed essentials.
From the Facebook page:
“Cast Member Pantry makes it quick and easy to receive free food essentials once a month per Cast Member. You’ll receive a reusable grocery bag filled with foods that are easily put together to make meals for 4, with breakfast and snack options as well. We take pride in putting food we all enjoy in our bags because we believe our Cast deserve the very best, and a little comfort too.”
Cast members who are in need should email firstname.lastname@example.org and fill out the survey in the automatic reply. Once the survey is done the cast member will receive an email with a day and time for pickup.
To donate to the Cast Member Pantry:
Venmo account for monetary gifting is @castmemberpantry.
They have an Amazon Wish List with gift cards that make it easier for those of us without a Venmo account. Send your donation via the wish list here.
You can also donate to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida
To help the cast members in California, you can donate to the Second Harvest Food Band of Orange County.
Kids Save The World
Furloughed Disney performers/creators Julie Frost and Mike Dombrow are launching an empowering musical adventure podcast for kids, “The Super Secret Hive.” Featuring six full-length episodes, 14 original songs, and (free!) online activities galore, Julie and Mike are excited to share this one-of-a-kind series with kids, parents, and educators worldwide. The duo aims to engage, entertain and inspire kids while also providing parents and educators with much-needed content during this challenging time of distance learning. Check out their website here
Cast Member Toy Box
Cast Member Toy Box was created by long time Disney Cast Members who have been furloughed since March and were recently informed that they would soon be separated from the company. Together, Laura Bartlett and Erin Blackketter created this nonprofit holiday toy drive that benefits the children of furloughed and laid-off Disney Cast Members.
“It was extremely important for us to start something that we could rally the community together and sprinkle some pixie dust around to help create our own magic for our cast member family who have gone above and beyond for so many guest in the past. Our goal is to help alleviate some of the financial strains that our cast family are enduring during this difficult and different holiday season. We are blown away by the kindness and generosity of the people in our community in such a short amount of time.”
For those who would like to help:
Shop their Amazon Wishlist here
Donate via Venmo – Venmo Username: @castmembertoybox
Donate via PayPal: www.paypal.me/CastMemberToyBox
The Cast Member Toy Box are currently working on helping over 500 children have toys for the holidays, donations are imperative to continue that mission. For those wanting to participate they have opened an additional December Waitlist pick up pending donations! If you are an affected cast member and would like to be placed on our December waitlist please fill out this form to request a pick up.
Fellow Disney Fan Josh Gad got in on the donations too!
Today I am donating to the thousands of Disney employees who have been laid off during these impossible times. If you can, please join me. They have provided us with untold joy. Let’s return the favor now🙏 https://t.co/jqEymuTTjO— Josh Gad (@joshgad) October 28, 2020
It’s so important during these times to find ways to stay positive and have hope. For some positivity from Disney leadership, I like to follow Josh D’Amaro, Chairman, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. He’s a leader who seems to genuinely care and have compassion for those he meets, you can see the posts he’s been tagged in.
Do you have unique and fun ways to support Disney cast members?
Let me know and I will update here!