On a hot day in July, a cup of ice water to-go means a whole lot.
Last month, I spent a whirlwind 4-night vacation at Walt Disney World. I'd planned it on short notice, traveled solo (and hung out with friends), and toured the parks commando-style nearly every day, opening one park and closing another. I even earned the coveted Around the World badge on Lines, for reporting attraction wait times from all four Parks in one day. It was an adventure vacation, really; I had some demons to exorcise, and Mickey Mouse was just the guy to assist. Sweating off my troubles in the steamy Florida sun did me more than a world of good.
One day during that trip, I made a last-minute ADR at the 50's Prime Time Cafe. The Cast Members there were super-friendly and helpful, even going so far as to introduce me to the party of four at the next table, with whom I happily chatted for a while (I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did). Best of all, after I'd finished my meal and signed the check, the Cast Member who'd served my meal brought me a large glass of ice water to go, with a straw, and reminded me how important it is to hydrate in the hot sun.
If you've ever had a great, magical time at Walt Disney World, there have been Cast Members to thank for it. Perhaps it was a cheerful face as you boarded an attraction, or a Princess lavishing attention on your child, or a friendly bus driver welcoming you aboard. Or maybe it was something truly exceptional, such as the time a kind Guest Services Cast Member gave my son a new Buzz Lightyear mug to replace one he'd lost in the mens' room, or the manager at Le Cellier who replaced my entire outfit after an unfortunate experience with a tray of drinks. Or maybe it was people you never saw: The Imagineers who designed an attraction, the housekeepers who left towel animals on your bed, or the people who prepared your meals.
I had a date with Star Tours right after lunch that day at the Prime Time, but decided to make a quick detour and swing by Guest Services to compliment them on the Cast Member who'd been so kind and helpful. I must say, it's a lot of fun to tell Guest Services about something that went extra-right about my day; I'm sure they spend plenty of time hearing about things that didn't go so well. The Cast Member at Guest Services took down the information, and promised that my thanks would be sent to both the 50s Prime Time Cast Member and his supervisor.
I've never worked for Disney, but from what I understand from a few acquaintances who do, and from my own experiences working retail and food service jobs, I believe it is often a thankless, tiring, and underpaid job. I've looked at the current contracts for WDW Cast Members who are represented by Local 362 (which are posted on the Local 362 web page) and it's only underscored my commitment to taking a few moments here and there to thank Cast Members, and to leave healthy tips wherever it's appropriate.
So I encourage you: Take the time to thank a Cast Member on your next trip to Disney. Or if you didn't get a chance while you were there, or the line at Guest Services was just too long to contemplate, you can always drop them a note later; AllEars has contact information for WDW Officials. It's a great way to share the magic, and even to relive a happy moment as you write up the story.