Every day that I go to work I slowly realize that my job has absolutely nothing to do with selling merchandise but has everything to do with getting to know people and sharing in their experiences. Sure I sell merchandise and quite a bit of it but this becomes secondary to talking to guests and hearing about where they are from and what experiences they are having in the parks good or bad. This past weekend I met guests from Utah, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. These are just the ones that shared with me where they are from. This is amazing to be able to meet so many great people from all over the country and beyond. I also met guests from the UK and Canada. This experience is not only with guests as I met cast members from all over as well. Being able to have these conversations is the absolute best part of my day.
You all may not know this but I have a pretty difficult time in social situations. I am a classic over-thinker and therefor have a hard time engaging in conversations because I am constantly worried that what I say will be the wrong thing. Working at Walt Disney World has helped so much in this area. When in my costume and working at my location I am playing a role and when in that role I am no longer that person who is afraid to engage in conversations. I am no longer Michael, I am Michael from Chillicothe, OH and I am a cast member that is there to help make the guest’s experience that much better. I love being that person. I am an introvert and that much attention to socializing really can start to get exhausting but it is so worth it in the end. I think that working at Walt Disney World is a kind of therapy for me.
This past weekend I was greatly put to the test in this area when I had a conversation with a guest. The conversation started simply enough with me asking them if they were having a great time at the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. The response from the guest was “I was having a great time but now not so much.” I of course followed up asking what had turned the evening to a bad place so that hopefully I could steer it back in the right direction. I was not at all prepared for the answer that I received. She explained to me that she received a phone call a short time ago informing her that her mother had passed away. I was not expecting that answer, I thought maybe she had a long wait on an attraction or possibly was pushed by another guest. If there ever was a test for my social skills this was it, what a delicate situation. I told her that I was so sorry and that even though we were complete strangers I asked if I could give her a hug. It just was about the only thing I felt that I could do at that moment so that she knew I really cared. I also offered to not charge her for the Coke she was purchasing but she insisted upon paying me, maybe looking back I should have insisted. I didn’t because she definitely didn’t need to be struggling with anything else at the moment let alone arguing with me over paying for a Coke. When the transaction was complete she came around the counter and gave me a hug. I know we were complete strangers but in that moment I hope that she realized that I truly felt for her and wished her the best. “Everyday Magic” for Friday 9/26/14.
The following day I was set to start my first day in my other costume and other area. I was extremely nervous. I had been trained for this but now I would truly be alone, or would I. I soon realized that I was never alone. If I had a question there was always someone around who was willing to give me a helping hand. This was especially important when my first assignment was in Uptown Jewelers. I knew nothing about jewelry at that moment but by the time my few hours there was complete I already felt a million times more confident. Yes I started to pick up a little knowledge of the product but my confidence came from knowing that the other cast members in the area had my back. They were always there to offer a helping hand or give me words of encouragement. My second stop that day was to embroider Mickey Ear hats. I felt pretty confident about this process but again I was on my own, no trainer. I finished about 10 hats or so and was feeling pretty good about myself. They all turned out really nice and then it happened. I now had in my hand a pair of bride Mickey Ears. I listen to the discussion at the counter and learn that the future groom is standing at the counter and explaining how the next day he will be proposing at Cinderella Castle and these will be a huge part in that proposal. No pressure right? I now held in my hand something that I knew had to be done perfectly. Was I the right person for the job? We would soon find out and I went to work. The entire time I set the machine up and the entire time it was stitching I was a nervous wreck. It turns out all of the worrying was for nothing. They turned out great! I was now so happy to have played but a small role in a very important day for these two guests. “Everyday Magic” Saturday 9/27/14.
Day 3 of my weekend work week was another Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. During the parties our location can be a little slow because the guests are out enjoying the trick-or-treating and special events around the park. This led to more opportunities to get to know my fellow cast members. I was able to find out where they were from and things that were going on in their lives. This is important in any team so that you can feel a connection to those around you. The best part of the entire night was at the very end when we had a meeting to bring the evening to an end. Our leader asked us about any guest experiences we may have had that evening. I stood and listened to all of the great costumes that everyone had seen that night and experiences shared beaming with pride to be part of something so special. I was with a group of people that truly cared about the guests and were excited to share not just how they had affected the guest experience but how the guests had affected them. “Everyday Magic” Sunday 9/28/14.
Monday was a very uneventful day but even on those days something amazing can happen. That evening I felt very content and a calm came over me. As I saw my wife sending videos back and forth to her parents in Ohio and my youngest son singing and dancing on camera for them I realized that some of the most “magical” moments are those simple moments. My oldest son spent quite a while talking to my parents via Skype that evening as well. It was an evening of family and connecting with family even though we are 900 miles apart. “Everyday Magic” Monday 9/29/14.
Tuesday I was determined to get some things accomplished. I made a long list of things to do that day and much of it had to do with cleaning the entire house. I put on my favorite podcast, ResortLoop.com Podcast and got to work. I spent the entire day cleaning. My two year-old took his nap right on time and I even had a chance for a little lunch and short nap. I felt very accomplished. The best part was when my wife came home and was able to relax in a nice clean house. She just had completed her last day at her old school and would be starting her new school this week. It made me feel great that she was able to relax and not worry about the condition of the house. When she said “You really have been busy today” after walking through the house it made all of the hard work worth it. “Everyday Magic” Tuesday 9/30/14.