Walt Disney’s spirit of showbiz and entertainment extends far beyond a specific job classification at Disney Parks. When he created Disneyland Resort, Walt wanted everyone working there to entertain guests no matter what their day-to-day duties were. And to this day, we are called “cast members” instead of “employees”; we each have a “role in the show” rather than a “job.”
In fact, when he famously said, “You can dream, create, plan and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality,” Walt was describing that foundation. It was part of his vision behind “The Four Keys” for a great guest experience: 1) Safety, 2) Courtesy, 3) Show and 4) Efficiency.
One of the shining examples of these “Basics” for a great guest experience is found in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort. Her name is Barbara, and she is a Main Street, U.S.A., Hostess. But she has taken her Hostess role and added quite a few twists (and turns…and spins…and several other moves!) to it. She has gained quite a few fans through the years with her dance moves during the Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party that is performed several times on most days in Magic Kingdom Park.
In fact, her dancing has not only led to smiles on guests’ faces, it had another positive result. A few years ago, Barbara made the commitment to lose weight. And by creating her high-energy dance steps and celebrating with guests in the interactive street party, she has lost a total of 60 pounds since Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! debuted.
Recently, I decided to shadow Barbara as her “dance apprentice.” And despite my earlier dance attempts while eating The World’s Hottest Pepper and learning from Irish dancing pro Sarah at Raglan Road, there was no way I could keep pace with Barbara as she joined the festivities with Mickey, Minnie, stiltwalkers, dancers, the emcee and the guests who took part in the fun. She was a bundle of energy and kept a smile on her face at every turn.
It’s easy for her, she told me. “I am having so much fun out there. I love to share it with our guests. That’s why guests visit and that’s what makes the magic for me.”
Barbara is an inspiration to me. In my opinion, she embodies the spirit of a cast member that Walt Disney envisioned all those years ago.
Have you seen Barbara in action? Or do you have another cast member that sticks out in your mind as going above and beyond with some of the same “Basics”? Please share with us in the comments.