Throughout the history of Disney theme parks, from the opening of Disneyland in 1955, to each new park and land opening all the way through Shanghai Disneyland in 2016 and even up to the latest land coming to a “galaxy” near you, there has been one common denominator that is the foundation of their success…
- It’s not the amazing design and concepts of places you can go only in your imagination…
- It’s not the intricate attention to detail that makes you feel like you’re really there…
- It’s not even the stories that pull you in and make you a character in them.
It’s the Cast Members – men and women who bring all the above to life.
And there’s no better example of this than the newest land, Galaxy’s Edge, which opened in Disneyland May 31 and is opening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios August 29.
Pictured above are Disneyland Cast Members, a few days prior to the opening of Galaxy’s Edge on May 31, 2019.
Pictured above are Disney Hollywood Studios Cast Members, a few days prior to the opening of Galaxy’s Edge on August 29, 2019.
Cast Members have always been integral to the concepts and ideals of Disney’s theme parks. Walt Disney summed it up very well in this quote:
You can dream, create, design, and build the most wonderful place in the world…but it requires people to make the dream a reality.
In Galaxy’s Edge, Disney has given Cast Members more “connection” to the experience than ever before. Cast Members are being told that this is a place where they too play a role in helping the Guest Experience come to life.
Many of the Cast Members are part of the Resistance. They are supporting Guests in the queue at the coming Rise of the Resistance, and at various other venues. In other locations, such as Docking Bay 9 and up on the Star Destroyer, you’ll encounter those associated with the First Order.
The residents of Black Spire Outpost make up the remainder of the Cast Members. They handle much of the support for food and beverage as well as retail. In their role, some can lean toward either the Resistance or the First Order. Or, they can maintain a neutral or even “I could care less” position about who is in charge. But as it relates to the story, they are “caught” between the pull of both sides.
J. Jeff Kober, a former Cast Member who was instrumental in the writing of Disney’s “Be Our Guest” book, provided me with the above information. He went on, adding the following thoughts that are applicable to your organization:
- Are you staffing your organization with people who have the right attitude and the critical thinking skills needed?
- How are you using the implementation of new products and services as a chance to reward your team members with new growth opportunities?
- What resources are you providing your team members to set them up to do their job successfully?
- What “role” are you asking your team members to play?
- What efforts do you have in place to train and develop your staff? What things can you not assume? What things must they be able to experience themselves? What must you do to develop them long term?
- How are your team members – especially those behind the scenes – supporting your front line staff?
- What are you doing to treat your team members as assets and not liabilities?
The concepts above are crucial to the success of your hospitality ministry. But they don’t just appear out of nowhere. Today’s Galaxy’s Edge Cast Members started their journey the same way Cast Members have from the very beginning – with the vision and values of Disney.
Again, thanks to J. Jeff Kober for the inspiration!
Your team is THE most critical part of creating an Exceptional Guest Experience. They make your Guest Experience “real” every weekend!
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