7 Things Disney’s New Attraction Can Teach Church Welcome Teams

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 and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2019.

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!

> Read more from Bob.


 

Want to know more about Guest Experiences at your church? Let’s talk! Connect with an Auxano Navigator here.

Interested in bringing your team (up to 5 people) to Auxano’s Guest Experience Boot Camp coming to West Palm Beach, FL on February 26-27? Find out more here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bob Adams

Bob Adams

Bob is an absolute fanatic about Guest Experiences, growing up watching his father serve customers at the gas station he built and operated for 44 years. Bob is continually connecting with corporate leaders in the customer experience world, learning and then translating practices for ChurchWorld. He writes, speaks, and consults on the topic frequently. Vocationally, Bob has a dual role at Auxano, a clarity first consulting firm serving the church. As Vision Room Curator and Digital Engagement Leader he researches, edits, writes and publishes online content. As Guest Experience Navigator, he leverages his passion, providing Guest Perspective Evaluations and Guest Experience Blueprints. Bob and his wife Anita have been married for 40 years. They have 4 children, 3 daughters-in-law, 1 son-in-law, and 5 grandchildren.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

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Welcoming Well Must Include These People

Editor’s Note: During our August focus on Guest Experiences, we are honored to have some of the best voices in the world of Customer Experience provide guest posts for the Vision Room. As you read the content below, simply think “Guest” in terms of the “customer” the author is talking about – and you will benefit from the knowledge and expertise of these great minds.


One of my favorite places in the world is Disneyland Paris. Of all the Disney parks world-wide, it is perhaps the most beautifully designed experience. There are so many details that can be found such as the signature icon, Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant.

On my YouTube Channel, I have videos posted of Disney Imagineers talking about the amazing lands of Disneyland Paris. Signature icons like this stand out across the park. But get up close and each of these majestic attractions is full of beautiful, intrinsic details, like the stain glass you see below:

The Imagineers know that despite the hundreds of millions of dollars that go into creating these beautiful attractions, it’s all for nothing if the guest experience isn’t supported by the Cast Members. To that degree, they emphasized this at the end of the one of the videos:

Here are some key messages from this vignette:

  • It’s easy to forget when designing a great experience the importance of what the Cast Member brings.
  • Cast Members bring the story to life.
  • People most often talk about how great the service is of the Cast Members than any other aspect of their experience.
  • Imagineers put their work in the hands of Cast Members to maintain, keep the park beautiful, to keep the story alive, and to bring about the spirit of the parks through their smiles.
  • Cast Members are truly the host–the guest experience is in the hands of the Cast Member.

Of course, getting the right Cast Member delivery requires having the right Cast Member. This was particularly important when Disneyland Paris opened, because many potential candidates from that area were not familiar with the guest-friendly expectations Disney makes of its Cast Members. Fortunately Disneyland Paris Resort has now been through a generation or so of guests, so that many new hires were once guests who enjoyed Disneyland as children themselves. They see how powerful the guest experience can be.

Emphasizing the role of Cast Members is not just Disneyland Paris’s challenge. It’s the challenge of all of Walt Disney attractions. Walt Disney World alone needs to hire thousands of new Cast Members each year. Staffing some 70,000 roles throughout the property is no easy job. That’s why a few years ago Disney Parks put out videos like the ones below, letting potential hires know not only what it’s like to be a Disney Cast Member, but what is expected.

In your organization, you probably don’t have castles or Cast Members. But you do have staff, and you want to emphasize the importance of your employees. Ask yourself:

  • How do I demonstrate that my employees are important?
  • What would fall apart if I didn’t have capable employees supporting me?
  • How do employees add or distract from the investment that I have made on the entire guest experience?
  • To what length do I communicate expectations to potential hires of what I want in a great employee?
  • What resources do I utilize to support my employees in the work they do?

We often say that employees are our greatest asset. How do you invest in those assets? Or, do you treat them more like a liability? That’s the opportunity every organization–maximizing your most important assets. Always consider: how important are your employees?

Leadership matters when it comes to having great employees. That’s why you may want to check out my latest book, available on Amazon and Kindle. Take a look at Disney, Leadership and You. Find new ways you can lead your employees to greatness. Check it out today!

> Read more from Jeff.


 

Want to know more about Guest Experiences at your church? Let’s talk! Connect with an Auxano Navigator here.

Download PDF

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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Execution >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Kober

Jeff Kober

Writer. Columnist. Speaker. Facilitator. Trainer. Coach. And the thought leader in best-of-Disney practices. For nearly 35 years, Jeff has delivered development and training solutions for the private, public and non-profit sectors. He has facilitated hundreds of programs and delivered keynote addresses to scores of clients as diverse as General Electric, the U.S. Postal System, Federal Express, and the City of New York. Topics have ranged from leadership to performance accountability, from customer service to team building. Jeff’s consultant activities were previously associated with The Disney Institute, a best-practices institution modeled on America’s first corporate university. While there, Jeff was responsible for designing The Disney Approach to Quality Service and Service, Disney Style programs. The models, concepts, and examples of those programs were later introduced in the successful business book, Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service, with a forward by former Disney CEO, Michael Eisner. Jeff continues to be the thought leader in sharing best practices of the Walt Disney Companies for corporations worldwide. He hosts DisneyatWork.com, with blog posts and podcasts featuring ideas on life & work from the “Happiest Place on Earth.” Many of those stories and concepts have been penned into four best-in-business books on the house of the mouse: Disney, Leadership and You; Lessons From Epcot: In Leadership, Business and Life:Disney’s Hollywood Studios: From Show Biz to Your Biz; and The Wonderful World of Customer Service at Disney. Beyond Disney, Jeff emphasizes best practices from a range of amazing organizations. Jeff is a partner and CEO of World Class Benchmarking, which provides a programming series that benchmarks many of America’s greatest corporations. Along with his business partner, Mark David Jones, he has co-authored Lead With Your Customer now in its 2nd edition. It showcases scores of examples of how private, public and non-profit world-class organizations have transformed their culture and brand into world-class excellence.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.