A Story of Disney Customer Service – Making Magic out of a Hurricane

Epcot Italy Pavilion - Via Napoli Italian Waitress and Cast Member

There have been books written about it.  Companies send employees to study it and implement it.  Trainers use it as an example (yes, I was one of those that did) and basis to teach it.  Guests come to expect it.  Disney has the reputation for doing it better that perhaps anyone.  It is Guest (Customer) service and it is another reason why I return to Disney.

Defining “it” can be difficult because when done right, this level of service envelopes you in your visit.  It is made up of little moments and big, some barely noticeable and others as grand as it can get.  I think the best way for me to describe it is to share a story demonstrating it – as good as it gets.We live in Houston, TX and were in September, 2008 we were in the direct path of Hurricane Ike.

On September 16, after a few days without power and with schools closed for at least a few more days, we decided to pack up escape the real world, find some air conditioning and ice.  What better place to do that than Disney World?We drove through the night, making our resort reservations along the way.

After checking in, we started to have car troubles and our car had to be towed to the Disney Car Care Center for an evaluation.    Additionally, I broke a filling off my tooth during the drive.   Not a great start to a vacation.

The next morning, still a bit tired, we went to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  While waiting to visit our favorite attraction, The Animator’s Studio, we received a phone call telling us that our Generator had been stolen from our house.  Then another call informed us that repairs on our car would cost $1140.

Feeling and looking somewhat defeated, a cast member named Richard overheard us talking and asked what was wrong.  My wife told Richard of our less than magical few days and he was kind enough to listen.That is really what we needed, someone to just vent to and understand.  Richard, however, did more than listen.

He asked which character we wished to draw in the studio that day.  We picked Stitch and he arranged for that to happen.  This brightened our day but as we found out soon, Richard had done a bit more than we knew.

Stitch Artwork by the Instructor from the Magic of Animation at Hollywood Studios

Our Gift of Stitch – Still Hanging in the House

After finishing our drawings of Stitch, we went to thank Richard and were greeted by two wonderful cast members, Jansen and Melissa from the Dream Squad.  (This was during the Year of a Million Dreams Promotion).  We were given the opportunity to meet the artist who drew Stitch and take home his drawing as a souvenir.  That made our day, but there was more.  The Dream Squad of Melissa and Jansen were just getting started.

For  the next three hours we became VIPs of the park thanks to our own “personal dream squad.”  My son, wife  and I were escorted through the park, given fast pass entrance to any ride we choose,  given trading pins and ice cream as well as preferred seating for The Voyage of the Little Mermaid and Fantasmic that night.

Now, it is not reasonable to expect a personal dream squad on everyone’s visit.  We were fortunate.  However, what we do expect, and what is reasonable for you to expect , is to find cast members who will listen to you, smile and give you another reason to forget that real world and want to come back again.  We have that Stitch drawing hanging in our house to always remember our favorite Disney trip and memory.

Our favorite moment was during the Block Party Bash.  Not normally parade people, we were encouraged by Jansen to see this show.  Before long, he had us singing and dancing along with the show.

My wife remarked later on that we became the family that Disney always shows in their commercials…smiling, dancing, becoming children once again.  This was, in my opinion, Walt Disney’s dream when he opened Disney Land, and we were living it.

The magic did not quite end there.  The next morning we needed to pick up our vehicle at the Car Care Center.  Not exactly sure how to get there, we asked cast member Sabash, from Disney Transportation, who was stationed at the bus stop at Saratoga Springs.  Sabash made some friendly small talk with us and then called for a bus.  That bus took us directly to the Car Care Center.

That is the absolute perfect description of Guest Service.Now, it is not reasonable to expect a personal dream squad on everyone’s visit.  We were fortunate.  However, what we do expect, and what is reasonable for you to expect , is to find cast members who will listen to you, smile and give you another reason to forget that real world and want to come back again.  We have that Stitch drawing hanging in our house to always remember our favorite Disney trip and memory.





Check out more of my adventures on our Trip Reports Page

By |2017-10-12T12:44:25+00:00August 28th, 2011|

About the Author:

Father of three terrific boys and Disney World nut. I enjoy traveling being with my family and participating in a runDisney event 2-3 times per year. I am also a travel agent with Off to Neverland Travel specializing in Disney adventures.

2 Comments

  1. Anne Marie Gross August 28, 2011 at 8:57 pm - Reply

    LOVE IT!

  2. Gaylin August 28, 2011 at 9:54 pm - Reply

    Sigh, I love me some good Disney!

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Mary Connor

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