Cast members play a huge part in making your Disney stay memorable. If you’re staying on property and taking Magical Express, they are there to greet you at the airport. If you’re traveling by car, they are there at the parking gates. Cast members are at the bag checks and turnstiles when you enter the park, and they can be found everywhere you turn — offering to take your photo at Disney PhotoPass locations, and standing behind every cash register and at the front of every ride. They are there for the good and sometimes the bad. I’ve seen Disney cast members appear seemingly out of nowhere, when a guest experience doesn’t go as expected.
Every time the Frog Family visits the parks or stays at the resorts we’re reminded again and again of how Disney goes above and beyond for its guests. So it is with that same intention that I thought I would share a few ways to give back to cast members. (Most cast members in the park are not allowed to accept tips or gifts, but I’ve heard that they do accept small treats — a button or pin from your home town or another small souvenir.)
Get to know a cast member.
Cast members wear badges with their names and where they’re from. This provides a perfect opportunity to make small talk while you’re waiting in line. One of the cast members at the Emporium in Magic Kingdom told me she loves it when she’s able to spend time talking and getting to know guests while she’s working.
Remember your manners.
Especially around the holidays when the parks get very full, a “please” and “thank you” go a long way. After all, the cast members are spending their holidays with you. I like to remind Tad and Lily of how lucky they are to be visiting the parks and how they should be thankful for the experience, so it always makes me a proud Mommy Frog when I hear them say “excuse me” or “thank you.”
Make your own family appreciation cards.
I stumbled upon this site that offers cards that can be customized with your family name. These are perfect for traveling, because you can print them from home, and you don’t have to worry about them taking up too much space!
Give the ultimate thanks.
If you feel a cast member has gone above and beyond the call of duty, get their name, and then stop by guest services and fill out a comment card. This is the ultimate thank you for a cast member, since it’s officially noted by Disney.
If you forget to do it while you’re in the park, don’t fret, you can still contact Walt Disney World when you get home, by calling 407-824-4321, or emailing email@example.com.
Praise for Mousekeeping
For those staying at a Walt Disney resort, some guests like to leave tips for the housekeeping — or mousekeeping — who are known for leaving their own welcoming notes, rearranging stuffed animals or creating shapes out of the towels. While tipping is not a requirement, for those who want to, it is customary to leave a tip for your housekeeper in an envelope. I always let Tad and Lily bring along paper, crayons and markers, and give them envelopes so that they can hand-decorate “thank-you cards.” (With a quick Google search, you can also find printable “Mousekeeping Thank-You Notes.”)
Spreading the magic to others
While you’re in the parks, here are a few ways to spread goodwill with your fellow guests.
Gift your extra Fastpasses.
On our last trip, we ended up with an extra Fastpass when Leap decided not to ride Everest with Tad and I at the end of the day, so we gave the pass to a solo traveler who had walked up to the Fastpass machine only to see that they had all been distributed for the day.
Pack extra supplies for the kids.
By now we’re experts when it comes to traveling through the parks, and we always pack in our own water and snacks (even small packets of candies). I always take extra, so if I see another child near meltdown I can offer it to his or her parent.
Bring your own glow.
Before we head on vacation, I like to hit up the dollar store and stock up on extra glow sticks before we leave for vacation, then I surprise Tad and Lily with them while we’re waiting for the Main Street Electrical Parade in Magic Kingdom. I always bring extra, so we can share with the friends they make while we’re waiting.
How do you give thanks in the parks? Share your ideas with us below!
– Mommy Frog