Let me preface this post with a few clarifications. When I use the word – right – it has no correlation to my driveway, or my parking situation, or any neighbors here. It has to do with honest and goodness. Plus, this is the writer in me wishing I had written this better. Wishing I could fully grasp and convey the depth of emotion.
What is it like to sell Disney?
I still remember my job interview for Disney the first-time. I took all the basic education computer tests, the computer-generated scenarios, plus I had the experience.
What is it you think we do here?
My interviewer asked me because I mentioned something about Disney movies in my interview.
She was far from a kind interviewer. She was rough, she was hard considering her employer.
It was a relief to know I didn’t have to work with her.
I could tell you the stories of the weeks and weeks of training they do at Disney’s Tampa, Florida call-center for resorts, park tickets, and special events in Orlando, Florida. Yet, none of that matters. Of course, it is important. It is a business after all.
What I want to tell you about is the people.
Walt Disney World has some of the most loyal and long-term cast-members (employees). In all my working years I have never worked with a company with such a high number of its personnel who plan their life with their employer retiring with them.
Perhaps, you disagree and do not believe that fact to be significant enough to write about. But, it is.
We sell hotel stays, tickets to the theme parks, airline tickets, car rentals, airport transfers, tickets to our special events like Night Of Joy, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party, and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
I am here to tell you that is not what happens.
This is not a surprise since I believe Disney used this as a marketing campaign.
Everything Disney is, everything Disney does, everything in my experience that is Disney – is memories that will last a lifetime and beyond. They are the stories that you tell your family, your friends, your neighbors, you post on-line, taking pictures in hopes to capture the feeling.
Disney is memories that you pass down as you speak, down the family line, to your children, to your children’s children, they are living, breathing memories that don’t let go, that grab your heart for all its worth and more, and give love in return.
Disney memories. The moment you look at Disney and stand still with such a full heart it cannot be restrained – it pours out, out of you, past you, and you are never the same again.
There are so many Disney memories for me, it would take time for me to remember even a portion of them at all.
There was a time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with my friend Char, her disabled daughter Liz, and her disabled friend, we went to see the Beauty and the Beast show. We were the last to leave the auditorium. No one else was left, and Liz, her friend and I sang a repeat of one of the songs. As if the world wasn’t watching, singing our hearts out because we could.
There was a time at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, it was my mother and me. I have so many memories of my mother and me at Disney. At the Festival of the Lion King show. I don’t know what it was that sent my mother, but her whole being became undone. She was jumping out of her wheelchair, screaming emotionally, incoherently, wanting with desperation to get closer to the performers, as her exuberant, uncontrolled, excited joy, contorted her face from stroke brain-wiring. Some memory, expression, person, or the performers ignited within her something her strokes had long ago taken away. She was alive again. She was alive before her strokes again. Becoming weepy as her excitement overtook her.
When I was in the hospital with my mother after her first bad stroke that took her mind from me and the world, she wrote about Disney. She wrote about the time I took her to Whispering Canyon at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge for dinner, then strolled her in her wheelchair by the pool watching the bunny rabbits eating the grass as the light of day disappeared beyond the horizon. She begged me over and over to take her back there. I would start to cry because she was writing because she was no longer sleeping because she was begging me, and as soon as my tears fell, she closed her eyes and surrendered to stroke slumber. I could not help but cry more thinking the sight of my tears had sent her brain away. I did not know how to control my grief.
I do not know how to control my grief or pain.
If I thought about it. If I really thought about it, I could write pages and pages and books and books of Disney memories where good will always win, where right will always triumph over evil, where happiness will always bring light to the darkest of days.
In the year 2004, hurricane season. Hurricane Charley was the first to hit Florida, yet I went to work. I steered around fallen trees, through non-working traffic lights, from miles away to help guests with Disney reservations. Because it was still a day I could make a difference in someone’s life, for it was still a day that a Disney memory could be created.
There were only a few people in the building working on an emergency generator. Working for several hours until we had to leave.
It was not the first hurricane that year. I worked through every hurricane, tropical depression, and severe storm I could.
Do you understand?
Yes, there are brightly painted cartoon characters decorating the walls, and there is only so much Disney music you can withstand especially while on hold. Did you know there are forty verses to Davey Crockett? Forty?! Really? They couldn’t stop at…oh, I don’t know, thirty, or twenty, or five?! Forty. Wow! Forty verses of the same tune can make you a teensy bit unsettled. I mean in a rip my head-set off kind of way.
I spoke with many people from all different backgrounds, from all different economic levels, from all walks of life while at Disney.
Every day was a day to create a memory in someone’s life most of which I will never know about. Yet, I know I worked not only with the brightness of my mind, but with my heart pouring out. For all.
I heard it all around every day. Every cast-member (employee) on the phone shared ways to make the guests stay better by sharing their own experiences of Disney. It is an invaluable, and irreplaceable quality for a business, for a company, for an organization, employees like Disney can have.
Truthful, real experiences, brimming hearts pouring out over the phones every day.
That’s an easy sell.
It creates something in and of itself.
It is proof that selling and customer service do not have to be mutually exclusive. If you take care of the customer. If you listen. If you know your product through knowledge and practical experience than you can create an experience unique to each guest.
Standing in front of Cinderella’s castle as the icicle lights drip down and light the castle.
Screaming my fool head off while riding the Tower of Terror.
Spending endless days in the wave pool at Typhoon Lagoon.
The night at Raglan Road.
Every EPCOT experience.
The days of Disney Institute.
On and on and on and on.
A day to create memories for others is a day worth living.