Have you recently experienced a magical encounter with a Disney cast member? It happens all the time. In fact, during our most recent trip to Walt Disney World, we wrote down the names of an average of three cast members a day who we felt went above and beyond their duties to deliver the best possible Disney experience. We wanted to express our gratitude to each of these individuals, and so we researched the best ways to do so. Here’s a guide on the best practices for praising cast members.

The old-fashioned way

Image: DisneyHow do you feel when your boss offers you a compliment? How about when a customer tells you that you’ve done a great job? What’s better than either one? Both!

When you have a great cast member experience, don’t feel like you have to wait to thank them. Take the opportunity to do so right then and there! Your behavior will have pleasant ripple effects for future park guests. The cast member will feel emboldened about the benefits of doing a great job, making them that much more likely to go out of their way for other theme park tourists that day. You’re offering positive reinforcement. Who doesn’t love that?

This suggestion actually serves a larger purpose, too. All of us should get in the habit of thanking people immediately when they go above and beyond in performing customer service. Yes, Disney theme parks are the most likely places in the world for this to happen, but remember it the next time you have a great restaurant server, too!

Speaking of going above and beyond…

Image: DisneyPrior to your next Disney visit, you can even plan ahead in anticipation of great Disney customer service! Some thoughtful Disney fanatics create Thank You cards and other mementos. Once a cast member demonstrates Disney’s legendary customer service, these theme park tourists hand out the personalized Thank You cards.

Cast members collect these the same way that park visitors hoard trading pins. Some of the best ones even get framed and hung on walls. The gesture is that meaningful to some of them.

Should you want to craft some Thank You cards, Pinterest has a collection of 15 popular designs. Alternately, you can make your own. What my family has done is use the Pinterest suggestions as a jumping off point, modifying one of these basic designs into something a bit more personal. Then, we get to surprise cast members by handing them the cards as a token of our appreciation for a job very well done.

In our experience, we receive about three exceptional cast member customer experiences a day. To be clear, almost all Disney customer service is tremendous. We give out the Thank You cards for the best of the best. And this leads to a pro tip. If you visit often, make sure to add some sort of date or event to the card. That way, you don’t accidentally give a cast member a pair of identical Thank You cards a few months apart.

Ask for a card

Image: DisneyRemember how I said that a cast member can get praise from a customer AND their boss? That’s easy to do. The park guest simply has to ask for a Great Service Fanatic card. You can do this at Guest Services, where the person on duty will ask you for a few details. You’ll relay the cast member’s name and the part of the park where they work. You’ll also describe what the person did that added a little magic to your visit.

After you submit the card, it will wind up in the hands of the cast member’s boss. Then, this person will give the card to the cast member. It’s a special kind of commendation that has added value for Disney employees. In addition to the uplifting feeling of doing a great job, the worker will also get entered in a monthly drawing for prizes, some of which are pretty significant.

Someone I once interviewed had won a television in one of these raffles. Yes, your taking the time to show some gratitude can have an impact on someone else’s daily life. Who wouldn’t love a free TV as a reward for a job well done? Knowing that’s even a slight possibility, doesn’t the cast member deserve the time it takes to fill out a Great Service Fanatic card?


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