Friday, August 20, 2010

Thoughts After Training.

Last night I completed day 5 of my training for Splash Mtn., which means that all I have left is my assessment before I earn my ears!  I'm actually feeling a lot more confident about operating the ride now.  And as I'm practicing all these different aspects of working there, it got me thinking a lot about my role in WDW.

Let's be honest.  Most people dream of being that Cast Member.  The one who gets tons of guest interaction and racks up those Guest Service Fanatic Cards and goes home at the end of their shift feeling great because of the vocal confirmation they received that they are indeed great at their job.  But we can't all be that.  From what I've seen in the past week, the percentage of Cast Members who actually do work in positions with that much interaction is actually very small.

I always appreciated CMs before.  They all put in a lot of time and effort to make sure that guests are enjoying their trips to WDW.  But now I appreciate them even more, especially "behind the scenes" CMs.  You know, the ones you will never actually see but they are still constantly working to make sure your visit to the park or resort is going as smoothly as possible.  And I came to realize that as far as working as Splash Mountain goes, I will basically be one of those CMs.

Guests will see me of course, depending on where I am in rotation when they enjoy the attraction.  But they won't remember me most of the time.  No one is going to ask to get their picture taken with me when I tell them that I'm sorry, but their child is too short to be allowed on the attraction.  I can tell them all I want that it's for their own safety, but some families will still walk away grumbling about me.  And when I'm collecting Fastpasses and the stand-by queue is packed, they are going to complain to me about how long they've been waiting and that I should just let them in.  I can explain that FP holders are given priority and I'm trying to keep both lines moving as efficiently as possible, but they won't be any happier with me.  No one is going to write letters praising the CM who made sure their log was completely safe before allowing it to depart from the loading station, no matter how much I wave and smile as they go by.  And they certainly aren't going to head to Guest Relations to fill out a card praising the voice that came over the intercom from the Tower, reminding them to please stay seated for their own safety or even informing them of ride closures, even though my instructions forbid even glancing away from the monitors watching their every move.  They aren't even going to know that I was awake at 5am so I could spend my morning going over every single foot of the ride path making sure that it was completely safe and operational before a guest could even set foot in the queue.  And it's not my job, but the maintenance crew staying in the park all night making sure every single aspect of the attraction is safe for guest use certainly won't be getting any praise from visitors.  But they are fantastic people who deserve our gratitude!

At first I thought it would be difficult to look for fulfillment in this job knowing that a guest would never thank me for my work or even acknowledge me except to respond when I say "Hi, how are you?" as they walk right by.  But that changed when I began to look at my role as a CM this way.  I am the CM that most guests won't remember or even think of, but I am still contributing to their overall Disney experience in my own way. It's not in the way that most people imagine when they think of CMs but it is nevertheless extremely important.   And when I'm putting my all into my job, at least I know that it's still in the name of the guest's safety and enjoyment no matter how "behind the scenes" it may seem.

“Many people lose the small joys in the hope for the big happiness.” ~ Pearl S. Buck


Kristin said...

I feel that way about my job too. I work in costuming. Guests dont even see me, but by going to work & making sure that the characters look good, the park CMs have the right costumes, or that the parade goes out without any problems, I know I am impacting their visit every day.

Jillian said...

What an amazing post!! I'm a fellow Attractions CM, working at Kilimanjaro Safaris, and there is SO MUCH that goes into an Attractions role that I never even considered before I started training. It's gotten me thinking about other roles too, and I really have so much respect for EVERYONE that works here!

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