Theme park cast member stories: Happy Labor Day

September 7, 2009, 9:42 AM · Today is Labor Day in the United States, where we celebrate the many contributions of working men and women in our country by... giving them the day off.

Or, at least, by paying the rest of them overtime.

We've been taking Mondays all summer long to celebrate the people who work in theme parks - the cast members, team members, crew members or whatever else the parks chooses to call their employees.

Too often, park visitors don't notice the best theme park employees - the ride ops who keep the line moving so fast that you don't have time to stop and look at their nametags; the maintenance crews that keep the rides working so smoothly you never need see them "on stage" during operating hours; the custodians who put down and sweep up the Vo-Ban so swiftly you never get a whiff of that regurgitated corn dog.

All you do notice, perhaps, is the pleasant feeling you get at the park, in part because so many of those employees are always smiling at you.

So, today, let's say "thank you." Let's smile back, listen to the spiels and put away our own trash. Heck, let's keep doing those things after today, as well.

As we thank all the people who do or have helped make the magic happen by working in a theme park, let's also honor the memories of Austin Wuennenberg, Mark Priest and Anislav Varbanov, the three Walt Disney World employees killed while working at the parks this summer. My Labor Day wish is that government and industry officials, across the country, this year do the labor necessary to ensure that no theme park employee every again loses his or her life while doing his or her job.

Replies (4)

September 7, 2009 at 10:17 AM · I know my opinion will be an unpopular one, but I have to respectfully disagree with your description of the "cast members" of Walt Disney World Orlando. While visiting there with my family we encountered some of the worst customer service while in the parks than we have at ANY other theme park. The cast and crew were ill mannered, and well... grumpy. Very few took the time to smile when smiled at or even acknowledge you when told "thank you". I don't want to paint the picture that our every experience was with a grouchy employee, as we did encounter some wonderful cast members at several of the restaurants and the hotel staff went above and beyond helping us celebrate our daughter's birthday. I was so touched, I could hardly thank them enough. However for the most part, the ride attendants were horrific in behavior and often seemed bothered to even be working that day. One of the worst experiences that come to mind occurred at one of the pin kiosks when a young mother had a child break free from her. The mother became panicked and asked the cast member working the kiosk for help, after the mother turned her back to the cast member to continue looking the cast member looked at another customer, laughed and said "Let her find her own brat." This seemed to be the general attitude of many of the cast members we encountered during our 10 day stay. Happiest Place on Earth... not while we were there!
September 7, 2009 at 5:35 PM · This is a day to give thanks to those people who get the pixie dust, who smile and rarely complain. You have my thanks for making my visits to theme parks worth both my dollars and my time. Know that there are many that appreciate the fact that you're keeping things going, even in 100+ degree weather/100% humidity, and dealing with horrid, horrid situations.

Thank you, thank you, a thousand times, thank you.

September 7, 2009 at 6:41 PM · To the person who had the bad experiences at Walt Disney World: I don't know what alternate universe you live in but in the 19 times that I have been to Walt Disney World, I have never encountered any bad customer service or bad attitudes. All the cast members that I have ever seen or talked to have been kind and considerate.
September 7, 2009 at 7:52 PM · To the first person, I have been going to Disney World more times than I would like to admit and, yes, I have had bad Cast Members, but they have been so far and few between, I really can't think of many off the top of my head. The ones I can think of had more to do with them giving me my Benefits, something the average guest would not deal with. Disney is excellent when it comes to guest service and I will be the millionth guest to say that.

Now I am not calling you a liar, but if you could give examples, I think we would understand much better. If I were to guess the worst, I would say Six Flags, but thats likely because they do not go through or can afford an extensive guest service training.

For the future, try to have a better outlook during the day. Do not let them bring you down!

But good for Theme Park Workers. Its a thankless job and since joining this site, I have been looking for some good Cast Members/Workers to praise

Disneyland Paris Cast members are another story.......

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