Happy Ever After: The Real Reason Behind Disney’s Cast Member’s Niceness

  • By: pdstamp
  • Date: January 18, 2023

Disney World may go by many names, but one of the names that is loved the most is ‘The Happiest Place on Earth.’ It isn’t just a name, after all, it’s a description and one that they’ve earned over the years.

That makes many people wonder why Disney cast members are so nice.

Disney cast members are required to be approachable and friendly to visitors. When they are working, they are not just doing a job but they are actually on stage and performing. They don’t have to be happy on the inside, but they have to be pleasant on the outside.

Disney Cast Members 2022
Me with 2 Happy Disney Cast Members August 2022

It’s important to get some context when it comes to the way that Disney cast members act. They are nice, and we may appreciate how pleasant it is to be around them but we realize that they have problems, just as you and I have problems.

The difference is, they are employed and part of their employment mandates that they are nice to the visitors. It adds to the overall experience and it can even make them feel better about their jobs and what they do on a day-to-day basis.

In fact, in a survey of employees who worked at one of the Disney theme parks, eight out of 10 Disney Cast Members said that they were happy to be doing the work that they did. They also said that they were unhappy about certain aspects of their job, such as their pay and how much they were valued.

I know from personal experience that Disney employees are not only nice, but they are real people. It happened when I checked in late to a resort and wanted to get a reasonable meal through Disney Dining.

When I asked the Cast Member I was speaking to from Disney Dining where I could find a reasonable meal, she said: “Uh… Sir… This is Disney!” It was that I realized that she was not just a real person but also very pleasant and it left me with a happy memory.

I also had somebody who was making me a set of mouse ears and when they made a mistake, they said: “Shoot!” They then proceeded to apologize, as if they had gone off the deep end.

Of course, there are some Disney employees who aren’t always smiling and happy and they may not be so nice.

Sometimes, they are in character and it requires them not to smile. Imagine how you would feel if your favorite villain character were smiling and pleasant all the time!

This is particularly true of the Cast Members employed to work on the Haunted Mansion! Imagine if they were smiling!

Check out this YouTube video that talks about being a cast member on Haunted Mansion.

How Strict Is Cast Member Training?

One of the reasons why Disney characters stay on point as far as their pleasantness is concerned is because of cast member training. How strict and intense is that training?

Disney cast members are given specific training according to the work that they do. They go to classes and sit in classrooms and they learn how to be a valuable member of the Disney cast.

The training itself is said to only be about four hours long and they do get paid for the training process. In the class, they do more than learn that they are supposed to smile and greet visitors. They learn how to treat the customers with loyalty and respect, and that is why Disney is considered to be the Happiest Place on Earth.

To read more on how to become a Disney cast member be sure to check out this article.

There are many things that cast members are able to do and are even expected to do. There are also certain things that they are trained not to do and they must never do while they are working at Disney. In some cases, they can’t do those things even when they are off duty!

For one thing, if you ask a Disney cast member how to get somewhere on Disney property, you will notice that they gesture with their hand instead of pointing with their finger.

This is something that they are taught to do because pointing with a single finger is unacceptable to certain cultures. Why not try this one for yourself?

In addition, Disney cast members should pick up trash that they see on the ground but they have to scoop it up rather than bending it over and picking it up.

These may seem like small things, but it is all part of the Disney experience and we appreciate it.

Do Cast Members Have To Smile?

Since we know that cast members are on stage when they are working, it’s little wonder that they are pleasant to us as we are passing through. This makes us wonder, is it a requirement for Disney cast members to smile?

Disney cast members need to treat visitors with respect and they have to be pleasant. Is it a requirement that they smile? Probably not, but it’s difficult to show a cheerful demeanor without having a smile on your face.

As was mentioned, there may also be times when a Disney employee is not required to smile. This is the case when they are in character and that character is not a happy one.

As an example, have you ever seen Darth Vader smiling? Admittedly, he is behind a mask so we wouldn’t know, but we can only imagine that he isn’t one that smiles very often. Obviously, the person playing Darth Vader would not be required to smile behind the mask.

How Does Disney Keep Cast Members So Happy?

Since there are so many cast members that work at Disney, it’s amazing that they are so happy all of the time. What does Disney do to make that happen?

Disney knows how to treat their employees and although they are not a perfect company, they do know how to motivate the employees to be positive when dealing with others.

This doesn’t mean that Disney cast members are always smiling and happy. They have problems, just like you and I have problems but they are trained how to deal with those at another time so they could deal with the visitors in a positive way.

Disney also has some perks that they give to their cast members, including special gifts that they may receive on occasion. They do this to motivate the cast members, and to keep them smiling.

The bottom line is, when Disney cast members are smiling, we all benefit. How else could they consider it to be the Happiest Place on Earth?

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