Communication Off the Rails: Christmas Taping

Select Disney cast members are able to get tickets to attend concert recordings at the Magic Kingdom for the holiday TV specials (The actual parades take place at Disneyland in California.) I was selected to be in the audience for a day of taping. Even though I was simply expecting a concert-like atmosphere, I ended up learning a lot about my own communication style as a Disney cast member and how I can improve.

When I first arrived, there was a crowd of people near the stage while the rest of the park was roped off. I was able to make my way to the front of the ropes, but I was curious as to why they were not letting more people by the stage, since the stage area was not full. Luckily, there was a nearby cast member. Myself and a few other guests asked her if we could get closer to the stage since we had tickets to the event. She simply said “no” and that they would “remove the ropes later.” As a guest, I was not very satisfied with this answer, as I personally feel that each interaction that I have with a guest as a cast member myself should feel special, no matter what the circumstance may be.

A different cast member soon came over and explained everything in great detail, however. She explained the areas that would be let through to the stage to fill in the remaining available space, and that our area would most likely remain behind the ropes unfortunately. She also explained that there would be multiple “concerts,” and different performers such as Garth Brooks and Flo Rida would come out to perform. For each performance, they would need a different audience in front of the stage. Shortly after this explanation, a small child asked the cast member if Tinker Bell would fly over the castle during Wishes (the nightly fireworks spectacular) since it was raining. The cast member responded by saying, “Tinker Bell will decide if she wants to fly or not! If it rains, sometimes her wings get sticky, though, so it’s all up to her!” This interaction made me want to strive to give guests an even richer Disney experience than I had before.

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Cast members worked diligently to set up for the performances. They provided an example for me to observe.

Although the taping took several hours to complete, the cast members worked diligently to make the experience more efficient and enjoyable. Talking to cast members as a guest made me realize what I can improve on and what I am doing well as a cast member myself. Watching cast members put up ropes and control the crowd gave me tips for better audience control techniques as well. We not only put on a show for our guests, we act as role models for our peers. Although this is an indirect form of cast member communication, it is one of the most crucial.

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