The safety of our guests and the efficiency of our services are the primary goals of a monorail operator. However, as Disney employees, we must make sure the experience on the monorail is special and unique for each guest, just as a character performer or custodian is expected to make guest experiences magical. Monorail operators have special items and tactics that each of us use to communicate with guests and allow them to have the most fun on the monorail during their vacations.
One tactic that we use is physical hand-outs. Monorail cast members have access to official monorail wing stickers and transportation cards to give to guests when they board the monorail. The wings make guests feel like a real monorail pilot, since we wear similar wings to the stickers on our costumes. The transportation cards can serve multiple purposes. They act as collectibles for some guests, while other guests view them as a special ticket to board the monorail. Each card has special monorail trivia that we can discuss with the guests while waiting for the train to arrive. If a guest has a favorite train, we try to find the specific card for that train.
While on audience control at Magic Kingdom, we are sometimes able to have special items that are normally not permitted on the platform. This includes bubbles, signs, and pins. Trading pins is a large part of Disney culture that many guests love. It can start lengthy conversations with guests as well, because they may be searching for a specific character, set, or film on a pin. Also, since the monorail operators and pilots based in Magic Kingdom share a break room with park greeters, there are often bubbles lying around for us to blow for guests to pop. Lastly, we have small picket signs with monorails on them, and we sometimes bring them out on audience control. Small children enjoy looking at the sign and holding them, and a few adults have even asked me if they could purchase one before.
Many times, we do not have to use physical items at all to have fun with the guests. Since the monorail operators at night work during fireworks, many of us have the soundtrack to the Magic Kingdom fireworks show (Wishes) memorized. If the platform is not busy at the beginning of Wishes/we are not busy packing in the guests, we sometimes sing Wishes and make dramatic hand motions to symbolize fireworks while welcoming guests instead of formally welcoming them. It makes them laugh and still feel like they are in Magic Kingdom, even though they are outside of the park on their way home. At the end of Wishes when the platform is packed, the unloader can have guests do the “wave” with their arms, since he/she faces the platform horizontally.
Creativity is a large part of guest communication at Disney. Whether a monorail operator has physical objects or just themselves, we always have to be ready to give guests exciting memories that they can talk about even after they leave Walt Disney World. Even though this type of communication can be difficult, simple ways to engage with guests can also be learned from other cast members. It is definitely a unique experience finding a balance between professionalism and complete silliness with guests, because both generally must be maintained at all times.