The Art of Giving Back to Disney

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There is something absolutely amazing about Disney Cast Members. Over the past three years that I have lived in Florida, some of my most favorite people have been the Cast Members that I get to see on a regular basis during my visits to the parks. They have become a part of my family and very many have become some of my best friends.

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Taylor and I met at Magic Kingdom and we are basic. That’s all.

Anyone who has been to any Disney park in the world knows the magic that is a Disney Cast Members. They are some of the kindest and, in some cases, the most underappreciated people in the world.  There have been many that have gone completely above and beyond to make sure that each visit is a magical one.

So much magic is made at Disney, one can’t help but wonder what can be done to return even the tiniest bit of magic to these wonderful people.

There is!

For the longest time my very easy go-to was stopping at City Hall (or Guest Relations depending on the park) and leaving a compliment with them. Another way to recognize a Cast Member for exceptional service is to call or email guest relations.

I searched as hard as I could and could only find a phone number for Disneyland to leave a Cast Member Compliment: 714-781-4669

For Walt Disney World you can send an email to: wdw.guest.communications@disneyworld.com

If you are active on Twitter you can tweet @WDWToday with the hashtag #CastCompliment to share a quick thanks!

These compliments are a big deal because they don’t just sit there, they are sent to that Cast Members manager who recognizes them for their work. Additionally, these end up in their permanent file and can help in advancements within the company. It’s sometimes hard to forget that, while magical, this is a job and career for the Cast Members.

There are many other ways the thank a Cast Member and that can be in the form of a small token of appreciation. It’s important to note that Cast Members, outside of sit-down dining, are not allowed to accept tips from guests. They can, however, receive simple gifts in the form of thank you cards or small handmade goodies. Small is good, typically something valued under $5 is just fine.

There are a lot of forums on the topic (I know cause I just looked at them) and the feelings on giving gifts to Cast Members is greatly mixed. Many people say don’t do it and just leave the compliment and others say go for it.

I’m not going to claim to be an expert either way.

When it comes to me, personally, there is nothing more special than making a Cast Member’s day and for the past two years I have been quite honored to be a part of a project that does just that.

Enter Paige.

Now, I honestly have no idea how I stumbled upon Paige’s instagram account but I know it was some time after I moved to Florida in 2014. She was doing something really unique out at Disneyland with her account called “Give Back To Disney.”

I won’t go into the history of the project here but I encourage you to check out Paige’s blog for a little more information.

Sometime in early March of 2015 Paige sent out a call for help. Until then, her gifts had only been given out at Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure. She felt it was time to expand to the other side of the Disney world… at Disney World.

I happened to spot the post looking for help and volunteered my services. I mean, I’m a Disney nut who is practically at the parks all the time anyway. Why not spread a little magic? I was always keeping track of “above and beyond” Cast Members anyway and sending in notes of thanks either at City Hall (or equivalent Guest Relations) or through the official email.

Paige was looking for someone who could visit the parks on Easter and deliver some special Easter eggs to Cast Members. These eggs contained handmade coffee cozies and there were also some crochet hats especially for characters.

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This trolley girl was the first Florida recipient of a Give Back to Disney Gift but certainly not the last!

I won’t go into all the details of the day but to say it was a blast was an understatement. The saddest moment was when I ran out of gifts and had to call it a day.

I was hooked. Complete junkie.

Ever since Paige has been sending me regular shipments of goodies to hand out to Cast Members across all of Walt Disney World. That she has tolerated my insane requests this long is a testament to what a wonderful human being she is.

The project has been a huge blast and it’s been so fun not only making magic on the east coast, but joining Paige during race weekends to make magic out west.

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Paige still hasn’t come to WDW so I’m voting we start a fund to get the two of them out here… I’m just saying…

I’m not only thankful for all of this bringing Paige into my life (and also her husband Jeff who is the most patient and kindhearted human on the face of the planet) but also some of my best friends have been made while giving out these gifts to Cast Members.

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This was Jeff’s first and last time on Tower of Terror at California Adventure… not because it’s closed but because I was not clear in my explanation of how the ride went…

It hasn’t always been easy. A fun fact for all the know that while Cast Members can accept gifts, they are required to refuse it three times before they can take it. There is a greater chance of them legitimately turning down food items as they are not allowed to have food with them while on stage. I ran into this when I was handing out Tootsie-Pops last summer.

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At the end of it all there is really nothing more amazing than being able to make someone’s day. I am looking forward to more Give Back to Disney Adventures and I’ll be sure to update more on this subject very soon!

You can keep up with Paige on instagram here and keep an eye on my instagram for some upcoming shenanigans!

Until then, please enjoy some of my favorite moments giving gifts to characters at Walt Disney World!

1 comments on “The Art of Giving Back to Disney”

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