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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

It’s the Little Things

Every now and then a cast member does something small that makes a good experience a truly memorable one. A cast member could do something big for you and you’d overlook it and think that’s what they need to do. You could be having an awful day, verbally beat a cast member senseless, and ignore what they do when they fix the problem. It’s the little things they do that can blow you away. We overlook it when someone bends backwards but when they show a little personal interest it can really knock you off of your feet.

Years ago my grand mother wanted to go on Space Mountain. My mom didn’t like roller coasters, I was an eight year old wimp, and my sister was doing a tour so my dad ended up taking her on. At the time she was near 70 so he wasn’t sure how she was going to respond. At the end of the ride my grand mother noticed that there was no line. She dragged my dad back on. At the end of that ride – still no line - round three! At the end of round three the cast member stopped my grand mother and told her it was too long of a walk. He let her just go around again, and again, and again. She got off after the sixth time.

That didn’t cost the cast member anything. Not time, money, or any real effort but twenty years later we still remember it and it was even mentioned at her funeral.

When I was a kid my parents took my sister and I to Chef Mickey’s for breakfast on one of our trips. Chip and Dale, Pluto, and Mickey were all there for the character breakfast. I remember Pluto. I don’t really remember the others beyond the fact that they were there. Why do I remember Pluto? Because he stole my shoe and took off with it in his mouth. That’s something small but everyone still remembers me chasing Pluto around Chef Mickey’s to get my shoe back. Years later I’d realize just how good Pluto and the gang were.

People don’t realize how hard it is to dress up like a character. I didn’t until I got a job at an arcade / funhouse called “Joker’s.” I had to dress up like the joker. Not the batman – face paint kind of joker but the three foot wide head with a big body suit joker. For people who have never dressed up in a suit like this it’s really hard to explain how rough it can be. Here are some hazards:

-After the first six months a sports cup became part of the uniform. Yes kids, little boys especially, enjoyed hitting the joker in the crotch.

-It’s hot. I was inside and in New England and it was hot. I have no idea how the Disney people can bear it in the summer.

-You can’t see. I believe that horses with blinders on have a better field of vision than anyone in a character suit.

-People are nuts. You can never predict what a seemingly normal person will turn into when they see someone in a character suit. Add liquor to that and it’s even worse.

-It takes forever to get in and out of the suit and you normally need help. This if fun if you have to pee.

Other than my grand mother and Pluto, I can’t remember any other stand out experiences. I’m sure they were there I just can’t think of them now. Next time you’re in Disney, just stop and look. I bet you can spot one.

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