Read and React 2

In Barbara Higgins’ article, “The Storms of Summer,” Higgins discusses how much importance Disney places on precautionary safety measures against hurricanes in Florida. In any kind of emergency, whether it be natural or caused by man, Disney makes sure to keep cast members trained and alert. During training, we were shown a safety video each day and spent a good amount of time discussing evacuation procedures in case of a fire or shooting. When arriving at a new location (for example, our job or classroom location), the first things we are taught are the exits, AEDs, fire extinguishers, and meeting points. We’re told that while guest safety is important, we need to think about our own safety first and should not endanger ourselves.

During an emergency, guests will turn to cast members for help. That’s why it is important that we keep in mind all the safety procedures we’ve been taught as well as the key locations of emergency items. One of the ways we are reminded of emergency preparedness is on our weekly Tell-A-Cast which lists emergency hotlines. There hasn’t been a hurricane since I arrived in Florida but there have been days when the rain was terrible and guests were stuck inside. In the article, Higgins notes, “the resort’s entertainers moved to the hotels and continued to interact with guests when they could.” This is exactly what some of the characters do when it’s pouring outside. They would stay in the lobby of our resort and play with the children and adults to keep their mind off of the rainstorm which is one of many ways Disney tries to make guests more comfortable.

What I took from this article was how necessary it is as a manager to be prepared for any kind of situation, no matter how infrequently it might occur. Higgins claims, “No one in the hospitality business wants to lose control of the guest experience at any time,” which I completely agree with. Especially at Disney, where we want guests to be completely immersed in the magic, no one wants the guests’ stay to come to an end just because of a disaster. When faced with a crisis or dilemma, it’s important for a manager to be able to take charge and think creatively of ways to turn the negative around into a great experience.

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5 Responses to Read and React 2

  1. I agree with you, us as cast members want the guest to not be aware of whats going on so they wont panic. we want to continue with our job and continue to do magic for the guests.This helps for a future management role, we need to be creative on turning things around for the guest on emergencies.

    • Keriann says:

      Every leader I’ve spoken to have always reiterated the same criteria to being a great manager: keep calm and be able to think on your feet! It’s really easy to slip into panic mode but it takes a true leader to see the bigger picture and maintain the show for guests.

  2. Great point our number one key as cast members is safety which is stressed by everyone, if it’s not safe then we don’t do it.

  3. In what way is Tell-A-Cast used? I remember that they had it way back when I was a Cast Member but it was used to answer difficult guest questions about park/company stats and history. Are you encouraged to read it or required to read it? If you are required to read it how do the regulate that you did it?

    • Keriann says:

      We are encouraged to read it and during our weekly meetings we are also given a recap of what’s on the Tell-A-Cast. Although my resort does not list many park/company stats and history, we are encouraged to look at our backstage board where we have a daily chart of check-in/check-out counts, occupancy percentages, etc. The Tell-A-Cast is still used to answer difficult guest questions but they also highlight several safety points for guests and cast members. For example, this week the safety topic for guests is making sure the guest is well enough to ride. If we see that they’re not feeling well, we encourage them to go on less intense rides. Although our role is not in attractions, we must also be aware of those who may experience epilepsy seizures, are pregnant, or have heart problems and what that means for their ride experience. The safety topic for staff this week was making sure we are using proper safety procedures when discarding items or dealing with spills, whether they are chemical spills or not.

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