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.