How Disney Encourages Employees to Deliver Exceptional Customer Service - SPONSOR CONTENT FROM DISNEY INSTITUTE

February 28, 2018

balloon photo
Photo Credit: Disney Institute

By Bruce Jones, Senior Director, Disney Institute

At Disney Institute, where we work with business professionals from around the world, we are often asked, “How does Disney motivate their Cast Members to consistently deliver exceptional guest service.

There’s a lot that goes into creating a positive workplace culture that inspires your employees to provide incredible customer service. But there has to be an essential foundation on which all service decisions can be developed—a common purpose.

Disney’s key to creating magical guest interactions stems from our Cast Members’ understanding of our company’s common purpose, which we describe this way—

We create happiness by providing the best in entertainment for people of all ages everywhere.

This is a succinct explanation of what you want the customers’ experience to be on an emotional level. When our Cast Members know their primary goal is to create happiness, they are empowered to create what we like to call magical moments. From our park greeters to our attraction attendants, every employee makes decisions regarding a guest interaction centered on this key theme of “creating happiness.”

Here’s an example of one of our Cast Members doing just that.

Keith Sharon and his wife, Nancy, brought their two children to Disneyland over the holidays. While Disneyland is truly a very special place, for the Sharon family, a trip to Disney can be discouraging. Their youngest son is autistic, and sometimes noises and crowds can overwhelm him. “In the past, we’ve had to leave Disneyland before noon because the stimulation was too much,” Keith shared.

But this particular visit to Disneyland was different. Upon arriving, their young son noticed a clear balloon with a purple (his favorite color) Mickey Mouse inside that he really wanted. Keith and Nancy told him that if he behaved, they would get him one at the end of the night.

Well, that day at Disneyland ended up being “the happiest day of [his] life.” The Sharon family went on several new rides they had never gone on before and made it through lunch at Flo’s without incident.

It was the end of the day, and as the parents had promised, it was time to find the purple balloon. As they walked up and down Main Street, there was not a purple balloon in sight. Frantic, Nancy approached a Cast Member only to discover that all the purple balloons were sold out. This could have been the end of this interaction. Nancy could have delivered the news to her son, and one of the happiest days could have quickly turned into a challenging and frustrating night.

But that is not the way the night ended for the Sharon family. Instead, the Cast Member clearly saw that Nancy was in distress, so he called to a fellow Cast Member, and together they were able to create happiness. One of them disappeared behind a door only to reappear a few minutes later with a purple balloon.

“Nancy hugged the two Cast Members because she didn’t know what else to say,” Keith recalls. “To us, that balloon, that day, that ending … will always be priceless.”

Despite the intense crowds and the demands of the Cast Member’s specific role, he was able to find a solution so that he could ensure the guests ended the day at Disneyland on a happy note because, after all, creating happiness is his primary goal.

Here at Disney, we believe a common purpose is instrumental in consistently providing exceptional guest interactions. It is the compass that guides our Cast Members and inspires them to go above and beyond.

Want to learn more? Consider enrolling in our professional development training course for business leaders. Disney Institute courses teach business professionals and leaders of organizations how to transform the way they approach delivering quality service to their own customers.


About Disney Institute

As the trusted, authoritative voice on the Disney approach to customer experience, Disney Institute uses business insights and time-tested examples from Disney parks and resorts worldwide to train business leaders and professionals to help them improve their own organizations. For nearly three decades, Disney Institute has helped professionals positively impact their organizations and the customers they serve by focusing on key topics such as customer experience, leadership excellence, quality service, and employee engagement. Unique to Disney Institute learning experiences is the opportunity for participants to go behind the scenes in a “living laboratory” (a Disney park, resort, or operational area) to observe firsthand how Disney methodologies are operationalized and how they can be adapted and applied to other industries and business environments. To learn more, visit






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