Friday, August 27, 2010

It's All About Traditions

Well it's already a few days into the Program, and so far I'm having a blast! Wednesday was "Disney Traditions," my first official day of work.

Disney Traditions is held at the Disney University, the company orientation and training facility located behind the Magic Kingdom. Every new Cast Member has to go through Traditions, which is basically company orientation (much like most new employees experience at any large corporation.)

But no other company orientation is like Traditions. It's all about the Disney Company's past, present, and future. Throughout the orientation process, we watched video clips, had lectures/presentations, participated in group activities, and took tours. The program is called "Traditions" because it reinforces the importance of quality, the attention to detail, and the creating of happiness....which has been a key focus of the company since the opening of Disneyland.

Though a lot of the material was standard, boring business mumbo-jumbo (legal/ethical standards, business conduct, etc.,) it was presented in an entertaining manner. Once the "boring" presentations were finished, we started the FUN part of Traditions: a trip to the Magic Kingdom!!

On our tour, we took the Cast Member entrance to the Magic Kingdom, through the famous Magic Kingdom tunnel. As much as I wanted to take pictures of everything down there, no cameras are allowed "backstage" as to preserve the magic and secrecy of the "behind-the-scenes" areas. Though a little bit of Google-ing can get you a few pictures and maps of the Utilidor ("utility" + "corridor,") it's much more fun to just imagine what it looks like.

After taking us through the Utilidor and showing us all the Cast Member-exclusive areas, we went up to the Magic Kingdom, through a Cast Member-only entrance. It was really weird just popping up in the park without going through the front gates. We walked right down Main Street, and started seeing prime examples of some of Disney's amazing guest service at work. Our tour guide immediately picked up trash from Main Street as she took us toward Adventureland. This is an example of treating the park as your home. Because all of the visitors are our guests, so it is important to make our home clean for them.

Next, our tour guide saw a man taking a picture of his wife and kids in front of the castle. She immediately approached the man and asked if he would like her to take a picture so they could all be in it. After taking a few pictures of the happy family, she congratulated and wished happy birthday to each and every guest she saw wearing a button proclaiming their celebration. Whether it was "happy birthday," "happy first visit" or "happy anniversary," she made sure to acknowledge each of these guests as they celebrated their special day at the Magic Kingdom.

Our field trip to the Magic Kingdom also included a chance to explore the ways the park makes use of various elements to provide safety, courtesy, efficiency and theming to preserve the magic of the park. With so many examples all around us, it was easy to see how well it all fits together to provide such a wonderful experience to guests.

Back in the classroom, we were joined by a special guest who brought in a surprise.... our name tags! At the end of our class, we were each given our Walt Disney World Cast Member name tag, which made everything seem so much more real. Along with our new Cast Member ID, we can now access all of the Cast Member-only areas and perks.

Looking back on the experience, it was definitely the best first day at work I'll probably ever have. A trip to the Magic Kingdom and a visit from the Big Cheese himself? What other company can top that?!


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