GUESTS & 3 Creative Ways Churches Can Engage Them

Commentary by Professor B: Several times I’ve keynoted the “Creativity Conference” in Orlando, FL alongside Disney executives. I learned how Disney gets all of their employees involved in making visitors feel at home. Our conference explained how these ideas from Disney can revolutionize a guest ministry. Here is it helpful article summarizing actions that your congregants may be able to undertake to better engage the visitors the Holy Spirit is drawing to your faith community.

“11 insider facts about working at Walt Disney World only cast members know”
by Áine Cain, Business Insider Magazine, 3/18/18

… Business Insider spoke with former Disney College Cast program attendee and “Devin Earns Her Ears: My Secret Walt Disney World Cast Member Diary” author Devin Melendy, Susan Veness, author of “The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World” series, and Mike Fox, author of “The Hidden Secrets & Stories of Walt Disney World” and founder of the site

Here’s what they had to say about the secrets of working at Walt Disney World:

You learn quickly that it’s all about the guests

The guest experience is everything at Disney. That’s drilled into you from day one. Melendy said that, even though her job consisted of working in retail in Frontierland, she was encouraged not to stand behind the register whenever possible.

Instead, cast members are directed to spread some magic by passing out stickers, fast passes, birthday pins, and free bags and shirts…

Name tags are an absolute must — even if you’re using an alias

Melendy said it’s considered “bad show” for a cast members to not wear a name tag. But if you lose your tag, no worries. There’s a whole stockpile of gender neutral names like Chris, Sam, and Pat to choose from.

“I lost my first name tag, so I was Chris from New York for two weeks while I waited for my new one,” she said…

If the guests can see you, you’re technically ‘onstage’

And all cast members, from the person dressed as Mickey Mouse to the person working the register at one of the park’s gift shops, must stay “in character” onstage.

“That would mean that your costume is correct, your name tag is on, and your pin lanyard is on — we would trade pins with guests,” she said. “They very much stressed that this is an experience. It’s not your experience, it’s the guest’s experience. You have to provide the best show that you can. It’s stepping into a role.”

Fox said that, for cast members, talking about your personal life and arguing is not an option. Anything that will “break the spell” of the Disney experience, so to speak, is out…

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MISSIONAL & A quote from Walt Disney

Commentary for Dr. Whitesel: “For the first time since my wife and I were in our early 20s, we visited Disneyworld without children in tow. We discovered a wonderfully relaxing place where employees truly want guests to experience happiness and joy. This desire to know people’s needs and put them ahead of organizational needs has been called ‘altruism.’ And it is also part of a missional philosophy: to look to others needs and design ministries for them – rather than design ministry for the church’s needs. Here is a quote of Walt that summed this up nicely.”

Missional quote from Walt Disney: “You don’t build it for yourself. You know what people want and you build it for them.”

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HOSPITALITY & Lessons From Walt Disney: Perfecting the Customer Experience #IncMagazine

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Over the past three months I’ve spoken three times at conferences in Orlando. Each time I was impressed by people associated with the Disney organization and their enthusiasm about meeting customer needs. To understand why the Disney organization has been so successful, and to learn lessons regarding how Christian ministries can focus more on those they serve, read this helpful article from Inc. Magazine.”

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