You’ve may have heard this expression thrown around, but what really is a magical moment? Magical moments are a spur of the moment act of kindness between cast members and the guests. Cast members working at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and the Disney Parks abroad are given opportunities to give families a special memory they will never forget.When a cast member chooses to go out of their way to make a magical moment, it was their choice. While Disney Parks management encourages cast members to partake in magical moments, no one is assigned to do them, instead, cast members choose to do them because they want to.
Magical moments are usually completely random, but sometimes they can be done to make something right for a family. For example, if a cast member watches as a child drops their ice cream, that is when a cast member can swoop in to give that family a certificate, called a No Strings Attached card, for a free ice cream. Cast members want the guests to have the best experience possible when visiting the Disney Parks, and when a cast member witnesses an accident happening, they have the opportunity to turn a bad situation into a good one.
Magical moments come in all sizes. It can be as small as giving a child a Mickey sticker, or as large as upgrading your resort hotel room to a much nicer room. You’d be surprised how often a small magical moment can make a family feel special. Often times guests appreciate being recognized by a cast member even if it is for a very small gesture. Getting that attention is a great affirmation to guests that they are valued, and feeling valued is important when you’ve spent thousands of dollars on a vacation. It is too bad there wasn’t a way for even more guests to feel this special attention, but it is simply too difficult to pay attention to every single guest this way. Especially when cast members are outnumbered more than 100 to 1.
The number one rule guests should understand about magical moments is that they aren’t given out to guests who ask for them. If you plead with a cast member to let you skip to the front of the line of Space Mountain for a “magical moment” because it is your birthday, then you’ve missed the point of what a magical moment truly is, and you will almost certainly not get one. Magical moments shouldn’t be an expectation. Guests wearing birthday, anniversary, or graduation pins can receive a magical moment, but only at the cast member’s discretion. There are thousands of birthdays a day in the Magic Kingdom, and not every single person celebrating a birthday is going to get to go to the front of the line for their favorite attraction.
As a former cast member, I can tell you how great it feels to give a family a magical moment, as you can see their faces light up in excitement. On really hard days at work I was guilty of probably giving out more magical moments than I should have just because it cheered me up. Something as simple as a free balloon can turn a family’s bad day into a good one.
Stephen "Steve" Porter started going to the parks with his family in 1996. Since then he hasn't looked back! Steve was a cast member participating in the Disney College Program in 2013. Most recently he graduated from Penn State University!