Are Your Team Members Unhappy or Dopey?

The basics are what make the difference in any organization.

Many years ago I sent the following note to the managers at Walt Disney World. The 7 Seven Guest Service Guidelines are featured in my book, Creating Magic, on page 129. They are still relevant today and can make a significant difference in your organization.

Thank you all for paying attention to our 7 Guest Service Guidelines.  Make sure that you are observing Cast Members performing their roles to ensure that we are doing a great job with these guidelines . . . and then do them a big favor and coach them so they can be great!

The 7 Guest Service Guidelines are really simple, as long as we teach each and every Cast Member:

  •    WHY we have each guideline.
  •   WHAT it means to our heritage and traditions.
  •   HOW it fits into who we are and what we are famous for.

 No. 1:  Be Happy . . .

Make Eye Contact and Smile!


This is a way to acknowledge Guests and to make them feel special and to send the message that you know they are there.  This is the perfect way to have a “one second” interaction with our Guests.  Looking a Guest in the eye and smiling is a positive interaction.  If this happens hundreds of times a day, our Guests are WOWED.

 No. 2:  Be Like Sneezy . . .

Greet and Welcome Each and Every Guest!

 Spread the spirit of hospitality . . . It’s contagious!  We are in the hospitality and entertainment business.  Smile!  We are famous for our courtesy and friendliness.  We invented it.  Walt said, “Keep it clean and friendly, and everything will work out just fine even after Disney” (meaning himself).  He was right!

 No. 3:  Don’t Be Bashful . . .

Seek Out Guest Contact!


Look for opportunities to approach Guests.  They love interacting with Disney Cast Members.  Share your Disney knowledge with them.  This is often the highlight of their visit.  Go to them.  Do a Take 5 or involve them in a Magical Moment.

 No. 4:  Be Like Doc . . .

Provide Immediate Service Recovery!

 Find a way to make the situation better.  Be sincere.   Say you are sorry and mean it.  Don’t be sarcastic, rude, or defensive, as this is not part of your role.  Look for some alternatives.  Ask your leader for assistance.  Don’t say “no” until you have tried everything else; and then it should be the leader who says “no” as the last resort.  These are our Guests; and by the way, we do make mistakes.

 No. 5:  Don’t Be Grumpy . . .

Always Display Appropriate Body Language!

 Don’t lean.  Smile and look happy, as this is your Role in the Show.  Don’t be preoccupied.  Focus on the Guest.  Have a pleasant look on your face.  As far as Guests are concerned, we are always happy because this is part of our Role in the Show.

 No. 6:  Be Like Sleepy . . . Create Dreams and

Preserve the “Magical” Guest Experience!

 Don’t get out of role, ever!  Be courteous, friendly, and helpful—even under pressure.  Be professional at all times, no matter what.  We, as leaders, need to stay in role as well—which means always be professional. 

 Never get defensive or rude with Guests.  The louder they get, the quieter and calmer you get.  Don’t take it personally, because they don’t even know you.  They are usually upset because we have not delivered on their expectation, whether it is reasonable in your mind or not. 

 Are some Guests going to try and take advantage of you to get something free?  Yes, they are; but they really are the exception.  So let’s not start out by treating people as if they were dishonest.  Someday, the dishonest ones will have to answer to a higher leader than us.

 It’s not the Guest’s fault that we set the expectation that we are perfect.  Treat them as you would a cherished friend, and that is what they will become.  This is what sets us apart from the rest of the world.  Remember that the “moment of truth” is when the Guest comes in contact with you.  YOU are Disney.

 No. 7:  Don’t Be Dopey . . .

Thank Each and Every Guest!

 This is a common courtesy that is not so common in the world anymore, and it really is appreciated by everyone.  Do it with sincerity and a smile.

 So, there you are.  Always tell people why you want them to do something, and the chances of their doing it go up dramatically.  Constantly remind the Cast of your expectations for following these guidelines.  Just Be Clear!  

Have a great week…..Lee


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