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Trip Report You Can't Beat This Deal...Two Trip Reports for the Price of One!

Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I just might take you up on that!! We just have gotten some new management that is really focusing on customer service, so this could be right up their alley. I went to the website to check it out a little bit too.
If they really want to ramp up what they're doing from a service side, this program would be unbelievably helpful.

I know when I first brought it forward the price, especially with the exchange from Canadian to American, was a bit of an issue for my organization but I was lucky to get a grant to cover a large chunk of the program fees. Having seen what I learned and have started to implement thanks to our staff buying in, it will definitely be worth it for us long term.
 

susan lees

Well-Known Member
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Finally back at it…and I apologize that this post is pretty text heavy. I wasn't too sure what we could take pictures of so I was more living in the moment on this first day. Once we got a feel for what we could and couldn't do everyone seemed to snap more photos as the course went on.

With our first session of in-class learning over, our facilitators revealed that we were heading to EPCOT for a field experience, dinner and a special event to wrap up day one. We were asked to get into groups of three or four so we ended up splitting our table.

My group constituted of my new friend Henry from Louisiana and a very kind woman (whose name now escapes me) that works with the CIA in DC. Maybe for this practice its better I don’t reveal any names hahaha! We were handed an iPad with a pretty cool DI specific app that allows you to take photos and group them in order.

Our facilitators told us that when we arrived at the park we would have about 90 minutes to walk around and take 12 photos of service in action. We were all pretty excited to head out into the field and we jumped on two passenger buses and made the drive to EPCOT.

On the ride over many of the group members, we chatting and getting to know each other. As a Canadian, I found it very interesting to get an idea of what folks from around the US were feeling about the current political climate. I was super curious to get a take from someone within the intelligence agency based on some of the rhetoric that has been spread by members of the current administration. Without trying to take this off track, it seemed as if most people are quite concerned about the direction the States is headed but that’s neither here nor there.

We arrived at EPCOT and entered through the backstage area. We had to stop at the staff entrance and allow a security guard on the bus to check our bags and see our DI name tags. We ended up parking right outside Test Track and we all got a look at the Chevy cars parked backstage to persuade guests flying by on the open stretch of TT to look at the cars as opposed to the muted building and parking areas in the backstage area.

We entered the park and were set off to explore for the next 90 minutes. Our group decided to walk through the World Showcase and our first stop ended up being one of the Food and Wine kiosks to grab a cold beer. Henry is in sales and since most of his meetings involve conversation over drinks he was happy to stop and treat the group to a drink as we walked around looking for pictures.

Many others in the program would end up taking some time to jump on rides or tour through gift shops during their “work” time.
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr

I will say, one thing that became blatantly obvious after listening to the in-class session was how structured many of the Cast Members throughout the park are. Everything, of course, blends in seamlessly for regular guests but after seeing an early introduction to Disney’s approach to quality service, you could definitely see that the staff throughout the parks have been very well trained.

It wasn’t overly difficult to snap photos of service in action as we walked throughout World Showcase. One photo we took showed a CM pushing a young guest in a wheelchair back towards the first aid station, which I thought was going above and beyond. The distinct Disney garbage cans were a vital topic throughout the first class session so many groups took photos of the cans being used as tables or of the custodial CM’s cleaning them out. One group noticed a custodial CM on an iPhone which they thought represented poor service but as it was explained to us, the CMs have an app that they can check the garbage levels based on sensors installed in the cans to ensure they are able to keep things as clean as possible. That little nugget impressed the whole group and while the optics of the iPhone could be seen as someone not doing their job, the process behind it was pretty amazing.

When our fieldwork was completed, we all meet in Norway and were ushered above the Frozen ride into a large meeting room with a huge buffet spread waiting for us. We all had the chance to find a place to sit down and jump in line for the food. They had a delicious spread with a ton of options for people to enjoy. I was a little leery of the dish labeled “yard bird” (chicken) but it was excellent!

As we ate and got to know each other, our facilitators eventually came together and asked each group to select their favourite shot of service in action (good or bad) so they could be displayed on a large screen at the front of the room and could be discussed. Groups were able to get some great shots from around the park and it led to some really interesting conversation about Disney’s approach and how our organizations could utilize some of their practices.

All in, we were probably in our meeting room eating and discussing the field work for another 90 minutes. Once the last group presented their photo, we were told that our final surprise of the evening was VIP seating for the nightly Illuminations show. I was very excited having never seen Illuminations before and couldn’t wait to check it out.

As we wandered back outside, it had started to sprinkle a little. Thankfully it didn’t last very long but the group did get a tad wet as we walked from Norway over to our VIP location near Canada. When we arrived we were led right down to the water’s edge and handed special glasses. We were told to wear the glasses during the show (if we wanted) for an extra surprise.
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by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr

Most of the group huddled as close to the water as possible as the show began.
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr

The show was pretty cool, especially with such a close, unobstructed view and the added surprise of the glasses made it that much better. Here’s a bit of a look at what the glasses added.
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by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr

The effect definitely add some Disney magic to the lights around the show, especially thre fireworks!

With the show over, our first day came to an end. We were led back to the buses that were now parked backstage behind the Canadian pavilion. Even as it was closing in on 10 pm, the energy was pretty high on the bus ride back to the Grand. The group clearly enjoyed day one and we were certainly looking forward to what was ahead of us. Having such great facilitators really added to the experience as well and they played off of each other so well.

We arrived back at the Grand shortly after ten and we said goodnight as we disbursed back to our rooms. The pool was still open for another hour so I thought I would head over for a quick dip in the hot tub before calling it a night.
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr

Day one was an outstanding experience and I was very excited to build on what we had already learned. I knew at some point we would be doing some field work at Magic Kingdom as well which I was looking forward to but we weren’t told where we were heading until just before we left. I guess we’d wait to find out what our next stop would be tomorrow.
My son worked as a CM on the cultural representative program. We're from Scotland so he worked for a year in the rose and crown in Epcot. His Disney experience has provided him with lots of opportunities back home. The training the CM 's are given is first class.
He is hoping to get back over next year again.
 

Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
We've been working on this for a little while but our Disney wall has finally taken shape. You'll notice we have to fill in one of the 8x10's but for the most part, we're pretty happy with the way the upstairs hallway is looking. Still plenty of space to fill in with memories of future Disney visits!

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by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr
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by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr
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by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr
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by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr
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by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr
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by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr
 

Gurt

Well-Known Member
Premier Inn have the best beds of budget chain hotels in the UK I find.

Your time on the program sounds so fascinating, I can't wait to hear more.

Kelly's wall is looking fantastic, great memories for your family to enjoy.
 

NessNewt

Active Member
We've been working on this for a little while but our Disney wall has finally taken shape. You'll notice we have to fill in one of the 8x10's but for the most part, we're pretty happy with the way the upstairs hallway is looking. Still plenty of space to fill in with memories of future Disney visits!

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by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr
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by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr
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by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr
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by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr
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by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr
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by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr
 

Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day Three – Second Day of Class

Now that the program had officially kicked off the day before, the remaining three days of sessions were to begin with breakfast from 730-800 am and the in-class discussion picking up at 800am. After what was a full first day, I ended up having a really solid sleep and woke up to my alarm at 700 am to get ready.

I figured I had a little extra time to get ready since we had that half hour between 730-800 to grab something to eat and get settled. Plus, being a guy and having all my outfits already coordinated for the week, it took me no time at all to get up, showered and ready to go.

Once I was ready I had time for a quick cup of coffee on the balcony to get the day started. The resort was so quiet and peaceful early in the morning.
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr

With my caffeine fix now satisfied, I grabbed my DI backpack and made the walk over to the convention centre. On my way to the elevator, I stopped to snap a picture of a hidden Mickey and a look at the foyer of Sago Cay. Every day I felt very fortunate that I was given the opportunity to attend this course and stay at this resort.
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr

Upon arriving back at the ballroom for day two, there was a great breakfast buffet set up for us to enjoy. Based on the snacks and the meal set up on day one, it was becoming apparent that we would be extremely well fed throughout the course. Again, I felt a little odd snapping photos of my food at a table full of strangers so I refrained.

I joined a new group of folks that I hadn’t really had the chance to get to know and settled in for the morning. At the table were a group from Texas A & M who are part of a safety training organization that lands H & S training contacts across the country. They were a delightful group and of course, big football fans. Since they are involved at A & M I asked them their thoughts on Johnny Manziel as at the time Johnny Football was finally starting his first few games in the CFL. Interestingly enough, for as good as he was at A & M, they had very few good things to say about him.

At any rate, football talk aside, Jenn and the two Jim’s called us together shortly after 8 am and we began day two. The first day was dedicated to laying the groundwork and telling us the “Service Story” and day two would build off yesterday as we would dive into “Designing Quality Service”

Our first discussion was around how much effort it takes to deliver consistently exceptional service through meticulous planning and the creation of a true infrastructure to make service delivery a major component of every organization.

They asked us to step back and consider every aspect of what a customer would experience when interacting with your organization. Everything from the location of the building, the parking lot, the exterior, the ease of access to the front door, the look of the reception. Absolutely everything. We mapped out as many touch points as we could to find out exactly how every little detail could potentially affect a customer’s experience journey.

From there we were asked to look at what we are currently doing and think about what things could be done a little differently to provide a more positive experience. For example, one of the items I thought about was creating a “Welcome” sign for guests we know are coming to our building for a meeting. Helps to make that person or people see that they are important to us when they walk through the door.

The main takeaway from this was that everyone is always trying to go the extra mile when sometimes all it takes to make someone feel good is to go the extra inch.

It was fascinating to hear people talk about their thoughts based on how many different industries were represented. Such good discussion, aided by the Disney figurines given away to anyone who spoke up during the sessions.

As we moved forward, the focus then turned to ensuring everyone at any level in the organization is not only aware of the organizational purpose but is truly bought into what that purpose is.

It was revealed that Disney World’s purpose is pretty simple…”We Create Happiness”. That’s the first thing CMs are taught and it is ingrained that everything they do throughout the day is driven by this statement.

We spent time on talking purpose and how it fits into the customer experience. In short, the more people who truly believe in the purpose of the organization are the employees that are going to be delivering an exceptional experience for your customers. This was illustrated very clearly with how Walt was able to portray his purpose or vision for building Disneyland and later expanding to Disney World and how he was able to find people who truly bought into exactly what he wanted to do. Without that purpose, it would have been impossible for people to pull off Walt’s dreams.

We spoke of looking at customers holistically to build a better understanding of exactly who your customer is and what they want. Using a compass to map out a detailed, overall view of the Needs, Wants, Stereotypes and Emotions of your customers to help guide your direction of service delivery.

To wrap this piece we were told even after going through all of this planning, every company needs to ensure they determine whether what they can provide is an economic asset. Will the investment in a specific infrastructure or delivery method be worth it? In Disney’s case, they illustrated this by talking about the implementation of Package Pickup in the parks and how the creation of a method to either have guests pick up their parcels upon leaving the park or delivering the good right to their rooms allowed for more sales and increased guest satisfaction. They also talked about the installation of animated portholes in interior staterooms on the new Disney cruise line ships. This allowed the guests who may not have the opportunity to book a room on the outside of the ship with an actual porthole to still get a similar experience as opposed to staying in a windowless room all cruise. With live views of the sea and animated Disney touches throughout the day it provides a very unique experience that has created lasting memories for guests.

We had a packed morning that absolutely flew by. Everything we were learning about was definitely things that each participant could take back and put into practice where they work. Before we broke for lunch we were told we would talk about the development of quality standards and after the discussion around that topic, we would be heading the Magic Kingdom to see these lessons in action.
 

Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Love love love how the Disney wall has turned out!!
Thanks so much! We're pretty happy with it so far. I have no doubt we will have much to add over the years but we're off to a great start.

The whole repainting of the upstairs hallway along with the photos has added so much life to what was a pretty bland, outdated area of the house.
 

Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
After what was an excellent lunch hosted in a smaller meeting room just across the hall from our ballroom set up, the group dove back into designing our service delivery. Our topic of discussion had now shifted from the common purpose to the quality standards that help CMs perform their duties to the best of their abilities.

Jenn and the Jims provided us with Walt Disney Worlds Quality Standards – the four keys and asked our tables to figure out the order of the priority for the keys. If you didn’t know, the keys are Show, Efficiency, Safety, and Courtesy.

Our group got together and came up with the following order: Safety, Show, Courtesy, and Efficiency. We thought we were spot on. Turns out we were pretty close but the actual priory according to Disney is Safety, Courtesy, Show and Efficiency. Safety above all, especially at a theme park with numerous hotels and guest options, makes complete sense.

We figured Show would be next but since Walt always wanted any Disney park to provide that friendly feel, Courtesy is number two. Show followed because, well as we all know, the show around the entire complex is second to none, and Efficiency rounds out the four keys as the pride themselves on being as efficient as possible, whether that becomes loading as many people on to rides within an hour, seating people at their reservation times or turning over hotel rooms in a timely manner.

It was explained that all CMs were to perform their role knowing that the priority of the Keys takes precedence depending on certain situations that might arise throughout the day. An example would be a CM who is working in Adventureland sees a potential safety hazard just beyond the walkway into Liberty Square, even if the protocol is to not break character or leave your designated “land” the CM has full authority to ensure the safety hazard is taken care of so that no guests are injured.

When it comes to determining your organizational quality standards (if not already done), the guidelines we were told to follow are to identify four or five of our own “keys”, define what those keys mean, prioritize the order of each key and communicate all of this to every member of your staff so they know exactly what the quality standards are.

We then had some time to try and identify our own standards and build some content around them. It was a very interesting activity as almost everyone knows the role of their organization or the mission/values they carry but how often are those words or phrases displayed elsewhere other than the company website or literature that you potentially provide to customers. This is something we have an issue with, our external audience is very aware of the work we do and what our goals are but our common purpose and any core competencies are not discussed, displayed, reinforced all that often internally.

This has led to some great discussion around the office since I returned and is going to be a major focus for us moving into 2019.

After about an hour and a bit of working on these Quality Standards, we were ready to roll out and do some field work at the Magic Kingdom. Before we boarded the bus, we were split into three groups, with one facilitator leading each group. I was in a group led by Jim Mundy and idea behind the outing was to tour different areas of the park to display how the four keys intersect with some of the core principals of the parks (purpose, customer and economics) to provide the best possible experience for guests who visit the park on any given day.

We were all pretty excited to get to the park and for some in the group, this would be their first ever visit to MK which had folks really pumped up. We loaded onto the buses and made our way to the park. We ended up taking the back road into the staff parking area which took us all the way behind MK. We ended up passing the construction site for Tron (which we were not allowed to take photos of) and into a lot beside Space Mountain. We entered the park near the alternative entrance for tickets parties, which at this pointed was themed for the Halloween parties.

The three groups split up and went a few separate ways. We started off for the main entrance of the park where we found some shade and listen to Jim point out how the service direction was built with the core purpose and the four keys in mind.
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr

This is the place that sets the tone and builds excitement for each guest. Having the placement of the train station, along with the floral arrangement in front helps to shield what guests see when they enter through the tunnel and get their first view of Main Street. The inclusion of wheelchair/Stroller rentals along with a guest service wicket provides guests with options. Having the new Magic Band system allows for an overall more efficient entrance to the park. All of this is pretty clear to guests who visit time and again but for a brand new guest it’s very impressive.
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr

We continued into the park on route to check out a few other spots, the First Aid/Baby station and the entrance/bridge to Adventureland. Instead of Jim breaking down how everything was designed around these two spots, he turned it over to our group to talk about the things we could see that fall into all of the categories we had been talking about.
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr

As I stated during the day one report, all of these things are so blatantly obvious but fit the eye of the guests so seamlessly. It goes to show just how much thought and effort was put into the structure of the entire guest experience when the parks were constructed.

After we wrapped up at our third spot, we were turned loose in the park to go have some fun but to find another example of service design to bring back to the group and discuss when we went back to the hotel. Everyone scattered, and many went to find a ride or two to experience. I decided just to enjoy the sunshine, which was blazing, and slowly pace through different areas of the park taking photos and finding something to report back on.

It was a gorgeous day that made for some terrific pictures but man it was hot!
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr


Had to stop and take a #purplewall selfie!
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr

One of the cools things I wanted to test was whether a random CM would be able to recite the WDW common purpose. I approached someone working an ice cream kiosk and asked if she knew what her purpose was. Without a hiccup, she responded, “We’re here to create happiness!”. I thought that was pretty cool that she had that down pat and it turned out many of my classmates ended up asking other CMs the same question, all receiving the same answer. Clearly, some good training being provided at Disney University!

By the time it was ready to head back most of the group was seeking shelter from the sun under the canopy near the Plaza Ice Cream entrance. The heat was getting to everyone but it didn’t stop many of us from watching the parade passing by before we jumped backstage and found our buses. We were thankful to get back onto the air-conditioned bus and head back to the resort.

When we arrived back there was a nice spread of snacks waiting for us and we jumped right back into discussing some of the things the group had seen while in the field. Sounded like many had found at least one ride to enjoy before catching up with the group and everyone was raving about how amazing, and clean, the park looked.

We must have been gathered for another hour before the second day was ready to wrap up shortly after 400pm. It was another jam-packed day that had me beaming. As a Disney nut, getting to experience things the way we were able to was simply unbelievable. I was eating it all up! That said, when we did say goodbye for the day, it hit me as I was walking back to the room just how much stuff we have taken in over the last few days and I immediately felt tired.

I had a few plans for the evening but before anything, I was looking forward to getting back to the room for a little bit to relax.
 

Swissmiss

Premium Member
I’ve really been enjoying your thoughts about your course (and how I might use some of these concepts in my own team!) but I can’t help thinking about my various experiences at Disneyland Paris and it reinforces it to me that cast members don’t have the same training there (or that it looses something in a multi-lingual culture?). Thanks for taking the time to share all this 😀
 

Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I’ve really been enjoying your thoughts about your course (and how I might use some of these concepts in my own team!) but I can’t help thinking about my various experiences at Disneyland Paris and it reinforces it to me that cast members don’t have the same training there (or that it looses something in a multi-lingual culture?). Thanks for taking the time to share all this 😀
Actually this is a really good point and something that was brought up during the program. The training that works so well in North America has not been successful, or as successful, in many of the other Disney Parks mainly because of the cultural differences. They've been able to adapt, of course, based on the location of the Park but the company seems very aware that there are gaps in what they see in other parks compared to the overall success in DL and WDW.
 

Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
With day two of class in books and after I spent a relaxing hour or so in the room FaceTiming the girls back home, I decided it was time to head out and explore. As I was planning this trip in the months leading up, I really wanted to experience new things that I haven’t seen or done at WDW to this point.

One of those things was to visit the Top of the World Lounge at Bay Lake. Since I was staying so close this was the perfect opportunity. On this particular evening there was a Halloween Party taking place and I thought heading to the Top of the World would be a pretty cool place to watch the fireworks.

It was still quite early in the evening so my plan was to walk to the Poly to grab one of my favourite quick service items, the Pulled Pork Nachos from Cap’n Cooks. This became one of my favourite treats when we were staying at the Poly a few years ago and I couldn’t wait to dive into a big order.

I readied myself and walked from the Grand to the Poly. It was clouding over pretty good at this point and it looked like it was about to rain on me. It started to drizzle just as I reached my new favourite tree leading to the Poly.
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr

I arrived at Cap’n Cooks, grabbed a beer from the cooler and placed my order at the counter. I then went outside to find a covered table to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Poly pool area. The pool was closed due to the weather, but the rain seemed to have stopped which made my meal quite pleasant.
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr

The nachos were as amazing as I remember! And I figured the Kona Brewing Co. beer was a good tip of the cap to our canceled Hawaii trip. I was really looking forward to indulging in a number of the different Kona Brewing Co. options while we were in Honolulu but I guess this was a good fallback.

I took my time enjoying the nachos and my drink and when I was finished I made my way into the Great Ceremonial House to hitch a ride on the monorail over to the Contemporary.
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr

Upon arriving I walked over to Bay Lake and searched around for the elevator that leads up to the Top of World. I eventually found it and checked in with the CM manning the welcome desk that took me to the elevator and sent me up to the lounge.

As soon as I stepped into the lounge I was blown away. The lounge itself is relatively small and cozy and I can see how it would be really tough to get a place to sit during busy times. I was there pretty early in the evening so seating wasn’t an issue. Before I grabbed a seat I walked out on the balcony overlooking MK to take in the view. The Balcony is huge and clearly a great spot to hang out and get a special look at the World.
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr

After spending about 10 or 15 minutes outside I found a table beside the window and settled in for a bit. I was still pretty full from my nachos but I felt obligated to order something. A very nice server stopped by my table and we had a quick chat about where I’m from and how long I’ve been part of DVC. I asked her what I should try and she was quick to suggest the pretzels. I took her advice and also ordered a Maduro Brown Ale from a local craft brewery in Tampa.
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr

I have to admit, I likely didn’t need to order the pretzels, I was stuffed, but they were very tasty. As was the beer.

As I finished up I still had just over an hour to kill before the fireworks were to begin. The lounge was starting to fill up and people were waiting for tables. I figured I’d give up my seat to a couple waiting and head back out to the balcony to enjoy the view. I was debating whether to go back to the room or wait around and I likely would have made my way back if I hadn’t struck up a conversation with a mother and daughter from upstate New York about how cool the view from up there is.

We ended up chatting for about 30 minutes which definitely helped cut into the waiting time and it was great to get to know some fellow DVC members. Eventually, we said goodbye and they went back into the lounge to grab a drink before the fireworks. I used the additional free time to take more photos and look around.
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr

In the distance you could see both EPCOT and DHS as well, both parks shooting off their fireworks in and around the same time.
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr

Finally the Halloween fireworks we ready to go. The music from the show was piped into the speakers on the balcony and people filed out of the lounge to get a better view. There was still tons of space around to watch which made me wonder what this place must look like on July 4th or New Years Eve.
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr
WDW 2018
by Matt Mandrusiak, on Flickr

The fireworks from this vantage point were terrific. Great views and a really unique experience. Something I was very happy I ended up staying for. I made sure to take a short five-minute video to send back to the girls.

Once the show ended many people went back into the lounge for a nightcap but I found the elevator to make my way back to the Monorail to head home. The long day had caught up with me and I was ready for bed. Plus I wanted to get up for a run before day three started so it was definitely time to get some sleep.

Thankfully there was no line at the monorail and surprisingly there was plenty of room on the when the next train pulled in. A few stops later and a quick walk through the lobby over to Sago Cay and I was back in my room. I pulled together my running gear before hopping into bed and calling it a day.
 
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Swissmiss

Premium Member
Actually this is a really good point and something that was brought up during the program. The training that works so well in North America has not been successful, or as successful, in many of the other Disney Parks mainly because of the cultural differences. They've been able to adapt, of course, based on the location of the Park but the company seems very aware that there are gaps in what they see in other parks compared to the overall success in DL and WDW.
Thanks for responding to this - it is interesting to learn that Disney is also aware that the international parks don’t have the same culture. Once I finally accepted that I wasn’t going to get Disney service at the same time as Disney theming in Disneyland Paris (ie: stopped comparing) I began to enjoy the park much more. In fact we’ll be going just after Christmas for a couple of days to enjoy the decorations.
 

Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Thanks for responding to this - it is interesting to learn that Disney is also aware that the international parks don’t have the same culture. Once I finally accepted that I wasn’t going to get Disney service at the same time as Disney theming in Disneyland Paris (ie: stopped comparing) I began to enjoy the park much more. In fact we’ll be going just after Christmas for a couple of days to enjoy the decorations.
Even if it’s not quite the same as the NA parks, I hope you have a great time when you visit!
 

Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day Four – Third Day of Class

I awoke a little earlier to go for another run around the Grand and the Poly before getting myself ready for day three of classes. It was another perfect morning for a jog and I was most pleased to get a good sweat on after an evening of overeating!

After my quick 3K, I showered dressed and made my way to the Convention Centre for breakfast before we started the session. We were treated to a bit of a different set up on this morning. The breakfast was a little disjointed. Plates in the middle of the serving table, a toaster with no bread or bagels in sight, cutlery wrapped in napkins which consisted of three knives and no forks or spoons. Something seemed just a bit off which had everyone a little suspicious.

Don’t get me wrong, the food was still really good and the service was just as it should be, albeit it did seem like some of the servers clearing plates were a tad too friendly, but something smelled off!

As we started the session we were asked “how was breakfast?” to which most everyone responded “great”. One person spoke up to point out a few abnormalities. This then kicked off the discussion about the expectation of service, specifically at Disney. Was this breakfast up to Disney standard? No. But since Disney tends to over deliver on most experiences, were you willing to let it slide? Yes. Turns out, this was a complete set up to get us thinking about what happens when we are presented with an experience that isn’t quite up to par. The “practically perfect” breakfast set up generated a lot of talk about the meal itself but how it fits into the different touch points during a visit that impacts your feelings toward your overall experience. It was a fun way to start the day.

The area of focus today was on Delivering Exceptional Service and admittedly I took no pictures in class or on our field experience so I will try to summarize everything as best I can without getting too crazy long.

Disney’s approach to delivering exceptional service comes from the intersection of three things: Process, People and Place. All three have to be well thought out and executed but when all three intersect if all goes as it has been designed, is when an exceptional experience is likely to be delivered.

Process being the structured activities or tasks put into place to enable an exceptional experience (all of which must align with the common purpose of the organization), Place being pretty self-explanatory, where does the touch point occur and People are those who are committed to delivering exceptional service. They were pretty adamant that people with a heart for service can always be taught competencies but people who may have all the skills in the world cannot necessarily be taught how to develop a heart for service.

As always, the facilitators used some great examples from around Disney World to illustrate their points. The introduction of MATER (Mastering All the Elements of Retail) throughout main merchandise locations was a process that was developed to help CMs assist guests in locating specific merchandise items (product, sizes, etc.) throughout WDW. It’s basically an app on an iPad that can tell the CM where to send a guest to find a specific item anywhere in the world. Helps to ensure the guest gets what they are looking for and makes it as efficient as possible.

Place has so many obvious applications but they focused on some of the backstage areas and the scrim used during construction to help blend what could be an eyesore into just another part of the park so that even if something is being renovated, it still seamlessly fits within the park motif.

A cool online job posting ad was shown for People which detailed a Mousekeeper adding a little magic to a guests room by setting up a Mickey and Minnie doll on the beds (much like MouseKeeping had done for our kids during the family stay the week previous) with the words “I try to make even the smallest moments magical. I AM DISNEY” sprawled across the ad. Really trying to portray the types of people they are looking for when hiring.

Of course, all of this had to not only fit the common purpose, but the four keys as well to ensure that the best possible experiences can be delivered. They talked about the tools they provide employees to allow them to succeed within the process, which includes a firm understanding of the common purpose (We Create Happiness) and empowering the employees to make decisions on their own by providing them with the proper tools to handle different situations.

One of the examples they then showed us was the Four Keys Program which essentially allows guests or fellow Cast Members to recognize a Cast Member who has displayed great service to guests, clients or other CMs. A card is filled out and handed into managers or in dropbox areas that are then delivered the CMs and prizes and awards are handed out on a monthly basis for CMs who have received a Four Keys Fanatic Card.

Before we broke for lunch the facilitators wrapped up the morning by bringing it all together and answering the question: What is quality service? Disney deems quality service as the consistent execution of quality standards through all delivery channels at all touch points.

We were told this was going to be on full display when we took our afternoon field outing. We were informed that we would be heading right back to the Magic Kingdom but instead of being “on stage” we would be spending the entire visit backstage as we toured through the famed Utilidors! I was definitely pumped up to get a firsthand look at the system underneath the park!
 

Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Hi all!

A belated Merry Christmas to everyone. Hope the holidays have been treating everyone well.

I must apologize for my delayed posts. Aside from the craziness of the holidays, Kelly and I made the very difficult choice on December 23rd to say goodbye to our beloved Marty.

Losing our best bud has put a damper on the season and I haven’t exactly been in an overly Disney mood but I’m sure I’ll pick up on finishing this trip report soon.

If I don’t post before January 1st, we wish you a very happy new year and Kelly and I look forward to so many more Disney discussions in the year to come.

https://flic.kr/p/2dRDUSr
 

Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Oh Matt, I'm so sorry for your loss....
So sorry to hear about Marty. That’s a terrible call to have to make- even when you know it’s for the best. My condolences to you and your family.
Thank you. It’s been very tough, especially on Kelly, but we had to put him first in this decision. It’s definitely made the house feel so empty over the last week.
 
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