On this Thrifty Thursday, I wanted to talk about something that is absolutely free and will enhance your trip to Walt Disney World exponentially. In a tribute to one of the most wonderful human beings in the world, in my opinion, I wanted to spend today just talking about a few nice ways we can help spread the magic while at Walt Disney World.
In my studies of Walt, I have read that he envisioned people coming to Disneyland (and I am sure Walt Disney World), finding happiness there, then going out and widening the circle of happiness around the world. I like to do my part with helping him in this very worthwhile endeavor, so I thought I would talk about some ways we have tried to help.
Through the years, there have been many things we have tried to do to help people feel the magic of Disney. I am not only talking about visitors with a “First Timer” button on their shirt, but all kinds of people – children, adults, cast members, everyone really. I hadn’t really sat down and thought of things we have done before, but when I sat down to write this blog and started remembering things we did, I was reminded of some of the best times we have ever had on our trips.
My husband is always offering to take pictures of families or groups whenever he notices someone being left out of the photo because they are behind the camera. He has been our primary photographer so he knows exactly what it is like to have many pictures of the rest of the family but only a few that include him. He has never met a stranger, so he will walk right up to someone and ask if they would like him to take their picture.
Thanking the Cast Members
We hand out cast member thank you cards (like this one). You can download them free here and give them to cast members who have made your trip special in some way.
This year we gave one of them to a very sweet young man named Scott who was working at the Tomorrowland Transit Authority. He was so surprised and appreciative, he looked like I had handed him a million dollars. To tell you the truth, if I had been carrying a million I would have given it to him.
Pay the toll
Whether at home or on vacation, it’s a nice gesture to pay for someone’s toll. When passing through the Florida Turnpike we just tell the person in the booth that we also want to pay for the car behind us. We say, get the magic started before they have even hit the park.
Giving up your spot
We usually take the Disney transportation to the parks but we have driven before when we knew we were going to be leaving during a very crowded time that would cause a long line at the bus stop. When we drive and park, now that our kids are older, we usually will give up a closer parking spot if we see a family with small children trying to park near the entrance. We remember what it was like having tired children to lug to the car when leaving the park and this is our small way of encouraging their plight, even though they never know why we did it.
The first shall be last
This title isn’t exactly what I mean. We don’t offer to get on the bus last if we are there first, but it is nice to let the family behind us get on first. It really doesn’t affect where we will sit, usually, but it gives them a little extra magic when someone does something nice for them.
I was born and raised in Texas, so southern ways are all I have ever known and that goes for my husband and my two strong boys and my healthy girl as well. Most times, we are happy to stand up and give our seats to someone who clearly needs one on the bus – especially a child, pregnant woman, grandmother, or grandfather. There are some nights we have started very early and stayed very late and we are wiped – those nights we might not give up the seat. But, we are happy to when we can bear it.
We wore these “Happy Thanksgiving” shirts this year in order to wish others a Happy Thanksgiving, but we received so many kind wishes that we were clearly the ones that received the blessing. Sometimes trying to do something nice pays you back two-, three, and four-fold.
Just a gesture
Both years we have had the free dining plan, we have ended up with snack credits at the end of our trip. A very nice older woman working in the gift shop really helped me to find a nice gift for my loved one back home, so I used one snack credit to buy a sweet treat for her and took it back to the gift shop. I told her it was a sweet for a sweet.
It is so funny how everyone faces everyone else on the busses. You end up with people looking right at you, where else can they look when they are sitting right in front of you. Even when you are in line, you make eye contact with people all day long. We share our smiles generously. We are so happy to be at Walt Disney World we can’t contain it anyway, so why not share it and brighten someone else’s day.
Thank the bus driver
I do not like driving at all. My husband jokes that I keep him around for chauffer duties and lawn maintenance. Truth is I keep him around for the entertainment value – just kiddingJ I must say that I cannot imagine driving a bus at Walt Disney World with crowds of people standing behind me, kids screaming, babies crying, I could never do it; I would be a nervous wreck. That is not to mention all the traffic on Disney property and people not obeying the street lights. I am so thankful for the kind, calm individual getting me safely to my destination; I always thank the bus drivers at WDW and tell them to have a great day. They are not allowed to take gifts, but I do give them cast member thank you cards (like above).
Don’t waste a fast pass
If we have fast passes left when we decide to leave the park, we always find someone to give them to, especially since we have 5 or more people in our party every year. We have been blessed a few times to actually hear a parent say they just don’t have an hour to wait on the ride while their child is begging to be able to go on it. We love to be able to offer up our fast passes for this. If we had time, we would offer them even if we had planned on using them and just wait out the line ourselves.
We feel very blessed to be able to enjoy our annual trips to Walt Disney World. Someday, we might not have this chance but while we can we will use it the best we can. It is our pleasure entirely to try to make someone’s day a little more special – whether it is a guest or an employee. These are just some of the things I could think of; I would just love to hear about your experiences with kindness – given or received – while at Disney. I think Walt would be happy to know we got the message.
Brenda is a native Texan born and raised on the Gulf Coast. She visited Disney World twice as a teenager and always dreamed of growing her family Disney. She took her first-timer husband and their three children to Disney World in 2000 and they now spend every Thanksgiving there. Brenda writes with a comedic twist on various Disney topics. She will be sharing tips she has learned during her travels and also hopes to enlighten people on little-known freebies that Disney has to offer. She wishes she could have met Walt Disney and considers herself to be a student of Walt. In parallel to his dream it is her wish that everyone would take at least one trip to Disney World in order to share in its magic with their families.