I’m sure many of you wouldn’t find it hard to believe that behind the scenes at Disney Land and Disney World there’s some sort of ‘Clockwork Orange’ type treatment the Mouse overlords subject all new employees to in order to ALWAYS be that happy and smiley. Just seems plausible, doesn’t it?
But really, what I mean by Disney’s Behavioral Modification Program goes on right before the public’s eyes and doesn’t involve being strapped down to a chair and forced to watch hours upon hours of Bambi, Cinderella, Lion King, Dumbo, etc… without blinking.
I recently got back from spending an entire week at Disney World with my whole family. Even though it was considered a ‘quiet’ time at Disney, there were still seas of people everywhere we went. Families from all over the world converging on one confined space should create absolute chaos and more than a few conflict as cultures collide.
How is it that everyone manages to be relatively polite to each other despite walking miles every day, dealing with lines, dealing with people with different cultural norms, crowds, and screaming kids that are past their nap time? I believe it has to do with how Disney employees (cast members?) behave. Every employee I came across at Disney was always super cheery, willing to help, and very sociable.
By filling the park with that attitude exuded from employees, Disney has created the expectation for a certain behavior and politeness from their customers. Rather than telling and forcing people to behave by certain rules, they lead by example showing how they expect people to behave. I’m sure there are more than a few goons on payroll that can handle any trouble (though doing it nicely and with mouse ears on), but I’ve never once in all the times I’ve gone to a Disney park seen it come to that.
One of the hardest parts of leaving Disney property is coming back to the real world. When we got to the Orlando airport I was still smiling at everyone and saying hello and making conversation and expecting the people behind the airline check-in desk to be cheery and eager to help. It was a cold, cold wake-up, let me tell you.