Disney Expects Guests – What About You?

Be Our Guest” has been the invitation for people coming to a Disney theme park long before the song from “Beauty and the Beast” became a box office hit.

It underscores an important element in the Disney vocabulary, that customers are not referred to as such, but rather as Guests. In the Disney nomenclature, the word “Guest” is capitalized and treated as a formal noun.

What’s the difference between treating someone like a customer, and treating someone like a Guest?

The obvious analogy is that we do things differently when we bring Guests into our home. We clean up the house. We dress up. We prepare something special to eat. We host them. We take care of their real needs.

Disney Expects Guests

This principle has to be the starting point, the foundation on which all else is built. Everything – and I mean everything – is done with the Guest in mind. At Walt Disney World, exceeding Guest expectations is the standard call to duty for all cast members, both those “onstage” and “backstage”.



At Walt Disney World, exceeding Guest expectations is the standard call to duty for all cast members, both those “onstage” and “backstage”.

At Disney, everyone is a part of the Guest Experience team.

For years, Disney cast members talked of sprinkling “pixie dust”  to create magical experiences for their Guests. There really wasn’t any pixie dust – but the pixie dust was real in that it is the show that has been created from the moment a Guest arrives on the property until they leave for home.

It’s a practical magic that occurs both onstage (whenever cast members are in public areas of the parks and in front of Guests) and backstage (when they are behind the scenes where the everyday work of operating a city devoted to entertainment is conducted).

The onstage component of practical magic is the response that it produces in Guests when everything comes together in a seamless, seemingly effortless performance. The backstage component is comprised of the nuts and bolts of creating practical magic. Practical magic is whatever it takes to exceed Guest expectations.

Superlative face-to-face service is just one element in the work of exceeding Guest expectations. It means:

  • Paying attention to every aspect of the Guest experience
  • Analyzing that experience from the Guest’s perspective
  • Understanding the needs and wants of the Guest
  • Committing every element of the business – from the design of each element of the infrastructure to the interactions between Guest and cast – to the creation of an exceptional experience for each of them

Be Our Guest, The Disney Institute


Exceeding Guests’ expectations is Disney’s service strategy, and paying attention to every detail is the tactic by which it is accomplished.

  • Friendly, helpful Parking Teams
  • Getting you from the parking lot to the park entrance
  • Beautifully maintained landscaping
  • Trash – nonexistent
  • Baby strollers organized and waiting for Guests
  • Team Leaders visible everywhere – leading by example
  • Personalizing and enhancing the Guest Experience
  • Giving a “face” to the place

Disney expects Guests – and plans to exceed their Guests’ expectations every time. What about you?

Are you expecting Guests?

#1 in a series of #TopTenTakeaways from a Disney Immersion

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