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Memory of a Lifetime

By Greg Harris

A Disneyland worker turned a hum-drum day
into something spectacular.

Greg's Corner Eeyore, the gloomy Winnie-the-Pooh donkey, is not what I would consider to be one of Disney's top characters, but after half an hour with my family at Disneyland's Character Breakfast, it was the only character we saw.

"Where are the other characters Daddy?" the boys wanted to know. The pancakes had long been consumed, the orange juice gone, the sticky fingers cleaned and the lines were starting to build. Should we wait for someone else to show up?

I expressed our disappointment to the food service manager and he quickly offered a solution, "How about a private visit with Mickey Mouse?" The manager did what all Disney "cast members" are trained to do. Solve the problem and keep the guests entertained.

The boys were thrilled (and frankly so were their parents) as the young employee began to escort us to Toon Town (where Mickey lives), but he quickly ran into problems. Overnight, a large crane making repairs fell and injured an employee and as a result, Toon Town access was blocked.

Again, Disney employees are empowered to fix problems and the kitchen staff was apparently no exception. He told us he knew another way to Toon Town and escorted us "back stage." We emerged into an empty Toon Town. Not only did we get to meet and take pictures with Mickey, but we were encouraged to experience the fully staffed, but empty Toon Town area. We literally had the place to ourselves.

Too often companies look for the minimum that they can do to resolve a problem, but Disney clearly takes the approach of over-compensating for any guest's disappointment. Disney was able to convert a "complainer" into a rabid fan.

Admittedly, Jameco doesn't have everything that Disney has to offer, but the philosophy that tries to leave every customer thrilled is exactly the same.