A great lesson from DisneyWorld

Vanda, Jess, Emma, Zach and me (taking the picture) at Disneyworld

So we did the Walt Disneyworld thing on our vacation to Florida. Vanda and I had been there during our honeymoon, and Vanda had been there as a child with her family. It was our kid’s first time and they loved it. I gotta say, there was much more about it that I took notice of than I had my previous visit almost fifteen years ago. People say it’s the happiest place on earth, and the Disney staff at Magic Kingdom go out of their way to make sure they keep a solid grasp on that title.

I was impressed on many levels. The park is very clean – including the bathrooms! The price for a one-day ticket isn’t much different to six flags or other amusement parks. On a personal note, the rides are fun but none of them were so crazy that they made me have to vomit. And, there are consistently new rides and attractions based on the newest movies. One of my favorite things about the park is the scenery when you first come out of the short tunnel that goes under the train immediately after entering the gate. It’s a street with shops and street entertainers that looks like something out of one of their movies, and the street takes you to Cinderella’s castle is off in the distance. The light show on the castle followed by the fireworks display after dark were truly amazing. But, there was one thing, more than anything else, that makes me want to go back someday.

Emma trying hard to move Cinderella’s castle a little to the right. I don’t know what this picture is so small – much smaller than this caption. But it’s funny and I thougth I’d put it in anyway.

The people who work at Disney aren’t called staff; they call themselves cast members. The entertainers that perform around that castle throughout the day are top-notch. The people who dress the part at other attractions and shops do what they can to make the experience magical. Even the person taking the fees for parking and the woman who took my payment for the tickets over the phone were a joy to speak with. They convinced me that they were actually excited that we were there.

But what impressed me the most was the integrity of the cast I witnessed while on the train that goes around the perimeter of the park. It was time to eat the lunch Vanda had packed. We were at the far end of the park and our locker was near the entrance. The cast members at the train – the engineers and the ones that let you in and tell you to keep all body parts in the ride – played their roles well. As we went around the park the cast members at the other rides waved to us and smiled as well. When we went past a small path behind the Goofy rollercoaster a young man was pushing a large cart of garbage bags. When he saw us he stopped what he was doing, put on a big smile and waved until we couldn’t see him anymore. No way! This kid may not have been one of the star roles. He wasn’t even on a path where there were lots of people walking by! Pushing around garbage isn’t glorious, but he has an important role to play and has the ability to see how he fits in to the overall purpose of the Disneyworld experience.

There are churches I’ve visited that make me feel that way. No, they don’t dress like fairytale royalty and human-sized rodents. They do their best to let me know that they are happy that I showed up. And it’s not just the greeting team – it’s the whole church. Giving glory to God by being his light to the world is our primary purpose. We should be as excited as the Creator to see anybody come through our doors.

A church full of members with a cast member mentality; that’s the best way to make people want to come back.


12 thoughts on “A great lesson from DisneyWorld

  1. My wife and I attend Hillsong Church in Sydney Australia. As I drive onto the property there is someone to direct me. They smile and wave at us as we pass by to the next corner where I am directed again by someone with a smile and wave to greet me. I am greeted this way until I find my carparking space, then two people meet us at the door and with a smile say “Welcome to Church”. I pass through another door where I am also greeted with a smile and welcome.

    We take our seat and since we are always early, someone inevitably strikes up a conversation and asks us where we are from and are we a part of a homegroup in the area. Before we even begin worship in singing I feel as if this is the most friendly Church on earth even though I am attending with around 2000 other people. They are not cast members but volunteers who want to make us know that we are welcome. I can’t help but doing the same to others because of the example they have set. Thankyou for the reminder never to take these things for granted.

    • Wow, that’s a great church ross! That’s probably a reason why there are around 2000 people there. It’s nice to hear examples of churches that get it right, and it’s something for the rest of us to aspire to. Thanks Ross.

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