Oct. 1, 2020

Cast Compliment: Season 1, Episode 8

Cast Compliment: Season 1, Episode 8

In a programming change, we welcome back Jon Hinson to the show to discuss the recent news coming out of Disney Parks. In this shortened podcast we take time to discuss our amazing Cast Members and the impact they have on our families. Please follow these links to contribute to Cast Members, and for those Cast members in the parks, make sure you leave a #CastCompliment on Twitter or call Guest Services to highlight you personal experiences at the parks.

https://www.facebook.com/castmemberpantry

Transcript

Marc Valentine:

Hello, everybody, this is Marc Valentine. Welcome back to Disney life podcast. Thank you so much for joining us here this week, we do have some program notes that I do want to discuss. For those of you who tuned in last week, thank you for tuning in to our top 15 thrill rides episode with our panel from for the love of Disney World. And you may have noticed that last week, I was really excited to welcome Linda, my wife back to the show. But this week, there have been a lot of changes and just a lot of news that came out of Walt Disney World, that it kind of made us reflect upon our program schedule here at Disney life podcast. And we felt that it was a little bit tone deaf this week to be speaking about dining at Walt Disney World when there's been so much stuff just going on in parks. And for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, it really has been breaking on all major media fronts. And when you see Walt Disney, Walt Disney World News and just Disney Corp news being splashed all over, you know, the mainstream media on CNN on fox news on NBC, you know that it's something that's really big. And you know, this week, the happiest place on earth. You know, it got a lot less happy. After Disney Corp announced that it was laying off 28,000 staffers from its parks division that you know, the Disney layoffs are gonna alter what's already it's been a really turbulent theme park visit for guests and the attendance at parks you know, we talked about this in our first episode has been down and as a result of the pandemic and the parks reopening amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The park attendance has been very disappointing. And parks Chairman Josh D'Amaro, this week released the statement to cast members and he said, I write this note to you today to share some difficult decisions that we had to make regarding our Disney Parks experiences, products, organization and organization. Let me start with my belief that the heart and the soul of our business is and will always be people just like all of you. I love what I do. I also love being surrounded by people who think about their roles as more than jobs. But as opportunities to be a part of something special, something different, and something truly magical. Earlier this year, in response to the pandemic, we were forced to close our businesses around the world, few of us could ever have imagined how significantly the pandemic would impact us both at work and in our daily lives. We initially hoped that the situation would be short lived, and that we would recover quickly and return to normal. Seven months later, we find that has not been the case. And as a result today, we are now forced to reduce the size of our team across executive, salaried, and hourly roles. As you can imagine, a decision of this magnitude is not easy. For the last several months, our management team has worked tirelessly to avoid having to separate anyone from the company. We've cut expenses, suspended capital projects furloughed our cast members. And while still, while still paying benefits, and modified our operations to run as efficiently as possible. However, we simply cannot responsibly stay fully staffed while operating. And he went on to you know, thank the staff. It was, you know, this news was really just heartbreaking. And you could see the waves and the ripple effect across social media. Instant, instantly. And you know, we we asked John, so this is you know, I asked John Hinson to come back on. JOHN is again, a wonderful friend of the show. JOHN had a great episode with us earlier, you know, this season. And john is an Orlando native and a lot closer to this. And John and i have become very good friends as a result of the show. And I did ask him to join us today, again to change our programming for this week. Because I I just felt that to kind of talk about dining right now was sort of missed the point of what this show is all about. And we wanted to change this episode to share that news with you have one why we need the programming change, but also to just stop for a second and reflect upon those individuals that make Walt Disney World and Disneyland and the parks. The most magical place on Earth. So john, you know again, thank you for joining us. Thank you for agreeing to come on. Yeah, thank you for coming on short notice to that I caught

Jon Hinson:

on. I wish it was I wish it was better terms. But

Marc Valentine:

you know, I do too. But I just felt like today In my heart that this was this was the episode to have.

Jon Hinson:

Yeah, they deserve it. They, they really do make the magic literally make the magic and to see any of them hurting. It's just, it's crazy. They don't deserve that that's for sure.

Marc Valentine:

They don't, you know, the I think it was the first or second episode. I talked about how amazing the parks were with low attendance. But I and I and I, I didn't go into it in great detail. But I kind of said that there is a downside to it that you realize what the parks being so empty, that there are a lot of people that are not working right now.

Jon Hinson:

Yeah.

Marc Valentine:

And it was a temporary furlough. And I think a lot of us were of the mindset that it was going to be something that was remedied quickly. And then when you saw the park hours dip, when you saw the early closures, and you saw a lot of stuff was not coming back despite the fact that crowds have been picking up right.

Jon Hinson:

Yeah, um, you know, it's, it's still not busy. I feel like it's picked up some but um, you know, like the governor's change and stuff didn't really affect their rules. So, like magic kingdom, we were there. That day, they announced this and it was you know, about the first section, one section past the monorail. So that's pretty much as busy as it's been. Usually that whole parking lots full, you know?

Marc Valentine:

Yeah.

Jon Hinson:

But um, yeah, I feel like even those who didn't lose their jobs are still, you know, very much affected by this because their friends, you know,their family, they're...

Marc Valentine:

I, you know, it's To all of these people that work at these parks, and the reason that he think it hits for those of us who go to the parks regularly, you, one, you hit the nail right on the head, they make the magic, like these parks, the experiences that you have the memories that you make, the magic that you feel, it's all because of these cast members. And that kind of devotion and spirit. It's not because of some corporate memo or mandate, these people love what they do. Many of them. The becoming a cast member was the fulfillment of a life long dream for many of these individuals, not just people who were you grew up wanting to become an Imagineer. But people who want to work in parks, people who wanted to work, you know, as support, people who wanted to work with whatever their passion was, but do it at Disney.

Jon Hinson:

Yeah.

Marc Valentine:

And, you know, it's always sad when people are furloughed. But so many of these individuals, it's not just that it's not a job, it's a passion. It's something they love, and they believe in. And that's why it's so magical when you go, so to see this happen. I think that's why it hits you in the gut. Hmm.

Jon Hinson:

Yeah, it's, it's outside of the bubble. So it's, you know, it's hard to conceal that. I feel like when you know, they're working, it's very easy to, to be in your happy place. But this is the real world. And it's pretty sad right now.

Marc Valentine:

It is. And like I said, seeing, the way that the landscape has really been affected these last two days, just made me come on air and say, you know, this show is all about people, I started this show to help people who wanted to travel. But people who wanted to kind of forget their daily lives and the grind, and the stress and the anxiety of life for maybe 45 minutes to an hour a week. And I realized that, you know, it's it's kind of it would be ignorant to do that right now. Because our world, it, we're hurting. And we have to acknowledge the fact that our Disney family is hurting, and we need each other right now. Probably more than ever. And the truth is that this, it's not about me. I wanted to let for the cast members who do listen to the show. And for the people to know that one, my purpose of today was to let the cast members know how much I love and appreciate them. How much so how much my family loves and appreciates them. How devastated we are even from Pennsylvania to feel to feel it for them. And any words of mine are, you know, they're really they're, they're fruitless, because nothing that I can say. I feel like changes anything. But I do want them to know that I see them. I hear them. And I feel I feel it with them. Yeah. And I want them to know that you I mean an You and I were speaking before we came on air, we, you know, we love you, and we support you.

Jon Hinson:

Yeah, whatever, whatever they need, like we are here for them. I feel like, you know, I would say to everyone, like, just reach out to any cast member, you know, like, just tell them thank you. Ask them if they need anything. No, it's their friends, if they still work there, you know, their friends have been, you know, let go. And definitely just just hug them, thank them, give them all the appreciation they deserve.

Marc Valentine:

I mean, I always tell people, you should, you should always leave a cast compliment when you can. Yeah, because it really makes a difference. If there's a company that really treats that feedback. with the utmost importance, It's Disney. When you give a cast compliment using the hashtag cast compliment on Twitter, to Walt Disney World or Disneyland. The company really takes that feedback. And will will utilize it in assessing how successful a person's been. So you're, if you're in the parks now, or traveling to the parks in the next few weeks, like john said, Please be mindful of that, you know, say thank you be appreciative. But more more. Moreover, you know, if there's something that we can connect to you, like definitely help I know, um, I have to look it up. And I'm gonna put the link in the show notes, by the way, because I, I have to apologize for I'm normally not this unprepared for a show. But we john and I just came to air, trying to trying to really just say thank you. But I'm going to put a link in our show notes. For a local food pantry right now in the Orlando area that is dedicated to helping cast members. They are taking donations they do.

Jon Hinson:

They do Amazon too.

Marc Valentine:

Yep. Go ahead, john, you could go ahead and talk about it. Because I, I just saw it on Facebook. So if you know more about it than I do, please share that if you know,

Jon Hinson:

it's a great program. It's focused on the cast members. And basically, they'll provide them packages of food. You can email them or call them and they will give you a link to their amazon shopping list. She can just purchase and donate to the food pantry.

Marc Valentine:

I know that they are also accepting monetary donations in lieu of food orders as well. I did see that. It's great. So you know, I we plan on we plan on making a donation. I mean, I I wish it was an easy fix to like, I wish it was just like I could take a vacation and things would be better. Like That was my that was my gut reaction. I was like, Okay, let's go. Like let's get in the car and go,

Jon Hinson:

Oh, yeah,

Marc Valentine:

to give revenue to Disney. But I you know, it's it was the worst feeling to see people to see, you know, growing up when when you see people hurting like that, you know, hopefully the human instinct in is, like, what can I do? And I just feel like I'm stuck in pa and I'm powerless. And I just want to help. So I'm gonna put that link in our show notes. But I do. I didn't want to be long winded tonight, john, and um, you know, thank you for coming on.

Jon Hinson:

Yeah,

Marc Valentine:

it's today today was just about saying, Hey, guys, we are here. This is our Friday episode. I realized not we're not talking about dining. This is a call to action, please. This week. Thank you cast member, please see what you can do. Yeah, donate, donate, if you can. And you know, the world. The world needs more people. Like these people. Yes. And that's not hyperbole. That it's true. It's truth is Yeah,

Jon Hinson:

Yeah, donate, donate, if you can.

Marc Valentine:

And you know, the world. The world needs more people. Like these people.

Jon Hinson:

Yes.

Marc Valentine:

And that's not hyperbole. That it's true. It's truth is

Jon Hinson:

Yeah, and just imagine if the whole world was cast members. What a great place to live.

Marc Valentine:

You know, they're, um, they're just a great group of people. They believe in the best, not just the best virtues of Disney. They believe in the best virtues that we have as, as a species. And, and again, like, I know that this is sounding hyperbolic, but it's really not like the people that I know, my cast, even my cast member friends, it pains them to speak negatively about anything, and like, we'll have dinner conversations with them. And they are when they find themselves getting to that they will course correct and remember, you know, to like, bring out the best in that conversation they will never like, even if they're not in Disney mode, they will change that conversation or they will find a way to circle around to the good qualities of that of that topic.

Jon Hinson:

They're just the best people and I think that's they hire a certain type of person and but they're just great people. And even through all this, you know, I have some friends that have you know, we're went through that and the whole time they are just super positive. Not one bad word about you know, anything honestly just sad that they this has happened, kind of their life's kind of put on pause almost

Marc Valentine:

from what I've seen too. And what's remaining To me, and this is, I think this is what makes me feel even worse is that in spite of all of the all of this right now, on social media and posts, in just text going back and forth, that their tone is one of perseverance and strength. And they are trying to see the light, the silver lining and the light. And all of this, despite the fact that this is happening right now. They're just I find it there, that the cast members are treating it with that same dignity, Grace, and grit that they that they always have. And again, it does not go unnoticed. And it's why I really wanted to make sure that I took 15, maybe 20 minutes today, to just say, not just from our podcast, and our panel, all of us, we've become very close.

Jon Hinson:

Yeah

Marc Valentine:

You know, the, the four and five of us with what's amazing. In our first few episodes, I brought, I brought all you guys in as guests, and we've had these relationships which have continued to develop off air.

Jon Hinson:

Out of Nowhere , it's so crazy how it works, isn't it?

Marc Valentine:

It really is. And like, you know, we've kind of like, I think all of us kind of had that same reaction of, you know, we want it we want it to do something, you know, we

Jon Hinson:

How can we help?

Marc Valentine:

How can we help? And it's genuine and it's genuine, and it's not, you know, it's it's not something that's being done for for the, for the sake of the show, because, you know, I even thought about john, I swear, I thought about like not having a show this week. But I thought given like, given the fact that I've been pushing stuff on social media all week, that it would have just been weird if I fell off of the often the map this week.

Jon Hinson:

Yeah, they deserve this, they deserve this episode, they deserve a thank you. They deserve, you know, whatever, whatever they need, they deserve. I feel like

Marc Valentine:

they deserve more. That's what I wanted, more than than anything that I could ever, ever offer to them. Because that's truly how grateful I am for this group of people. I mean, they, they have helped my family make memories that will last until my daughter is as an adult and has her own children. I mean, that's the power of what these people do. And I, I've said to my friend, I really have said this to my friend before, not not in the context of what's going on now. But I've told him that from a corporate standpoint, I'm like, how great must it feel to work for a company that does as much good globally as Disney? Does?

Jon Hinson:

Oh my gosh, yeah.

Marc Valentine:

It must be a joy to go to work. And I'm like, and I'm not telling you this to stroke your ego. Because I don't have like, I'm not trying to get a job here. I'm not on an interview. I said it must feel pretty darn good to go to work every day, knowing that even the smallest person in your organization makes a world of difference to the people that

Jon Hinson:

Yeah,

Marc Valentine:

they encounter on a daily basis. I'm like, How great is that?

Jon Hinson:

So amazing. And it was so crazy. I was talking about the other day, it's like, they give everyone a distinct, you know, memory in their head forever. And everyone, everyone feels special, everyone feels touched by the cast members. You know, and their friends. You know, it's just crazy to me, because I feel like you know, like we said they they do that in everyday life too. They just a very positive person in a very positive world. I love it.

Marc Valentine:

I know. So, so ladies and gentlemen, you know, thank you so much. Listen to the long and short of it today is we just wanted to say thank you to our cast members, we are thinking of you. You definitely have been in our thoughts not just today but yesterday as well. And I know that you know the next few days may continue to be very turbulent and rough but please you know if you do have um you know, if you do have moments where you feel lost and you do feel like you're you're kind of just looking looking for answers. Just know that you have millions and millions of people that love you and are thinking about you and are with you. We certainly are john john is I I know that I am my wife Linda is as well. And we love you and we thank you. And we're with you. So just let us know what we can do. And we're we're here for you.

Jon Hinson:

Yeah, absolutely. Just reach out to anyone. Honestly, I feel like all Disney fans have your back and we miss you and we can't wait to come back.

Marc Valentine:

Yeah. So folks, we're gonna keep this we're gonna keep the show short today. That's that's about all we have. It was really john and i wanted to come on to give a really heartfelt special thank you to our cast members. Next week, we will continue with our regularly scheduled programming. Linda has you know great graciously. She You agreed with me today, she said, this was a really good idea. And that, you know, she would be joining the show next week, I really do want to say, and in the spirit of thanks, I want to say thank you. And it's just, it's a heartfelt thank you to our listeners, that this week, in particular, the outpouring of support that you've shown me, as a, as the host of this show, has, it's just, it's really felt great. And I've kind of shared that with our contributors, you know, john is gonna, john is one of our contributors. But I've shared that with Dwayne and I shared that with Melissa, I shared that with Matt, you know, we're, it really has been awesome. And in spite of all of the bad stuff that's going on, you know, my heart really is full this week. And it's really is filled with love for you guys. And I want us, part of what the show is also about is thanking the people in your life, and letting them know about the impact that they have when they have it. And that, to close it. That's a part of Disney life, too. It's about the values and virtues that you saw Walt Disney create for his organization. And, you know, and develop for not just his parks, but for everyone that work for that company. And one of one of those virtues and values is to, you know, to, to be a loving person and to show that connectedness. So thank you to our listeners this week. Have a wonderful weekend. JOHN, thank you again, for coming. It was not an easy episode to tape, especially on short notice, but I thank you so much.

Jon Hinson:

Thanks for having me.

Marc Valentine:

And, you know, I will I'll I'll be talking to you offline, sir.

Jon Hinson:

Yeah, sounds good.

Marc Valentine:

All right, folks. Have a great week. And thank you again for tuning in and I will see you next week. Have a wonderful weekend.

Jon Hinson

Guest Host, Media Curator, Official Photographer

Jon Nathan Hinson is a portrait artist in the Orlando area. Disney World quickly became his home as adult even though he grew up in Florida. Jon is on the admin team for several Disney groups including Mouse MarketPlace, For the love of Disney world, Disney life podcast and for the onsie. He enjoys all things Florida and sunshine. Photographing is his passion at the parks and beyond. Jon’s photographs have been featured all over the world including national & international television stations. Jon has a beautiful wife and adorable son. Together they visit Disney world weekly and share their adventures with everyone who wants to hear. You can follow along at www.Hinsonphotography.com