How You Say Good Bye is as Important as How You Say Hello

Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.Walt Disney

The Disney organization has no peer when it comes to creating amazing Guest Experiences. Their Cast Member interaction with Guests is legendary in providing a warm welcome to the Disney Parks. From your arrival by car, monorail, or boat, the Guest is almost overwhelmed by the tremendous “first impression” that Disney Cast Members deliver.

But I think it’s how Disney says “goodbye” that leaves a “lasting impression.

Just a few weeks ago on Independence Day, I’m sure many of you saw and heard first hand fireworks of all shapes and sizes. Independence Day fireworks are memorable, and they add a special feeling to the festivities of the day. But fireworks at Disney parks – they are unique.

At Disney World, the fireworks in 3 of the 4 parks (the animals in Disney’s Animal Kingdom can’t handle the noise) are simply spectacular. Here’s how Aaron Wallace, author of The Thinking Fan’s Guide to Walt Disney World: Magic Kingdom describes it:

Suddenly, almost without warning, the park goes dark, the castle lights up in a blinding white blaze, and the enormous trumpeting of horns heralds the long-awaited arrival of the fireworks show.

Words alone can’t convey the impact of that moment. There is no point during the Disney park experience when the magic hits harder than with the opening notes of the fireworks show. To quote Jiminy Cricket, “like a bolt out of the blue,” a feeling of “WOW! I’m actually in Disney World” washes over the crowd in that split second.

The show continues to build in intensity, the music gets louder, the fireworks more majestic until at the end, the sky is seemingly covered from horizon to horizon with a colorful canvas of memories and magic.

photo by Tom Brickman

photo by Tom Brickman

That’s what the Guests remember – and it makes them start thinking about the next time they can return.

But it isn’t quite time to say goodbye – for those hardy souls who have the stamina and endurance to remain till the park’s closing – and just a little longer – there is one more Disney magic surprise – the Kiss Goodnight.

As DisneyTouristBlog.com author Tom Bricker explains,

Too few Walt Disney World fans know about The Kiss Goodnight. If you just thought, “what’s that?” you’re not alone. The Kiss Goodnight is a little over 2-minutes long, and it is the Magic Kingdom’s way of saying “goodbye” to guests at the end of a long day. It usually plays every 30 minutes after the park closes and starts with Cinderella Castle “twinkling” as the music from When You Wish Upon a Star slowly builds.

photo by Tom Brickman

photo by Tom Brickman

A narrator then greets the last of the guests in the Magic Kingdom, saying: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, on behalf of everyone here at the Magic Kingdom, we thank you for joining us today for a magic gathering of family, friends, fun, and fantasy. We hope your magical journey with us has created wonderful memories that will last a lifetime. Walt Disney said that the Magic Kingdom is a world of imagination, hopes, and dreams. In this timeless land of enchantment, magic and make-believe are reborn, and fairy tales come true. The Magic Kingdom is a place for the young and the young at heart. A special place where when you wish upon a star, your dreams can come true. Until we see you again, have a safe trip home. Thank you, and goodnight.”

The Kiss Goodnight is the proverbial icing on the Cake (Castle!). After a long day in the parks, we can’t help but just stop and watch the Kiss Goodnight, completely frozen and unable to move. For us, the combination of the beautiful light display and hearing about the meaning Walt Disney wanted the parks to have for guests does it every time.

I’m convinced that most people who “get” the Disney theme parks would get goose bumps if they were to stand in a mostly empty Magic Kingdom and watch and listen to this on a tranquil Main Street USA. It’s special not just because you’re in the park at such a peaceful time, essentially by yourself with Cinderella Castle, but also because of the significance of the words in Roy O. Disney’s Walt Disney World opening day dedication speech. The Kiss Goodnight basically embodies and reminds us exactly why it’s so great to be a Disney fan. If you haven’t stayed to experience The Kiss Goodnight before, you should definitely make an effort to do it at least once. It absolutely belongs on everyone’s Disney Bucket List.

Now that’s a goodbye!

Which leads me to a simple, closing question:

How do you tell your Guests goodbye?

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8 Ways for the Introvert to Serve on Your Guest Services Team

Bob

and I’m an introvert.

Hello, Bob!

The introduction and response above would be my way of introducing myself at an IA Meeting – Introverts Anonymous

  • Susan Cain’s Quiet is one of my favorite books…
  • I’ve been told to come out of my shell so much I look like a turtle…
  • Speaking in front of 500 people is less stressful than mingling with them afterwards…

I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

My passion for Guest Experiences may seem strange to those who think all Guest Services teams must be filled with outgoing people-persons. There is certainly a need for many of those types of people, especially in the more visible, front-line positions.

 And yet…

Not everyone must be a “people magnet” to serve your Guests. Many folks in our church have a passion to connect people to God and to one another, but they aren’t wired to greet Guests. Find a way to include them, for they, too, are invaluable to the success of a Guest Services ministry.Mark Waltz

Mark Waltz, Pastor of Connections and a Campus Pastor at Granger Community Church, wrote the book on Guest Services – literally. Actually, he wrote 3 of them, and this “hat trick” of Guest Services books ought to be the first 3 books you buy when building your Guest Services Resource Library. They are: First Impressions, Lasting Impressions, and How to WOW Your Church Guests. Put them on the top of your Christmas list now!

In First Impressions, Waltz lists 8 ways that less gregarious members of your church can connect people to others and God through your Guest Services teams.

12DaysGE1

On the eighth day of Christmas Guest Experiences, your Guest Experience peers give to you:

8 Ways for the Introvert to Serve on a Guest Services Team

  1. Mail reminder postcards to team members
  2. Purchase or prepare food for serving teams
  3. Prepare programs for the weekend
  4. Set out parking lot cones and signs
  5. Pray for the weekend teams and Guests
  6. Update team rosters and profiles
  7. Coordinate systems that ensure all ministry information is gathered for the Guest Services center
  8. Stock the Guest Services center with information and registration jackets

 How will you involve the quieter members of your Guest Services Teams?

inspired by and adapted from First Impressions by Mark Waltz

First Impressions

First Impressions Last…

…but the Last Impression is Remembered!

Hellos and good-byes are beginning and ending points, the two highest positions in what memory researchers call the serial position curve. In a list of items or a series of events, they will be remembered most easily.

I have long been an advocate of a WOW! First Impression – there are literally dozens of posts on this blog that will speak to that. While I don’t intend to change that high opinion of your First Impression, I am increasing becoming aware of the power of the Last Impression.

Good-byes are often rushed – or skipped altogether – in ChurchWorld. Even the name for one of the most common Guest Experience positions – Greeter – is emphasizing the welcome. I’ve never heard of a “Good-Byer” and it’s probably not even a word, but the intent should be!

The goal should be to close your interaction with your Guest in a way that is memorable and sincere.

Never miss a chance to say good-bye without providing a warm smile, words of farewell (if possible), and an invitation to return.

The Last Impression will become a First Memory.