by: guide4wdw – Collin
If you’ve read this site for any amount of time, you’ve likely noticed that I’m a huge fan of the “little things” of any Walt Disney World experience. To me, the smallest details accumulate and really help develop those life long memories a Disney vacation can readily develop. So, today, as we continue our Legendary Cast of the Disney Parks series, we’re sharing a closer look at an incredible cast member that left a mark on our Disney vacation experience.
This particular cast member isn’t readily known (at least to my knowledge) by many guests, but rather simply played a predominant role in creating a memory our family continues to talk about to this day. It wasn’t a planned experience, it didn’t cost anything extra, but it was a cast member interaction that truly exemplified Disney quality service.
On this particular day of our vacation, many years ago, we had planned advanced dining reservations for Whispering Canyon over at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. The dining location has been a part of our Disney vacation experiences for as long as I can remember. While I was very young on our first visits, I can recall staring off into the woods out the window, waiting in the lobby of the resort, riding the stick horses around the restaurant, and some other little details of the experience growing up. Today, the location has become a bit of a tradition. The food is outstanding, the environment is second to none, and the cast (as we’re mentioning in detail today) is some of the very best on Disney property.
However, on this particular occasion, we went into the restaurant in a rather bad mood. I’m not exactly sure why, but it just wasn’t the best day we had on our vacation by any stretch of the imagination (at least not yet). Of course, we knew we were in for a good meal, but we didn’t quite expect the experience we received from our server, known as “Sunshine.” Now, that wasn’t her real name and I don’t entirely remember her real name even though we did ask at one point throughout the meal. Either way, the meal unfolded in a way that we never would have expected.
As soon as she arrived at our table, you could tell it was going to be a fun experience. The trend at Wilderness Lodge is that the servers can be a little over the top and tend to joke with the guests as a portion of the location’s theming. ‘Sunshine” was no different and in many ways went above and beyond to make the experience memorable for not just us but each of her many tables.
As the meal went on, we got to know our server a little better and ironically found out that a friend of ours worked with her at a different location on Disney property in the the not-so-distant past. It was one of those weird “small world” (no un intended) moments that really felt like you were in the right place at the right time. After that connection was made, the meal continued on and she made a special effort to learn about where we were from and even went as far as to share some of her personal stories of time spent near our home town. It was great to be thought of as not just another table, but rather as a new story to unravel.
Perhaps the most impressive part of the whole “scene” was that when we mentioned a table near by that seemed a bit “less fun,” for lack of a better term, she cordially mentioned that they were a bit irritated by the theming and (as we posed a few more questions) she revealed that not only had they left without any form of tip but also managed to steal the salt and pepper shakers off of the table. I don’t add this to the story to make it seem like a complaint but rather to recognize how she made a special effort to continue making our experience better while her own situation was not entirely pleasant at the time. Come to find out, after we talked to another server at the restaurant, she was recovering from being sick that day as well but made light of it in order to better our experience once again.
A the end of the day, this was an Disney dining moment my family will talk about for many years, and one that really created a memory for us that we’ll never forget. You see, “Sunshine” may not be a name as recognizable as Richard Sherman, Bob Iger, Richard Gerth, or even Jack Olsen, but I can guarantee you that each individual on that list would say that her role is one of the single most important roles on Disney property despite what the title of her position may be. Honestly, after that one experience we haven’t seen that particular server on later trips to Whispering Canyon, but be sure to ask for her if you ever find yourself at this particulate dining location.
Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the day. Have a cast member story you want us to share? Share it with us on your favorite social media site!
If you don’t quite know where to start as a first time guest, or even if you’re a returning guest looking to grow an already amazing Disney experience, be sure to check out our friends at Destinations to Travel (clickable link). Just tell them Guide4WDW sent you! Not only are they one of a select group of Authorized Disney Vacation Planners, but this also gives you the opportunity to support the site at no cost to you over Disney’s pricing! Their services truly build on an already wonderful Disney vacation experience.