DCP Series-Ception: The 4 Keys

Welcome back to Transparent Tuesdays on Basically, Britain! The DCP Series-Ception is still going stong!

If you missed any of the previous Transparent Tuesday posts, you can check them out here. Since this is series-ception, all of those are in the DCP series Transparent Tuesdays. You have already missed DCP- RoomiesDCP- RolesDCP-Applications, DCP- Perks and Bucket Lists, DCP- Terminology and Jargon, DCP- Orlando Area Jargon/Terms, and DCP- Housing.

Today I am excited to feature a post about DCP- The 4 Keys!

One of the very first steps of becoming an official CM (Cast Member) is taking Disney’s Traditions class (I will do a post on Traditions in the coming weeks.). Basically, it’s a class that every single cast member takes, or will take. It takes place at Disney University (DU). Some of the main things you learn in the class are The 4 Keys, which are basically the morals and values set by Walt Disney, himself, for the company. They are the foundation of the entire company and the basis of a good CM. They are also the order of priority in which the company values customer service.

The Four Keys are: Safety, Courtesy, Efficiency, and Show. In that order.

Safety: Safety is the #1 key in The Walt Disney Company. There is a slogan within the company ” SafeD begins with me.” The “D” is in the same script as the stereotypical “D” in Disney. Essentially, all customer service attempts can go to the wind when someone’s safety is at stake. An example of a proper usage of the safety key is the evacuation of a ride, even if people are upset. Ride-evacs are purely for safety reasons.

Courtesy: This. is. customer service. The second most important key, just after safety. This basically means that anything can happen, and if there is not a safety concern, then kindness and customer service is a top priority. This is the reason people have such high standards when visiting any of the Disney properties, and why people make return visits. An example of the courtesy key is, after the ride evacs, offering fast-passes to another ride or some sort of compensation, to hopefully improve a guests experience.

Efficiency: Disney is a very large company, so efficiency is an important aspect to consider. Efficiency is everywhere at The Walt Disney Company and the methods used are constantly advancing. Some examples of the efficiency key are the My Disney Experience App, Magic Bands, single rider lines, red time cards that help determine ride wait times, and parking cast members.

Show: This is THE key at the company. Yes, it is the least important of the 4, but it is definitely the most visible. Everything at the parks is about the show. The goal is total immersion into the show, and Disney really does an A+ job of accomplishing that goal. A few examples (I could go on FOREVER) are the scenery at the parks, the varying costumes for cast members, the jargon used by cast members and how it varies based on location, and the utilidoors under Magic Kingdom.

Just real quick I want to touch on the hierarchy of the 4 keys. (Think Rock, Paper, Scissors- Rock beats Scissors, Scissors beats Paper, Paper beats Rock.)

Safety beats Courtesy, Courtesy beats Efficiency, Efficiency beats Show, and the Show must go on.

A few hierarchy examples:

–You are a lifeguard and it is time to give your closing speech at the Little Mermaid pool at the Art of Animation Resort. Your closing speech has lots of theming from the movie, but the gist is that it is time for all guests to exit the pool for the night. You have a guest that is just not understanding the point, and you need to close the pool. Do you?

A) Keep repeating the closing speech and hope it clicks.

B) Just get off stand anyway and do what you need to do.

C) Repeat the closing speech in common English, without the theming, in hopes that the guest will understand.

Answer: C. Efficiency beats Show.

— You are QSFB and you have a guest at your register who doesn’t know what they want to eat yet. You can see the line building up behind them as they look at the menu and proceed to ask you questions about various menu items. Do you?

A) Answer the questions, but sound abrupt like your really need them to hurry. Make them understand that they really are being an inconvenience.

B) Answer the questions thoroughly and as polite as possible; give them as much undivided attention as possible.

C) Ask them to step aside until they are ready to order.

Answer: B. Courtesy trumps Efficiency. 

–You are an attractions CM and a guest is belligerently refusing to leave a ride that is being evacuated because of a major electrical issue (the guest may not know it is an electrical issue as Disney is good with cover stories such as “Hunny Spills” at Pooh when the ride is closed). You?

A) Demand [as politely as possible] that they exit the ride and call leaders and/or security to have them removed.

B) Politely try to calm the guest, taking as much time as needed to convince them to leave the ride. [this could take a long time]

C) Let them ride the ride because this is Disney and we have to cater to the guest’s every desire.

Answer: A. Safety comes before literally everything else. 


Obviously these are circumstantial and there are ways to enforce safety while still keeping courteous. If it can be done with customer service, then by golly, use some customer service.

During my CP:

I was a lifeguard, so we obviously dealt directly with the Safety key literally all the time (as all CMs do, but I mean, lifeguard = safety soooo). Procedure at the Disney resort pools for inclement weather is to [obviously] close the pools, but also, all guests must exit the pool decks completely and be outside the fencing surrounding the pools. Once all equipment is put away and all guests are cleared, the guards then go to their stations (which are usually under the awnings of the buildings near the pools). We can see the pool entrances from our stations and are required to keep people off the decks until the weather passes. You are also there to give directions, answer questions, and just interact with the guests in general.

So I was guarding the computer pool at Pop Century, which for that pool there is only one guard, so it wasn’t like I had back up. I had cleared most of the deck and got the equipment put away, but there was still a group of [drinking] guests just sitting at a table. So I politely ask them to exit the pool deck. They question, I answer, they refuse. “How am I safer out there than I am here. We aren’t in the water. How is outside the fence going to make me less likely to get struck by lightning?” I gave them answers: “Well, we suggest going to your rooms and getting out of the weather.” ” You are welcome to wait under the awnings of the buildings just outside the fence. They have lightning rods on them.” etc. That wasn’t good enough. I flat out told them: “You need to leave.” and they came up with some story about how they were meeting people, and they wouldn’t be able to find them if they weren’t in that exact location. I revisited the topic of RIGHT OUTSIDE THE FENCE under the awning of the building- “surely your party could find you 15 feet away from where you said you would be”. They weren’t having it. I tried once more to demand their exit. “This procedure is for YOUR safety”.

At this point, the storm was building. The wind was getting stronger, the thunder louder, the rain was beginning to get harder. It was only a matter of time before things were going to get really bad. I radioed into my coordinators for them to handle the situation and get security over here. My coord gave me permission to go ahead and exit the deck to my post under the awning. Eventually I witnessed security escort the group away.

Okay. So really, what are the chances of getting struck by lightning? Its a 1 in 500,000 chance yearly. Engaging in outdoor and water related activity certainly increases that, so like, why risk it?

That evening, it stormed all evening, but we only closed the pools for the night about 30 minutes early. I guess there were hopes that things would clear up.

When the guards rotate during storm procedure, we rotate directly to the various under-cover posts. Just like on stand at the pools, some posts have radios, while others do not. Computer had a radio, Bowling Pin 1 has a radio, Hippy 2 & 3 have radios. Each stand/post at Pop was 15-30 minutes with a 10 minute bump time. You should spend a maximum of 45 minutes on each stand.

I rotated from Computer post to break, to Bowling Pin post 1, and then on to Bowling Pin post 2. I ended up being at Bowling Pin post 2 for nearly an hour and a half. I remember being confused as to why there was no bump. I wasn’t really sure if I could sit or if I had to stand, so I kept standing, but my feet were definitely hurting. I had to go to the bathroom and could not call for relief. I tried to move back further into the hall to avoid the rain that was plowing into my face, but I couldn’t escape. All I wanted to was to move on to Hippy 1 post where the cover was better. Eventually the bump came through and the rest of the night went as usual.

Turns out, during that time I was frozen on Bowling Pin 2 post, it was because the weather had gotten so bad that it was not even safe to rotate. To this day I am not sure why they decided it was better to keep us there rather than sending us home. It was only like 2.5 hours from close and there was obviously no way the pools were re-opening.

So how did they determine that the weather was unsafe to rotate? One of the buildings (THAT A GUARD STATION WAS UNDER- HIPPY 1 THANK GOD I DIDN’T GO THERE) was struck by lightning. Of course, the lightning rod intercepted the strike, but it was still scary and unsafe for people outside the building.

All I could think about when I found that out was that group that refused to leave computer. How they were convinced that it couldn’t/wouldn’t happen to them, yet lightning struck on-site and it easily could’ve been them.

Moral of the story, kids: Don’t play outside when it is lightning and if a pool operator is requesting you leave for safety concerns, LISTEN, because those procedures are there for a reason. The odds may be slim, but why risk it?

So lets hit some of the 4 keys situations from that story:

-Storm procedures= Safety over Courtesy.

-Guest interaction while on storm posts= Courtesy over Efficiency

-Politely trying to get the difficult guests to leave= Courtesy over Efficiency.

-Demanding the difficult guests leave the pool deck= Safety over Courtesy.

-My coord allowing me to leave the deck while the guests were still being difficult= Safety over Courtesy.

-Not letting the guards rotate during the worst part of the storm: Safety over Efficiency.

-Continuing to stand while on Bowling Pin 2 post= Show.

I’m sure there are more, but that list is plentiful enough.


So anyway, that’s the 4 Keys of Disney. Hit that like button if you enjoyed//comment if you have thoughts or questions// and of course, subscribe for more info and updates!!



Click here for more info on the DCP directly from The Walt Disney Company.

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