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Tokyo Disneyland celebrates 'Thanks Day' where employees become valued guests

13 Comments
By Mugiko Nakano

On Jan 27, Tokyo Disneyland held a little-known annual event to express gratitude for their legions of employees. Called “Thanks Day,” it’s the one times of the year where those who work hard offering us visitors their cordial hospitality get to cut loose and have free rein over the park. Meanwhile, their managers give themselves a temporary demotion for the night to serve colas and operate Big Thunder Mountain.

On Thanks Day, Tokyo Disneyland closes at 7 p.m. Then, at 8 p.m., it reopens and the park’s roughly 14,000 workers (or “cast members”) are welcomed by their bosses. Among the overnight staff is Kyoichiro Uenishi, President and COO of Oriental Land Co, the company that owns Tokyo Disneyland.

Uenishi could be found wearing a custodian’s uniform and posing for commemorative pictures with part-time employees (photo below). Also, throughout the park are “Thanks Boards” made by the management to express their appreciation for the staff.

Well into the night the cast is invited to partake of the attractions and a special ceremony is held in their honor. Thanks Day was created to help keep a high level of employee satisfaction and motivation by Oriental Land Co. It’s a simple but effective formula of happy staff equals happy customers. So I guess we should thank the management for thanking the staff so they could thank us for visiting on this the most thankful of Thanks Days. Thanks, guys.

Source: Tokyo Disney Resort

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13 Comments
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I have a friend who worked there, and said it was a great place to work. This article serves to reinforce that opinion. Rare to see such large companies have a handle on treating their employees well.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

More japanese companies need to do this sort of thing. Employee morale is a big problem here.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Really? So they spend most of their lives working there serving petulant visitors or dressed up as disney characters and then Disney think they want to be rewarded by spending more time there? Weird.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

@Chubbinessfan

Believe it or not, yes! I once knew a girl who would travel 4 hours on the train every Saturday, then back Sunday night just to be a cast member there. The pay was absolutely minimal (as you'd expect), but just having the title of "cast member" was enough for her. I also met another who would often hang out there on her days off!

I call this "the Disney effect"!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I'd hazard a guess that those working in the happiest place on earth would be much happier with a pay rise from the bare minimum.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

A special place. Yes, pay them as much as possible!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Disney in Anaheim tried desperately to hire me as a principal design engineer gave me the red carpet VIP treatment and showed me around the park the whole enchilada i made through all of the interviews they offered me a great salary but said i couldn't have facial hair i asked them why im an engineer i dont have to be out at the park daily. Anyways i turned them down the following week they called back saying they were relaxing their requirements to allow office workers to have certain features such as hair on their face. Anyways i still refused the offer that place is for geeks and freaks. How could it be the happiest place on earth? The average family can not afford to go there!

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Who runs the park when all the staff are guests?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Chubbinessfan

So they spend most of their lives working there serving petulant visitors or dressed up as disney characters and then Disney think they want to be rewarded by spending more time there? Weird.

Not weird at all. I worked in World Disney World for three years and during those years of my life I spent a lot of my free time in the parks and resorts (Disney). Some days as a reward, after the park closed (I worked in the water parks) the managers would work as the operators on the slides and us the lifeguards and slide operators would just have fun for an hour or so. Trust me it works. It keeps the cast members happy.

I didn't get a lot of money in Disney but I did enjoy the job quite much. They know how to treat their employees and keep them happy. Thing I've rarely seen in my years working in Japan.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Disneyland in Orange Cpinty is noted in hiring only part time workers. Many are HS students. Well, they recruit students from UCLA, USC, CIT CSU LB, CSU Fullerton and groom for office workers. They use contractors for construction and desiin, They don;t do inside design. Markerting and Ad, too are done by conreactors. Why? Disneyland has to compete Hollywood business. Co

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'd hazard a guess that those working in the happiest place on earth would be much happier with a pay rise from the bare minimum.

It's been shown that increasing pay does not generally result in an increase in motivation or happiness. There are much better ways to increase motivation, and this article gives a good example of one.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There was a time ('50s and '60s) when we had labor shortage in Orange County, Univ, students did not apply as students assistants. They preferred to work as Hollywood extras or Disneyland. When Gene Autry created Anaheim Angels, labor shortage further increased. Disney loved local people. there werechildren who did micky mouse and donald duck on weekends, It even hired mini mouse children, Equal opportunity we figured,

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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