I was recently reading a blog post from Guff.com, 16 Secret Rules for Disney Employees. The article says that Disney employees have secret rules that aren’t really spoken of outside of staff meetings, but all employees are expected to hold to them. These secret rules provide much of the “magic” that Disney guests experience during their visits. Here were the 16 rules:

  1. All employees are referred to as “cast members.”
  2. Cast members are not allowed to say they don’t know when responding to a question from a guest. They must find out the answer.
  3. All facial hair must be fully grown and neatly trimmed.
  4. Male and female cast members must abide by a strict policy for keeping their hair styled.
  5. All characters must follow specific guidelines for autographs so all signatures look the same no matter which cast member is playing the part.
  6. Princesses must be between 5’4″ and 5’8″.
  7. Women can’t have long fingernails and men’s must not extend past their fingertips.
  8. Visible tattoos, tongue piercings, and ear gauges are not allowed.
  9. Cast members’ glasses cannot display a logo or brand and the color and frames must be conventional.
  10. Every cast member must pick up trash if they see it on the ground.
  11. Cast members must scoop up trash, rather than bending over and picking it up.
  12. Because pointing with one finger is offensive in some cultures, cast members must use their whole hand or 2 fingers when gesturing.
  13. Cast members cannot talk about what they do for work on social media.
  14. Because Walt Disney wanted to be known as only Walt, cast members are identified by their first names only.
  15. If a guest throws up, it must be referred to as a “Code V.”
  16. Cast members must always stay in character.

These rules are pretty strict. The thought and consideration that go into these expectations and how they play into the guests’ overall experience is amazing.

This got me thinking that staff and volunteers of children’s ministries could benefit from a set of secret rules as well– things that would go unspoken, unless you were part of the children’s ministry team. Some of these rules could be,

  1. Always smile and be courteous when welcoming children and families.
  2. Hold the door open for families when escorting them to another part of the church campus.
  3. Never be “looking over” your lesson after entering the children’s ministry area. Be prepared before you enter.
  4. Always refer to other leaders as Mr., Mrs., or Ms. in front of children.
  5. Strive to refer to each child by name at least once before the end of each class period.
  6. Be available to answer questions for guests, and if you don’t know the answer, refer them to someone who does.

Do you think your children’s ministry team could benefit from unspoken rules such as these? What other rules would you add that could be beneficial? Leave yours in the comments!

If you would like more information on how Disney creates magical experiences for their guests, check out these Disney leadership books:

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GJ Farmer is a husband, a dad, the founder of ChildrensMinistryBlog.com, and is the Children’s Pastor at First Baptist Church in Somerset, Kentucky. He has completed a Bachelor’s degree in Church Ministries and a Master’s degree in Children’s Ministry. He has also been fortunate to lead and teach groups at children’s ministry conferences and to have had some of his writing published. Apart from working with kids, he enjoys reading, performing magic tricks, playing video games, and University of Kentucky basketball.

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