What the Haunted Mansion, Men in Black and Tower of Terror Have In Common


A great source for insights in the theme park world comes from The Season Pass podcast.  One example of that is the recent episode 219- Creating Men in Black: Alien Attack Part 2. Men in Black is one of Universal Florida’s signature attractions. The interview involves attraction creators Craig Hanna, Dave Cobb, and Andy Garfield. In discussing the challenges of keeping the guests consistently flowing through the building, they then turned the conversation into the important role employees play in making the attraction work. Here’s what was noted:

“You know what I love though? Mostly it’s the ops staff. Like the Haunted Mansion or any other good attraction really. They so get in the character and they wear that white shirt and black tie as if they are one of the MIB–and they are really great. I literally have not been there when I haven’t seen an employee or one of the ride ops sort of acting in character and really getting into the story of the show.

“I think that’s the sign of a good attraction when your employees really enjoy being there. It’s as gratifying to me as the guests going through it.”


Do you agree? Do you think there are some attractions that because they are such great rides the Cast Members take a great pride in operating those attractions? If so, what would they be? The Jungle Cruise? The monorail? Kilimanjaro Safaris?

Do you think that some restaurants like Be Our Guest or Prime Time Cafe or California Grill are such great restaurants that the Cast Members take greater pride in their work?

If I would note a favorite, it would have to be the Tower of Terror. The cast is consistently offering an experience that is fun to be around. Each cast member is a bellhop and they truly take on the role in a slightly demented way. I give much of that credit to who I think is one of the really great Disney cast members–T.J. Wollard. I’ve known T.J. for many years and his persistent effort to create a strong guest experience is truly notable. If you’ve seen him or interacted with him–you won’t forget him.

T. J. is often featured on Disney promotional material like this one.
T. J. is often featured on Disney promotional material like this one.

T. J. loves the Tower of Terror. As a former Disney Cast Member with the Disney Institute, I walked up and down that building many times with him. He knows every inch of that attraction and treats the building as if he owns it. The Imagineers went to great lengths to create a tremendous experience, and the pride shows in T. J. and the other cast members who operate that attraction daily. They are more engaged and show it in their performance of welcoming guests to the Hollywood Tower Hotel.

Again, do you think there are certain attractions that employees take great pride in because they are such great attractions? How does that pride show? What does that look like in your organization?

J. Jeff Kober

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