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“What time is the 3 o’clock parade?”

June 05, 2012 by Stephen O'Neil, Marketing Associate, Disney Institute

“What time is the 3 o’clock parade?”

That is a question asked at Disney theme parks more frequently than you might expect, but rarely is that the true question the Guests intended to ask. Guests, encapsulated by an abundance of sights and sounds, are often asking for something more than simply the time of the parade. This provides our Cast Members the opportunity to go above and beyond simply repeating the time to the guest, which may otherwise be a satisfactory answer.

Instead, Cast Members take this opportunity to draw from their theme park knowledge and training. They may let the Guest know what time the parade will go through certain parts of the park, offer the best vantage points to view the parade or advise when to leave another area and still arrive at the parade on time.

Ask yourself, what is your organization’s “3 o’clock parade” question? How will you train your employees to anticipate customer’s needs and forgo the obvious in favor of understanding? Use these opportunities to reassure your customers that you are listening and empathetic to their concerns.




Posted in Quality Service | Tagged Quality Service, Anticipating Guest Needs | 3 Comments


3 Responses to “What time is the 3 o’clock parade?”

  • Brendan says:

    on June 05, 2012

    Our "3 o'clock question" is really an answer to our question "911, do you need Police, FIre, or Medical". Typically, the answer we get is "no" "No"? How do you answer "No" to that? You called 911! More often that not, the answer "No" is attributed to either the caller not knowing who should respond (a traffic crash might involve all 3), or that they just don't have the time to think about the question and just needs help. In either case, and I have propositioned up the chain-of-command, is that the question is meaningless and should be done away with. In our call center, we only handle Police calls, while we transfer Fire and Medical calls to another call center. If the caller asks for Medical, and it turns out to be a Police issue, time is wasted getting that caller back to the appropriate center. The real key is to get inside the head of the person you are talking with. If you attempt to understand what they are dealing with, then you will be better equipped to help them.


  • Mary Jane says:

    on June 05, 2012

    This is one of my favorite questions! And I love to watch cast members engage and respond to what on the surface appears to be a silly question--the consistent training and reinforcement of training for cast members is amazing. As a frequent park visitor, I love to observe cast members in action!


  • Thomas says:

    on June 12, 2012

    I have always appreciated this. What a great opportunity to WOW a customer.


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