"It’s Been My Pleasure" – Training a Tour Guide

1959 Vacationland Magazine - www.WaltsApartment.comWhen Disneyland first opened in 1955, Walt Disney gave most of the tours. Visiting dignitaries, celebrities, titans of business and sometimes the media were often guided around the park by Walt – the FIRST Tour Guide.

Cicely Rigdon - www.WaltsApartment.comBy the end of the decade it was clear that the public wanted guided tours as well. Plus, there’s no way Walt could keep up with the increased requests for escorted experiences through the park, so the first “tour guides” gave guests informational talks to get them started. By 1960 Cicely Rigdon, an experienced Main Gate hostess, was empowered by Walt Disney to create the Tour Guide department.

Here’s an early 1960’s “guide for the Guide” that gave those early Tour Guides direction on how to treat guests and how to live up to the expectations set by Cicely. Enjoy.

"it's been my pleasure" - www.WaltsApartment.com

AN INTRODUCTION TO “it’s been my pleasure”

“Hello.” We’re glad you made it through the obstacle course which we more generally refer to as our employment procedure and have now officially joined us as a tour guide.

This guide for guides is designed to help you orient yourself in your role in our Disneyland show…an introduction to your training program which will be an easy and pleasant experience…like boot camp in the Marines.

We debated about the title, and finally arrived at “It’s Peen My Pleasure” as being most definitive for your part in our cast.

As a tour guide, you’ll have an opportunity for a most rewarding personal relationship with our guests. If you properly fulfill your role…and we know you will…you will receive many a heartfelt “thank you” from the guests in your group.

A “thank you” is a rewarding acknowledgment of appreciation from those you help and serve…verbal expression of the fact of a job well done.

Since it is your role to help and nerve others, a “thank you” from a guest will give you a feeling of fulfillment and satisfaction for which the most logical rejoinder is “It’s been my pleasure.”

We know you’ll have the opportunity to say “It’s been my pleasure” many times …and that you’ll enjoy a memorable and satisfying experience as part of our Disneyland cast.

The University of Disneyland


The Tour Guide Story - WaltsApartment.com

The Tour Guide Story

Once upon a time, at Disneyland, there was a single gate admission. Our guests paid their way in and then bought tickets for individual attractions.

Shortly after opening, our audience research revealed that our guests would prefer some kind of package plan which would include both gate admission and certain attractions. Such was the birth of our ticket books which, over the years, have been redesigned to meet the needs of our guests.

As time went by, our continuing research indicated that there were many guests who were interested in having a guide to introduce them to our giant Disneyland stage. We found that these guests fell into several different groups:

We sometimes forget that a person from a small town in Texas or Canada finds our freeway system a thing of terror. By the time they make it to Disneyland through this cement maze, they want a friendly guide to take them through the Magic Kingdom.

THOSE WHO FEEL “LOST”… You’ll get to know 70 acres of our Disneyland stage intimately, but for many people it is huge and confusing. Many guests feel more secure with the competent and friendly direction of Disneyland guide.

THOSE FROM FOREIGN LANDS… We have many guests from foreign lands. Some can neither speak our language nor read our signs. They are thankful to find a guide who can converse in their language.

THOSE WHO DON’T WANT TO MISS ANYTHING… These people know that a Walt Disney dream come true will present many exciting details for which Walt is world renowned. This discriminating group wants ta make certain of seeing every charming bit of Disneyland.

OLDER PEOPLE… Some older people are hesitant in strange surroundings. Although walking is necessary on a guided tour — as you will most certainly find out — a guided tour is a good introduction for an older person.

THOSE IN A HURRY… We have our percentage of white rabbits who are always late for an important date. For those who have a helicopter or bus to meet, the guided tour provides quick way to see some of Disneyland’s highlights.

LARGE FAMILIES… Some large families may be afraid of losing each other and are happy to have a tour guide count the heads… at least until they find a good place to meet if one gets lost.

HABITUAL TOUR TAKERS… Then there are those who habitually take tours – enjoy the companionship of the group. They take guided tours wherever they visit… why not at Disneyland?

After an extensive training program, a small pioneering group began the guided tour program in September of 1958. The first group was a combination  of men and women.

With the announcement of the guided tours, the first resulted in more guests wanting guided tours than there were guides to serve them. Volunteers were recruited from all divisions to help fill the demand.

Since that exciting day in September of 1958, the tour guide program has grown in size and efficiency every year. With this growth has come new standards… new traditions… which are now yours to preserve and to build.

The tour guide story of today is merely a prologue for the history of the future… which you will now help make.

Tour Tips and Tricks

There’s no way to oversimplify the complex role of a tour guide.  Every group is different…  Every day is different…  And within a month you’ll have your own little “Book of the Unique and Unexpected.”

A successful tour does, however, like a play, follow a sequence of four acts with you in a key role.  These acts are:

1. PRE-CURTAIN PREPARATIONS…  Which involves those things you must do before you meet your group.

2. A FRIENDLY START…  Involves the “first impressions” which, as is the case with any entrance into a play, are so important to the success of your tour.

3. CONDUCTING THE TOUR…  Involves the tips and tricks required to keep your group together…  and happy.

4. FRIENDLY FAREWELL…  pertains to the final curtain in your act of tour friendship… having your group leave with a feeling that they’ve wished upon a star and their dreams have come true.


1. Pre-curtain Preparations

Your costume…  Created buyer Disney artists and the Disneyland wardrobe department…  Was designed to fit the role you play in our Disneyland show.  It’s essential that you wear it as the designer planned it.

It’s essential that you report to work in ample time to give the care and attention needed for your pre-curtain preparation.

We taken for granted that you know the important essentials of good grooming and etiquette.  But perhaps a reminder about eye shadow or eyeliner is essential.  When offstage… outside Disneyland…  You may handle your makeup as you please.  But as a tour guide, you must have a wholesome, natural look and as lines out eye shadow or eyeliner.

As you leave Wardrobe and depart for the Tour Garden, check every little detail.  Your appearance depends upon making sure that every detail is just right.  Remember your stage front…  and onstage.

Guided Tours Garden - WaltsApartment.com

2. Off to a Friendly Start

After you’ve checked yourself out in Amir, trudged over to the tour garden, and been approved by your supervisor or lead…  You’ll eventually be assigned a tour.  If you get off to a friendly start, but the balance of your tour will be much easier.

Obviously, some things are easier than others.  If you’re pre-curtain preparations have been effective, then at least you won’t present some distraction…  a broken button were afraid blouse.  Everything will be easier, too, if you’re certain that you look all right.

We have checked with our experienced tour guides and they have come up with these tips for getting off to a friendly start…

INTRODUCTION First… of course…  Up is to introduce yourself to your group.  While doing this, but a friendly face (or even an unfriendly one) ending your message at him or her.

THE EYES HAVE IT The eyes have it when it comes to making instant contact.  Words may be misunderstood, but you’re eyes meeting the eyes of others create immediate contact and understanding.

  • You’ll find that every tour is different; a simple matter of group dynamics.  Encourage your group to blend together.  This is the creative part of your role as a guide.
  • Immediately replace insecurity with reassurance.  You are the friend in need… a knowledgeable specialist in the Magic Kingdom.
  • You’ll help in this process of reassurance by explaining exactly what is going to happen: the length of the tour…  Would your group will see…  How to stick together.
  • Your physical reassurance will also reassure your group.  Don’t let your hands getting your way…  Nor fidget with your crop or clothing.  Be poised.  Stand erect.

It helps, at the start…  and through the tour…  To inject humor and human interest into your narration.  Never allow any distractions to interrupt your instant report with your group.  Make certain that each person in your group understands that he or she…  And your group…  is your sole concern.  Never talked to others out of your group…  except for a routine “hi.”

And now you’re ready to take off.  Remember these checkpoints for getting off to a friendly start…

…Introduce yourself to your group.
…Avoid distractions, little or big.
…Establish instant eye contact.
…Replace insecurity with reassurance confidence in you.
…Use humor and in human interest.
…Be creative in establishing group rapport.
…Concentrate exclusively on your group.

3. Conducting the Tour

As your group blends together, the real fun…  And the challenge…  for a tour guide is to build a group spirit as your tour progresses.  Here are some timely tips for keeping your happy group happy…

imageYour attitude is much more infectious than the common cold.  It’s impossible to hide boredom.  You must have fun in your role…  And express it.

imageUse those eyes.  Make regular eye contact with each of your guest during the tour.

imageEncourage questions and share them.  Be professionally personal…  Mention that hometown…  Admire the child…  Comment about that camera.  Try to make each member of your tour feel important.

imageNever…  Never…  ridicule a guest or make fun of any question.  Also, in the never-never world of the tour guide…  don’t giggle…  makeup answers to questions…  wear sunglasses…  or stand in the shade wire group are perspires in the sun.

imageUse a conversational vocabulary…  and make certain that all times that you are heard by everyone.

imageIt’s all right to point, unless the subject is Walt Disney.  We respect his need to travel the park without interruption.

imageVary your narration…  Vary your voice level.  At the risk of saying the wrong thing, constantly vary your narration.  Say the same things in different ways.  Make each tour a challenge for improvement.

imageAt each checkpoint of your tour, make certain that everyone is together.  Kids need special attention…  and kidneys, too.  Make certain that you allow for a restroom stop halfway along your tour.

imageKnow your “inside” information.  One of the real plus values of the tour is to learn the details which “those other people” are not receiving.  Know your facts… and share them.

You’ll find many more tricks of the role of tour guide…  But remember these important ones:
– USE your eyes to keep constant contact.
– HAVE fun…  and show it.
– KNOW your facts and share them.
– VARY your routine…  Constantly work to improve.

4. Friendly Farewell

Walt Disney with 1965 Tour Guide of the Year, Suzanne Fuller - www.WaltsApartment.comFinally…  two hours and 20,000 words later…  Your back of the Garden.  The tour is ended, but now the challenge is to make sure that the memory lingers on.

Your tour has provided a sample…  An overview of the entire park.  Now, before breaking up, it’s important to pass along some last minute tips.  Be certain that now, at the critical point of the departure, your guests receive the answer to their most critical question… “What do I do now?” Our tour guide policy is to give honest answers to questions.  If your guest are planning to stay in the park, don’t miss the special tips:

  • Where and how to buy ticket books in the park.
  • The existing free shows and attractions and the times for these attractions.
  • Point out the attractions which they’d didn’t see…  Give tips on places to eat…  And ask them to enjoy shopping around at spots which could not be included in the tour.
  • Point out that five full days are required to see everything, but that they shouldn’t miss the exciting attractions which are here.
  • Giving answers to questions about local lodging…  The Hotel and Gourmet…  and our reentry stamp plan.

If your guests are leaving Disneyland, then be helpful with tips about other places to see…  and helpful direction than how to get where they’re going.

And then comes the friendly parting.  Point out that you have enjoyed the group…  hopefully, you’ve already told them that it is one of the nicest groups you’ve ever been privileged to take on the tour.  Show that you to have had fun…

And, when they leave and thank you… “It’s been my pleasure” will come out honestly and happily.


Your Related Roles as Tour Guide

Guide with guests - WaltsApartment.comBecause of your distinctive costume, poise, and knowledge of Disneyland…  you are never “off stage” when you are “on stage.” Guests will turn to you for answers to questions, even though you may be dashing off for coffee break.  It’s part of your role to answer their questions in the friendly tour guide fashion.  This is one of your related roles…  others are bit more specific…

Main Gate Information Service

One of your important assignments may be at the Main Gate…  which is really the outer lobby for our Disneyland show.  As is the case in your other duties, here you must be a counselor, psychologist, information expert…  and mind reader.

Your role at this location is the help our guests determine which is the best way to enjoy Disneyland.  The guided tour is but one of many ways to visit Disneyland.

For most people are two good books offer the best entertainment value, and serve as a do-it-yourself guide through the Magic Kingdom.  At no time do you sell anything.  Yours is an advisory role…  counselor, friend.

At the Main Gate you represent the entire park, and all the staff; not just our tour guide group.  There are some specific tips for conducting this assignment…

*** Even though things are slow, you should not chat with other tour guides, hosts, or hostesses.  Guests with a question might be hesitant in asking two people who are talking together.  As a main gate walking information booth, all thoughts must be for the guest.

*** The length of stay which a guest plans is important to know before giving him advice on the best plan.  Usually, early in the day the larger ticket book is the best buy.  We don’t recommend Main Gate admissions, only because the guest may miss an important part of the show.

*** We’ve talked about the “tour type,” and usually this is the person to whom the guided tour is the proper tip.  Others will find a ticket book as the best plan.

*** At keep the main gate, specifically, you may be hit with some rare questions which you can’t answer.  Always say… “I don’t know, but I’ll find out”… and then dash to get the answer.

Dispatch Desk

Another assignment maybe the dispatch desk, and there some important techniques at this first greeting of the guests.  Remember that the guest is not familiar with their procedures.  Clarity and patience are that when skills needed here.  It’s important here to give each guest your full attention.  Make certain that the guest knows you are genuinely pleased to greet him or her.  Explain the tour Dispatch Desk - www.WaltsApartment.comand send the guest to the Garden with a feeling that he or she made the perfect choice.

And another important it…  When not busy, never distract the host is at the dispatch desk.  Avoid the appearance of an “in group.” Our total responsibility is…  concern for the guest.

City Hall Reception

As a tour guide, you may serve as a receptionist…  Or take special tours…  Or conduct orientation tours for new hosts and hostesses in other divisions.

And in all of your related roles, the tips are just about the same…  all requiring that you put your heart into your role…

1.  Always use your eyes and your friendly, gracious phrases to make instant friendly contact.

2.  Always respect every question has an important one, regardless of the question.

3.  Never chat with other tour guides when onstage, and try never to turn your back on a guest.  And…  until you are backstage…  you are always on stage -even when dashing for that much needed break.

Tartan - WaltsApartment.comGood Luck

               As you’ll find, it would be impossible to prepare a book which would contain the answers to every situation that may arise during the tour of duty as a tour guide.

               We hope that this booklet will be of assistance to you as an orientation lawyer attending the concentrated training program which procedure first on-stage experience with your real live guests.

               We know that your experience will be a pleasant and fulfilling one.  We know this is true because that is what all of our tour guides have said.  As you get ready to go on stage, we wish you the best of luck.  If you learn something in this guidebook, we can say in all honesty, “It’s up been all our pleasure.”