Giving Thanks to Cast Members at Disney Springs

by | Dec 8, 2023 | Disney Springs, WDW Blog

We experienced the Merry Morning Walk at Disney Springs, a Cast Member-exclusive event to give thanks during the holiday season.

Cast Members are the lifeblood of creating magical moments here at Walt Disney World. 365 days a year, they masterfully toe the line between ensuring guests’ happiness while simultaneously maintaining flawless daily operations. We were invited to the Merry Morning Walk and to the kick-off of the Cast Member Holly Days at Disney Springs, all created to give back to the folks who make our favorite place so magical!

Merry Morning Walk at Disney Springs

Before sunrise on December 7, 2023, hundreds of Cast Members gathered outside of Cirque du Soleil at Disney Springs, awaiting the Merry Morning Walk! The 1.5-mile journey took us through each of the Disney Springs neighborhoods, allowing us to see every single tree along the Christmas Tree Stroll, drink in the decorations…and be entertained the entirety of the way!

merry morning walk disney springs

Photo by Maria Salerno

Returning for the first time since 2019, The Merry Morning Walk featured START and FINISH line banners sponsored by Advent Health. While it was more of a leisurely stroll than a race to the finish, it reminded me a lot of the fun-filled courses that define the epic runDisney race series!

Live entertainment was sprinkled throughout the Merry Morning Walk, creating a festive and friendly environment to get in our morning steps. A DJ in a decked-out sleigh, a solo harpist plucking Christmas tunes, a saxophonist crooning Holiday classics, and festive piano and upbeat guitar acts rounded out the offerings.

Giving Back to Cast Members Year-Round

After we completed the walk with the Cast Members, I had the chance to talk to the Vice President of Disney Springs, Matthew Simon. He told me that The Merry Morning Walk and Holly Days are just one way they give thanks to their Cast Members throughout the year. Disney also hosts other complimentary wellness activities like in-Park, and Cast Member-exclusive yoga.

Several times each year, Cast Members also have the chance to create a community within their departments by creating teams to row around Tom Sawyer Island in Magic Kingdom in hand-powered canoes. Plus, Cas Members often receive exclusive discounts…like those now available at this year’s Holly Days event!

2023 is the Largest Holly Days Event to Date!

Right after the Walk was completed, several stores opened their doors early for Cast Members to shop before Disney Springs opened to the public. Starbucks Coffee, Lululemon, and World of Disney were just three of the operating participants welcoming Cast Members early in the morning as we completed The Merry Morning Walk.

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Photo by Maria Salerno

From December 7 to December 10, 2023, Disney will host the largest-ever Holly Days event for Cast Members to date! During the 4-day Holly Days event, over a dozen stores will offer exclusive discounts to Cast Members, allowing them to check last-minute (and highly sought-after!) gifts off of their Holiday shopping lists.

Holly Days is unique because popular Disney Springs vendors that rarely feature discounts have rolled back prices just for Cast Members, and many even opened their doors early! Just to name a few of the most popular, Gideon’s, Lilly Pulitzer, Kate Spade, Tommy Bahama, Pandora, and Lululemon all featured early-morning openings for Cast Members only. This Holly Days, World of Disney is hosting an exclusive Cast Member sale, which will see items discounted up to 60% off.

The Merry Morning Walk and Holly Days are two great events that not only further the Cast Member community, but are great ways to say ‘thank you!’ for all of the hours and work the Cast Members contribute every year at Walt Disney World Resort.

Thank you to Disney for inviting us to share in the Merry Morning Walk at Disney Springs, a Cast Member-exclusive event to celebrate the community.

 

Posts by Maria Salerno

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Maria is a proud WDW Magazine columnist and blog contributor. After holding a WDW Annual Pass in the Northeast USA for 4 years, she recently moved just 5 minutes from Walt Disney World to be as close as possible to her favorite place on earth! Maria is a Certified Disney Travel Agent and private music instructor. Next time you visit WDW, keep your ears open, you just might catch Maria singing and playing guitar at Epcot or Disney Springs!
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Authored by
Maria Salerno

Maria is a proud WDW Magazine columnist and blog contributor. After holding a WDW Annual Pass in the Northeast USA for 4 years, she recently moved just 5 minutes from Walt Disney World to be as close as possible to her favorite place on earth! Maria is a Certified Disney Travel Agent and private music instructor. Next time you visit WDW, keep your ears open, you just might catch Maria singing and playing guitar at Epcot or Disney Springs!
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