Monday, March 25, 2013

A few great things about Writer's Stop...

There's a special out-of-the way place in Disney's Hollywood Studios: Writer's Stop. Part food service, part souvenir shop, part relaxation location, Writer's Stop is a hidden gem. It's not technically out-of-the-way, as it's at a busy crossroads. It's tucked away between the SciFi Dine-In Theater and the place where the Streets of America meld into Endor. But it's set back a bit, and the outside is somewhat unassuming. I often hear people say they had no idea it was there.

This is a special little oasis, for a few simple reasons:

1) When it's hot out (and let's face it, that's most of the time), this place has some superior air conditioning. There's a spot near the front of the shop, about halfway between the front doors and the first service counter, where a big duct of cold air just pours right down, full blast. Do not underestimate the power this can have when you're overheated, dragging, worn out, sweating, or otherwise in need of a boost.

If you stood next to this shelf of mugs, across from the service desk, you'd be bathed in cold air...

2) They serve good coffee, and a variety of tasty treats to go along with it. The left side of the shop is a food and beverage service area, filled with tasty delights.

 (This photo does not do the food and beverage selection justice- trust me, or google some images...)

3) This really is a place to stop. It offers comfortable seating, arranged in clusters, with lots of reading material available for perusal and/or purchase.  Music and DVDs are also for sale, as well as a selection of small housewares. A stop here, for a fifteen minute break to refuel and recharge, can do wonders for the rest of your day.

But as is often the case with Disney, the story doesn't stop there. There's another reason why I'll always love Writer's Stop- and that's because of a kind Cast Member.

During one of our trips, my daughter and I had split from my husband so we could each go off to do a few different attractions. We had a rendezvous time and a meetup spot, and we needed to be prompt because we had to make it to a reservation at one of the resorts. We couldn't be late! As things often go, we were having a blast when we suddenly realized we were very late. My husband had no doubt been waiting already, and we needed to fly. But there was a problem: my daughter had her heart set on getting a bag of Chip 'n Dale pretzels that day. This was a major souvenir in her eyes, and she had been talking about them and looking forward to it the whole time we toured the park. I foolishly waited until the end of the day to get them. (Yay, go Mom!). I knew they sold them in the Writer's Stop, but I didn't think we'd have time to go and still make it back within a reasonable window after our scheduled meetup time. We reluctantly decided to go for it, but I warned my daughter that we had to be quick- in & out!  We raced into Writer's Stop, and she went to the pretzel rack (as I stood bathing in the cold air from point #1 above). Bag in hand, she walked to the counter, only to hear the CM say, "Sorry, my register's down- you'll have to bring them to the register at the coffee counter". We turned toward the coffee counter....and saw a line about 12 people deep. My daughter and I locked eyes for a few seconds, she bowed her head, then slowly turned to walk toward the rack to put the pretzels back. The CM watched her, and asked what was wrong. "We're late- we're supposed to be over at Indy, so I don't have time for the line", she said, swallowing back a  tear. The CM shook her head, leaned over, and said, "Take them- they're a present from me".

A simple, kind gesture- but one that I will always remember.

I believe stories like this happen all over the parks and resorts, all the time. The company empowers its employees to make this sort of thing happen, and Cast Members can- and do- spread little bits of magic with guests.

Have you ever had a CM interaction that left a big impression?

Have you visited the Writer's Stop?

Please share your story with us in the comments!


  1. I accidentally happened upon this place once on a busy day and couldn't believe how quiet and not crowded it was. After that, I completely forgot about it until just now. Thanks for jogging my memory on this one! It really is a nice little corner to check out.

  2. That is a wonderful story about the CM. It really makes me smile. :) I've been into Writer's Stop a couple of times but never bought anything there or spent much time... this makes me think twice about it, now.

  3. Great post! I always love hearing about hidden gems. I'll definitely plan to visit next time I am in the World! The CM story was heartwarming....those stories are one reason Disney is so very, very awesome. There are not many places in the world where everyone you meet is striving to do more, be better, and make everyone happy.

    I had an amazing cast member interaction on my last visit to Epcot. Luis was at the front gate when my family arrived for a visit to Epcot on the last day of our vacation. My large family was overly tried, and not very happy about leaving that day. My kids were fighting and whining and very, very, cranky. Instead of politely looking the other way, Luis came over and started spreading Disney Magic. He was funny, engaging, and INCREDIBLY upbeat (especially in the face of four cranky kids). By the time we entered the park, everyone in my family was happy. Luis single handedly turned our day around. When I got home, I went out of my way to contact Disney Guest Experience Services and provide a glowing recommendation of Luis!

  4. Great post and such an awesome story. It's things like that that will keep me going back.

    1. Thank you! And I totally agree- hearing stories like this is exactly what keeps me coming back time after time!

  5. I always, always go to the Writer's Stop. Their book selection usually has a few hidden gems in it, too -- last time I was there, they had a box-set of Mary Poppins novels. Not the Disney version - the original P.L. Travers books!

    Empowering Cast Members to make decisions without a leader is what makes Disney, Disney. Whether it's a No Strings Attached coupon for an ice cream to make up for a dropped Mickey bar, or an instant like this where the CM can say "I'll take care of this -- you get going!" Cast Members who really step up to the bar are the ones who make the Guest experience truly magical. I hope this Cast Member earned a letter or email to Guest Relations - they really do get singled out and recognized for those communications from Guests.

    Thanks for the story!

    1. I'll have to take a closer look at the books next time- I've scanned the shelves, but I never realized there might be some hidden gems in there! You're absolutely right about the CMs being empowered to make a difference. It can mean so, so much. (And this particular CM DID get a note to Guest Relations!)