A few weeks ago, I posted a picture on this blog of one of my favorite bar tricks, performed at the Rose and Crown Pub found at Walt Disney World’s Epcot. This past week I got to spend some time at the pub and talk again to the famous Carl, bartender at this pub for as long as I can remember. This time he upped the ante by magically balancing two glasses…
And then he made the barflies “ooh” and “aah” by balancing a pint of Guinness, which makes it look as though some ghost is having a drink…
Now the tricks are great fun, and watching a customer try and figure it out is always entertaining. But like any great bartender, Carl is about much more than glass tricks. In a pub where there seems to be new faces behind the bar every time you visit, Carl’s is the one exuberant and welcoming face that always makes you feel like you stepped into your local pub. He has that certain something that makes people smile and enjoy their time at a great tavern.
I have been coming to Walt Disney World for decades and have come across literally hundreds of employees, which Disney calls Cast Members, and have had many great experiences. Disney is a company known across the world as the standard of excellence in customer service. And no one I have ever met there exemplifies that standard as much as Carl does. You are always made to feel welcome and part of the circle of friends that make up the Rose and Crown. Folks from across the world make their way into this pub on a regular basis and somehow Carl seems to pull them all together.
He recently received Disney’s “Partners in Excellence” award, which is the highest honor a Cast Member can receive. To win you must be nominated by your peers and then go through a lengthy review process. It is not given out to a certain number of people every year. It is only awarded when the Disney brass feels they have a deserving Cast Member. Carl’s father recently passed away, and he said he dedicated his award to him. Carl’s face would light up with pride when he mentioned it to his regulars. And he should be proud. He deserves to be recognized for the over two decades of exemplary service he has put in for us weary and thirsty wonderers.
As I was drinking at the bar on a hot Florida afternoon a woman walked in and said hello to Carl. She said to him, “This is always our first stop at Epcot!” I could certainly understand where she was coming from. We laughed about it a bit and Carl said to me, “I’m always amazed how many people come back to see me each year.” Don’t be my good man. It’s because you perform a noble job, and you do it as well as anyone I have come across. Those of us who love a good bar will all agree that a place can be beautiful and the drink delicious. But without people like Carl to make the experience great, it would be just another bar.
And here’s a tip if you should ever make it to the Rose and Crown and meet Carl. While you are listening to one of his great stories, or trying to figure out the secret behind his bar tricks, ask him what he did for a living before he was behind the bar. You won’t believe him when he tells you. That is until he produces a picture of him, a great hat, and a really mean looking alligator!
Posted by: David McBride, American Public House Review