If you’re lucky, you’ve found yourself once or twice squeezed into the fun little Rose and Crown pub in Epcot’s UK pavilion. If you’re really lucky, you’ve found yourself there with wonderful friends and a nourishing pint of Guinness. And if you’re REALLY, really lucky, you’ve found yourself a guest of Carl the Bartender — the most dynamic entertainer this side of the pond!
So, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, let’s talk about Carl the bartender and his famous balancing pint of Guinness.
I wandered into the pub one day, snapping pics as I’m wont to do in Disney World dining establishments, and Carl, who was filling a pint glass with Guinness for a guest, struck up a conversation. I quickly noticed his handiwork on the head of the pint (a lovely and ever-so-appropriate shamrock) and asked the guest if I could take a photo of his beer. He obliged, and I soon found out that Carl happens to be well known for his “Glass-Balanced-On-A-Dime” trick, which of course I needed to see!
First, Carl did his impressive trick of balancing an empty glass on a dime…
…then he decided to top himself by balancing two glasses on dimes…
…but he then grabbed the nearly full pint of Guinness and proceeded to do the following:
Ta-DA!!! I promise you, folks, this glass is not touching anything but the bar and the dime. That thing is completely balanced on a coin! I have no idea how he did it, and if you do, you’re welcome to share! I was duly impressed and astonished, as I’m sure most people are, by Carl’s magic trick.
But, I have to admit, I was more impressed by Carl himself. Carl is a point of pride for the Rose and Crown Pub. He’s been there for decades, and his employment has resulted in many, many “regulars” at the pub. But even if you aren’t one of his “regulars,” he’ll never treat you any differently than he does them. It seems to me that Carl pretty much considers everyone he meets to be a part of his tight-knit circle of friends…which is an amazing trait to have, and especially useful for a cast member at a place as transitional as Walt Disney World. Those of us who only get to visit once a year, or even less, love to be made to feel “at home” in our very favorite place, and Carl is a true expert at doing that.
This is surely part of why he was inducted into the tiny group of cast members who have received the coveted “Partners in Excellence Award,” an honor for which less than 2% of Disney cast members are nominated and even fewer actually win. This isn’t just any award; awardees are nominated by their colleagues and undergo a long review process. Only the most deserving get the prize — a Partners in Excellence pin depicting the Walt and Mickey statue, “Partners,” to wear on their cast member badges — and the knowledge that their colleagues have voted to recognize their exceptional work.
After the magic trick, we soon started chatting about Carl’s tenure at Disney, and he quickly pulled out a packet of photos from behind the bar. Carl and I started walking down memory lane, which, for him, included both alligator wrestling and decades working for Disney, where he’s no doubt delighted hundreds of thousands of guests just as he did me.
Can you believe that Crocodile Dundee shot?!? Anyway, it was truly my pleasure to meet and speak with Carl, and if you find yourself in the pub sometime soon, I hope you’ll take the chance to shake his hand and thank him for being the embodiment of the “Disney Difference.” He, and other CMs like him, are the reason you and I keep spending our hard-earned cash to go back to “this happy place.”
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!
Carl, I hope you get to read this, and that a copy of this little post goes into your magical file of memories. Don’t worry about printing it; I’ll bring you one the next time I’m in town. Also, I’m really sorry if a bunch of people start to come into the pub and ask to see your alligator wrestling photo. It’s just cool, that’s all.