9. They work long shifts in lots of different locations
Many cast members work long shifts and in multiple locations throughout their work weeks, especially during peak times of year like school vacation weeks and holidays. During Christmas week for instance, it is not surprising for a cast member to work multiple ten to fourteen hour shifts. In addition, cast members can also just as easily be moved around to different parts of the resort according to company needs. There are many roles where the company can easily “deploy,” cast members to work in their same role in a different area. Some roles, like merchandise and custodial for instance, are also able to work in other locations simply by choosing to pick up shifts there.
8. There are a lot of hardworking cast members that guests will almost never see
Do you remember the last time you saw a costuming cast member during your Disney vacation? Probably not, as they work almost entirely backstage. Costuming cast members work hard to make sure that both entertainment and other cast costumes are always show ready, and while their work is indeed appreciated, most guests will never even realize these cast members are there. Another example might be housekeeping, as guests do see them occasionally but really only in passing while they are on their way in or out of a resort.
7. They have a strict set of guidelines to follow
Disney cast members must follow a number of guidelines in terms of how their appearances should be when reporting for work, how many times they can be late for work, and even basics for how they must act while onstage. While so many rules might sound intimidating to non-cast members, most Disney cast members have no problems following certain standards, as they understand that they help to create an immersive experience for guests and ensure that day to day operations run smoothly.
6. Safety is key
Actually, safety is just one of Disney’s Four Keys to a Great Guest Experience, along with courtesy, show, and efficiency. Safety is the first and most important key however. Safety is at the heart of everything cast members do from checking heights of children before allowing them to board certain attractions, to working crowd control during parades, fireworks, and shows, even for themselves in making sure they stay hydrated and use PPE (personal protection equipment) while they’re working.
5. They get homesick
Like Florida in general, many Disney cast members are not native to the Orlando area. They come from all over the country and even the world, to pursue their dreams of working for the Walt Disney Company. Even though they love what they do for work, it is sometimes easy to become homesick when you’re constantly surrounded by families spending time together on vacation. They holidays can be especially difficult as cast members are usually required to work during them.
4. Any commute is a long commute
Regardless of how close a cast member lives to Walt Disney World, chances are he or she is still in for a long commute. On top of the usual drive to work, cast members need to find a parking spot, which is more often than not nowhere close to their work locations, a task that can be time consuming in itself. From there, they either have a long walk, bus, or bike ride to their locations, and sometimes they even have some combination of the three. Hollywood Studios can be particularly difficult during peak weeks, when the cast lot is used for guest parking, and cast must park at either Blizzard Beach or Epcot and be shuttled to the park for work.
3. Their roles include more than you realize
Many cast members at Walt Disney World, are actually required to do a lot more than their role suggests. For instance, the carnival games in Animal Kingdom’s Dinoland USA are actually run by merchandise cast members (because they also sell tickets for the games.) While spieling over the microphone might seem more like something an attractions cast member would do, Dinoland merchandise cast members have some extra responsibility as they multitask between the two roles for most of their shifts. Other examples of this might be custodial cast members who sometimes work in parade audience control, and merchandise cast who work in locations where they are responsible for making and selling food.
2. There are excellent perks
Disney cast members are entitled to a variety of perks and discounts simply for working for the company. In addition to free admission and dining/merchandise discounts in Walt Disney World, they are also able to take advantage of free admission to other Disney parks, as well as discounts on resort rooms, cruises, and more. Aside from discounts cast members are also able to attend cast exclusive events and visit a cast only recreational facility called Mickey’s Retreat.
1. They love their jobs
Despite the long hours, crazy schedule changes, and sacrifices made while being a cast member, so many cast members really do love their jobs and wouldn’t trade it for anything. While it may not be the highest paying, or the most glamorous jobs around, there is something truly special about not only living where everyone else vacations, but also making dreams come true for guests from all over the world every day.