Disneyland. The Happiest Place on Earth. Living in Southern California means that Disneyland is a local staple. I was an Attractions Cast Member for three years, working on various rides in Tomorrowland. Disneyland has it’s own unique culture that you won’t see at a normal job. So, what are some things that almost every Disneyland cast member has dealt with.
(Picture Credit: https://datavizblog.com/)
1. The rivalries
East Side of the park versus West Side. Disneyland vs California Adventure. There’s an infinite amount of rivalries that are present in the Disneyland bubble. As a former Monorail Cast Member, we had this weird territorial rivalry with the cast members who worked at Space Mountain. We were the lazy train drivers and they were the uptight rocket pushers.
2. The acronyms
It’s not Disney’s California Adventure, it’s DCA. It’s not Downtown Disney, it’s DTD. There are so many acronyms in a CM’s (Cast Member’s) vocabulary it’s like we’re speaking our own language.
3. Parade shifts
Ah, the Guest Show Operations (GSO) shifts. Probably one of the more polarizing things Disneyland Cast Members deal with. These parade crowd control shifts are either loved or hated – there’s no in between. Though, pretty much everyone can agree on how annoying the Christmas parade is.
4. No, I Won’t Sign You In
Look, one of the cool benefits of working at Disneyland is the free tickets. However, we can only sign in three people at a time and we can only do that 16 times a year. Most would rather save those sign-ins for the family and close friends – not the kid they sat next to in sixth grade. Also, please don’t ask to buy sign-ins off of me. Cast Members can, and have been fired for that.
5. I Promise, I Don’t Know When This Attraction is Coming Back Up
Attractions can break, or go down, for any number of reasons. Sometimes these things can be diagnosed instantly and CMs can have the ride back up and running in 30 minutes. Other times, we have to call maintenance and see if they can figure out WTF is wrong with our ride. So, if a cast member says they don’t know when the attraction is coming back up, they mean it.
6. The shift trading
Shift trading is an art to Disney Cast Members. Since scheduling depends on seniority and training, everyone’s schedule is wildly different. There are shift trades Facebook pages for your specific land, your department, and your attraction. Savvy shift traders can turn at 16-hour scheduled work week into a 40-hour scheduled workweek within a weekend.
7. Costuming never has pants in your size
When a CM gets costume pants in their size, they hang on to those things for dear life. For whatever reason, Costuming (Disneyland’s uniform system) always seems to have every size except the one you need. You can fill out a request form for your size, but by the time you find out they’ve restocked, they’re already gone.
8. The bodily fluids
Oh God, the bodily fluids. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to smell vomit on my attraction or seeing a wet spot on the ground only to find out it’s urine. Cast Members end up seeing more of strangers’ bodily fluids than any of us ever wanted to. Shout out to the Custodial Cast Members who are the ones who have to clean it all up.
9. Going through black work shoes like it’s your job
Over three years, I can’t tell you how many black sneakers I went through. They’re the staple of every Disney Cast Member’s costume. Nothing is worse than waiting too long to replace your work shoes and having them fall apart at work. Or worse, wearing them to work when it rains.
10. Buying all your Christmas gifts at Disney because of the discount
Does this one need an explanation? Cast Members don’t get paid that much, so that’s why every CM you know gives Disney merchandise for Christmas.
11. Disney Families
Lots of Cast Members work at Disneyland because their parents worked, and probably met, there. It’s amazing how many Cast Members are actually second- and third-generation Disneyland employees. Plus, many Cast Members, including myself, have met their own significant others while working.
12. Yes, that’s really the wait time
I promise. Sometimes it may be five minutes under or over, but generally speaking, the posted wait time is the actual wait time. Attraction Cast Members are trained to judge how long the wait is by how long the line is. We aren’t trying to trick you!
13. We’ve seen everything
Being a Disneyland cast member means seeing literally everything above and then some. Cast Members are genuinely trying to make your time at Disneyland magical. So, please, go easy on them!
(Originally Posted on The Odyssey)