home > columns > cast member experience > Spawn51 - My Walt Disney World Experience

This is a bit of information for all of those that always wanted to know what it is to be a Cast member in The Walt Disney World complex, these are my personal experience and not at all the general experience.

My experience with Disney started during the summer of 1998, coming from a tropical island (Puerto Rico) was no change for me in the climate because Puerto Rico has the same climate as FL. My dream job started in this beautiful building called Casting, the day of the interview was more of a read here sign here thing and no interview at all. You spend most of the day going from room to room filling out all sorts of paperwork. You think you will be by yourself but they do this as a group thing, the only part that is by yourself is the work assignment, that's when they tell you where you going to work, and this is not the place that you always dreamed about. This was my first slap in the face, when I first joined Disney I was promised to work on the Trams and ended up in Pleasure Island. They told me to chose 3 different jobs I wanted to work at and none of them where available when I started, but later found out they where available but they needed people at PI and I was the lucky soul to be going to PI.

So you think it starts there NOPE, not yet you still have to go to Traditions.

Traditions. This is when you start officially to work for Mickey Mouse. There are 2 days of fun and a bit of trivia and your first visit to the parks . You get to meet people from all over the parks, that like you, are LOST. They have no idea what is going on, but you are the same way. Day one Early morning, professional clothes no jacket, tie is optional, no tennis shoes or mini skirts.

You start at the Disney University in the lobby where you find a table full of name tags and as you sign in you get the one you ask for some time ago, in my case it was Alex and under my name Puerto Rico, but because I was going to PI mine was different from all the other ones so I didn't get to have the normal oval shape with the Mickey at the top, it was oval shape but with the name of PI and the Funmaister or whatever his name was the old logo of PI. Then you go to this big room and our host comes in after the normal stand up and say you name where you from and where you going to work the story starts, you get some Disney info, how he started and after the day is over you know a bit more of the company .

Day Two. Your second day as a cast member starts just like the first but today your going to start with some more paper work, and then some movies and stuff. You then go to meet the Union guys, the ones that take money out of your check and don't do anything for you when you need them. You go to the park in a scavenger hunt and after more Disney info you get to meet a CM who is probably going to be your trainer or coordinator from where you going to work, and this person gives you your first schedule for your first week.

First day at the job. You think all the paperwork is done, think again more paperwork and more names to remember and after more movies and a tour of your work area you out to costuming and back into another version of traditions but this is more of the area where you are going to work, almost every area has it own little traditions or the park has one. So after the costume fitting and some more movies you learn that all they told you in traditions you will not at all because Pleasure Island is the exception to all the rules they told you in traditions. Here you can say NO to a guest, when in traditions they tell you never to use the word NO but because you will be in a place where alcohol is served Disney or at least Mickey and the gang are not a part of this place.

So my adventure started and after a while I was getting some overtime on the Parking department, AKA -Hide and seek. Why Hide and seek? Because the Downtown Disney area is huge and people tend to hide in places because its so big and don't do anything during their shift, and I was one of the lucky ones that the manager liked me so I ended up going to other parks with my manager just to go talk to another manager there and I was getting paid for that. Neat overtime ahh? So after overtime in parking, security as crowd control and some OT here and there I saw the opportunity to leave PI for good. Cirque Du Soleil was going to open in the West Side. Lucky for some of us in PI that wanted to leave PI and this was the opportunity to do so. Cirque Du Soleil, What a show ..if you go there and have the money go see this show you will like it. So after being on the Cirque opening team I moved my sights to the parks, I wanted to have fun and go to the parks so I talked to my manager and after breaking up with my move in girlfriend, she gave me a transfer to Animal Kingdom.

Like traditions and the one in PI and another one at Cirque you got yet another traditions like thing in AK. But by now I knew what to expect because of the other two I have been thru already. So my journey begins in Africa at the Tusker House Restaurant. Not the most glamorous job in town but after a while I have moved up in the ladder of more responsibilities but not more pay, you will find this all over property more responsibilities and not a pay raise. But you take it because its a good way to advance in the corporate ladder there. So after been a cashier for some time I got the task of been a G.T. (GT=General Teller) I was in charge of the money and cashiers in my location and all the dirty work when they where short or over.

I decided to quit the mouse, that by this time is was more of a RAT to me. But because the time I had in Disney was actually fun, I came back for more after being there from 98 to 00. I went to school got my CDL license and went over the road with a trucking company for about a year and when I was thru with trucking I came back to the mouse once again but this time only as a CT(Casual Temporary) to work at Cirque Du Soleil again in Food and beverage and I am still there today.

As a CM you get a lot of benefits like getting in the parks for free CA or FL , and you get an annual pass for you and 3 more that you can use 12 times a year, but that pass depends also on how many dependants you have, you also get some free tickets a couple times a year that most people sell even though that the tickets say in the back NOT FOR SALE but hey you have to make some money. Also the annual pass you can sell to people but you have to walk them in the park and after a while leave without being seen by the person in the turnstile you came thru. You also get discounts all over town for been a CM anything from discounts on food to discount on rent (about $20 a month) also you get a lot of things from Disney like you can make a gazillions copies in the Center of excellence that they have around property (about one in each park) and you also have Team Mickey a store where you find stuff only for cast members and not sold to the public, and my favorite is Property Control the place where they sell stuff they no longer wish to sell so they give it to cast member for 50% or 60% or more of the original price, and if you lost something like a pair of sunglasses or a camera and never went back to ask if anybody found it and somebody did after some time they put the item on sale for fractions of the price, and this include watches ,photo cameras, video cam., sunglasses, jewelry you name it, and it will be there on sale except for cold hard CASH that some how never makes it to the hands of the person that found it. Yes you find it and is not claimed you get that item because you found it, but by some mysterious reason depending what it is, just when it is time for you to receive your item the owner comes to claim the camera or whatever it was, but that is for top of the line cams, jewelry and the good stuff.

In addition to all that you have the Disney credit union and many more benefits, too many to remember. Also on Thursdays you get into PI for free with your CM ID (speaking of Thursday CMs refer to EPCOT as "every paycheck comes on Thursday").

It was fun writing this and I hope you enjoy reading it as I enjoyed doing it .I know this is not all so I will be writing the second part soon, probably something about College program and the apt. complex known as Vista Way that if you have lived there know what they call it.. VL?


Drop me a line at spawn51@yahoo.com


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