12 Things that Cast Members Know

Only take this if you have all the time in the world.

Only take this if you have ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD!

(from Buzzfeed)

1. The ferry boat is a trap.

On busy days, cast members will try to lure visitors out of the monorail queue by saying the ferry boat takes the same amount of time. Do not believe their lies!


Smile! You’ve just stopped in the middle of Main Street!

2. It’s damn near impossible to walk down Main Street USA in the morning because everyone wants their Cinderella Castle photo op.

Professional Disney PhotoPass photographers, family groups, couples, forever-alone Disneyphiles — everyone is funneled down Main Street and everyone has to stop in the middle of the street and take an iconic picture.


Ahhhh…nothing better on a hot summer day!

3. Walt Disney believed in magic, not shade.

Sure, you see trees in the Magic Kingdom…The magic is somehow they don’t ever throw shade onto the walkways. Be prepared to drop some serious cash on an ice-cold spritzer fan.

4. Disney also did not believe in bench seating.
With over 17 million visitors per year, you’d think Disney would have bench seating scattered throughout the MK Park. You’d think that, but you’d be wrong.

Wishes fireworks

Wishes fireworks over Cinderella Castle

5. The Magic Kingdom calls the fireworks the “Kiss Goodnight” instead of the more accurate “Kiss of Death.”

The end-of-day fireworks, “Wishes”, are amazing. Stay for them! But know what you’re getting into. Literally thousands, if not tens of thousands, of other guests also stayed to watch Wishes, meaning you will all be herded like cattle into the monorails afterward. It’ll be the longest line you stand in all day; it will be very late and your dogs will be barking!

Walking, walking, walking....

Walking, walking, walking….more stairs…

6. The Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse is a trap.

There is never a line for this “ride” because it isn’t a ride — it is exercise masquerading as entertainment. No one under 35 even knows what this treehouse is about (anyone have a VHS copy of the movie???), much less wants to climb 116 steps to look at non-animatronic sets full of Victorian-era stuff.

There's some honey spilled on the tracks...

There’s some honey spilled on the tracks…

7. Rides break down…a lot.

Not dangerous “Tell my wife I love her” breakdowns, but “Sorry, a wheel is slightly out of alignment SHUT DOWN EVERYTHING,” so just be prepared. It’ll happen at least twice per day for the major attractions.

On the Winnie the Pooh ride, they’ll say, “Pooh spilled some honey on the tracks” if the breakdown will be less than 15 minutes, so don’t get out of line.

Cast members call these breakdowns ‘Code 101’ for: attraction is down.

No need to pay for this photo...

No need to pay for this photo…

8. Cast members don’t care if you just take a photo of your ride photo and don’t buy it.

Seriously. Like your on-ride photo but are short on cash? Just snap a few angles from your cell phone. No will stop you. No one cares.  Then you can instantly share them on Facebook and make your friends jealous!

There is a maze of tunnels under this ride for lines.

There is a maze of tunnels under this attraction for guest line management.

9. Unless you can actually see the ride’s cars/boats/doom buggies, etc, never think you are close to the end of the line.

Never get your hopes up and never believe you are close to the front of the line unless you see guests loading on the ride. The major attractions are full of blind turns and switchbacks to keep guests in the dark and mollified while they slowly shuffle along. Many rides now have interactive screens to entertain guests in line.

10. No one listens to the numerous “no flash photography” warnings.

OK, this one is kinda irritating to deal with.  Disney is full of dark rides that require guests to sit in the dark (obviously) and not take photos every five seconds. This is an impossibly Herculean task for some guests hell-bent on recording family memories and blinding everyone in the process. Worse are the videotapers who record the entire ride on their iPad/cell phone.  Distracting!

With Prince Phillip and Princess Aurora.

With Prince Phillip and Princess Aurora at the Princess meet & greet.

11. Face characters no longer freely roam the MK Park.

You want to meet your favorite princess or other Disney character? Hope you’re ready to stand in line for up to 1 – 5 hours for the privilege of that autograph and photo op.  The lines for Anna & Elsa meet & greet (“Frozen”) are the worst (over 3 hours in Summer 2014)!!

Belle at France in Epcot.

Belle at France in Epcot.

12. The best place to see characters out and about is in the World Showcase at Epcot.

Every pavilion has matching characters (i.e., Snow White can be found outside Germany) outside meeting with guests all day long.  Rarely are the lines more than 10-12 people long (about a 5 minute wait).

Watch the best video of A Day at Magic Kingdom EVER:


We’ve written a book about our year working at Disney World in the Disney College Program: Two Girls and a Mouse Tale. It’s filled with advice about the DCP program and how to get the most out of your internship.
We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program (Fall 2013/Spring 2014) and wrote about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney. We give advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship at Disney, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney.
Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.

3 thoughts on “12 Things that Cast Members Know

  1. Mark Zachary says:

    Several years ago out at Disneyland, cast members ignored a weird sound on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad for awhile because it was a busy day. That weird sound was one of the wheelsets on one of the trains breaking. The wheelset eventually jammed itself into a braked position which caused the locomotive to become airborne and drop onto the first car, killing a man. So when a safety issue arises, we check everything to make sure everything is safe. And considering on most days, the park does not close immediately after Wishes, it’s your own fault if you get crushed by the masses.


  2. Fredd says:

    I liked the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse 😦


  3. TJ says:

    I’m 28 and have seen the swiss family Robinson movie. Also, it depends on the day and time for character lines at epcot. Slow days you can get 5 min lines all day, busy times you want to be in line at least 10 to 20 mins before their set time.


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