Backstage Secrets: Things you never have to explain to anyone who’s worked at a theme park

Have a magical day!

Have a magical day!

1. Most Disney cast members are unbenefited, “part-time” workers, but we work 40-60 hours a week anyway especially during busy holiday periods.

It’s cool, though. Who needs benefits when you get a cast member discount of 20% on souvenir cups and stuffed animals (40% during the holidays)?

2. We make slightly above minimum wage (about $10/hr.) even though most of us have completed college.

We do it for the joy of seeing a child’s face light up when we hand him a Buzz Lightyear toy.  We live for Magical Moments!

3. We get in for free, but we rarely go.

Between working long hours and resting, there’s just not a lot of open days to spend all day back at work, aka a theme park.  And, there are days when we – and/or our guests – are blacked out from free admission.
The famous Disney Two Finger point4. We have to point with two fingers

Apparently, in some cultures pointing with one finger is considered rude. We’re not doing this because we like to imitate in-flight safety demos.

5. We can make your visit a lot better if you’re nice to us

If your mouse ears break, or you forgot to secure them when you went on the Tower of Terror, or your $11 cheeseburger was undercooked, just tell a cast member and be really nice about it. We can probably fix it. Guest satisfaction is actually our main job, so we get a lot of leeway to make you happy.

6. We get promoted if you give us good feedback

If we do give your kid a new, fluffy Mickey Mouse plush toy because he left his on the boat, please take 30 seconds and fill out a comment card in Guest Services with our name, location, and excellent service rating.  We appreciate it!

Main Gate passes and Holiday Celebration passes

Main Gate passes and Holiday Celebration passes

7. We get weekly random Facebook messages from acquaintances asking us for some “friends and family” tickets

Yeah, that semester we spent dissecting frogs together in 1996 was meaningful for me too. But if you don’t have my phone number, what on Earth makes you think I want to “hook you up” with free tickets?

8. Make friends with attraction operators and we’ll shorten your wait time in line

The level of power that goes along with ensuring your safety bar is secure is up there with club doorman and hall monitor.  Saying please and thank you goes a long way with us! 🙂

Meeting Princess Ariel

Meeting Princess Ariel – such nice hair!

9. We hear the question “What time is the 3 o’clock parade”? at least twice a day

From English speakers, and we have to answer politely, no eye rolling allowed!

(Answer: 3 o’clock!)

10. People do disgusting things in your attraction seat

It’s amazing how normally civilized people turn into that gross homeless guy on the corner when sitting in a moving seat on a dark ride FOR 3 MINUTES!  There’s a reason custodials wear gloves…

festival (2)

Watching the Festival of Fantasy parade.

11. People will do anything they can to NOT be safe

Stuffing children’s shoes to barely hit the height requirement. Sitting on top of a seatbelt or bar. Standing up on a roller coaster during a period of negative g-force, ejecting themselves from a perfectly good, thrilling, and already fulfilling experience. Hiding their infants  in their jacket or poncho  in order to get them on a super-loopy, upside-downsy, crazy-fast ride (yes, this happened!).  Trying to cut across the street while the parade is rolling.  DON’T DO THESE THINGS!

peter (2)

12. We’ve been called every name in the book

In languages we didn’t even know existed. But mostly Portuguese.

13. Most of us can give directions to the restroom in several languages

But that’s it. Anything past that is going to require excessive hand motions and maybe a call on the Disney translation phone.



Two Disney sisters.

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???

We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.

We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, 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 in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.

Book link on  Two Girls and a Mouse Tale


Two Girls and a Mouse Tale


2 thoughts on “Backstage Secrets: Things you never have to explain to anyone who’s worked at a theme park

  1. marywdw says:

    I’ve been reading your book in between doing homework assignments and am really enjoying it! I have been taking notes on what to do for when I apply next fall. Thanks for all the great advice!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Mary! We wish you every success in following your Disney dreams! 🙂


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