DCPers have a lot of different roles open to them for their internship. Maybe it’s just luck, but it seems to us that most DCPers get assigned to just the right role for them. It’s rare that we saw a role mismatch.
Disney College Program participants work in more than 20 different positions at WDW and DLR!
Operations cast members help ensure our guests have enjoyable experiences while visiting our theme parks and/or the Downtown Disney area. Whether directing vehicles in the parking lot, advising guests on which ticket packages to purchase, operating our rides/shows/attractions, or ensuring guest areas are clean and show ready, Operations cast members have a direct impact on our guests’ experiences.
Roles in this area include: Attractions, Custodial, Hopper, PhotoPass Photographer, Main Entrance Operations, Park Greeter, and Transportation.
Lodging cast members help ensure guests have a memorable stay at our world-class resorts, whether through an expedient check-in process, a clean and well-maintained guest room, or assistance with transporting luggage.
Roles in this area include: Bell Services Dispatch/Greeter, Concierge, Hospitality, Disney Desk, Front Desk and Guest Services, and Housekeeping.
Food & Beverage
With more than 300 food and beverage locations throughout our parks and resorts in Florida and California, Food & Beverage makes up an important part of our guests’ experiences. Food & Beverage cast members in these areas provide guests with memorable dining experiences from outdoor vending to counter service to signature restaurants.
Roles in this area include: Quick-Service Food & Beverage (QSFB), Full-Service Food & Beverage, Custodial Busser, Food & Beverage Food Cart Cashier, and Food Prep.
Cast members in retail/sales areas help guests have enjoyable vacation experiences, whether selling ticket packages, magically transforming little girls into princesses at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, or helping guests find the perfect mementos of their vacations in our various merchandise locations.
Roles in this area include: Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique/Pirate League, Merchandise, Retail Sales Clerk, and Vacation Planner.
Floral (New role)
Floral cast members are responsible for arranging flower baskets, balloon bouquets, and other gift basket productions; creating bouquets and arrangements and other beautiful floral items for engagements, weddings, anniversaries and other celebration events. (Guests staying onsite can have floral arrangements and baskets sent to their room. Disney Floral and Gifts )
Also, will learn how to use the embroidery machine to stitch names and celebration dates into mickey ears and other guest items.
Whether at our water parks, resort swimming pools, golf and mini golf courses, children’s activity centers, or guest arcades, Recreation cast members help our guests enjoy their vacations.
Roles in this area include: Lifeguard and Recreation.
Entertainment cast members help create and maintain the show, whether through performing in our various parades and shows, facilitating character meet & greets, or supporting our performers and other cast members through supplying/maintaining costumes.
Here’s our thoughts on some of the roles we’ve known DCP interns to work at:
1. Merchandise Roles, aka, the Cast Members who stock the shelves. We loved merchandise, especially since our roles were inside in the air conditioning and we only rotated out to carts for brief periods. At DAK, one of Caroline’s rotations was to Baby Care…six hours of watching Disney movies of her choice in air conditioning! We consider this to be one of the best DCP internships offered.
2. Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique Stylist. We know several “Fairy Godmothers in Training” and not only are they wonderful make-up artists, they are great women. They spend their days transforming little girls into princess and little boys into pirates. Fun!
3. Disney Princess Roles. Glamor roles!! We would see various Disney Princesses in the employee cafeteria in partial costume and you would be surprised at how different they look without their make-up and/or wigs on! Good working conditions, generally 45 minutes on, then a 15 minute break for rest and touchups. And, in the summer, extra cool off periods! Guests love you! Big hugs all day long.
4. Disney Character Roles. We think all the character roles are special. What a great gig! Caroline had a friend who was friends with Chip. Ah, the guest stories they tell!
5. Attraction Attendants. We think the CM staffing the continuous loading rides like the doom buggies at the Haunted Mansion or shells at the Little Mermaid ride have sweet roles. They are in the air conditioning all day and they get to walk continuously at the job. Great way to lose weight! It’s like being paid to exercise.
The Tougher/More Demanding Cast Member Roles:
- Parking Lot Attendants. Probably the hardest, most physically demanding role in all of WDW. Saving grace: It rains/thunders almost every afternoon during the long, hot summer. Attendants get to go to their break room and rest/cool off while waiting out the storms. [Or maybe not…see comment below.]
- Custodial. We saw a horse urinate on Main Street USA and within 3 minutes, a CM custodian was there on her hands and knees wiping it up (Code U). Yikes!
- Housekeeping. A lot of lifting, vacuuming, cleaning. But, you’re in air conditioning, out of the weather, tips.
- Food Service. Very quick pace EVERYWHERE.
- QSFB. Being outside staffing a snack/drink cart all day is tough. It’s hot and there’s little shade.
1. Pyrotechnics Expert for any DWD property fireworks. Disney is the largest consumer of pyrotechnics in the world. At DWD, there are typically 3-4 fireworks shows A NIGHT! Magic Kingdom has “Happily Ever After”, Epcot has “IllumiNations”, Hollywood Studios has “Fantasmic!”. Each and every fireworks show is dazzling, best of its kind, if not a one-of-a-kind fireworks show. And, they do it EVERY NIGHT!
2. Disney Imagineers – These are the rock stars at Disney who dream all this stuff up…designing the structures, decor, landscaping and food to serve around Africa and Asia in Animal Kingdom. Designing all the new “Frozen” stuff at Hollywood Studios. Designing and illustrating all the t-shirts, coffee mugs and other paraphernalia people peruse and buy in the many stores in the parks and resorts.
Fun fact – did you know that Disney Imagineers are required to live in the culture they’re tasked with rendering in a park? For instance, the team that designed Africa in Animal Kingdom were required to live in Africa for 3 years immersing themselves in the culture so that they could create the most authentic experience imaginable for the Animal Kingdom. Talk about an all-expenses-paid, extended vacation to an exotic locale!
3. Tinkerbell Zip Liner in Magic Kingdom’s Nightly Show – Happily Ever After. Best view in the park, zipping high above crowds as they gasp in delight as you fly from Cinderella Castle to Tomorrowland! Plus your LED costume lights up!
4. Street Performer in any of the Parks. Dancing! Singing! Great costumes!!
5. Cast Members who feed the animals at Animal Kingdom. Caroline did a backstage tour of DAK and got to see the animals in their nightly holding/feeding pens and saw how they were positively trained with food treats. Both of us have stayed several nights at Animal Kingdom Lodge and seen them feed the animals in the morning. Talk about pampered animals! And they seem to love their CM handlers.
*Disney is My Life*
Working at Walt Disney World is a magical experience that few get to have in their lives.
Unlike other jobs, you actually look forward to going to your work to play on your days off. Also, unlike other jobs, you get the special pleasure of spreading happiness to guests from all over the world.
This is not to say that the job is easy. You are challenged day in and day out with guest’s high expectations. But, it has made you stronger as a person as a result. You are exposed to many different cultures that broadened your understanding of the world. You know how to say basic phrases like “how many in your party?” and “remain seated, please” in at least three different languages. You know that the most important language is non-verbal, especially when you are attempting to soothe a guest who is “critiquing” you in a language you do not understand.
After you became a Disney cast member, when was the last time you waited in line for more than 30 minutes? Why would you wait when you can get in to any park for free anytime? You know when the peak crowd times are at all the parks. Doing a whole day at the parks is almost unthinkable at this point. It’s so much better to only go for a few hours, use your three FastPasses, maybe grab a quick bite to eat or Disney snack, and then go home early. Sometimes, it’s even better to go to the parks just to relax and hang out and not even go on a single ride. And, why not? Walt Disney World is your home now.
You can get Mickey waffles whenever. Random morning off? Mickey waffles at the Contemporary. Mickey waffles at Grand Floridian. Resort hop to find the best locations. But y’all know that Trail’s End Restaurant is the very best breakfast buffet with the best cast member discount!
Once you’ve worked for Disney long enough you have friends everywhere in the parks. It’s like in high school when you can walk around and say hi to friends as you go to class, except you’re doing it at the Magic Kingdom or Disney’s Animal Kingdom. And honestly, this is so much better!
As a cast member, you find yourself spending all your money on Disney merchandise (Disney knows this…that’s why they give you a great 20% cast discount!). You can’t help yourself either because you are tortured every time you go to work seeing all the other guests with the merch you want. Like rose gold ears or the WDW sweatshirt. You didn’t even know you wanted them until they were impossible to get. Then it just felt like the guests who did have them were taunting you until you finally found them at WoD and bought them.
You can tell the time at night by all the fireworks shows. 9:00pm – IllumiNations. 10:00pm – Happily Ever After. Until they went and changed the time to 7:30pm. Who does that? Don’t they know we set our evening by these time signals?
Being a cast member in Orlando, Florida takes FOMO (fear of missing out anxiety) to a new level. Who cares if you’re exhausted from working a 60 hour week? You still feel guilty for staying home to sleep in on your one day off because in Orlando there are literally THOUSANDS of things you could be doing with your time. But, all you really want to do is sleep and be a normal person.
As soon as you become a cast member people suddenly start contacting you for free tickets/discounts. You haven’t talked to them in almost 5 years, and suddenly you’re a Disney cast member and they just happen to reach out and want to reconnect after so long, at Disney World of course. Oh, and by the way, can you get me and my extended family in for free?
Living and working at Walt Disney World is an experience that most people outside of Orlando cannot understand. It definitely has its perks, like going to Disney World for free and experiencing magical things most guests never get to see, but it also is a challenge to adapt to the “Disney” life. However, no matter how much you complain, deep down you love your job and do it for the Disney Magic you get to create every day.
Lions and Tigers and Strollers, Oh My!
This is not Caroline’s first time in the Disney College Program. Along with her sister, she was previously accepted into the program a few years earlier. Back in Colorado, Caroline was wishing for a little more pixie dust to brighten up her life. On a whim, she decides to apply to the exclusive Disney Alumni Summer Program.
Now that she’s back, things get wild.
Wild, as in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, where Caroline is assigned to work in Stroller Rental. While not the most glamorous position in the park, it’s often ground zero for humanity at its best and at its worst.
While Caroline makes many “Magical Moments” for deserving guests whose pixie dust has gone temporarily sideways, she also receives magical moments of her own through the friendships she makes, going to Disney cast member exclusive events, and all the spectacular dining opportunities at Disney World.
Caroline tells all – from the ins and outs of Disney’s secret training class called Traditions; to learning how to be a happy cast member during on-the-job training; to what it’s like to interact with fellow cast members and the guests who are ready to explore the most magical place on earth.
Join Caroline as she takes you on a wild ride through her adventures in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. But be careful, it’s a jungle out there!
Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.
Book link on Amazon.com: Adventures in the Animal Kingdom