They can save you thousands of dollars while you are working at Disney.
1. On your first day working for Disney, you will take the Disney Traditions class. Afterwards, you’ll get your Company ID. Your Disney ID allows you unlimited entrance to all US Disney theme parks in Florida and California.
Note: There are some Blackout Dates dates throughout the year, mainly effecting the Magic Kingdom guest passes. As those times are when the Parks are at peak capacity, you don’t want to go then anyway. Why go to a Park when it’s mobbed with people when you can enjoy the Parks anytime?
2. After working 150 hours, you’ll be mailed the first set of 3 One Day Park Hopper Disney Guest Passes to use to get friends and family into the Parks for free! Every 150 hours, you’ll be mailed another set of passes (up to 9 free passes per calendar year). You’ll also have opportunities to receive additional free passes through volunteering with Disney VoluntEARS and at other company events.
3. Your company ID gets you a company discount of 20% off all merchandise. During the Disney Family Holiday Celebration period (Oct. 2018 – Feb. 2019), the CP cast member merchandise discount goes up to 40% off! The discount is good at all Parks, Disney hotels, Disney Stores, Disney online, on Disney cruise ships, and at Disney Ports.
4. At many Disney table service restaurants, you can get 20% off your meal. At some restaurants, it’s a 40% discount – Disney Disney Discounts for Cast Members 2018! The catch is that it’s hard to remember exactly which restaurants are currently giving the CM discount and sometimes, even if a restaurant gives the discount, they may only honor it at non-peak hours, i.e., dinner after 9pm. Again, the only way to know is to always ASK!
5. Cast members get to shop at Disney’s private Cast Connection where overstocked or slightly damaged clothing and merchandise is sold for 50-75% off retail, plus then you can use your 10-20% cast member discount on top of that.
6. If you need extra Park passes for visiting family and friends, CMs can purchase discounted tickets (10% off) for them at the Company D Store. The first ten days of the month, the Company D store also does pin trading, limited to 2 pin trades per day per cast member. They usually have several unusual or unique pins on their pin board. Always worth a look!
8. Your company ID gives you free entrance to both Disney Water Parks, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, on most days of the year! And, you get Free Parking at any Disney Park and the two water parks, currently $22/day at Disney World.
9. If you work during the Fall internship, you’ll be mailed a Disney Family Holiday Celebration 2018 coupon booklet filled with 60% off coupons for Disney hotel stays, 50% off Disney table service dining, free holiday ornament coupon, and 6 free soda coupons and free popcorn coupons. If you take advantage of all of these coupons, especially if you have family members visiting you during your program, you could save thousands of dollars.
10. DCP Housing is a bargain. Let me repeat that: It is a bargain! For about $100/week, taken directly out of your paycheck, you will get a fully furnished apartment with all utilities (A/C, heat, water, very slow wifi internet, cable, phone, sewer and trash/recycling) included. Washer/dryers are in your apartment or onsite. You won’t have to pay any deposits to turn on the electricity, etc. like you would renting a regular apartment. At Disney World, free bus transportation to and from work is also included, all hours of the day and night. All apartment complexes have 24 hour gated security and roaming security guards (important if you’re getting off a 2am shift or going to a 6am shift!) All apartment complexes also have a large pool, and some have hot tubs, tennis courts, basketball courts, and other recreational opportunities like billiards.
11. Disney CP housing hosts monthly Housing Events themed character parties with free food, great DJs, and character meet & greets. They are a blast! Go to all of them!!!
12. Many local area businesses give cast members discounts of 10% off just by showing your Disney ID! Both our favorite Chinese restaurant and our nail salon gave us 10% off our bills. Many businesses advertise the CM discount on their doors or menus, but, if not, ASK! You might be surprised at how many businesses say yes. If you chose not to stay in Disney housing, many nearby apartment complexes offer 10% rent discounts to cast members. If you’re not sure, ASK!
13. One of the best perks are last-minute discounts for Disney Cruises from any of the ports (Cape Canaveral is the closest.) As a cast member, you can get 40-60% discount off of Disney cruises. The available cruise dates, ships, and ports are listed about 3-4 weeks out on the company HUB page. Your CM discount (20%) works at all the Disney ports and onboard ship! 🙂 [Note: You must be employed by Disney for 90 days prior to booking cruise.]
14. Here’s the full list of cast member discounts at Disney Springs: CM Discounts at Disney Springs.
16. You’ll be invited to private, after hours cast member only parties at the Parks, with unlimited rides with no lines and free food! So much fun!!! You can also sign up for Behind-the-Magic Backstage Tours of your favorite rides!
17. You get into the private Disney club for cast members and their families, Mickey’s Retreat, right across from the housing complexes for free!
18. If you’re into Costumes, which is what Disney calls their work uniforms, each work location has a different costume to wear! They are free and Disney cleans them for free too! How cool is that!??!!
19. Fireworks, fireworks, fireworks! If you like fireworks shows, then come work at Disney World where’s there’s at least 3 fireworks shows nightly!! There’s Happily Ever After at the Magic Kingdom, IllumiNations at Epcot, and Star Wars at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Every night, and sometimes 2x a night!
20. Free locker rental at all the parks. Just show your ID. Also, free stroller (single or double!) rentals at any of the parks too.
Bonus Perk: And, finally, something that we think is a pretty good perk: flexible scheduling with the ability to request time off or trade your shifts if you would like to see what working at another WDW location is like.
We worked merchandising at Downtown Disney/Disney Springs (Elly) and Disney’s Animal Kingdom (Caroline). But, we could trade or pick up open shifts at any of the four Parks, the two water parks, or any of the hotel gift shops at Disney World!
Never a dull day at WDW!
*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
About the Author:
Caroline’s love for all things Disney, and desire to grow up to be a Disney princess, is the reason she always wanted to work for Disney. Her dream came true working as a cast member at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Caroline is the co-author of the book, Two Girls and a Mouse Tale, about her adventures working at Disney World with her sister.
She is currently a 7th grade Social Studies teacher in Colorado.