Home » 5 Fun Facts About What Happens When Disney Cast Members Work Elsewhere

    5 Fun Facts About What Happens When Disney Cast Members Work Elsewhere

    Adventurers Club

    Deployment is a theme park term for when a Walt Disney World cast member or Universal Orlando team member works somewhere other than his or her usual job location. Deployment can occur for many reasons, such as a long-term renovation of the worker’s attraction, shop, or restaurant. However, it is most often done on a short-term basis to balance employees and ensure that all essential positions are covered.

    Regardless of why deployment occurs, many employees have strong feelings about it—although those feelings don’t always agree. Some people enjoy the change of pace, while others find deployment stressful. Here are 5 fun facts you might not know about theme park deployment.

    1. Deployment can be planned

    Adventurers Club

    In some cases, employees know ahead of time that they will be deployed, where they are going, and how long they will be there. This generally happens when a work location goes down for rehab, as well as during extended special events such as Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival. Cast members often, though not always, have a great deal of input into their planned deployments. They might even go through training at the new location, blurring the difference between deployment and cross-training.

    2. Deployment is sometimes random

    Imagination Cast Members

    Day-to-day deployment generally feels completely random to the deployed cast member, although it is actually a carefully choreographed dance between locations. How it works behind the scenes is that a particular location is short on cast members for the day. Another location is overstaffed. Rather than one site calling people in, and another site sending people home early,  the second location agrees to send people to the first location.

    From the cast member’s point of view, however, it works more like this. You walk into work thinking it will be a normal day, only to be stopped by a team leader/coordinator and told to stop by Wardrobe for another costume and report to another location ASAP. You eventually arrive at the new location, breathless from the trip, and find the team leader. Only then do you learn what the day will hold.

    3. Cast members can be deployed outside their job title

    Fantasyland Cast Member

    I actually didn’t know this one until I worked at Animal Kingdom’s Kilimanjaro Safaris. I arrived at work one morning only to be deployed, along with a coworker, to Tusker House. We spent the day filling orders, despite never having gone through food service training.

    I don’t actually know how often this happens. That one situation was the only time I ever saw or heard of it, but it must not have been a completely isolated incident, because none of the leads or supervisors seemed surprised. When it does happen, however, it can make for a highly interesting day.

    At least in Attractions, where I spent my time at the theme parks, many things run in more or less the same way from one location to the next. Food Service coordination is a completely different ballgame. I spent most of the day dazed and confused, feeling like I was constantly one step behind. If a Food Service cast member deployed to Attractions, I would expect that person to feel the same way.

    4. Deployment is sometimes miserable


    Except for planned deployment, which gives the cast member the opportunity for training, most deployment puts the employee in a low-skill role that does not require more than a few minutes of explanation. While cast members normally rotate through positions, meaning that no one is stuck in a boring role for more than an hour or two at a time, those on deployment can end up in those positions all day long.

    For example, I was working at Universal Orlando’s Kongfrontation when I was deployed to the Nickelodeon tour. Some of the positions at Nickelodeon were high-energy, guest-focused, spieling roles. Naturally, those roles required several days of training. Since I was only there for the day, the lead handed me a clicker and had me count guests as they entered the building and cut the line when each show was full. After 12 hours with only a 30-minute lunch break, I never wanted to see another clicker again!

    5. Deployment can be a whole lot of fun

    Baby Dinosaur

    Despite the drawbacks, deployment can also be great fun. If you happen to be deployed with a coworker, the built-in camaraderie and the feeling of going through this strange new experience together can create a sort of bonding moment. If you are deployed alone, you might meet a whole new group of cool people who become  new friends.

    Even if you get stuck in a position that seems boring, like anything else, ultimately the work is what you make of it. Theme parks are intentionally fun, happy places and it’s in everyone’s best interest for the employees to be fun and happy as well. Making up a silly song, dancing around, and joking with guests are all encouraged at many locations, as long as the needed job tasks are also done. Cast members who find a way to make the best of whatever comes along tend to be the ones remembered by guests and supervisors alike.