I know many cast members visit this site, so I wanted to take a minute to share a recent Disney experience I had and say thank you. I apologize in advance for how long this comment will be.

My family recently took a trip to Disney World. We had been wanting to go for years and had finally saved enough money to go. We could only afford one night in a hotel and one day at Disney World, but we were so happy to just be going.

My husband and I made a schedule beforehand to get the most out of our day. In the morning, my husband and 10 year old son went on some rides while my 3 year old daughter and I went to meet princesses. After about an hour, my daughter suddenly became a bit lethargic and said she didn't feel well. She hadn't shown any signs of being sick before that; I figured she had gotten too hot. We went to go sit in the shade with a bottle of water, but it didn't help. I was trying to reach my husband to tell him she needed to go back to the hotel, but that he and my son should stay. She was sitting in my lap and suddenly tensed up. Being a nurse, I know a febrile seizure when I see one. This is where the cast members come in. I didn't even have to go find one to ask for help. A nice young man noticed that something wasn't quite right and asked me if something was wrong, along with another that saw this from a distance and quickly walked over. They immediately called for paramedics and went to go find my husband. Within 10 minutes, both the paramedics and my husband were there and we were on our way to the hospital. It turned out that a viral infection caused the febrile seizure. She was kept for observation, but thankfully she didn't have anymore problems and was released the next day.

I am incredibly grateful for the cast members quick, calm response. Their calm demeanor helped ease the anxiety of a scared little girl who couldn't understand what had happened or why she felt the way she did. However, they went above and beyond for my family. They caught wind that my family saved money for years to take this trip and that our one day was cut so short; they surprised us with another night in the hotel and passes for another day, completely free of charge. I can't even tell you just how much this touched my family and how happy it made us. When we went again, we had the perfect day and made so many wonderful memories that will last a lifetime. So for any cast members reading this, thank you so much for everything you do. You turned a disaster into a dream that my family will never forget.

I would have to say as a cast member of almost four years, that by far the worst thing is how hard it is to move up. I have an english degree with honors and worked for a prestigious world wide academic press where I read doctorate professors essays and edited them, but they told me that I wasn't qualified for a simple administrative assistant job, where the only listed requirements were a GED. Unless you're willing to abandon your family, friends, and any off time to spend every single second of it working, it's practically impossible to do anything. And if you have any kind of illness to pop up (I had a hormone disorder that started effecting my joints, I practically collapsed on the job twice because I couldn't take any more off days without being penalized I had the sick pay, but it would've kept me from being able to apply to other positions), you better forget about ever getting to leave your current role.

As a whole, I'm glad I had my disney experience, I miss being in the climate and meeting so many different people every day. But for the way they treat you, it's not worth the bare minimum pay.

In reply to by Visitor (not verified)

Not to mention all the blackout dates the Magic Kingdom and Studios have pretty much can only go when they say so

I am shocked that bad pay wasnt on the list. Who cares if you can get the gifts at a discount you cant pay your bills working there so you dont have money to buy the damn shirts and shot glasses. lol.

In reply to by Debi evans (not verified)

I've always wanted to work in the Disney industry.
I heard it's all about connections though. Is this true?

Or was she able to apply successfully simply through her resume?

In reply to by Visitor (not verified)

thank you for correcting that.. My son gets messages from people he doesnt even know that is friends of friends.. thinking he can just get tickets any time for any one. They get a limited number of tickets. when they go in whether it is with one person or the three allowed, it takes away three of his passes. When most people have the time off for vacations etc he cant even go in the park. much less get anyone else in.

In reply to by East Coast Vegas (not verified)

My son works at Disney now, You work your butt off, you deal with people from all over the world. They have 56,000 employees to cover all the different operations that go on. By no means is this just a job for kids.. and no they dont get paid well, the cost of living down there makes it almost impossible to get a place to live without getting room mates. But as many will tell you. you can move up if you are willing to keep doing the overworked crap pay jobs to get to a higher position.And possible become like another friend and is getting ready to retire from there, who started at hamburger flipping to being a boss. traveled the world.Met celebrities but those are the pluses.. there is much more rude people,to many hours or not enough goes from one extreme to the other. They have very strict guidelines of appearance,clothing mannerisms.. There is less fun for a cast member then you would imagine. but they have the opportunity to have a career in a company that is all over the world

Don't forget the guests treating cast members like dirt because they can't get a fast pass for Toy Story. The guests act like lunatics....so rude and yet no matter how much they degrade the cast member, they still feel like they deserve something. a free trip. free hotel stay. Sorry that the ride broke down but it's out of their hands. Guests need to learn common courtesy.

In reply to by East Coast Vegas (not verified)

I agree that a lot of positions are best suited for the student or retired crowd, there are so many other jobs to be had at Disney. Chefs, managers, engineers and the like can make a good living and or career with the company. Everyone is considered a cast member whether you're a custodian or a CEO.

There AREN'T many "free" tickets. Some Cast members only get 2 a year that they can just hand over to someone. To get someone in on your Main Gate pass you have to physically accompany them and there is a limited number you can get in and a limited number of times. Also there are blockout times when you can't use them at all. Please don't mislead people that Cast members can just hand anyone a "free" ticket....

Really?! Those are the 5 worst things you find about Disney! There are many places of emplyment where you have to work holidays and it's not like you work every single one of them! If you don't want to be a character, don't! any one with half a brain knows that garbage has to go someplace. And yes I do know what i"m talking about because my daughter was a cast member.

I certainly appreciate the effort of this post, however, aside from endless monotony, there are far worse things than you.mentioned.

In reply to by Visitor (not verified)

Well keep in mind these jobs are for kids or disabled. Any man post his 30s doing this kind of work is more than likely there for the wrong reasons or living at home with his Mother. This is viewed more so like a summer job - or a water park on steroids. Kids work there just to post it on their Instagram or sneak friends in or tell everyone: "Yeah, I'll hook you up this weekend bruh." It's just fun poor paying kid work.

In reply to by Visitor (not verified)

I worked at WDW from 1992 to 2006. The first couple of years the pay was only a buck or two above minimum wage, but after that pay increases came quickly. How much you make also depends on where you work. I started in attractions, but later transferred to Security then into Watercraft Transportation. Overtime was easy to pick-up. By 2002, I was making 25,000 annually, as did my wife. We had no problem buying a brand new 4 bedroom house near Kissimmee, and purchasing nice, pre-owned cars every few years. Disney also offered excellent retirement and pensions, health care, and life and vehicle insurance.
All things considered, it was the best organization I'd ever worked for.

What about the awful pay being listed?

I worked for Disney but in NYC it was the best job I had, even though I was not at the parks I learned so much about customer service. I even had the pleasure of attending classes & the staging area at Disney World. Since I was in NYC I was not able to take advantage of my free pass into the parks all the time but I was able to give my guest passes to friends& family. After I got married we moved to Orlando & I am thinking of applying for a job at the park add soon as my babies get a little older. I will always love Disney & love bringing my 2 year old.

I actually took several classes at Disney U as a cast member. Several of them were pretty basic but still quite informative and interesting. Companies now pay thousands of dollars to send their employees to classes like these while they attend conferences in the area. For cast members the classes were free back when I worked at Disney.

I was a character performer from 2000-2004 til this day when I visit Magic Kingdom or even the hotels I stay at in the area I still help people know what is the best thing to do a Disney, and what's the best for the kids. I myself still use the 2 finger point a lot. I guess the magic is still inside of me.

My daughter is a cast member now. It has been a great experience for her. The hours don't bother her. She worked three jobs plus a full time college student. The whole program has been very rewarding

I was a castmember from 96-2000. I'd still be working there but needed more than 11 an hour which is top pay in most positions. It was an awesome experience. You could be sitting around watching Seinfeld and your friends say, let's go ride the Tower... An off you go to ride the Tower. You are on vacation 365 days a year. My kids love for me to take them, we go about every year and half. My wife just rolls her eyes at all my stories as we stroll each park and resort.
I will tell you this. I still point with two fingers, my hair never touches my ears or collar, I stop and help everyone I see that look like they're lost( even at the Mall) seriously, this Disney thing gets a hold of you and doesn't let go. You learn guest service, and it sticks which is a good thing!!

Really interesting article, as I have had a similar experience at another park. I work on the rides and it is a great job. I love what I do. Thankfully, I have had access to shorts for my costume every year I have worked there, but they don't make that much of a difference, as the fans are what really help. Luckily, I work on a rotation within my ride, so I am not stuck at the same position all day. I could go from entrance, to checking harnesses, to controls, to whatever other positions the ride has. Very good article and a well portrayed image of team members at almost every park. In the end, I get paid to have fun, and that's what I do. I would not work at a theme park if it wasn't for fun.

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