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9 Strange Things Disney Cast Members Learn to Do

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Working as a Cast Member helps you hone some unusual skills you might not get anywhere else.

Every Disney Cast Member learns the basics of doing the Disney point, navigating the parks, and interacting with guests during their training. However, there are many other skills that Cast Members tend to pick up on the job. Things you might not consider to be terribly useful in everyday life often turn out to be very handy when you’re dealing with thousands of theme park guests on a daily basis. Here are some of the stranger things that Cast Members often learn to do.

9. Sense Nausea from Great Distances

Cast Members who work on rides with a motion sickness warning tend to hone this skill particularly well, but the ever-present heat and humidity in Florida can make guests green at the gills just about anywhere. After a few months on the job, Cast Members learn to spot that glassy-eyed look even from a distance. You always hope you can get to the guest before he has a hand over his mouth, so there’s at least a chance of getting him to a bathroom in time.

8. Judge Children’s Heights at a Glance

Any Cast Member who has worked at an attraction with a height restriction is sure to have a special talent for identifying children who fall under that height. Cast Members typically figure out where the height restriction falls on their own body. That way you know any child who comes past your waist is good to go, while those who are mid-thigh definitely need to be measured. This skill is handy on the job, but awkward when you unconsciously eye up the kids in line with you when you’re riding attractions in your off time.

7. Determine Nationality in Under a Minute

Cast Members get to meet guests from all over the world. After you’ve had some experience chatting up international visitors, you’ll notice some commonalities in dress and mannerisms. This skill has nothing to do with determining someone’s heritage, so skin color and facial features don’t really apply. However, you can usually tell from someone’s choice of clothing or footwear where they’re from. If you can’t guess before talking to them, you’re sure to figure it out after you’ve heard their accent. Non-English speakers also seem to know certain English words that change depending on where they’re from.

6. Figure the Time Based on the Sound of Fireworks in the Distance

Walt Disney World has at least three fireworks shows every night of the year. In certain spots on property, you can even hear more than one. Cast Members can often ditch the watch in the evenings and determine the time by figuring that the wind is carrying the sound of Illuminations over from Epcot, so it must be nine. Unfortunately there aren’t many practical applications for this, so you just look a little strange cocking your head to one side and mumbling “ah, nine o’clock.”

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There are 56 comments.

Very interesting! I think, like National Service everyone should be a Cast Member, wouldn't the world be such a better place?!

They left out the best acronym. If a cast member recommends that you visit the Monsters Inc Laugh Floor, consider it a compliment. You're a MILF.

Actually, it's MLF. Sorry.

You forgot the most important one: Even as an ex-Cast Member, I still to this day point with two fingers.

Second paragraph, first sentence.

I do as well as an ex-CM...however, I heard an interesting take on this habit recently that I hadn't heard before. Other than the obvious "it's considered rude to point with one finger" reason, I heard that Walt pointed with two fingers because he almost always had a cigarette between them. Not sure if I believe that or not, but thought it was interesting!

It's not cuz he always had a cigarette in his hands. As an ex- cast member myself I can tell you the truth. It's because in many cultures pointing and using your hands with one finger is considered rude and you don't want to offend anyone. so what they teach you is use two Fingers are A open pal in the direction your guiding them . =)

I can tell you, as an ex-cast member in the entertainment department, that the two finger point 100% is derivative of Walt's smoking habit. This is true. NUMEROUS trainers have corroborated this fact.

You learn this in traditions guys If
yo remember

They did mention the Disney point at the very beginning of this article.

Not just cast members do this.

I'm a tour guide, and am also a seasoned two finger pointer.

I can also spot complainers as soon as I see them, before I even speak to them. I bet cast members can do that too. Or maybe nobody complains in the wonderful world of Disney...

nobody complains...hahahahah...that's a good one :D
I was an attractions cast member and guests complained A LOT!!! (it was like they thought they were the most important guests in the park and they should all get special treatment) I grew a thick skin working in Disney World.

I worked for Canada's wonderland. It's owned by cedar fair and we too used a two finger point. Some of us like me used our whole hand. I was there in 2010. I still point that way to this day and I don't work there anymore

Some of these are pretty attractions-specific, but as an attractions cm I can definitely identify with most of them, especially 8, 4, and 2. Daily conversations at grouper:

-How many in your party?
-Well, we have five adults, three kids, and two babies.
-Ok so ten?
-Well... five adults, the three kids, and the two babies.
-...So... ten... Okay...

Or when you get three groups of two in a row but they're actually a group of six and you try to put them separately and they say "Wait, but we're together!" And then you put on your pretend stupid/confused face and say "Oh, she told me you only had two! How many is it total?"

Ugh.

I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU MEAN!!!! As an attractions cm you get pretty good at judging, especially when you get a Brazilian or Spanish family and they say simply, "Us" while pointing to everyone in their party. And probably one of my favorite questions I get asked is, "Please, what is the game?" lol

"This game, she is hard?"

Gotten that one about three or four times.

a lot is another good number.

Whenever I pick up shifts in any location I always ask " where is the nearest bathroom?" Before I even get started because I know for a fact I will get that question a thousand times before my shift is over

when I worked there in tomorrowland (many yrs ago) we hissed at each other instead of yelling each others names, eventually the guests caught on, lol it was interesting and even today when I hear a hiss I turn around!

I worked in tomorrowland in 07 and I thought it was the strangest thing to hiss but I remember getting asked everyday "do you work here?" Seriously people.... Lol

Oh I HATED being asked, "Do you work here?" "No, I just enjoy wearing these hot, 100% polyester clothes in some of the most hideous prints and patterns I've ever seen." Seriously, you think I dress like this on PURPOSE?? "Oh, and the name tag kinda says I work here too." (Although this was skewed a bit during the Star Wars Weekends because they sold specialty name tags with the star wars logo and your "star wars name" written in some alien language, but on a Disney shaped name tag. I dont rememer how much, but i think it was over $15 to buy a nametag, when I worked there and got an official one for free? I dont think so. And some people had two or three even. #eyeroll)

I currently work in Fantasyland Attractions, and we hiss at each other. Now, my attention can be grabbed by anything that sounds remotely like a hiss: a soda opening, a can of whipped cream, anything really. It's terrible.

Thanks to my time working in Tomorrowland, even almost 8 years later, anything that sounds like a hiss gets my attention.

I've never heard nor heard of the hissing thing. So weird. Why hiss?

The "hiss" is for communication between Cast Members without calling a name or raising their voices. Hopefully the Cast Members have adopted a inconspicuous way to achieve getting another's attention. Working in different areas I have developed a knact for making a hiss sound without even barely raising my volume. (I don't work @ Disneyland but in a school). In the classroom students learn quickly this sound and they know immediately to stop whatever they are doing (usually used when
one misbehaves). I have on occasion heard a Cast Member "hiss" and immediately look at them and smile. Often they blush as I have surprised them by knowing what they are doing...

Lol, I've done this with my son, that or snap my fingers...

I met my husband when we worked in Tomorrowland attractions and till this day, 15 years later, we still hiss at each in public.

I think the most popular acronym for Cast Members only have two letters... ER! For non-cast members, that means Early Release...getting to home earlier than scheduled.

EPCOT (Every Pay check Comes On Thursday)

Can you add on not being sarcastic and biting your tongue? Seriously, I'm in stores at the DLR, and due to the fact that we actually have to hold full conversations with the guests we get the dumbest questions and yelled at the most. You learn to spot an angry guest and prepare your answer ahead of time.

I know what you mean, I also am in stores. I transferred from attractions and I hate it. You get yelled at so much more, and you get dumber questions lol. Plus you have to know everything! You need to know every attraction in the resort, along with all the restaurants and what they serve, every store and what they sell, what wait times are, what events take place, what time the events are, what rides are down, where the restrooms are, where the smoking sections are, what the height requirement is for the rides, how much things cost, and anything else you might possibly need to know. Plus always in a new place or store and if you don't know that park, you better be able to learn quick cause you will need to know.

I've worked the new Fastpass+ role in WDW and it's a nightmare. all we get is angry guests all day who tell and curse about how we ruined their vacation due to not having that fastpasses they want. Biting my tongue and holding back punched is a worry I have every 5 minutes. There's a reason I'm leaving the job.

I've worked the new Fastpass+ role in WDW and it's a nightmare. all we get is angry guests all day who tell and curse about how we ruined their vacation due to not having that fastpasses they want. Biting my tongue and holding back punched is a worry I have every 5 minutes. There's a reason I'm leaving the job.

I've worked for WDW for nearly 15 years. And have probable heard it all. But I think the thing that tickled me the most about the comments is the costal differences. In FL "stores" is referred to as Merchentainment or Merch. 'Cause everything is part of the "show"!

One of my favorite moments was when I was a front desk CM at Beach Club, I heard a mommy ask her four year old "Honey, do you wanna of to see the animals today? Or do you wanna go to Disney World?" And the little kiddo said "Mommy! We are IN Disney World! You mean Magic Kingdom!"
I immediately knelt down, gave the kid a sticker and whispered to him, "You are a future cast member, aren't you?"
That got a laugh out of both the kiddo and his mommy.

That moment right there is why I love being a CM. The magic moments thats guests create for me; melt my heart!

(Lifeguard at Blizzard Beach)

My 6+ years at the Park were among the best times of my life - and you never go wrong hiring a Disneyland cast member - they know/understand guest/customer service like few others do

Most of this is garbage. As a Disney cast member there are a lot of things we are trained to do and know. Most importantly how to exceed guest expectations. But many of theses are far fetched, and I would be very curious to where the author got his information?

Amy is a former Cast Member with several years of experience working in a number of different roles. She left the resort a short while ago, but her husband still works there. The article is based on her personal experience.

Given that Walt Disney World employs tens of thousands of people in many different roles, it's hardly surprising that your experience may differ from Amy's. But it's quite clear from the other comments on this article that a lot of CMs can relate to the points that she has made. The article is not "garbage" as you describe it, nor is it about what Disney Cast Members are trained to do (Amy was also very passionate about exceeding guest expectations). It's about small habits that are picked up on the job.

As for the points being "far-fetched", which are you refering to specifically? Picking up litter off the ground? Judging a child's height visually, having measured thousands of them? Guessing that somebody who is looking lost is going to ask where the nearest restroom is? These seem like common sense to me.

Really??? Far fetched?? as a current attractions castmember almost all of these are pretty on point.

The feeling of watching an endless line of people with the same yellow t-shirt, talking portugese.. OHMYLORD... Im a blond little girl and i learned to use my voice FAST. Feeling like all these people are helpless little kids, "you four, sit here" *following them to their seats*

Terrible at times, but man as i miss it

My brother and I were both CM at some point, and one year during a family vacation to WDW (we were Disney Store CM's, so kinda the red-headed stepchildren), my brother was wearing a Fort Wilderness polo shirt, khaki shorts, hiking boots, and one of the "look-alike" nametags you were able to buy at the time...he was stopped so many times that day and asked all kinds of questions! Of course being the Disney geek he is, he loved it, and answered everyone's questions, pointed out nearest restrooms with two fingers, and generally spent the day being a pretend WDW CM...and had a blast doing it. But he also admitted that he didn't think he could do it every day - our "ears" off to all of you wonderful CM's that do it every day and do it so well!

I worked in the Magic Kingdom in the late 80's and totally agree with everything on the list. To this day I'm pretty good at guessing where someone is from. I would just add that characters can always tell when a kid is going to burst into tears because they think the giant dog or mouse or duck is going to eat them. And I would add that I learned to never rephrase myself. I answered the question in the most succinct way possible. Rephrasing will only confuse them more. Repeat and they'll get it.

I am able to juggle, keep military time, know walkie talkie codes, do addition in my head, and count money very quickly thanks to my time at WDW.

Ha - apparently all ex cast members.! Bitter, angry.ex cast members!!
Up until 5 yrs ago. Disney had the best customer service cast members. Many are friendly outgoing and have learned the Disney culture and deliver it daily.
Of late, it must be the group commenting negatively!!!
And yes ,although I don't work for Disney. I understand good Customer service . I deliver it daily.!!!

Did you ever think that maybe the reason you had a bad experience with cast members was because you were the guest that's a pain in their ass and nothing but rude? Because trust me, we get those all the time and once you've tried being nice to an asshole and they're STILL an asshole, hey it's fair game at that point.

Kelsie,
I'm glad that you said that you planned to leave job. Or if i'm mistaken you for someone else the maybe you should really consider leaving the job. CM's like yourself are NOT needed and are a waste of money to the Walt Disney Company. Such negativity coming out of anyone is not acceptable, not just for Disney CM's. As people, we need avoid negativity as much as possible and sadly, that's what you're all about. Do everyone a favor and go because I personally have had bad experiences with not so pleasant CM's and I am ALWAYS very nice and pleasant. I treat others the way i'd like to be treated.

You probably dealt with a CP, a College Program kid. I like them as people, but as people who I have to work with? Not so much. I'm a CM and when I go to the parks, if I;m going to get anything done, I talk someone who isn't a CP. You can tell because the CPs have their college name under name, not their hometown.

You know, did you ever think the reason CPs don't like working with you is your attitude? I completed my CP and I have to tell you that in my location the CPs worked harder than most of the normal CMs. Just because a minority of CPs don't care about their job doesn't mean we all don't, I tried to help every guest to the best of my ability and we closed almost every night at MK. If I ever worked a morning shift I was ignored and looked down upon by the older CMs, they would leave me to work the register while they went and socialized, and if we ever asked them for help they would act like we were asking them to do so much work. My friend changed her nametag to her hometown so she would be treated with more respect, so how is that fair? Not all CPs are good, not all are bad; but not all CMs are good, nor are all of them bad. Before you generalize an entire group why don't you stop assuming the worst?

PS: Most of the CMs complained that we took their shifts, but when we tried to give them away they wouldn't take them because they didn't like the hours. Without CPs Disney would not be able to function at the ability that it does. When our pay increased at the same time the CMs did they did nothing but complain and say it wasn't fair, that we didn't deserve it. Please don't make assumptions

Ha! This list is so on point and awesome. You forgot "Helpful Keyword Eavesdropping" - when your ears immediately perk up and you can hear a "Where is...? What is...? How do we...?" question from ten feet away and can answer it for the guest. :P I worked at a Tip Board (the park's map and information hub for those who don't know) so I got super used to giving directions on the fly even when they didn't necessarily come over to ask. Some people think they're interrupting or bothering me and won't! Dude! That's my WHOLE JOB -- stand here and answer your questions! XD (Unless I'm talking to another guest at the moment in which case wait your dang turn.)

I'm a retired cm and worked merch. What I recognize is the lack of courtesy on the outside. Checking out your purchases and the cashier talking to someone else the whole time without acknowledging you. That doesn't happen at wow

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