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Mickey Mouse

Over the last few months, we've interviewed a series of current and former Cast Members at Walt Disney World. During the course of those interviews, we've learned about the good and the bad aspects of working at the world's most popular theme park resort.

There are hassles. The heat can be oppressive. Guests can be demanding - sometimes unreasonably so. And the roles can be repetitive. Very, very repetitive. We'll take a look at some of these downsides in a future article.

Still, almost all of the Cast Members we've spoken to loved their jobs. Some of the reasons for this are obvious - for example, getting the chance to drive a real, working steam train or to take visitors on a tour of a mock African savanna, admiring lions and giraffes.

However, when we asked the Cast Members for their favorite memories of working at Walt Disney World, we rarely received an "obvious" answer. Here are 6 examples of the hidden benefits of being employed by the Mouse.

6. You can be a performer

Simpsons teenager

Let's face it: theme park employees don't always have the best reputation. In shows such as The Simpsons, they are almost always portrayed as spotty teenagers, bored out of their wits as they endlessly repeat the same, monotonous actions.

At Disney, though, things are a little different. Attractions Cast Members often play a vital role in bringing a storyline to life...playing a gangster on the Great Movie Ride, or getting into character as a sinister bellhop on the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Even the hosts and hostesses at the resort's restaurants get in on the action - chiding guests for resting their elbows on the table at the 50s Prime Time Cafe, for example.

Haunted Mansion Cast Member

Image © Disney

Amy used to work on the Haunted Mansion at the Magic Kingdom, and recalls: "I always enjoyed the performance aspect of it. Because of the heritage of the attraction, people expected me to act a certain way. I enjoyed being able to glare at people for a laugh and if I was having a bad day I liked being able to look unhappy when at other attractions I had to plaster a smile on my face."

5. The little touches make a difference

Tower animal

Making towel animals is an essential skill for Housekeeping Cast Members.

In most hotels, working as a housekeeper wouldn't be considered the most glamorous of jobs. At Walt Disney World, though, even the act of cleaning a room can add to the guests' enjoyment.

One former Housekeeping Cast Member recalls: "We were encouraged to leave special touches for guests when we were cleaning occupied rooms. Many housekeepers learned how to create a variety of towel animals. Some even brought in their own pipe cleaners and eye stickers to dress up the animals that they would leave. We would also do things like set up stuffed animals to look like they were watching television, with the remote in the animal’s hand, or sit them around in a circle reading a book together. Leaving these surprises for the kids was a lot of fun and the absolute best part was when you were lucky enough to walk by as they were coming back into their room so you could hear the kids’ reactions as they saw the little surprises."

4. You can give kids wings

Magic Carpets

Image © Disney

We've all heard stories of children with serious illnesses breaking into a smile for the first time in months as they meet Mickey Mouse. But it's not just the characters at Disney's theme parks that can help brighten up the visit of such a child and their family.

A former Cast Member who manned The Magic Carpets of Aladdin at the Magic Kingdom remembers: "At the Magic Carpets there was a special ADA vehicle that was designed to have wheelchairs strapped into it. It was always wonderful to see young children that happened to be wheelchair bound and may not have had a lot of other options due to various health issues be able to ride our ride and literally fly into the air. Faced with more restrictions than anyone should ever have to experience, these kids could fly with the wind hitting them in the face, soaring high above Agrabah and Adventureland without a care in the world. The smiles on the children always made me a little emotional."

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Comments

Sorry, not sorry, but working at WDW is not what it's cracked up to be. Maybe as a young college student, but anything beyond a specialty job or entertainment is a total crock. The pay at Disney is abysmal, and even management doesn't get paid a living wage after years of service. I know of several people who had to live with multiple roommates just to be able to pay bills All the while when the CEO makes more in an hour than most employees make in a year. Being able to get into the parks for free is great, but it does not make up for not being able to support yourself.

I had three of those little white birds with long beaks mug me for my jalapeno pretzel. They snatched it right out of my hand. I grabbed what I could to throw it away since they didn't deserve to eat the whole thing. Then they come and sit in front of me to mock me. My wife tried to give a piece of her pretzel that fell down to a squirrel and they jumped him too. I'm telling you they train those birds at WDW to snatch your food so you are forced to buy more!

We were eating at Mexicos outside quick service in January and a bird swept in and took my daughters chicken right off her plate!!!

I have worked at Disney for 10 years and recently left the company. For the moments you can create for the guests, I 100% agree make life great but that company isn't like it used to be when I started. It's all just a fantasy world and the work environments are the same way. Artist Point is a great restaurant and I believe will always be one of the best but there are many others amongst Disney property that are quick to pull the sheets over your eyes. As your GUEST orders a $38 steak and as a FOH tipped cast member we are supposed to feel "magical" serving a MICROWAVED NY STRIP(as well as many of our other dishes) to our tables. The company has only been cutting more and more over the years so they can make 50 Billion instead of 40 Billion. Lack of care, lack of effort behind closed doors but that's where all the MAGIC is at cause they're the best at not revealing all of their secrets. Walt's rolling over in his cryogenic grave !

In reply to by Visitor (not verified)

Are you serious? Microwaved steak? Thanks for the heads up? Anymore things or places you can share info?

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