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6 Ways to Spot an "Undercover" Disney Cast Member in Street Clothes

4. Notice How they Talk to Kids

Cast Members are trained to talk to kids in a very special way. Children are usually “princess” or “Prince Charming.” They take a knee to hear what pint sized guests have to say, and often have a creative themed response. Like Disney pointing, or responding to birthday buttons, this is a difficult habit to ditch.

Even some parents will barely bend down when they’re talking to their children (after all, you’d have to spend the whole day in a perpetual crouch to really come down to their level for everything they say). If your child strikes up a conversation with the next person in line and they automatically drop down to his or her level to answer, there’s a good chance you’re talking to a Cast Member. If they know all the right things to say in response to your child’s lively story about her meeting with Cinderella, you can be certain it’s someone who spends their working week in the park.

5. Look at Their Bags

Some tourists traverse the parks with so many supplies you’d swear they were headed into a third world country where basic necessities are in no way guaranteed. Those bulky bags are nearly always an indicator of a visitor. In the same vein, a lack of bags is a good sign of a local.

If you see a woman without even a purse, it’s probably a Cast Member who doesn’t need anything more than an ID and a credit card because she’s only in the park for a few hours. Cast Members can also leave their belongings backstage in a locker, making it even easier to visit without lugging around a lot of extra items.

6. Watch for Lanyards

Cast Members can’t have their ID showing when they’re onstage out of costume, but many will simply flip them around and keep their handy ID lanyards on anyway. These aren’t like the thick pin lanyards that you can buy in any park gift shop. Cast Member lanyards have a thin string and a metal accent that’s usually either a character or a popular theme park icon. These lanyards can have either a plastic card holder or a small credit card sized zip top bag at the bottom. Regardless of the card that’s on display, these lanyards are an almost foolproof indicator of a Cast Member.

Cast Member spotting can be fun if you’re avidly curious about the people who put the everyday magic in Walt Disney World. Since they can get into the parks for free any time, there are always plenty of Cast Members around on their days off, or passing the time before a shift.

Try to keep in mind, though, that these CMs are off duty and enjoying their time at Disney much like you are. They probably can point you to the nearest bathroom, but so can the greeter passing the time outside the nearest attraction, and she’s getting paid for it.

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There are 108 comments.

Lol the last thing I would care about is spotting an of duty Disney cast member.

Wow the two finger point!!!!! How lame is this entire conversation. I think I just wasted 5 minutes if my life reading this dumb crap.

Please don't tell me all you adults that work at Disney still live with your parents and wear Mickey Mouse underwear??

Yes, I live with my elderly father, but don't (at least not yet) wear Disney underwear. So what? I love my position in the company, and am proud to be a CM...sorry if you can't understand that. Have a wild day!

Nope, I own my home outright and live with my husband. Our parents still live back in our home state (NY).

What's so wrong with being an adult and working at Walt Disney World???

I was a previous Disneyland cast member for 10 1/2 years. I now work at universal citywalk. Every time a guest comes into popcornopolis where I work and they have a button on I automatically wish them happy birthday. I can't get away from the 2 finger point either and I call everyone guest when they enter the store. Force of habit.

In California working in the stores at Disneyland it was burned into ones brain that everyone is a guest until they are caught shoplifting. The work 'customer' is a code word used to alert others to the shoplifter

As an ex Walmart Associate, I use the two finger point. That's mostly because my cousin is a cast member, and she told me about it and it just seems more professional to me. I don't know. Lol.

Fifteen years later after 10 years, I still do the finger point. I still try to find ways to have fun when miserable. I don't miss nearly passing out from heat exhaustion, standing under pouring water, or freezing in 30 degree weather to hold a place for Michael Eisners family for ELP that he would never use. Okay, maybe I do a little... :)

Fifteen years later after 10 years, I still do the finger point. I still try to find ways to have fun when miserable. I don't miss nearly passing out from heat exhaustion, standing under pouring water, or freezing in 30 degree weather to hold a place for Michael Eisners family for ELP that he would never use. Okay, maybe I do a little... :)

Even though I'm far I visit DL CA as much as I can. Over the years I have made friends for life, and a number of these friends are CMs. When we're hanging out they're just as much a guest as I am. There's no difference. They love running around the parks hitting the rides and eating the food. One friend said to me 'I'm so lucky that I get the chance to play where I work' and FYI. I NEVER bother CMs out of the park!! They're off duty BUT sometimes I'll smile and say hi while walking passed them

Yes, we don't get paid much, but the perks and the happiness you get out of making magic makes up for it. I believe if you are that miserable of a CM to not see that and think the pay is so bad and you shouldn't have to answer questions to a guest, maybe you belong at Universal. Very sad to hear a fellow CM say something so negative. Honestly, even if you weren't a CM you would be. And FYI, there are locker rooms all over the place, so if being in your costume @ a grocery store seems to be such an inconvenience, CHANGE. Hopefully you will find a better paying JOB, where you will fit in better.

I recently brought my 91 year old grandmother to DW for her first time. Just about every CM made her feel special. She remembers more about how you all made her feel than the attractions.

I can't thank you guys enough!

I am a bit offended that you said for them that they belong at Universal. As a Universal Orlando TM, I can say with 100% gaurrantee that we have high standards to hold up to as well, just like Disney CMs. We answer questions. We have major guest interactions on a much different level than CMs. We may do things differently, but please, do not belittle us in that nature, as we work rather hard to earn the pay we receive, and the accomplishments we so rightly deserve.

I hope I meet you at my next visit to Universal. I have yet to meet anyone who works there who is nice and helpful.

Universal is NOT Disney. Just got back from both and there is no comparison. Most of the staff while friendly enough had no idea what was going on half the time pertaining to the huge Harry Potter event. And there constant excuse was that they "just" found out about it when they came to work that day. Really? I've known about the event since last August. There were people smoking pot in the kiddie areas that no one did anything about, and just so much general chaos. I had a nice enough time but while I will go back to Disney again and again because of the level of customer service and quality. .. it will probably be a long time before I go to universal again

Don't send that sour puss to us at Universal! We are trying to elevate our service to the standards that Disney has set. I also do not mind helping guests when I'm off the clock. We need them as much as they need us.

Two finger point: Check
Picking up garbage: Check
Taking pictures for guests: Check
Wishing random guests "Happy Birthday" and such: Check

My husband has even picked up on these habits since I started working for Disney 3 years ago. It's in what CM's do and I'm pretty sure it's something I'll always do for the rest of my life. I can honestly say I'm proud to work for Disney. ♥ºoº♥

Another thing that erks me? Disney Hotels.. They are Disney Resorts, not hotels.. If you want a hotel, there's bunch on International Drive..

We've somehow managed to stay a night at all but two of the east and west Disney resort motels. As a guest, probably about 95% of the parks and hotel East coast Disney customer facing staff are nearing excellent scores. (West cost gets only about 45-55%. 'Well, it is an old park.' That statement coming from Disneyland cast members says everything I need to know about the attitude of the entire West coast operation. That is exactly what I think leaving Disneyland, not intending to return. So congratulations to you working next to International Drive. In 1 to 1 competition, Florida wins every time. I mean it. There is no way to fix the California attitude without firing everybody, completely clearing the park, adjusting the pay scale to match the surrounding area, and rehiring everybody new with new hiring processes.)

If you were to base solely on attitude and customer handling alone with no other requirements or comparisons, probably all the Disneyland and Disney World hotels could claim resort in title. Resorts generally mean to the layman, a place to go that you do not need to leave until it is time to go home.

I have to disagree with you on stretching the term resort as Florida Disney has done. So does wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resort. Disney has Resorts and Disney also has motels called resorts in order to avoid a lack of uniformity. I'm not saying these are awful places to be avoided, but...

No concierge rooms, little to no king sized beds, shortage of non-cafeteria style/quick serve type restaurants, no valet parking. From a guest viewpoint all the value 'resorts' are just highly themed Motel Sixes. It is a big stretch calling the Disney value motels, resorts. Getting to your room in any Disney property is usually a long walk from the main building. The value properties ensure your room is outside the main building, which is even worse than most motel sixes.

The Values are impressive from google earth but once in the rooms there is generally nothing holding one there to do anything other than sleep. Even the new Value-Plus with the underwater pool speakers was fun to stay at, but was ultimately just a place to bed down for the night. There may be an activity sheet but the majority of folks are going to be elsewhere at a different location. Transportation is involved to do 99% of the activities.

Skip the mid range and on up to deluxe, and yes, now you have resorts. The rooms are still just rooms but now you have options including kitchens. The lobbies are more than just a place to wait in line. King sized beds, valet parking, restaurants where you have a server, activities in addition to an outside movie. Some have boat rentals. There are concierge people to find restaurant reservations for you and sell you park tickets right next to your concierge level room and snack and alcohol clubhouse. The deluxe resorts deserve the title resort but not the other Disney motels.

Now to confuse even more, West coast Disney has two of three hotels that can claim resort in the name but do not and actually have Hotel in the name. They can claim the neighboring amusement park as part of their own resort area. The third hotel, even with the sit down restaurant, is just a hotel. That is because both the pool theming is nonexistent and you have to walk across a busy street with an abundance of rude drivers and then through another resort hotel to get to the main activity. (Coincidentally, err ironically, this place is self proclaimed as the happiest place on earth.) Ultimately, Paradise Pier gets hotel without possibility of resort status in my book because instead of updating (and retheming) It appears the name was chosen particularly to keep everything as is. I felt like I was vacationing with the cast of the Golden Girls at this hotel. ...and I had to pay additional for parking at a place designed for sleeping motorists, ...a motel. Both the Grand Californian and Disneyland Hotel are worthy of resort in the name as they offer nice rooms, nicely themed pools, sit down food, and sit pretty much on a theme park. Paradise Pier is on a theme park too but you get to see the back side. Besides feeling like you should see a ditzy Betty White character, it feels like this whole hotel is that room next to the noisy ice machine.

Disney could create cohesion with the other two by gutting Paradise Pier and converting it to Villas and Concierge and have it be part of Grand Californian or go the other way and just rename it to a Californian value resort, with price lowering to match.

My best Disney guest educated guess: no need to be irked at all. The Hotel title fits quite well with a number of Disney lodging options. You may have just been talking with someone more familiar with either Southern California or the Value and Mid range of resort motels in Florida.

Look at the shoes! If a cast member is in the park before or after a shift, they will often have plain black shoes or plain white shoes. Anyone with a plain white tshirt and dark pants is a possible CM.

You can also spot the CM's at parades and shows when they sit/stand next or behind you, screaming out to their coworker friends in the shows, singing along loudly and talking back and forth with each other about interesting facts that only they know because they're CM's. *eyeroll*

This just happened to me! Two young men were standing watching the parade and most of the performers acknowledged them in some way. I found it very distracting. It's bad enough when cm's viewing the parade are rude but the performers should have the professionalism to not "talk" to their friend while they are performing.

Side Note: it's also super annoying when performing cm's are carrying on personal conversations while they are supposed to be performing. It doesn't happen with newer shows/parades but watching a show that's been running for a while you start to notice everyone on stage talking to each other.

Actually those are proud friends of the CMs!! My friend worked is butt off to get into the parade and I'm proud of him *eye roll*

They could also be an elementary school teacher who's a Disney Junkie! I love the 2 finger point & have started using it in my classroom. Plus, teachers will 1. Talk to your children often on their level & 2. Always wish a child Happy birthday!

As a CM I usually wear my black lanyard if I'm in the parks. I do have the "Disney Point", pick up trash, talk to kids, take pics, and help guests who look lost. I'm there enjoying myself and we take our time!! I'm NOT allowed to be in costume off duty so I change at Animal Kingdom and go to the parks from there. We wear hiking boots at my location so I always have extra shoes in my car!!

You have found a cast member (or a cast member has found you) when you are casually looking at a park map and they ask if you need help locating an attraction or if your're lost. This happened to us recently. I know the park pretty well and was just consulting the map to see if there was anything we had not yet accomplished that day! The off duty CM explained "he just can't turn it off!" He is programmed to help. We talked for quite awhile. I asked him a few questions about working there; what he did; also found out he has a wife that works there and son; that he was waiting for her to get off work and they were doing some shopping. Very friendly!! Gave me an amazing tip of something I had not thought of doing; called my daughter a princess; and told us to have a magical day! He really could not turn it off. It was awesome! You can also notice a CM when they have a HUGE book in Adventureland for the scavenger hunts. We were doing the Pirate Adventure hunt and the off duty CM explained another park scavenger hunt we didn't know about. He was testing it for Disney....on his OFF time! He, too, was very helpful and friendly; explained the game to us. My dream is to work at Disney!!!! I suppose living in the castle is out of the question.

You have found a cast member (or a cast member has found you) when you are casually looking at a park map and they ask if you need help locating an attraction or if your're lost. This happened to us recently. I know the park pretty well and was just consulting the map to see if there was anything we had not yet accomplished that day! The off duty CM explained "he just can't turn it off!" He is programmed to help. We talked for quite awhile. I asked him a few questions about working there; what he did; also found out he has a wife that works there and son; that he was waiting for her to get off work and they were doing some shopping. Very friendly!! Gave me an amazing tip of something I had not thought of doing; called my daughter a princess; and told us to have a magical day! He really could not turn it off. It was awesome! You can also notice a CM when they have a HUGE book in Adventureland for the scavenger hunts. We were doing the Pirate Adventure hunt and the off duty CM explained another park scavenger hunt we didn't know about. He was testing it for Disney....on his OFF time! He, too, was very helpful and friendly; explained the game to us. My dream is to work at Disney!!!! I suppose living in the castle is out of the question.

You have found a cast member (or a cast member has found you) when you are casually looking at a park map and they ask if you need help locating an attraction or if your're lost. This happened to us recently. I know the park pretty well and was just consulting the map to see if there was anything we had not yet accomplished that day! The off duty CM explained "he just can't turn it off!" He is programmed to help. We talked for quite awhile. I asked him a few questions about working there; what he did; also found out he has a wife that works there and son; that he was waiting for her to get off work and they were doing some shopping. Very friendly!! Gave me an amazing tip of something I had not thought of doing; called my daughter a princess; and told us to have a magical day! He really could not turn it off. It was awesome! You can also notice a CM when they have a HUGE book in Adventureland for the scavenger hunts. We were doing the Pirate Adventure hunt and the off duty CM explained another park scavenger hunt we didn't know about. He was testing it for Disney....on his OFF time! He, too, was very helpful and friendly; explained the game to us. My dream is to work at Disney!!!! I suppose living in the castle is out of the question.

As a former CM, I have to admit, all of these are true. N I loved it! Its just something that becomes apart of you when you work at Disney. I did all these things on my day off. To see the guests happy, it was totally worth it! :)

Worked WDW for 4 years just for fun job. Cast members are Happy people...always smiling, greeting, friendly. DISNEY trains,emphasizes this....
There are always a few Grumps working, mostly full-time begrudgingly working, complaining, as in any job. Lacking pixie dust is right! They should move on, quit. The one thing about Disney is that it is The Happy Place from the minute you pass through the gate. It's a chid's world and you can forget the outside world of woes. Be a kid again....be happy...get happy, stay happy! Wonderful place, Disney...thanks to Uncle Walt and the Mouse

Worked WDW for 4 years just for fun job. Cast members are Happy people...always smiling, greeting, friendly. DISNEY trains,emphasizes this....
There are always a few Grumps working, mostly full-time begrudgingly working, complaining, as in any job. Lacking pixie dust is right! They should move on, quit. The one thing about Disney is that it is The Happy Place from the minute you pass through the gate. It's a chid's world and you can forget the outside world of woes. Be a kid again....be happy...get happy, stay happy! Wonderful place, Disney...thanks to Uncle Walt and the Mouse

Worked WDW for 4 years just for fun job. Cast members are Happy people...always smiling, greeting, friendly. DISNEY trains,emphasizes this....
There are always a few Grumps working, mostly full-time begrudgingly working, complaining, as in any job. Lacking pixie dust is right! They should move on, quit. The one thing about Disney is that it is The Happy Place from the minute you pass through the gate. It's a chid's world and you can forget the outside world of woes. Be a kid again....be happy...get happy, stay happy! Wonderful place, Disney...thanks to Uncle Walt and the Mouse

Worked WDW for 4 years just for fun job. Cast members are Happy people...always smiling, greeting, friendly. DISNEY trains,emphasizes this....
There are always a few Grumps working, mostly full-time begrudgingly working, complaining, as in any job. Lacking pixie dust is right! They should move on, quit. The one thing about Disney is that it is The Happy Place from the minute you pass through the gate. It's a chid's world and you can forget the outside world of woes. Be a kid again....be happy...get happy, stay happy! Wonderful place, Disney...thanks to Uncle Walt and the Mouse

Worked WDW for 4 years just for fun job. Cast members are Happy people...always smiling, greeting, friendly. DISNEY trains,emphasizes this....
There are always a few Grumps working, mostly full-time begrudgingly working, complaining, as in any job. Lacking pixie dust is right! They should move on, quit. The one thing about Disney is that it is The Happy Place from the minute you pass through the gate. It's a chid's world and you can forget the outside world of woes. Be a kid again....be happy...get happy, stay happy! Wonderful place, Disney...thanks to Uncle Walt and the Mouse

Worked WDW for 4 years just for fun job. Cast members are Happy people...always smiling, greeting, friendly. DISNEY trains,emphasizes this....
There are always a few Grumps working, mostly full-time begrudgingly working, complaining, as in any job. Lacking pixie dust is right! They should move on, quit. The one thing about Disney is that it is The Happy Place from the minute you pass through the gate. It's a chid's world and you can forget the outside world of woes. Be a kid again....be happy...get happy, stay happy! Wonderful place, Disney...thanks to Uncle Walt and the Mouse

Worked WDW for 4 years just for fun job. Cast members are Happy people...always smiling, greeting, friendly. DISNEY trains,emphasizes this....
There are always a few Grumps working, mostly full-time begrudgingly working, complaining, as in any job. Lacking pixie dust is right! They should move on, quit. The one thing about Disney is that it is The Happy Place from the minute you pass through the gate. It's a chid's world and you can forget the outside world of woes. Be a kid again....be happy...get happy, stay happy! Wonderful place, Disney...thanks to Uncle Walt and the Mouse

Worked WDW for 4 years just for fun job. Cast members are Happy people...always smiling, greeting, friendly. DISNEY trains,emphasizes this....
There are always a few Grumps working, mostly full-time begrudgingly working, complaining, as in any job. Lacking pixie dust is right! They should move on, quit. The one thing about Disney is that it is The Happy Place from the minute you pass through the gate. It's a chid's world and you can forget the outside world of woes. Be a kid again....be happy...get happy, stay happy! Wonderful place, Disney...thanks to Uncle Walt and the Mouse

Worked WDW for 4 years just for fun job. Cast members are Happy people...always smiling, greeting, friendly. DISNEY trains,emphasizes this....
There are always a few Grumps working, mostly full-time begrudgingly working, complaining, as in any job. Lacking pixie dust is right! They should move on, quit. The one thing about Disney is that it is The Happy Place from the minute you pass through the gate. It's a chid's world and you can forget the outside world of woes. Be a kid again....be happy...get happy, stay happy! Wonderful place, Disney...thanks to Uncle Walt and the Mouse

Worked WDW for 4 years just for fun job. Cast members are Happy people...always smiling, greeting, friendly. DISNEY trains,emphasizes this....
There are always a few Grumps working, mostly full-time begrudgingly working, complaining, as in any job. Lacking pixie dust is right! They should move on, quit. The one thing about Disney is that it is The Happy Place from the minute you pass through the gate. It's a chid's world and you can forget the outside world of woes. Be a kid again....be happy...get happy, stay happy! Wonderful place, Disney...thanks to Uncle Walt and the Mouse

Worked WDW for 4 years just for fun job. Cast members are Happy people...always smiling, greeting, friendly. DISNEY trains,emphasizes this....
There are always a few Grumps working, mostly full-time begrudgingly working, complaining, as in any job. Lacking pixie dust is right! They should move on, quit. The one thing about Disney is that it is The Happy Place from the minute you pass through the gate. It's a chid's world and you can forget the outside world of woes. Be a kid again....be happy...get happy, stay happy! Wonderful place, Disney...thanks to Uncle Walt and the Mouse

Worked WDW for 4 years just for fun job. Cast members are Happy people...always smiling, greeting, friendly. DISNEY trains,emphasizes this....
There are always a few Grumps working, mostly full-time begrudgingly working, complaining, as in any job. Lacking pixie dust is right! They should move on, quit. The one thing about Disney is that it is The Happy Place from the minute you pass through the gate. It's a chid's world and you can forget the outside world of woes. Be a kid again....be happy...get happy, stay happy! Wonderful place, Disney...thanks to Uncle Walt and the Mouse

Worked WDW for 4 years just for fun job. Cast members are Happy people...always smiling, greeting, friendly. DISNEY trains,emphasizes this....
There are always a few Grumps working, mostly full-time begrudgingly working, complaining, as in any job. Lacking pixie dust is right! They should move on, quit. The one thing about Disney is that it is The Happy Place from the minute you pass through the gate. It's a chid's world and you can forget the outside world of woes. Be a kid again....be happy...get happy, stay happy! Wonderful place, Disney...thanks to Uncle Walt and the Mouse

Worked WDW for 4 years just for fun job. Cast members are Happy people...always smiling, greeting, friendly. DISNEY trains,emphasizes this....
There are always a few Grumps working, mostly full-time begrudgingly working, complaining, as in any job. Lacking pixie dust is right! They should move on, quit. The one thing about Disney is that it is The Happy Place from the minute you pass through the gate. It's a chid's world and you can forget the outside world of woes. Be a kid again....be happy...get happy, stay happy! Wonderful place, Disney...thanks to Uncle Walt and the Mouse

Worked WDW for 4 years just for fun job. Cast members are Happy people...always smiling, greeting, friendly. DISNEY trains,emphasizes this....
There are always a few Grumps working, mostly full-time begrudgingly working, complaining, as in any job. Lacking pixie dust is right! They should move on, quit. The one thing about Disney is that it is The Happy Place from the minute you pass through the gate. It's a chid's world and you can forget the outside world of woes. Be a kid again....be happy...get happy, stay happy! Wonderful place, Disney...thanks to Uncle Walt and the Mouse

Worked WDW for 4 years just for fun job. Cast members are Happy people...always smiling, greeting, friendly. DISNEY trains,emphasizes this....
There are always a few Grumps working, mostly full-time begrudgingly working, complaining, as in any job. Lacking pixie dust is right! They should move on, quit. The one thing about Disney is that it is The Happy Place from the minute you pass through the gate. It's a chid's world and you can forget the outside world of woes. Be a kid again....be happy...get happy, stay happy! Wonderful place, Disney...thanks to Uncle Walt and the Mouse

A few years ago my daughter had mentioned to me that the only princess she hadn't got a chance to meet was Tiana. As the day was drawing to a close for us we were inside the Christmas store in MK. There was a group of young ladies next to us and by their conversation I could tell they were CMs. One of the girls picked up the Tiana ornament and said to the others, 'look it's me'. She later struck up a conversation with my daughter for just a bit. Not wanting to ruin the illusion of the Princesses are regular CMs, I have still never told her who she was. But I will always know that yes, she really did get to meet and talk to Tiana. It was just a little but of extra magic for this Momma!

Cast members always say "on property" when referencing WDW property

My wife and I go to Disney every year for some alone time away from the kids. I have never thought to look for these things but will in the future! Interesting, thanks!

I've never been a cast member, but we go often, we've picked up some of their traits. Yes, I point with two fingers and frequently wish guests Happy birthday or anniversary. And I love to people watch. Since we have adult children and frequently go by ourselves, I loved to watch the reactions of other people's children.

Lol Ive done every one of these things. Havent worked there in two years and I still use the two finger point.

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