Cast members might have an enviable job in a lot of ways, but there is no denying that they work extremely hard. Regardless of weather conditions or whatever might be going on in their own lives, cast members are out there every day, sometimes on 12 hour or longer shifts, doing everything they can to make your vacation magical. Naturally, it can be tough to maintain an upbeat attitude under these conditions, but good cast members have some tricks up their sleeves.
1. Staying cool (or warm)
Central Florida weather is notoriously unpredictable, but it is guaranteed to be hot and muggy in the summer, and freezing cold for at least a few days in the winter. It’s hard to give much of yourself to anyone when you are physically uncomfortable, so cast members have developed ways of staying ahead of the weather. When I sold ice cream at Disney’s Hollywood Studios one brutally hot summer, my trainer taught me to wet a towel, freeze it in the dry ice, and wrap it around the back of my neck. Likewise, a couple of long-sleeved layers under the wardrobe costume, topped with a thick jacket, can help keep cast members cozy and, therefore, more upbeat.
2. Finding ways to play
The fact is, many front-line jobs are highly repetitive. How many times in a row could you realistically repeat the Jungle Cruise spiel or tell shoppers to have a magical day before your eyes started to glass over? Fortunately, Disney cast members are not only allowed, but actively encouraged, to play. Cast members are great at making up games and inviting guests to participate.
They are also highly competitive, and think of creative ways to stay motivated by competing amongst themselves for fastest (safe) dispatch, best stall material, most of a particular item sold, and the like. These games and activities help the time pass more quickly, improve wait times by increasing guest flow-through, prevent cast members’ presentation style from getting stale, and improve the morale of both cast members and guests.
3. Keeping an eye on the prize
Though pay scales may be low, overtime adds up. Many cast members spend the slow seasons looking forward to the next time overtime will be approved, and have grand plans for how they will spend the extra cash. When you’re on your 17th hour in a row and haven’t had a break for the past 3, remembering why you signed up for so much overtime in the first place can be a powerful motivator.