Home » Walt Disney World Secrets Only Custodial Cast Members Know

    Walt Disney World Secrets Only Custodial Cast Members Know

    Custodial cast member

    “Give the public everything you can give them, keep the place as clean as you can keep it, and keep it friendly” – Walt Disney.

    It is no secret that when Walt Disney announced his initial ideas for Disneyland he was met with some opposition. Much of this opposition was in relation to the finances it would take to build the park, a main concern of his brother Roy. Others, like his wife Lillian, worried that the park’s concept of a place where parents and children could have fun together would be tainted by the dirty atmosphere that often develops in amusement parks.

    Walt was left with having to reassure the public that his park would be different– that keeping it clean would be just as important as keeping guests happy. When developing Disneyland, and eventually all of the other Disney parks, great care was taken to ensure that the parks would be as clean as they possibly could before even factoring in the custodial cast members. Research was done to understand how far the average person would walk while holding onto garbage before it ultimately ends up on the ground. This data (about 30 steps) is now the approximate number of space between trash cans in the parks today.

    Lillian Disney had another important influence in terms of the development of the parks’ custodial developments. When it came time to design costumes for Disneyland’s cast members, Lillian suggested that custodial cast members wear white to encourage them to take extra care in their work to keep their costumes clean. She also thought that the full white costumes would help these cast members stand out among the crowds in the park so that guests would be able to track down a cast member easier if they needed assistance.

    Everyone is a custodial cast member

    Custodial cast member

    Image: Disney

    If you were to sit in on a multi-role training session at the Disney park, you may occasionally overhear the trainer asking the question, “Who is a custodial cast member?” If no one in the room has worked for the company before, chances are only the cast members whose job title is custodial will raise their hand. The correct answer however, is everyone. Every cast member at Disney theme park is a custodial cast member to some extent.

    When cast members learn about the culture of Disney parks, they often take away a sense of pride in their workplace that is difficult to replicate in any other setting. Clearly stating that every cast member is a custodial cast member, and teaching about why and how the Disney parks are kept as clean as they are for guests, creates a sense of pride and community that only Disney is capable of fostering.

    Custodial Cast

    Image: Disney

    The Disney Scoop, a method of quickly scooping up trash on the ground and discarding it while walking, is one of the first things all cast members learn when they work for the company. Think of it as an equalizer of sorts: nobody particularly wants to be picking up trash, but if everyone does it together it really isn’t so bad. The Disney Scoop is also another example of all cast members having pride in where they work that simply can’t be replicated in other companies. Some cast members are so passionate about keeping the parks clean, you may even catch them doing the Disney Scoop while visiting the parks as guests.


    Custodial cast member

    Image: Disney

    While training in the custodial role, cast members learn everything from the most efficient sweeping techniques to radio codes, and of course their way around their location. Whether at a park or resort, custodial cast members spend a great deal of time learning about their location, since they are some of the first cast members that guests will find when they have questions.

    They also participate in hands on classes where they are taught the best ways to tie and empty trash bags, the easiest ways to sweep various kinds of objects, which chemicals to use for which kinds of clean-ups and more. One of the most important parts of training for custodial cast members is learning radio codes and the code words that Disney requires them to use in front of guests. Radio codes help their locations work efficiently by communicating clearly with other cast members and leaders, while code words keep the magic alive for guests who probably don’t want to hear about what kind of messes need to be cleaned up during their vacation.

    Custodial cast members are also required to pass an assessment in which a coordinator shadows them during a shift and may quiz them on general questions they should know in case guests ask.

    What the role actually entails

    Custodial cast member

    Image: Disney

    Where other roles at Disney parks involve some element of cleaning, the custodial role involves a lot more than just cleaning. Most Disney cast members need to stay within certain areas of the parks and resorts. Even if cast members are trained in different locations, the costume they are currently wearing may prohibit them from straying too far from where they currently stand. Custodial cast members on the contrary, wear entirely white costumes, letting them seamlessly walk between lands in the park without looking out of place.

    Custodial cast members are often the first point of contact with guests simply because they are the most visible. Think about it, if you have a question while on Main Street U.S.A. are you going to run into the Emporium to find a cast member or ask the custodial cast member who is sweeping only a few feet away? Like every role at a Disney park then, a large part of a custodial cast member’s day really is working in a guest services setting. Sweeping may be the current task, but helping guests is really what they’re doing.

    Chaz, Custodial cast member

    Image: Brittany DiCologero

    For someone who has never worked in custodial, or anywhere at a Disney park for that matter, it may be difficult to understand just how much this contributes specifically to the custodial role. Consider how many guests visit any one of the parks on a given day. One custodial cast member even when spending a day in limited areas of the park will come into contact with hundreds or sometimes even thousands of guests during a shift.

    Aside from being around to answer questions, custodial cast members are often able to take photos for guests, pin trade, and like all other Disney cast members they are able to create happiness and unique magical moments for guests when the opportunities arrive. Though there is often a lengthy waiting period, custodial cast members are also able to learn how to create water art using their brooms, and depending on their location they may also find themselves assisting other cast members in crowd control or dancing with guests during parades and shows.

    The guest interaction aspect of this role is one of the main reasons why so many people want to work in custodial at a Disney park. Another reason is the level of freedom custodial cast members have compared to cast members working in other roles. Even within their home location, custodial cast members are able to spend some of their day indoors and other parts of the day outdoors. They have the ability to be moved around the parks, and may even pick up shifts in other locations if they like.

    “Teamwork makes the dream work”

    Custodial Cast

    Custodial is one of the most underrated roles at a Disney park, because people who have not experienced it firsthand often only take this role at face value. While it is doubtful that any custodial cast member seriously enjoys cleaning restrooms during their shift, there is so much more to their role that guests take for granted.

    Many areas of the Walt Disney Company, including custodial, foster family-like relationships between coworkers. When cast members are working together all the time, and their cooperation with each other is vital to a productive and successful shift, it is no surprise that they can become quite close. Custodial is also a role where cast members tend to feel that they are on an equal playing ground with each other. There may be certain locations where cast members prefer to work, but overall there is little competition or animosity towards coworkers that can sometimes exist in other environments when delegating tasks.

    Custodial cast members

    Image: Disney

    The next time you find yourself needing a quick photo taken, directions, or even just a recommendation for where to get dinner strike up a conversation with the nearest custodial cast member– the high level of guest interaction is what makes them love coming to work everyday, and they would be happy to help!