Magic Kingdom Worker Interview
Ever wanted to get the scoop on a Walt Disney World park from an insider's view? Recently, a cast member from the Magic Kingdom answered questions online during a "I Am A . . ." discussion at Reddit.com. The cast member states he/she works at the Magic Kingdom's main entrance turnstiles and also in "parade audience control;" in the past, the cast member has worked in merchanidse and at Toy Story Mania at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
In the recent discussion, the cast member opens up about guests, costume character underwear and those searches before you even get to the park. Here's a sample of the recent Q & A session. (Please note the questions, answers and its formatting are part of the original discussion and haven't been altered in any way for this site. We've only taken the liberty to make the questions appear in bold type so they stand out from the answers.)
What's the weirdest thing you've ever seen?
That's really tough, if only because of the sheer volume of incredibly weird people I see. Just the other day there was a pair of fully-grown adults dressed up as Peter Pan and slutty Tinker Bell (it was a child's costume) who thought it was appropriate and that us not letting them in dressed like that was "ruining the magic for them." (Adults in costume is against policy anyways, much less when it's something crazy like that.)
Also, a few weeks ago during the daily flag retreat, right before the band started playing, and all of the background music was off so it was deathly quiet, a lady with Tourette's walked right through town square shouting obscenities, at first we thought we were gonna have to break up a fight (wouldn't be the first time), but it was just incredibly awkward.
How much fun is working for Disney?
I really, really enjoy it. There's some crap, but there's gonna be that at any job. More often than not, my interactions with guests leave a huge smile on my face. It's just an experience you can't get at any other job.
How happy are you required to be?
They like us to smile all the time. Which really isn't as hard as it sounds.
Do you personally like Disney? Are you a fan, or can you not watch anything Disney because it's "work"? How many famous people have you seen come through the front gates?
I'm a huge Disney fan. More so since I started working. Famous people don't usually come through the front gates. I saw a lot when I worked at Toy Story though, especially during ESPN the weekend.
What's your happiest memory from working at the happiest place on earth?
Oh god, just too many to count. After the parade a couple weeks ago a little girl riding on her moms shoulders walking next to me asked if it was possible to go into the castle. I told her yes and she yelled, "I love you!" and gave me a hug. Things like that happen weekly. It's awesome.
Does it get annoying hearing the same happy-go-lucky music all day?
Yes and No. It kinda varies. You will catch me singing to it ALL the time.
As someone who I assume can ride/do anything at the park on their day off, what is the best/your favorite attraction? What is the most overrated?
I'm a little biased, but I LOVE Toy Story. It helps that I know how to activate all the secrets. Overrated? Peter Pan's flight. Not worth the ridiculous wait at all.
Can you please elaborate, what secrets in that ride?
Each game has a "secret" you can activate through doing certain things, look up a guide.
Is it true that Disney provides company underwear for the costumed characters?
Not for years. I've read the article, I think that was in 2001 they stopped.
Craigslist tickets: am I going to get in with them?
No. Not if you bring them to me, at least. Biometrics work!
Do the cast appreciate how fruitless the half-hearted bag "searches" are at the gate? Is it really just for "optics"? Just checking the main pocket of backpacks really doesn't stop anyone from bringing a prohibited item into the park.
You'd actually be surprised how much stuff gets caught. They catch a ton of alcohol and knives.
What would be your top tip for guests ... something you think is great about Disney World that fewest guests discover?
Master Fastpasses. Go during offseasons. ALWAYS GO TO THE 11 O'CLOCK PARADE. It's the same as the 9 o'clock one and infinitely less crowded.
How does the park get cleared out at night?
It's a pretty thorough process " areas close down back to front, getting full sweeps and then blocking people from going further back in until everything is completely closed. Also, you have to know that there's custodial and engineering there all night " it's not like everyone just leaves after a certain time.
is it true that the park releases cats out into the ground to catch any rats?
That happened at Disneyland after it first opened.
Do you ever have to turn people away who are dressed like princesses? ...I know my gf was slightly disappointed when we went to Disneyland (her first time) and knew about the no adults in costumes or garb rule.
A couple times. Earlier this week we had an adult Peter Pan and Tinker Bell, with the Tinker Bell being INCREDIBLY inappropriate. She was 40-something, heavyset, and it was clearly a child's costume. Needless to say, it didn't fit well. We get a lot of Jack Sparrows as well.
What's the most outrageous thing you've overheard a parent tell their child or better yet, a child tell their parent?
Well, you'll get the parents you wanna just smack for ruining the magic "I wanna meet mickey!" "NO YOU DON'T HES JUST A GUY IN A SUIT!" kids face drops as his world crumbles around him
I've had parents tell their child that I hate them and that's why I won't let them stand in the middle of the sidewalk blocking foot traffic during a parade.
It's hard to pinpoint outrageous from a child because, hey, we're at Disney and most of the crazy nonsense you get from them just kinda fits. Also, in general, kids tend to be better behaved overall at Disney than other places they go. It's just the atmosphere. You'll get the average spoiled kid occasionally, but I've never seen one so crazy it blows my mind.
I am a cheapskate at heart, so I want to think that Disney is over priced, but every time I go to any Disney park, I am blown away by how professional and courteous almost every cast member is. This is in spite of hot or cold weather, nice or nasty guests, etc. I always leave thinking it was totally worth it. What kind of training do you get in customer service?
We spend an entire day doing a "Traditions" class that teaches us what's expected. Working here, you really feel like part of a legacy, and you don't wanna be the one who ruins it. So basically, it comes naturally.
Are the people who play the princess'/princes stuck up? I mean in my head when I see pictures of them I just can't believe the are all nice and sweet like the portray.
Yes. A large number of them have a "better than thou" attitude. Some are very nice though.
Do the stuck up princesses stay around?
You're only young and pretty for so long.
If you'd like to see the discussion in its complete form, head over here.