Sunday, 10 April 2016

Working for the Mouse | Not So Secret Cast Member Rules


If you have followed me for a while you will know that in summer 2013 I was a cast member at Walt Disney World, so today I am going to share with you some "Rules" Disney has for employees and why most of these still apply to me today. Disney provides Cast Members with world class training and some of the things I was taught will stay with me forever.

1. The Disney Point. This is absolutely a thing. During training I was taught that we must only point or gesture using 2 fingers, as pointing with 1 can be considered rude in some cultures. I will now only ever point using 2 fingers, and I'm pretty sure most former cast members will agree that it just sticks.

2. Never say I don't know. It was drilled into us that were never to say "I don't know" to a guest if asked a question. Even if it was something we had no idea about, we had to radio the coordinators to find the answer.

3. The bend and scoop. Cast Members are encouraged to feel proud of their park both when working and when visiting as a guest, that meant picking up any litter hanging around. We were taught to do this in a particular way while walking, dubbed the bend a scoop, the name being pretty self explanatory for the action. Even though I am no longer a cast member, you will sometimes find me doing the bend and scoop in the parks while tutting and muttering about litterbugs.

4. Never break character onstage. This does not only apply to entertainment cast members, but everyone. From keeping a smile on your face to telling stories, we were all in character while on stage. Why is there a wire going from Cinderella's castle you ask? Well Prince Charming needs somewhere to hang his washing, doesn't he?

5. Disney Look. Disney are very strict on Cast Member grooming, which includes not having any visible tattoos or piercings (except 1 pair of studs in ears, female only), hair colour has to be natural and cannot show a difference of more than 2 shades (meaning no highlights or dip dyes, also dyed hair cannot have roots showing), men's hair cannot go below their ears, no extreme hairstyles, no jewelry (except a plain wedding band or religious symbols) and neat looking nails are among a few of the guidelines put in place. These are enforced, especially when becoming a new Cast Member. We were all "inspected" by a manager and if anyone was found to be not sporting the Disney Look they had to change it.

6. Make Magic. We were encouraged to always make magic for our guests. People spend thousands to come to Disney, and some may not ever make it back again, so making every moment count was key. From wishing someone a "Happy Birthday" to giving a free bucket of popcorn, it's the little things that keep people smiling during a hot, busy Florida summer.

7. Getting down to their level. Children are at the heart of Disney, and Cast Members are to treat them as equals. When talking to a child we were always to get down on one knee so we were at their level, making the child not feel talked down too, but like that are equally as important in a conversation. By making that child feel special and putting a smile on their face, it gives the parents a much needed break from a possible upcoming temper tantrum. 

Being a Cast Member really was one of the most magical experiences of my whole life and really helped me develop my skills in the workplace while giving me memories that will last a lifetime. If only I could re-live that summer again and again!

Have you ever been a Cast Member?


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