As they say, once a cast member, always a cast member. If you‘ve ever wondered what it’s like to be part of the Disney magic or you need a little sparkle in your life, this blog is for you. Recently I’ve been missing my life as a cast member and I couldn’t figure out why, so I wrote it down and here’s what I came up with....
In true Disney fashion, all of the areas that you could be seen by the general public was known as ‘onstage’ and all the hidden cast-members-
only areas were ‘backstage’. Getting back into the real world and using this terminology in your everyday life can confuse people - trust me! Also, nobody was ever going to the toilet, they were always visiting ‘the wishing well’. And Ariel never had a lunch break, instead she was going to find Scuttle. Every sentence was quite an extravagant adventure.
The Disney Point and Disney Scoop
One of the first things you’ll learn at Disney University is “The Disney Point”. Instead of the standard one-finger-point that you’re all used to, Disney introduces the two-finger-point which is a more polite point. Also, the cleanliness of every Disney theme park is far from accidental. Not only are the cleaning team absolute ninjas at spotting any trash, but every Disney Cast Member is expected to do the Disney Scoop whenever they spot something out of place. This consists of lunging down to the ground in a casual scoop as you pick up the item, and then continuing to walk as though nothing happened.
Everyday was Dress-Up Day
I mean what else needs to be said on the matter. The unfortunate reality is that us ‘real-worlders’ now have to wait until Halloween, our wedding day or our work Christmas party to be able to wear something spectacular that we wouldn’t wear everyday. In my Disney days, I sometimes had up to 6 costume changes in one day!
Character interactions never get old
You’d think that you would get used to seeing Minnie Mouse waving at you or Sully from Monsters Inc giving you a big bear-hug. But I’m telling you my heart still skips a beat when I see Disney characters wandering around the parks and I will wave and animate like a crazy person to get their attention. One of my favourite moments on the ship was when I casually walked onto the viewing deck and saw Maleficent silently staring out at the glowing sunset in the distance with her head held high and her enchanted staff in hand. I thought it was an extremely surreal and equally terrifying experience as I crept back to the safety of indoors, leaving her to it.
My Disney knowledge was ON POINT
Between Disney’s induction training, the characters that I was constantly surrounded by and the fact that I hosted so many Disney events and game shows, there was a period of time that I had the most random knowledge of all things Disney. From knowing the exact dates that the films were released and each Disney park opened, to knowing every name of every single character, no matter how small the part, I definitely think my brain cells were laced with pixie dust.
Every season was a big deal
You’ve never seen a seasonal transformation anything like you have at Disney. Overnight the park can transform into an autumnal pumpkin-filled misty maze of orange leaves and villain embellishments or a glittering candy-cane sprinkled winter wonderland. You knew FOR SURE when the next season began!
Genuinely making people’s day
This truly goes without saying. Seeing the happy tears of children and adults who came face to face with their childhood dreams and were fully immersed in their happy-place was priceless.
The amount of cardio I did without going to the gym
Forget about the parades and the shows and rehearsals. Getting from one side of the theme park to the other or rushing from the rehearsal studio to the canteen was all the cardio you’d need! I now struggle to change platform at the train station without getting out of breath!
Free Disney Park access and crazy cast member discount
This is obviously a major part of being a Disney Cast member, I loved having worldwide access to most Disney theme parks and a hefty discount on any food drink or merchandise I bought. This meant that most down-time is also spent at Disney so that you can make the most of it. This part never gets old!
Living in ‘The Bubble’ and meeting people from all over the world
I’ve met some of my best friends through working at Disney - people who I would have never had the opportunity to cross paths with in the ‘real-world’. I’ve been to Disney weddings, met up with friends all around the world and there’s always a never ending bucket list due to the many different nationalities hired by Disney. I’m still slowly making my way through it and loving every second.
The ridiculous amount of talent everywhere
Disney is the mega-giant in the world of entertainment, so it’s no surprise that it hires the best of the best. During my years with Disney I worked alongside some unbelievably talented people, which always inspired me. Many of them have now gone on to perform in the West End, Broadway, theatre tours, television and it’s so great to see that Disney played a part in their journey.
OK, here’s the thing, I’ve seen A LOT of fireworks in my lifetime. But I’ve never seen any fireworks like I have at Disney! No Bonfire night extravaganza, 4th of July celebration or New Years Eve display has the same effect as a Disney firework show. The music courses through your veins, the sky lights up in the most bold and beautiful colours and look as though they fill the entire sky as the fireworks burst open into hundreds of trails of shooting stars. They’re truly magical - how they can put on a show like that every night baffles me.
Photo opportunities everywhere
It’s no secret that I’m a very snappy-happy human and love to document everything! Disney have the most beautiful backdrops that make the BEST photo locations. Whether it’s getting the perfect photo in front of the castle or making it look as if you’ve been all around the world in one day at Epcot, you’re guaranteed to come home with amazing photos without even trying.
I often find myself sitting on the London Underground and thinking to myself “what’s missing here?” And it turns out that what’s missing is music. Disney just don’t seem to have a silent area anywhere in their parks or ships (apart from backstage) Everywhere you go you’ll hear the theme tune from a popular Disney movie that instantly brings back an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia. Or the gentle chime of a piano song that you’ve never heard, but somehow it sounds familiar.
You may be wondering if why I’m not still there since I love it so much, but I now enjoy being on the other side of the magic. No job comes without its downside, and although my Disney years are amongst some of the most magical I’ve ever had, I don’t miss the long hours, the crazy shift patterns and the sometimes unrealistic levels of perfection that was expected. (Did you know that you it’s possible to smile SO much that your entire mouth starts to quiver visibly and shake uncontrollably?! I’m pretty sure that EVERY single cast member has experienced this!) I love to escape to Disney to refill my cup of joy, and as an adult who used up work there, I completely understand what it takes to make Disney work so well and I appreciate it more now than ever before.
With all that being said, I think I’m definitely overdue a visit back to the bubble 😁✈️