First Day at Disney

My Disney NametagI had my first day working for Disney on Saturday. It was really just orientation so it was an all-day class with about 100 other new employees. It was a long day, but it wasn’t bad. The quick breakdown is that I’ve been assigned to the one of the PhotoPass Photographers at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I should get about 16 hours a week on Fridays and Saturdays. I start Saturday with my training.

I decided to put that my home town is Simpsonville, SC instead of Orlando. They gave me the choice to put where I currently live, where I grew up, or where I consider home. I decided Simpsonville is a much more interesting place to have on my nametag than Orlando. Maybe that decision alone will lead to a few conversations I never would have had before.

Now I thought you’d be interested in a few observations I made from Orientation:

  • We are all CAST members. It’s about a show, not a job.
  • Disney has a certain look they want their cast members to adhere to. For example, I have to take my earring out. But also at orientation, they had someone checking people. I heard one cast member say to one of the new guys that his sideburns were too long and his options were to come back when he shaved them, or Disney would give him a razor to take care of it right now. They’re serious about this!
  • Speaking of the Disney look, did you know men cast members couldn’t have any facial hair until the year 2000?
  • Oh, my mistake. It wasn’t orientation. It was “Disney Traditions”. My apologies.
  • Our common goal is to create happiness by providing the finest in entertainment for people of all ages everywhere!
  • At Disney, we define success as Faith + Trust + Pixie Dust. We all must find our Pixie Dust.
  • When I got my name tag, they sprinkled pixie dust on my head.
  • I never knew the story of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit until Saturday. Interesting story. The short version is Walt Disney was successful with Oswald but contracts took Oswald away from Disney. On the train back from New York to LA, Walt drew a mouse that looked like the rabbit. Walt’s wife named him Mickey.
  • I’m kidding about getting sprinkled with pixie dust.
  • One thing that was fun on the first day was I kept sizing everyone up as if they were going to be a Disney character. Like one girl I saw would make a nice princess. Another girl I saw would make a great evil witch. And there was a guy who could play a prince. I’m sure none of them will play those roles, but it was a fun mental exercise when nothing was going on.
  • I am less than 2 months older than The Walt Disney World Resort. It opened Oct 1, 1971.
  • There was a guy in our class who is 69. He said he’s been to Disney almost every year of his life and when he retired he wanted to work there. He’s now a custodian and he’s thrilled!
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  • That’s great! I love hearing the inside scoop on Disney! They really know how to do it right! I look forward to hearing more of your stories.

  • Is there a blogging policy there?

    BTW, I’m coming down for some meetings April 22-25. I expect a tour!

  • rob

    @Sheldon : they don’t have wifi in the parks so I’m not sure they have much of a blogging policy. If they do, it’s probably goofy.

    I had heard you were coming in April. Solo?

  • Sounds great, Rob! Now on to the good stuff–do you get a free pass?

  • When I was in band, we performed once at Magic Kingdom. One thing I really remember from the experience is that when we were going “behind the scenes,” they were really strict about no photography. If they caught you with a camera out, the film was theirs (not many digicams at this time). Nothing like a snapshot of Cinderella on her smoke break.

    On a sidenote, I’ve heard about the practice of “casting” employees instead of hiring. Good idea, IMO. It makes employees conscious of how they’re affecting the overall experience of park visitors, no matter what their role is.

  • rob

    @Jim : yeah, they told us about the strict no-photo policy “backstage”. It was kinda interesting seeing a princess looking tired and eating a hotdog while sitting across from some other character. I’ve gotta brush up on my character lineup!

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