The Disney Look – This would include- hair that is basically one color, one that is at least “natural” to a human; no visible tattoos are permitted; no facial hair growing out (if you grow a beard, mustache, etc. on your days off and it is well-groomed when you return that is ok); your appearance needs to be clean-cut and your costume free of marks or tears. There are other requirements, such as eyewear must be plain, no product names or bling permitted. Shoes must be plain, no bold logos allowed. Jewelry is very limited. The idea is to get your “look” to be the same, as much as possible, as your co-workers.
Patience – I wonder how many times a day a Cast Member is asked the same question, yet they respond to each guest politely. This is understandably part of the job but it must be easier to do with lots of patience.
Good Customer Service Skills – When we are on vacation we want to keep everything pleasant, but sometimes we get anxious and don’t ask or say something to others in the kindest ways. It is helpful to have a CM step in and diffuse a situation with good customer service skills. If a guest is very unhappy being told their child is not the right height to ride an attraction they may start shouting. Cast Members try to diffuse the anger of the parent and minimize any additional anguish in the child when their parent is making a scene. CM’s are very good about letting the child understand they may not be tall enough this time but when they come back on their next WDW vacation they will probably be the right height to ride. The fact is, if the child is not tall enough, they just aren’t and it would be unsafe for the CM to allow the child to ride.
Attention to Safety – This is crucial. You must know and understand all the safety-critical information for your attraction(s), or the correct temperature for food if you are in food-service, and what to do in case of severe weather or what to do in case a fire breaks out. You need to know what to do and who to call if a child is lost, a guest needs medical attention, and so many other incidents that occur in the parks on a regular basis. Being able to act wisely in these situations require a Cast Member to study and be tested in their knowledge of safety measures. Some CM need to be CPR-trained as well. CM’s must study what to do, put it into practice in drills, and be tested in their knowledge so when a situation arises, they know instinctively what to do.
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Good Memory – There is much information for Cast Member’s to study, understand and memorize. You need to be able to answer almost any question a guest could ask you, especially regarding the Park that you are in. You will have some guide sheets to help you, but most you just need to know. If you are a Disney Bus driver you need to have all the bus routes on property memorized. Drivers do not simply follow the same routes throughout their careers, or even throughout their shifts. You don’t want to get lost on Disney property after dark with a bus load of tired guests! If you work a large attraction you need to know the layout of the building-both backstage and onstage. You need to know how to get to each section of the attraction in an emergency. Imagine getting from your spot loading guests when the ride stops. You need to know where that queue of guests need to go to exit safely. Then you are sent to a remote area of your attraction, so you need to know the exact path to take back stage to get to those guests. Don’t forget how to release them from the ride vehicle! You must remember what path, stairs, and doors you are to guide them down to exit the attraction. If you are controlling the ride and you see a guest stand up and start climbing out of a ride vehicle—what do you do? There is no time to look these things up, you need to know your immediate response is the right one. If you are performing live on stage in one of the many shows on WDW property, such as Lion King, you can’t have a memory lapse and come in dancing or singing at the wrong time, or in the wrong costume! Some of this is easier to remember just from the number of times you do it, over and over. Emergencies do arise and you will need to remember the right things to do, without having done them before, so a good memory and a lot of common sense, goes a long way. Another memory test is when you are to find a specific place in a different area from your “home”, such as in the Utiladors.
Strength & Stamina – you will need this in order to work the long hours required of you during busy times and if you work at a major attraction that has you running up and down repeatedly through the day you will appreciate those hours you spent getting in condition for the job. When guests need evacuated you may have to dash up hundreds of stairs to get to the top of your attraction so being in top shape is important. Some attractions will require you to pull or push ride vehicles to get them to a position that guests can disembark from during an evacuation. So strength is helpful to pull/push a heavy ride vehicle and the weight of all the guests on it, times however many ride vehicles to which you are assigned.
A Good Heart – Last, but certainly not least. In fact, this is one of the most endearing qualities of a good Cast Member. Most CM’s come to work at Walt Disney World because they fell in love with the place coming as children and want to be a part of the Magic. They do their best to make each Guest’s experience a good one. They enjoy working with each other and work hard to create a safe and enjoyable experience for Guests.