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How To Become A Cast Member at Walt Disney World

By Cassie

If the thought crossed your mind one day while visiting Walt Disney World that you would like to work here, you are not alone. The magic of Walt Disney World draws many previous guests back to the resort for the purpose of working there. Below you will find the steps you should take if you want to become a Cast Member.

Talk to other people who are already Cast Members. If you are serious about applying they can guide you in that process and if you put their information on your application they can get a cash reward for recommending you! They can give you a realistic understanding of the work you will be getting into. Visit www.disneycareers.com where you can read stories of Cast Members and see current openings.

If you would like to be a part of the wildly popular College Program you can access information here: http://wdw.disneycareers.com/en/students/overview/     Check with your university registration office to make sure they are part of the program. You will be given a job, at Disney’s discretion, earn college credit, be educated in the Disney way, have housing and transportation with housing fees taken out of your paycheck, and be part of a group that is hard working and enjoying perks like admission to the theme parks.

While visiting the parks as a guest, really take the time to observe how Cast Members perform their duties and their interaction with guests, of all kinds. You will be expected to be knowledgeable in all your duties, making safety your number one focus, you will demonstrate a professional presence, and use good judgment. You are literally “on-stage” whenever you are around the public. Your appearance and demeanor need to present “good show”. There is so much more to working an attraction, for instance, than telling people what row to get into on the ride vehicle. Listen to how some guests speak to the Cast Members. Do you think you have the patience to answer the same question 100 times a day, or helping a guest who is not asking in a nice way at all? Do you know your park well enough to be able to tell a guest where they can find a corn dog or a turkey leg? Are your verbal skills good enough to point a guest to the nearest restroom quickly?

Be realistic in your expectations. Decide if you want to work full time or part time. Do you need healthcare? Then you need to choose Full Time because it is not available for part time workers. Full time CM’s also enjoy Vacation and sick leave. Disney prefers applications without restrictions on days and hours. However, you will have an opportunity at your in-person interview to tell what three days you prefer to work as a part time applicant. They will then schedule you for any hours during those three days that are appropriate to the season. For instance when the park is extremely busy, during the Holidays and summer hours the parks will most likely stay open for longer, so they need CM’s to stay also. You may wind up working some very long shifts for several days in a row. Be sure you are physically able to do that.

Don’t expect to start at attractions and find yourself in an Animator’s position a year later. Networking is important at Disney, as it is in every corporate business. Share your desire to move up into any position in the animation department with anyone who may be moving up the ladder themselves. It is not impossible, but it definitely has challenges. There are many talented and bright individuals currently doing all kinds of jobs below what they are capable of, waiting for an opportunity to open up within the company. There are also talented college-age students trying out the company and earning school credit at the same time. Actually you will find Cast Members in all age brackets and stages of their careers. You will see the starting pay for the different positions on the website, can you live within that pay grade? Visiting warm Florida in the midst of multiple blizzards up north is different from living here all year, do you think you can tolerate the hot and humid summers?

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You will have to have the “Disney Look”. What does that mean? It is a “clean, natural, polished and professional” look according to the disneycareers website. You will be wearing a Disney costume when onstage and thanks to the large Costuming department you can get a clean costume for each shift if you don’t want to wash them yourself. It is convenient that the costumes do wash well at home and rarely need ironing so there is no reason for you to have a dirty or damaged costume. That takes care of your costume, what about your personal appearance. Disney does not permit visible tattoos, filing of teeth, earlobe expansions, spacers or retainers, or jewelry to name a few. If you wear glasses they need to be very simple without any adornments or logos and be in a conservative color. Sunglasses follow the same restrictions. No mirror lenses are permitted. There are hair considerations. For men, hair must be cut neatly and symmetrically and should not cover any part of the ears or shirt collar. Men may shave their heads but not their eyebrows. For both men and women they cannot have crazy colors or bleaching. Men can sport a fully grown beard, mustache or goatee as long as it is neatly maintained at no longer than ¼”. You cannot let your facial hair “grow out” while you are working, it must be fully grown to meet standards. Females must have a classic style, hair out of the face, no shaving of the head or eyebrows, no extreme colors or styles, blended neutral colors for any makeup worn, fingernails clean and only polish in neutral colors, no bold colors of polish permitted, no charms or decals allowed on fingernails, fingernails may not extend beyond ¼” beyond fingertip.

Try to get an internship whenever possible. This will give you a possible leg up in the seeking of a professional career at Disney. When you visit the disneycareers website select “Internship” in the Job Type menu. These are also sometimes listed on the Disney Interns Facebook page and an additional website: DisneyInterns.com

Applying for a job-you start at www.disneycareers.com and search through the available jobs. Find what matches your skills or previous work experience by using those in the search field. If you are not ex-Military or have previous Police experience, don’t expect to get a job in Security. Carefully read the job descriptions. Does this sound like something you would enjoy? Read the job qualifications. Do you meet the qualifications? If you can answer “Yes” to these questions and you are ready to begin the process, click on “Apply”. It will prompt you to a personal profile and a series of questions for you to complete online. Hit “Submit” and you will receive an email telling you your information has been received. You can check the status of your application by logging in to your personal dashboard. You will be applying for your top three choices, and you can only apply once every six months so do your best to match your experience and education with the job requirements list. Your application will be kept on file during this six months. After successfully completing an online application you will be contacted regarding a phone interview. After successfully completing the phone interview you will be called to schedule an in-person interview. It is here where you will be assigned to a job. You will be scheduled for a “Traditions” class followed by your job training. Job training varies depending on the job. For instance a major attraction will be about 5 days of training, where as a Disney bus driver would have more like six weeks of training. The bus drivers have to have knowledge of all the routes on Walt Disney World property as they can be sent anywhere, from anywhere, on property. You will have a CM ID with which to use to get your costume pieces. Most of the positions require you to get your own shoes (and undergarments of course) but they also sell comfortable shoes at Costuming if you don’t want to go shopping for shoes off property that meet the Disney look.

So if you are saying a bold “YES!” to all of these questions, what are you waiting for? I will tell you what a Cast Member told my family the last time we visited Walt Disney World as Guests, “It only takes a decision to get you here.” My family did make that decision and we made the move. None of us regret it. There are jobs for the whole family, provided they can say yes to all those questions and they are age 18 and over. Maybe this really is where your “dreams come true”.

About Cassie

Cassie L. I am a lifelong Disney fan. I attended Walt Disney World in 1971, and was there during the opening week of EPCOT, and have visited the Disney Parks for than 30 times. I have had the privilege of visiting Disneyland as a child, and then again with my children. My family recently moved from the northeastern United States to the Walt Disney World area. I now have cast members in my family and enjoy hearing the magical stories at the end of a shift. I love visiting all of the parks and getting to try more Disney food and being able to share it with you to help you plan your own magical day at Disney.