Cast Members are often the unsung heroes of a Walt Disney World vacation. Many of them are harassed by Guests, underpaid by Disney, and sometimes work 14+ hour shifts.
Enter former Disney Cast Member Samantha Tetrault.
Recently, she shared her horror story of working in a Walt Disney World theme park. And although her story may not be the everyday experience of all Cast Members – she’s definitely not alone.
As with most adult Disney fans, Samantha grew up loving the Walt Disney Company. It was a bright spot in her childhood, and when she graduated college, she decided to pursue a career working for the House of Mouse.
At the time, she could only secure a part-time position – which, naturally, at Walt Disney World Resort meant 12 hours a day and sometimes working for ten days straight.
Her Cast Member Role
She was assigned to work at Hollywood Studios in the Animation Courtyard / Star Wars Launch Bay area. While there, she had a trainer who teased her for not having an encyclopedic knowledge of Star Wars before laughing at her and never scheduling her to work at the Launch Bay again.
Most of her job afterward was waving bubble wands around the Animation Courtyard for an entire shift (this was pre-COVID).
During this time, she felt her love for Disney fade as she realized that the magic Guests received didn’t necessarily apply to the Disney Cast Members.
After two weeks of being overworked (often past Park closing and then opening the Park the following day) and cleaning up puke off of toys, she decided she had enough.
She cites the experience as troubling her so much that she had to wait half a year before returning to any Disney Park (despite living in the area). Samantha also knew that by leaving so abruptly, she risked being put on Disney’s blacklist – never to be allowed to work for the company or any of its subsidiaries ever again. But it was worth it for her. Because, in the end, she’d rather save her magic and Disney fandom than let it rot.
Her story can be read in more depth at Insider here.