Anonymous Former Disney World Staffer Shares Facts of Working Life as “Cast Member”

One of the frequently-used taglines for a Disney theme park is that it – wherever “it” may happen to be in the US, Asia, or Europe – is without a doubt the “Happiest Place on Earth.” And this is helped greatly by their loads and loads of staff and “cast members” present.

The terminology “cast member” is significant because in the world of Disney, a theme park is a stage entirely, and everybody inside who isn’t a guest have roles with an accompanying script. This and many such facts were shared anonymously on PopSugar.com by a former cast member from Disney World.

Said former cast member listed up about 32 things about his epic work environment, about some of the fun stuff and benefits, along with duties and responsibilities that fall to a Disney theme park cast member. We can’t exactly go over them all, but we’ll list up the interesting ones.

Now obviously, priority one is making sure the guests are happy, which cast members do by actively addressing them by name (learned by checking one’s room key, credit card or worn nametag). Celebrity guests are never acknowledged or fawned over (kiss the job goodbye if you asked for a selfie).

All cast members must be able to answer questions and never say “I don’t know”; and if a question is plainly “silly” then they must also give a silly reply. When showing directions to guests, cast members point with two fingers, never just the pointer finger because it’s considered rude.

For work conditions, Disney cast members find that costume/clothing sizes are two times smaller than contemporary clothes sizing standards. While their core salary is par for mundane retail/food service work, the fringe perks are massive: cast-exclusive merchandise sales, in-park purchase delivery, and appearing on TV shows like “Good Morning America.”

Some not-so-vital park “secrets” were also shared by the anonymous writer, such as the Hollywood Studios Mickey Mouse doubling as a lightning rod, and the usage of bicycles backstage to help cast members travel unseen. Oh, and Walt Disney used assumed names to buy land to build Disney World on.

It’s perhaps understandable that this former cast member gave no names when he wrote up his little sneak-peek into life within Disney World’s walls for PopSugar, what possible non-disclosure and sticky regulations like that. Other news services that featured this article have asked Disney for comment. They’ve yet to reply.

New Additions and Events for Disneyland and Walt Disney World in 2018

A New Year means new things, new places and new experiences. It may sound a tad poetic and idealistic cliché, but that statement holds true for even the Disney chain of theme parks. There’s a score of upcoming new attractions opening this 2018 that visitors would most certainly enjoy seeing.

These upcoming attractions run the gamut from being seasonal events to brand-new permanent additions to the parks where they’re opening in. Disneyland in Anaheim for example has a new “Pixar Fest” event beginning April, with a Nighttime Spectacular featuring Buzz Lightyear flying around Sleeping Beauty’s castle, and a Play Parade.

And the Pixar fever doesn’t stop there. Disney California Adventure sees its former Paradise Pier area returning to the public as Pixar Pier, with attractions from films Toys Story, The Incredibles and Inside Out taking prominence. Pixar Shorts will have a film festival in Hollywood Land, a Pixar musical group will star performances in Paradise gardens, and even more Pixar characters will be appearing in the Paint the Night event.

Downtown Disney meanwhile gets two major attractions. Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire takes guests on a VR experience to meet their favorite characters from the franchise, while a staple from Walt Disney World, Splitsville Luxury Lanes, makes its debut in the Disney West Coast.

Disneyland and its surrounding resorts and parks don’t have a monopoly on new stuff for 2018. Over in Walt Disney World, Florida, Disney’s Hollywood Studios can finally celebrate the opening of its expansion theme area Toy Story Land, featuring a Slinky Dog roller coaster and the Woody’s Lunch Box restaurant.

Animal Kingdom also celebrates two decades of operation as the latest park addition to Disney World, with a Caravan Theater show featuring the characters of Pixar’s Up seeing all the bird species in the park. Next, Epcot is looking make their second year holding a Festival of the Arts to be even bigger than its first year in 2017, expanding its duration this year from January 12 to February 19.

To wrap things up in Disney World, Disney Springs will be seeing no less than seven brand-new dining places of various cuisines and styles opening all through 2018. And finally, the ESPN Wide World of Sports will be proud to inaugurate their 8,000-capacity multipurpose sports and entertainment venue, with six courts that can be alternately configured for basketball, volleyball, or concert performances. It’s a great year to be a Disney theme parks guest, of that there can be no doubt.

Door of Monorail at Disney World Dangerously Opens Up While in Transit

When it comes to monorail electrically-driven train systems, perhaps one of the most familiar-looking of these stateside-wise would be the Monorail system that operates in Walt Disney World. Said system is a long-runner, first opened back in the 1950s, and is arguably the third most-heavily used monorail in the world.

Then again, highly-frequent passenger use means the monorail trains used on the Disney system get subjected to rather fast wear and tear. And it can result in some potentially dangerous situations like one captured by a passenger a few days ago, which showed an automated door that failed to shut.

Instagram user abbieprimeknits got an uncomfortably close look – and videos – of the wide-open automatic door on Disney Monorail Red, at that moment travelling from the Transportation and Ticketing Center (TTC) to Epcot. Also caught in the shot is a fellow passenger in Mickey-Mouse headband sitting close to the open doorway.

From the look of that passenger inside the monorail at that moment, travelling at a goodly speed with an open door, it was definitely not safe. A second Instagram vid by abbieprimeknits shows Monorail Red, defective door and all finally pull into Epcot station, passengers chuckling at the safety message.

Whatever went wrong with the Disney monorail that fateful day, it must’ve gone beyond an automatic door that failed to close. Said doors according to Disney Blog are supposed to have sensors that would signal the driver when they don’t shut, and prevent the monorail from departing until it’s fixed.

In the comments section of her Instagram posts, abbieprimeknits mentioned that maintenance was alerted to the door before Monorail Red left the TTC. The technicians forced it to lock, but shortly after departure the door unlocked and opened on its own, remaining that way until the end of the trip.

In a postscript comment, it was stated that maintenance at Epcot went to work on the faulty door upon the monorail’s arrival. In addition, the WDW News Today blog noted that by January 8 all Disney Monorail doors have had a sign reminding passengers “Do Not Lean” towards the doorways.

More Details on Disney Star Wars Expansion Area Found in Complimentary Collectible Trading Cards

In an earlier article we talked about the release of new information regarding Galaxy’s Edge, the proposed expansion theme area for Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios, based on the Star Wars media franchise. All this was revealed during Galactic Nights, a gala event by Walt Disney Imagineering last December 16.

On that occasion, guests who were present at Hollywood Studios were each gifted a complimentary pack of four trading cards containing information pertaining to the Galaxy’s Edge attraction. Only now has it become common knowledge that some of the trading card contents are additional spoilers to expect with the expansion.

For starters, one featured card from the Galaxy Nights event shows R3X, a droid pilot who was the central character of the original 1987 Star Tours ride. The current Star Tours have the prop droid as a display piece, but Galaxy’s Edge seems set on repurposing him as a DJ.

Much has been mentioned about the Millennium Falcon ride in the Galaxy’s Edge expansion, but there’s one other attraction ride mentioned but not elaborated. A second trading card hints that it may be another ride depicting a rescue that “didn’t go as planned” during a Resistance vs. First Order battle.

But one larger mystery opened up by the Galactic Nights cards is harder still to explain, due to it being a poem written in alien Aurebesh language, separated across multiple cards by line. The poem refers to odd locations and rock formations called Black Spires, but nothing else is explained.

The Galaxy’s Edge theme area is set in the Star Wars galaxy on a planet called Batuu. Stylistically patterned after traditional marketplaces in Morocco, Batuu appears to be an out-of-the-way space trading hub with secrets hidden under the surface. All guests to Galaxy’s Edge are “heroes” living out their very own Star Wars story and adventures according to Disney Imagineering.

Other trading cards revealed stuff like “blue milk” beverages, a ride through a river canyon, and even an encounter between guests and the malevolent ill-tempered Kylo Ren. All these serve only to hype Disney World guests more for the grand opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, set for some time in the year 2019. The galaxy far, far away has never quite felt this close.

Over-Capacity Christmas Crowd Leads to Brief Closure of The Magic Kingdom in Disney World

We’ve covered several recent and upcoming developments happening over at Walt Disney World over the past few weeks. This bit of news however, is more in line with a general news item concerning a particular event of note. It should’ve been obvious that the theme parks in the resort complex would be crowded on Christmas, but this one’s just extreme.

Just this Monday, Christmas Day December 25, the sheer amount of guests pouring into The Magic Kingdom, heart of the Disney World resort area, led to park officials taking drastic measures by closing the gates to further entry. They were over-capacity.

In a notice posted on Twitter, Walt Disney World announced The Magic Kingdom’s closure, but also encouraged guests to instead visit the other components of Disney World such as EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. The closure affected Magic Kingdom visitors with only one-day tickets.

Guests with multi-day or multi-park access, annual pass-holders and Disney Resorts guests were free to come and go into The Magic Kingdom, though judging from social media posts by guests already inside, it might have been better not to come on Christmas Day for many.

Disney World’s Twitter advisory had estimated the reopening of The Magic Kingdom by 5:30 in the afternoon of December 25, but by 1:20 PM it was as open as the other resorts in Walt Disney World. The maximum guest capacity of the theme park according to specs was 100,000 people, so the fact that it was temporarily closed really speaks at the massive crowd with the same idea to spend Christmas Day at the same place.

New Attraction in Disney World Being Planned by Disney and Cirque du Soleil

There are very few live-entertainment attraction “power couples” that command as much awe and attention on stage as Walt Disney World and Canada’ Cirque du Soleil. Proof of their strong partnership can be seen in the Cirque show La Nouba, running at a freestanding theater in Disney Springs since 1998.

This year however marks the final year of La Nouba, with its last performance set on the last day of December. But the Cirque du Soleil and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts have announced last Monday, December 18, that they already have a replacement show under development for next year.

The new production, yet to be titled, is described as a celebration of “Disney’s legacy of storytelling in Cirque du Soleil’s signature way. Word has it that the Cirque is cooking up a magnificent performance in their trademark style, but given a “Disney-fied” presentation that’ll be a hit with families.

Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group President and CEO Daniel Lamarre said in the statement, in homage to Disney’s animated heritage, “We are incredibly inspired by Disney’s immense creative universe. We are convinced that bringing Disney’s magic to life on stage will touch audiences and bring them back to their childhood.”

The La Nouba show will have been performed close to 9,000 times and enjoyed by 11 million guests when its curtain call comes on December 31, and there’s been no word as to when the new show would open. It’s known however that the spectacle will remain in Disney Springs.

Walt Disney World announced the ending run of La Nouba early this spring, and while it was almost certain that the Cirque and Disney would continue collaborating, executives from both companies all kept mum about the particulars of the new project. We look forward to seeing what they will do.

Hall of Presidents in The Magic Kingdom Now Has Animatronic Donald Trump

Walt Disney World in Florida has got so many new things coming up for it in the future, be it a new transport system or an expansion area based on Star Wars. And then there are the old attractions that have been renovated as new, like the Hall of Presidents.

Located in The Magic Kingdom, the Hall of Presidents is an incredible animatronic exhibit hosted in a replica of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall interior. Here models of all US Presidents from Washington to the current incumbent make statements about good old America and its greatest virtues, accompanied by stirring orchestrated anthems.

The exhibit is set to reopen following a renovation to include an animatronic of President Donald Trump, who takes center stage in this new arrangement like all his predecessors in their respective terms. Walt Disney Imagineering has worked closely with the White House, even getting voice recordings of President Trump.

Naysayers who might stand opposite to Trump’s polarizing reputation may be mollified a little by how dignified the animatronic version’s recorded speech comes across. “Above all to be American is to be an optimist,” he says, adding that “the best days of our great nation are still ahead of us.”

The Hall of Presidents first opened in Disney World’s The Magic Kingdom back in 1971, and since Bill Clinton in 1993, every newly-elected US President is added as early as their election year, given a prominent in the center of the exhibition stage, with actual voice recording courtesy of Disney.

Understandably, many Trump critics have played up on the President’s colorful dialogue choices to make a petition pleading for Disney not to record his voice for The Hall of Presidents’ latest renovation to include him. Interestingly, the exhibit should have reopened last June with Trump included, but delayed until now.

With the appeal of animatronic Presidents being worn down by other attractions like from Toy Story and Star Wars, in addition to the Trump model, the Hall was also fitted with upgrades including improved sound and lighting, as well as an HD projection system to accompany each President’s individual presentations.