The Shocking TRUTH About Being a Disney World Cast Member

We love Cast Members!

Cast Members on Main Street

Walt Disney World couldn’t function without its Cast Members. With all of the exciting things coming up in 2023 like the new nighttime spectaculars, the opening of Tron Lightcycle Run, and several new restaurants opening, Cast Members will continue to be a Walt Disney World necessity. So what’s really the truth about being a Cast Member?

Being a Cast Member was one of the most exciting and fun periods of my life but that’s not to say I didn’t learn some secrets along the way. Here is a list of things I learned while being a Cast Member!

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party Cast Members

1. To start us off, Disney World is almost exclusively run by 21-year-olds starting at 4 PM. While this might seem like a weird one, it’s pretty much true. Disney relies pretty heavily on the Disney College Program participants when it comes to light night shifts. Outside of trainers, coordinators, and leaders, you can almost bet the Cast Member you’re talking to is participating in the DCP.


2. Disney lets its Cast Members purchase older or damaged merchandise at a warehouse called Cast Connections. Cast Connections was my favorite place to go when I was a cast member. If there is out-of-date or damaged merchandise, you can bet it’ll end up there at a pretty hefty discount (my best find was a pair of Minnie Ears for $5!). It’s very similar to Disney’s Character Warehouse but oftentimes has better deals.

3. Children are absolutely the best part about being a Cast Member. Interacting with children who truly believe in the magic of Mickey is one of the most special experiences I’ve ever had. Their sweet questions and excitement make it hard for you to not feel excited too.


4. Children can be one of the worst parts of being a Cast Member. Ah, the duality of man! While kids can make your day with their sweet, genuine excitement, they also can make your day a bit more difficult if they’re throwing a fit in your store or messing up merchandise displays that you get to clean up. Now that being said, kids are kids and that’s okay! They’re going to be messy and tired (and so am I) so no hate here.

Merchandise display

5. Guests will threaten you. This one was a weird one to deal with and I won’t divulge too much but when guests get upset, they might say some wild things. I experienced a few situations where it got a little nerve-wracking and luckily I had my leaders to support me. I’ll just use this section as a reminder to be kind to Cast Members.

Cast Members playing games in Magic Kingdom

6. Sleep is for the weak. Remember when I said DCP participants work mostly night-time shifts? Well, that stands true for this one. I worked at the Boardwalk Bakery, Ample Hills, and the Boardwalk Pizza window for the first half of my college program and the pizza window stayed open especially late for special occasions.

The Boardwalk Pizza Window

7. DCP housing is like its own planet. When I participated in the DCP, there were four housing options, Chatham Square, Vista Way, Patterson, and the Commons. That’s changed now but at the time, there were lots of running jokes about young adults being let loose for the first time in a big apartment complex.

Flamingo Crossings Village

8. People you haven’t heard from in years will ask for park tickets once you become a Cast Member. I remember getting lots of “hey girl!” text messages when I first started working from people I hadn’t talked to in a long time. In the end, most of them wanted a discount on tickets or free tickets which I get but it’s probably not the reason to rekindle old relationships, right?

New Disney World ticket cards

9, When Disney is empty, it is one of the most magical places on earth. Not many people can say they have seen Disney completely empty except for Cast Members. It’s special, quiet, and truly magical. Hearing the music play and seeing the lights shine while it’s quiet and empty is something I won’t forget.

It’s so quiet.

10. Not everyone knows Aerosmith is a real band. This one was a bit surprising to me but I had several kids and teenagers ask me if Aerosmith was a real band or one Disney created for the ride. While it did make me laugh, Aerosmith would have been before their time (and mine!) so I can’t make fun.


11. Disney hosts after-hours events for Cast Members. Since Disney can get pretty busy, they sometimes like to show appreciation for their cast members by doing after-hours events where certain sections of the parks stay open just for them. It’s a limited-capacity event so cast members had to register and get tickets to be able to attend. I got to experience three and it was amazing. (I rode Slinky Dog Dash seven times in a row in a matter of 25 minutes)


12. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is 10 times scarier with the lights on. At one of the after-hours events for Cast Members, I got to ride Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster with the lights on, and let me just say, I never realized quite how close the track is. I also got to see dozens of hats, ears, and small miscellaneous items littering the floor where people didn’t store them properly. While it was a very special experience, it scared me!

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster

13. Cast Members who work at quick service locations get free drinks. While working at the quick services locations at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort, I found out you get drinks for free! The amount of Coca-Cola and Joffrey’s Cold Brew I consumed was probably concerning but I loved every second of it.

We miss you Boardwalk Bakery!

14. Disney has cats that live in the parks to help with pests! Disneyland might be famous for its in-park cats but Walt Disney World has them too. They aren’t as prominent and are mainly nocturnal so regular guests will be hard-pressed to find them.

My favorite cat’s name was Princess Leia and she could normally be found around Star Tours. She was so sweet and friendly and I saw her most nights when I left Hollywood Studios several hours after the parks closed.

Star Tours

15. People don’t realize MagicBands and park tickets aren’t the same things. While I understand the confusion, I had several friends tell me of their challenge trying to explain to guests that purchasing a MagicBand isn’t the same thing as purchasing a ticket.

Magic Band+

16. The DCP is like a really unique clique. Once you’re in the clique, you’re in. The college program is an experience that’s hard to describe when you aren’t involved in it.

Disney College Program

17. The DCP can feel like high school sometimes. Just like in any work environment, there are going to be people who think their job is more important or cool than other jobs. Sometimes that competition can feel a bit like high school in the sense that everyone wants to be the popular kid.

18, Being a CM is one of the most special jobs in the world. The experiences I had as a Cast Member were special and life-changing for me. I met some of my best friends and I learned a lot about myself as a person. While there is no perfect job, this is a pretty special one if you have the right mindset.


Overall, Disney can be a super fun environment to be in but just like any job, it can have its drawbacks. Don’t forget to keep following AllEars for all of our Disney World secrets!

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