The HARSH REALITY of Being a Disney World Cast Member

Getting to work at the Most Magical Place on Earth can be a dream come true for some.

Cinderella Castle

Being surrounded by the magic every day, getting a Cast Member discount, as well as getting complimentary access to the parks, are some of the perks of working at Disney World. But as is the case with any job, sometimes, being a Cast Member means that not everything is filled with pixie dust. 

We asked our resident Cast Member alumni what some of their harsh realities were when they used to work at Disney World.

Disney World Cast Members

Just like me, Emma used to work at Disney World through the Disney College Program, and she dropped some secrets in a video you can watch right here!

Working in the Heat

It’s no secret that Florida is hot, especially in the summer months. Cast Members work in some warm conditions, and it can be a lot to handle, even if you’re used to the summer heat.

Cast Member

You can catch some Cast Members with water bottles attached to their belts so they can always stay hydrated. Cast Members are encouraged to drink water before their shifts start and to drink drinks like Powerade to replenish electrolytes.

Water Bottles

Working on Holidays

Disney World is open 365 days a year which means that Cast Members are needed to work on Holidays. Sometimes Disney World leaders try to make the Holiday shifts more fun by providing meals. 

Cast Member at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

One Cast Member told us that on Thanksgiving, Cast Members could purchase a Thanksgiving to-go meal for 99 cents that they could enjoy on their break. Some leaders and chefs arrange for holiday buffets for the Cast Members that are free. It might not be ideal to work on the Holidays, but looking forward to a meal prepared by Disney World chefs can make it a little better!

Christmas at Disney World

Working Long Shifts

Cast Members work hours that are not your typical 9-5. Sometimes they work 14-hour shifts. There is also the surprise of being extended, sometimes Cast Members show up for a normal shift and then are “forced extended” to stay longer. The extra money can be nice, especially if you hit overtime hours, but sometimes it can be exhausting.

Cast Member at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

Limited Say in Scheduling

Each Saturday or Wednesday depending on your role, work schedules drop for two weeks out. Sometimes it can be tough to have a say in when you are scheduled. The more seniority you have, the more you can request certain days and times. If you are a college program participant, you do not get much say in the hours or days you are scheduled. 

TRON Cast Members

But having seniority doesn’t always guarantee you will get the schedule you want. There are times when Cast Members who have been with the company longer are scheduled for dates that they normally are not scheduled for. 

Cast Members

Not all Guests will be Kind

It is expected with any customer service-based job that there will be guests who will not always be in the best mood. It can be difficult to work with certain guests who read things online and expect magical moments when there is nothing the Cast Member can do.

PhotoPass Cast Members

The nicer you are to Cast Members, the better your experience can be. Sometimes Cast Members have no say in what is going on, so it is always important to remember that you might be taking your frustration out on the wrong person.

Cast Members are happy to help!

Working at Disney World is a unique experience and can be magical, but just like any job there are harsh realities that go with it. 

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Were you a Cast Member? What was one of your harsh realities? Let us know down below!

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One Reply to “The HARSH REALITY of Being a Disney World Cast Member”

  1. After 25 years of regular visits, I have yet to encounter a disrespectful or unhelpful cast member at WDW. Yes it can be a difficult job. And I imagine the pay and benefits don’t make up for the sacrifices they make or the stress involved in doing their job. But talk to health care workers. Especially direct care workers. And what Disney cast members have to endure would seem a walk in the park in comparison. As a nurse I saw patients threaten, insult, spit at, swear at, assault, and frighten staff on an almost daily basis. I wonder how many female cast members have been grabbed by male guests the way health care workers have been. Its all horrible stuff, yes. But there is one major difference. I suspect Disney does not tolerate guests who abuse cast members. Whereas the hospital I worked a would be hard pressed to do anything to patients no matter what they did. Oh they will point to one or two examples where charges were pressed, but the other like 99 cases go without consequence. Bottom line. Yes it is hard at Disney sometimes, but it could be far worse.