Before I worked for Walt Disney World, I read lots about what it would be like to work there from various blogs and websites, and took much of what I learned as truth. Now that I do have the experience of working in the parks, I realize just how many misconceptions there are about WDW cast members and about WDW itself.
I've put together the following list of things I've read about in the past couple of years, in an attempt to debunk some of these myths.
1. If you know a cast member, you can get free into the parks for free
Disney cast members are entitled to some awesome benefits in exchange for working for the company, however in most cases these benefits only extend to the cast members themselves and their immediate families. One of the most frustrating things that cast members deal with all too often is receiving requests from people asking if there is a way to get them into the parks for free, a privilege that is usually saved for immediate family and close friends.
I only worked for the company for three months during my Disney College Program, but even during those short three months I found myself in this situation a several times. It's incredibly uncomfortable! Especially when the person reaching out to you is someone you hardly remember from middle school.
Typically, I assume that most don't realize that cast members are only given a small number of guest passes each year, and they simply do not realize how valuable the passes are. However this conversation is very uncomfortable for cast members to deal with, and not something I would ever think to do now that I have worked for the company.
2. A cast member cannot say "I don't know" to a guest
Disney does train its cast members to never leave a guest question with "I don't know." As you would imagine, the correct response would be more like, "I'm not sure I know, but I can find someone who does," or at least point the guest in the right direction of someone who would be able to help.
3. No matter what you ask a Cast Member to do, they have to do it
The truth is that the best Cast Members will do everything they can for you, if it is within their power (and if you ask them nicely). It is false that they have to do whatever you ask. They are not puppets, for heaven's sake.
4. Attractions cast members do the same thing all day
Not true. Cast members who work attractions take on variety in their shifts due to the number of different positions they could be working in any given shift.
When attractions are temporarily closed, under refurbishment, the cast members who work there are not temporarily out of work. They usually interact with guests outside of the attraction or around their area within the park (known as "super-greeting"). Sometimes they're temporarily relocated to another location. While super-greeting might not be as exciting as actually running the attraction, these cast members are still available to answer questions and provide magic to guests even when their attraction is not currently operating.
5. Cast Members aren't allowed to work for competition parks
Many guests tend to think that the competition between Disney and the other Orlando theme parks is much more intense than it actually is. When one begins training to work for Disney, one of the points a trainer will mention within the first couple of days is that working for Universal, Sea World, Busch Gardens, etc... is perfectly acceptable. The company completely understands if cast members want to have a second job, or work at a different park seasonally, and there is no rule forbidding cast members to do so.
6. Only custodial cast members clean up
Every cast member is required to help keep the park clean. "The Disney Scoop," for instance, is the term which describes a cast member scooping up trash and throwing it away in a quick, fluid movement, that does not detract from the job he or she is trying to do.
Walt Disney once said, "Give the public everything you can give them, keep the place as clean as you can keep it, and keep it friendly." Cast members know how important it is to keep everything clean regardless of their job title. As you walk through Walt Disney World, you will probably see plenty of non-custodial cast members doing their part to keep things clean.
7. yell “Andy’s coming!” When you are visiting characters from Toy Story
…and then they'll drop to the ground, acting like they're lifeless toys. Yeah, no. This is so very false.
Those costumes are extremely expensive and Disney does not want the characters to constantly be falling to the ground in them, causing harm to the Cast Member, as well as the costumes themselves. Besides, they know that Andy is away at college anyways lol!
8. There is an underground city below Magic Kingdom
Good try. But nah.
It is true that there are the famed Utilidors, that do have many functions. These are actually on ground level and most of Magic Kingdom is built on the second floor, about 15-feet above ground level. The Utilidors are busy with Cast Members moving through them every day to get to the door that leads them “on stage” near the attraction they work at. This awesome network is used for many purposes such as training rooms, storage for merchandise locations and food service, trash removal, food service for CM’s and areas for CM’s to get in and out of uniforms and also relax.
If you'd like to see this for yourself and but have no desire to become a Magic Kingdom CM, then take the Keys to the Kingdom tour, and you'll get a peek. You will not be allowed to take photos in this backstage area.
I'm telling you, there is nothing special about them... they are just typical utility corridors.
Have you heard of any other myths about WDW and it's cast members?