My One Day at Disney

Only Disney can make cleaning a trash can a magical experience.

I had the blessing of a multitude of experiences as a cast member in Disneyland.  From Guest Control for the first season of Fantasmic! to a Merchandise Host in Adventure/Frontier to a Hat Writer in Fantasyland (back when it was all done by hand) to a Hat Decorator in South Seas Traders, I had the chance to work all over the park doing a bunch of different things.

And I loved it all.  Even cleaning trash cans.

For a little over a year, I worked in Custodial Bussing.  Far from the glamour of Attractions or Entertainment, but perhaps more vital than any other department, the people in Custodial are the reason why you don’t find gum all over the place or trash on the walkways or ketchup dripping from the trash cans.  Or many other things that are worse.  Dressed in our “whites,” the cleanliness of the park was reflected in the brightness of our costumes.  And if they got too dirty from cleaning up?  Our leads would send us back to get a brand new costume to keep up the show.

In the break area carrying my Disney University lunch box

It was hard work.  It was more safety conscious than any other job I’ve ever had before or after.  Careless sweeping could mean poking someone’s eye out or slamming your pan into a person’s leg.  Everything we did was with attention to guest safety and trying to be as inconspicuous as possible. After all, we are not the stars of the show.  The experience IS the show and we are part of the magic.  And that is what made all the hard work worth it.  To see the smiles on people’s faces, to see the excitement in a child’s eyes as they dash off to their next attraction, and to know that you are a part of that is such an amazing feeling.

In Westward Ho with my friend Sandy back when it sold many authentic Native American items

There is something that binds cast members together.  It’s something intangible, but I swear the casting department looks for that special spark in each person.  My friends and I (many of whom are former cast members) can simply be walking through Disneyland together and randomly will get stopped by fellow guests to get directions to the nearest restroom or a certain attraction.  There is that je ne sais quoi indicative of what makes a person into a cast member.  And I’m honored to have been a part of it.

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