Walt Disney World – Best Places To Work | The Recreational Writer | RecreationalWriter.com

In recent posts, I have managed to stray off into the political circus of 2018’s society. But today, I wanted to take a step back, and explain my beliefs behind The Walt Disney World as a place, and as a Company, part from a lifelong fan, and part from a former Cast Member.

To me, from a lifelong fan’s perspective, “Disney” will always be synonymous with The Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida. I know full well that Disneyland existed first, and that The Walt Disney Company owns many different businesses in many different genres, including but not limited to, ESPN and ABC, and ownership or close collaboration with companies such as Dreamworks. As a whole, The Walt Disney Company is a massive company. However, as I stated above, to me as a longtime fan, Disney is, well, The Walt Disney Resort in Orlando Florida. So, for the sake of this post, that is what I will discuss and remain focused on.

Just to get this out of the way, my views do not express the views of all Cast Members from The Walt Disney World Co., Inc, nor do they reflect, or are endorsed in any way, nor insinuated by me in any way to be endorsed, by any Cast Member of the Walt Disney World, Co., Inc, or employee of the Walt Disney World Company. The opinions herein are my own.

With that said, here is my story.

As with many children in the 1980’s I was able to visit The Walt Disney World on numerous occasions. Some of those occassions stick in my memory, and some are perhaps long forgotten. I remember sitting by a bond-fire with a Cast Member playing the guitar and everyone singing along at the Fort Wilderness Campground.

I remember walking down to the water at Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon, and watching the Disney’s Electrical Water Pageant. So many years have gone by, I cannot be certain that was the name of it then, but it is the name of it now. I remember walking back to the campsite on a cold winter’s night. We were dressed appropriately, but I cannot forget the out-of-towner that was not, and was “fast walking” back – well before fast-walking became a workout thing, I guarantee. December it was, and he had summer attire.

I remember the buses of the time, that all had the different colored flags on the bus to designate which went where.

I remember going to the Hoop-Dee-Doo Review. I believe that it still exists. I hope that it still exists.

I have other random, good memories of childhood Walt Disney World trips. One in which my mom tried to scare my older … or was it oldest? … brother on Pirates of the Caribbean by quietly dipping her hand in the water and dripping in on him. I remember, albeit vaguely, sitting for a character breakfast … I think it may have been at the Contemporary, but I cannot be certain.

I remember going on Seven Leagues Under The Sea, and experiencing the Tiki Room. I remember taking rides on the Skyway, and watching the Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress – not too incredibly much has changed, but it is still just as fun now, as it was then. Especially on hot summer days, and the cool A/C.

I remember the first ride on Space Mountain, my mom, siblings and myself went. Perhaps minus one . . . I cannot recall for certain. And of course, the ever-lasting, It’s A Small World, Peter Pan, and the Haunted Mansion. Then there was the also ever-lasting Splash Mountain.

I remember Figment. And whatever room it may have been after the Figment ride, wherein they had the big pin thing. I am not certain what it is called officially, but you can make different shapes in it using your hands, or in my case, your face.

I remember so many little details, but so many more have been molded into a haze of forgotten memories.

With all of the memories collected, and time spent during my Childhood at The Walt Disney World Resort, I never really considered in any subsequent times, or even during my trips, of becoming an Employee (as I knew them at the time) – or Cast Member (as I came to understand them actually being.)

With all of the negativity in this world, it was our job to make people happy. People of all ages. Young and old. And most importantly, those dealing with issues in daily life, such as cancer patients and other critically ill people that just wanted one thing. To have a day, a few days, a week, of forgetting everything bad in their life, and just being happy.

No, it was not until much later, when I was a College Student, did the thought even cross my mind. That was in thanks to the Walt Disney World College Program. I am not certain that I remember where I even heard of The Program. But, I remember driving from Tallahassee to Gainesville to interview for it, and my mom accompanying me. The interview was fun. It was the very first job interview that I had ever attended. Of course, they could not let us know that day.

No, I received my notification via mail later. I think I had to read it multiple times before I really believed that I was accepted to the program.

Here I was, going to be an employee (or a paid intern, whichever way you want to look at it) of the Walt Disney World Resort. Somewhere that I had so many fond memories as a child. Magical memories that lingered with me.

The experience of my first The Walt Disney World College Program (yes, I had a couple), was more than I could have imagined it being. From my first (technically kind of late, as I was not in my business unit, but the Casting building at the time of my shift (hey, no one told me otherwise!)) shift, to the very last shift that I had at Blizzard Beach, every day was, well, fun. It was a joy to go to work. Regardless of what the work actually was, being an On-Stage Cast Member, even on the “worst” days, I could always remind myself that I was getting paid to be somewhere that others were paying to be.

My first full-time (even as an “intern”, the hours were full time) job, and I volunteered to be on the Hurricane Floyd Rideout Crew. You guessed it, I, along with the rest of the crew, stayed in the park (for me it was EPCOT) until Floyd had passed through – or, in our case, by-passed through. About 38 hours I was on the clock, most of anyone. And I loved every minute of it. The first time that The Walt Disney World Resort had closed for a day, and I was part of it.

But aside from all of that, and the managers and trainers (Rick, Kim, Julian, Pete) that trained and mentored, I often think about what made it the experience that it was. In the end, I think it was this.

You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality. – Walt Disney

As a Cast Member you were not just allowed, but empowered, to make someone’s day. We all had a shared responsibility. We were responsible for making someone’s day magical. Regardless of what they were going through in their life, outside of their trip to The Walt Disney World Resort, we had the ability, and were encouraged to make them forget all of that. To make them smile. To have a moment and a memory that would outlast the negativity in the world, and any bad things that they may be going through.

With all of the negativity in this world, it was our job to make people happy. People of all ages. Young and old. And most importantly, those dealing with issues in daily life, such as cancer patients and other critically ill people that just wanted one thing. To have a day, a few days, a week, of forgetting everything bad in their life, and just being happy.

To this day, I miss having that responsibility. I miss the fellow Cast Members that I came to know, most of which still work there. I miss the Leaders (Manager’s and above especially) that made what I believe was every Cast Member, but at least for me, a personal responsibility. Fair and equal. They were always around if you needed one, or at very least you knew where to find them. From someone experiencing their first ‘real’ job, and first extended time away from Tallahassee on my own, it was comforting to have the level of caring that I experienced.

The only downfall that I could possibly see? I have held each employer that I have had since, especially large ones, to the same standard. None have been able to, day in and day out, attain that standard. Quite frankly, the more years that I spend at any one company, the more I realize that no one will be able to achieve that. I just expect that every employer, every manager, every director holds the same importance on employees as what I felt in those years. No job was beneath them. As much as some of my views differed from Michael Eisner’s (CEO at the time I was there), I personally witnessed even he picking up trash from the EPCOT promenade. No, I have come to understand that other companies will say what you want to hear, they will have all of the ‘classes’, and survey’s and all, but they do not believe what they are saying. They do not have the level of caring of employees as Disney has for their Cast Members – at least, from my perspective. Perhaps it’s not everyone with the employer – but, one or two in a level of management that does not believe, creates a weak link. I never experienced that in the years that I was working at The Walt Disney World.

With The Walt Disney World does come work, however. The days can be long, especially if you are in a role that you are standing. However, you get regular breaks and a lunch break, so you do get a break from the standing. The Walt Disney World is a 365 day a year business, and as a Cast Member, you are expected, for the most part, to be able to work all holidays. Depending on your role, you will be standing in the summer Florida sun – all day. You will be standing and walking in the summer Florida rain. As they say, the show must go on.

Walt Disney has been quoted as saying that, “You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.”

The Cast Members, Managers, VP’s, etc. at least when I worked there, lived those words. They understood that people made The Walt Disney World what it is. But, people was not inclusive to only the Guests that visited the parks, but also the Cast Members that maintained the parks, assisted the Guests, and so on. It was truly a team effort.

Hands down, it was THE best team that I have had the privilege of working for. Hands down, about five employers later, and still no comparison.

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