I was pixie dusted at an early age and grew up near Walt Disney World. When I was a junior in college I was accepted into the Walt Disney World College Program and my dream of becoming a Cast Member was realized. I worked as a lifeguard during that summer and loved every minute of it! When I graduated from college I packed my belongings and dreams and headed back to the magical place in hopes of becoming the next marketing guru for Disney. Though I didn’t become the next guru, I had the most wonderful time working for Disney and love to share my experiences with others.
As a Cast Member we see so many different sides of Disney and the parks than the regular guests. I have many stories to tell but here are just a few insider tips:
- Nothing cools a hot summer evening than eating an ice cream cookie sandwich on Main Street U.S.A. at the Main Street Bakery while watching the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom! Fun fact – the windows on Main Street U.S.A. contain names of people who have contributed to Walt Disney’s dream. Walt Disney’s name is above the Ice Cream Parlor.
- Take naps! I saw so many guests in the middle of a hot summer day with their children in tow who were obviously beyond tired. Tickets are expensive and we all try to maximize our time. However, take a break in the heat of the afternoon and take a nap – even adults too! You will feel revitalized and ready for the evening parades and fireworks and a much a happier family.
- Don’t forget Downtown Disney. This is where I worked (at the time called Disney Village Marketplace). It is home to Disney Quest as well as Cirque du Soleil but also shops, gardens and yummy eateries. It is a great place to visit the first night you arrive in Orlando before you head to the parks for the rest of the week. If you are staying at Port Orleans Riverside or French Quarter you can take a free water taxi to the complex too.
- Look for Mickey! I don’t mean just the actual Mouse but hidden Mickeys in the rides and attractions. It has been told that there is a Mickey silhouette in many of Disney the attractions. For example, on Splash Mountain he can be found near the steamboat as an outline in the clouds.
- When you want to meet Mickey without fighting a crowd? A must-visit place is the Judge’s Tent at the Magic Kingdom – a designated location at Mickey’s Toontown Fair where Guests of all ages can meet the famous mouse for autographs and pictures.
- A bit of Disney trivia. According to legend, Walt Disney first came up with the idea of Mickey Mouse while travelling on a train from New York back to California. He had just lost his rights to Oswald the Rabbit and he came up with the idea for the mouse. He originally named him Mortimer but his wife Lillian convinced him to change it to Mickey Mouse because it sounded cuter.
Most importantly, I so often saw families and individuals just enjoying time together. During the holidays, it made me miss my family more! It’s not about the souvenirs, what rides you ride or where you stay, it is the time spent together that makes the memories! At a Disney destination, those memories are certainly more magical!
I will always fondly remember my years when I worked for the Mouse. I look forward to sharing new experiences with my family as I hope you do too!
What are your favorite Disney vacation memories?