For those of you who have been following along, you know that I started my Spring Disney College program a little over a month ago. It has been one of the craziest, zaniest, most mind blowing months of my entire life. One of the big culminating moments was officially becoming a Disney Cast Member.
In this post I want to share with you all what it is actually like working for Disney, especially in a park as special and magical as Disneyland. For some context, I was accepted into the program for the role of Custodial, and am currently working as a Disneyland Custodian. Some of the things I will talk about are true for most, if not all Cast Members, but a lot of my experiences are specific to the Custodial role.
There are a bunch of recurring questions I get when people find out I work at Disneyland, so I’ll answer those first. Just bear in mind this is all my experience, and I am not speaking for all the Cast Members across the world who work in the Disney theme parks, because who knows what they all think (I don’t).
The question I probably get asked the most is if working at Disneyland ruins the magic of it, or if I’m tired of the parks because I’m there almost everyday. My answer to that is a resounding NO. As a Custodian, I have the privilege of working everywhere in Disneyland. The only lands I have not worked in are Main Street and Adventureland, and that’s simply because I haven’t been scheduled there yet.
Only Custodial and Security Cast Members get scheduled all over to my knowledge (I could be wrong), so I feel incredibly lucky. It gives me a wide variety of working conditions, so each shift is different! And unlike most Attractions, Food and Beverage, and Merchandise Cast Members, I’m not stuck in one location day in and day out. This is one of the main reasons I would recommend Custodial over any other position if you were interested in working at the Disneyland Resort.
One thing that is rough about working everywhere is that you have to be knowledgeable about the entire park. Since I am out and about all day, I get countless questions from guests about where the nearest bathrooms are, where they can get buy a Pretzel, and how to get to Star Wars land (95% of guests call it Star Wars land as opposed to Galaxy’s Edge).
Since I can work in Tomorrowland one day, and Critter Country the next, I need to know the lay of every land, and how to get from point A to point B no matter where I’m working. This isn’t a big issue for me because I have frequented Disneyland enough as a guest to know my way around, but for someone who is new to the park and working there, I assume it could be very overwhelming.
As soon as I started wearing the Cast Member name tag, even while I was out of costume and in the park for orientation, guests started asking these types of questions! It was amazing. I wore a tag and people immediately thought I was all-knowing! The best part was that I actually knew most of the answers. I will never forget the first time someone asked me where Indiana Jones was. I got to direct a guest to one of my favorite rides, and it made me surprisingly emotional.
Working there as a Cast Member has not affected my experiences as a guest in the slightest. I have seen many of the backstage areas, as that is where Cast Member break areas are as well as the Custodial equipment we use, but when I walk in as a guest all of that knowledge flows out of my brain. I have been able to enjoy rides and areas that I’ve cleaned up vomit in with no issue! Speaking of vomit, that’s another question I get asked a lot.
Isn’t being a Custodian gross?
Yeah, I have cleaned up pretty much every form of bodily fluid you can think of, in small and large (LARGE) quantities (Were they ok??). It can definitely be a little gross, and yes, a little smelly, but in all honesty it’s not a big deal. It’s also a pretty small part of the job. I can go a lot of work days without cleaning anything like that, or have a shift where I clean up three or more ‘incidents’ a day. This may sound weird, but I actually like cleaning things like that up.
Because of them I have seen some cool backstage things (Space Mountain maintenance bay), and had a lot of fun, wacky moments with my coworkers. That moves me onto my next topic. I LOVE the people I work with! Even though I’m in the College Program, I don’t often work with people my age. There are so many older Custodians who retired from other jobs but work at Disneyland just because they think it’s fun. They are hilarious.
Just like any other job, the coworkers have a giant impact on the day I’m going to have. My favorite lands to work in aren’t the lands I love the most as a guest, but are the ones where my favorite coworkers are.
Are you curious about what a usual Custodial shift is like? Well I’m going to tell you whether you are curious or not. Custodians can get one of three types of shifts: Sweeping, Trash, or Restrooms. I have not yet been restroom trained, so I only have experience doing the first two. If you’re a sweeper you are assigned a specific area and you (any guesses?) keep the area clean by sweeping! The hardest part about sweeping is making sure that the queues are clean, because they’re often packed full of guests.
Fun fact: Custodians (at least me) really enjoy when a ride goes down in their area, because they can detail clean the queue since it’s empty of people.
Trash shifts are similar, you are assigned an area but instead of being in charge of the ground, you are in charge of the trash cans. This can be a very stressful shift depending on where your area is, because some trash cans can fill up very quickly depending on where they are located.
Overall, I cannot believe how lucky I am to be working in Disneyland on a daily basis. This past month has been better than I could have ever imagined, and I am excited to share more with you all about my experiences in the coming months!
Have you ever been a Cast Member? Let us know your thoughts, along with any questions you might have, in the comments below. Planning a trip to Disneyland? Check out our planning guide to help you along the way. If you enjoy what you’re reading please subscribe to the blog and like our social media pages which you can find on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!
Categories: Disney College Program