“It takes people to make the dream a reality,” said Walt Disney.
Walt Disney opened the doors to Disneyland on July 17, 1955, and his employees–known as Cast Members–greeted guests with bright smiles and open arms. This attitude is still brought to guests every day. There are over 20,000 Cast Members serving guests everyday.
While looking through the Cypress College parking lot, you can view the Cast Member parking sign hanging from the center mirror of cars. Since Disneyland is so close to Cypress College, students find its easier to acquire a job at Disney because it is close to home.
Most do not know what Cast Members actually go through. Cast Members give up their holidays, their family time, and sometimes lose relationships along the way. They spend cold winter nights outside helping out guests, and they’re also out there in the scorching heat helping guest. Why does this happen? Because most tend become comfortable working there, it becomes second nature.
I was once a cast member. Fortunately for me, thankfully I left on a good note. I realized I had to put school and family first, and I didn’t want to get sucked into the Disney vortex. It was still one of the hardest choices I’ve had to make. Disney gave me another family in a way. They supported me, and accepted me for who I am. Everybody that works for Disney is unique and they all have a gift to bring to the corporation. Yet, while working for Disney not only did I see the positives, but I noticed the negatives about Disney.
“I worry that these people tend to get too comfortable, since they are given benefits, such as free admission to Disneyland and discounts,” said Travis Wood, 23, Photography major. Disney provides free admission to cast members for all Disney Parks, plus 16 sign-ins yearly to allow their friends and family into the park. They also receive discounts on parking, food, and merchandise.
While working at Disneyland, I saw students give up on their schooling to continue working at Disney.
“I decided to give up on staying in school because Disney provided me with a job that I couldn’t pass up,” said Tula Martinez, 20, Graphic Design major.
Because Disney does an amazing effort of providing a sense of family to its workers by providing movie nights, excercise clubs, and volunteer programs. Cast Members decide they don’t want to leave because they don’t want to leave this other family behind. They feel supported and wanted, so they almost feel an obligation to stay.
Certain Cast Members become so comfortable that they lose sight of major responsibilites.
“I worry that I won’t have enough hours to make rent this month,” said James Weinstein, 28, English Major
Since Disneyland is a travel destination for most families with kids. These families tend to visit when school is not in session. Throughout the time kids are in school Disney does not receive much revenue. During this time it’s harder to receive hours at Disney since there isn’t that much to do, Cast Members lose hours.
Next time visitors make their way to Disneyland, it would be nice to acknowledge Cast Members. They are going through a tough time just like everyone else and they are also facing the same struggles. Cast Members just tend to cover it up with a smile.