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Moving to Orlando to work for the Walt Disney Company was such a daunting feeling for me. I wasn't sure what would happen, and honestly, part of me was worried it would end up ruining the magic for me. I would learn the behind the scenes way of how the company worked, and I wouldn't be in love with the company anymore. Thankfully, that was the furthest from the case, and after spending almost a year working for the company, I can honestly say I am more in love with the company than ever before.
1. The biggest thing I learned once I started working for Disney was how important safety is.
Safety is the utmost concern at Disney, and it is always at the forefront of EVERYTHING we do. At my location, almost every single position we have is somehow related to safety. At the front of the attraction, measuring heights is really important. Inside the attraction, keeping people out of the ride path is the biggest safety concern, and once guests get off the ride, reminding them to watch their step is the most important phrase. We really do everything we can in this company to keep all the guests and cast members safe. Accidents happen, of course, but we also have steps in place to help with accidents to keep them to a minimum, and to make sure nothing gets worse than it already is.
2. Making magic is my absolute most favorite thing about working for the Walt Disney World Company.
The best part about making magic is I don't even have to go out of my way to make a guest's day better, it's literally part of my job. It could be something as simple as letting a family through the fastpass line an hour before their fast pass time, or it could be something as big as getting a toy for a child at the Everest gift shop. When I am able to find a family that I really connect with, I am able to go a little bit out of my way to make sure they remember their Disney vacation. The guests don't notice it, but they have just as much of an impact on me as I think I do on them. I have almost no limits on what I am able to do to make a family's Disney vacation memorable, and that made me love the company even more.
3. One of the awesome things about working for this company is my work family is amazing.
All of my coworkers quickly became my family, and spending time with them is honestly so enjoyable, and I have never had a shift where I didn't want to work because of the people I was working with. I love being around them, and I truly do think I have found lifelong friends in some of my coworkers. Loving your coworkers definitely makes going to work so much more enjoyable, especially during the holiday season when you are working up to 80 hours a week. You learn a lot about your coworkers, and you have to learn to trust them in order for the operation to run smoothly. The family atmosphere we have at Everest makes working so much more enjoyable, and it helps us run efficiently, because we all motivate each other to do the best work we can do every day.
4. There is something for everyone at Disney.
I was worried coming to work for the company that I would be wasting my schooling, because I wouldn’t be working with the animals. I found out very quickly that just because I wasn’t directly working with the animals didn’t mean I wasn’t still going to learn plenty about every animal Disney has. I was able to network with an animal caretaker and learn what she does on a daily basis, as well as learn about other opportunities on what I can do in regards to my future with the company. Not only is there an animal hospital internship I can apply for, there is also an animal nutrition one, which is another huge area of interest for me. I have so many opportunities looking into the future with Disney’s animals.
5. Being stuck in a position is not something you need to be worried about while working for the Walt Disney World Company.
Sure, some people prefer to stay in the front line, but that’s never your only option. While working during my college program, I've seen at least 10 people obtain trainer status, meaning they were trained to be able to train new people to run Everest. I've also seen some people obtain coordinator proficiencies, meaning they are able to coordinate the attraction instead of just work in the front line. People also get placed on temporary assignments, known as TAs, which can be in various different locations. Many people who I work with went to Guest Relations as VIP tour guides on a TA, while others went to a new attraction being designed and constructed as a test and adjust group. After being in your locations for a certain amount of time, you are able to transfer to a new location. There are always new positions opening up at Disney, and there is always the chance to move around and find your real niche within the company.
6. Working for the Walt Disney World Company has given me a newfound appreciation for cultures all over the world.
People from literally everywhere come to visit the parks, and I learn something new about people every single day. Every culture is different, and one of the most common things I see is people from different cultures picking out different things about America that they find interesting. The food here is different, driving and traveling is different, and the way people act is different. The weather is also very different depending on where people are from. For example, European nations typically deal with a lot of rain, but even the rain in Florida is different. Seeing how people from different cultures react to America is one of my favorite parts of the job.
7. Disney offers perks to all of their hardworking cast members that helps inspire their cast members to work hard and stay with the company.
We are able to get into the parks for free, which is really exciting because it helps me learn more about the company to better assist guests when they need help. It also gives me some really fun things to do on my days off. Disney also offers free guest passes to their cast members, and I am able to bring family and friends to enjoy Disney with me when they come to visit me. Sometimes our work companies also offer backstage tours of different attractions, and it's really fun, especially since I work attractions, to see how other attractions are run and learn fun facts to share with guests. The perks make it easy to stay working in an already amazing job.
8. The authenticity and immersion found throughout the parks makes me love recommending different things to guests.
Disney really tries to keep things as authentic and as immersive as possible. For example, in all the different country pavilions in Epcot, people from those countries are the cast members working there. In the Mexico pavilion, most of the cast members are from Mexico, or have spent some part of their life in Mexico. They are therefore able to really teach guests about the Mexican culture. We also try to base our different areas off the park on real things. For example, at Everest, we are based off an old Asian tea company. As part of our training, we learn a little bit about the Himalayan Escapes and Anandapur Tea Company so that we have that information to pass on to the guests. We are able to teach them real history about our areas.
9. Although I haven't had the opportunity to experience this, other coworkers have experienced repeat guests.
Some guests come back to the park often, and if a cast member helped them have a memorable experience, they remember that cast member. We are able to build relationships with guests who regularly come to the parks, and it's an amazing feeling to make friends with someone you thought you would only see once in your life. It's even more amazing to realize that you did something special to make that family remember you specifically from their vacation.
10. While working for Disney, I developed skills that I can apply to not only my future work, but also to life in general.
First and foremost, I learned some amazing people skills. I met people from all different cultures and backgrounds, and all of these people react differently to different situations. I learned how to read situations and know the best way to respond to different people. I also learned some amazing teamwork skills, because being able to run Everest efficiently requires working together with your coworkers. We have to work together in order to send our trains on time and make sure everyone is safe while doing so. Leadership skills, even for bottom tier cast members, are also skills that are developed while working for the company. Everyone has a chance to be a leader at some point, even if it is only for a small task. While working at Rivers of Light, we often times were in groups of cast members, and our coordinators are running around trying to make sure the show gets loaded safely and efficiently. We have to work together, and often a cast member takes the position as the leader to help delegate tasks. We are all able to switch off who gets to be the 'leader' on different nights, and it gives us all a chance to see what it's like to be a coordinator for a small period of time. The different opportunities we had available helped me grow not only as an employee, but also as a person in general.
Working for Disney was not always sunshine and rainbows, to be 100 percent honest. However, the opportunities I was given made everything worth it. I was able to learn so much about different cultures, I was able to make people happy on a daily basis, and I was able to grow so much as a person. I have always loved Disney, but working for the company gave me a much larger appreciation for the company as a whole. Working for the company helped me appreciate myself.