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Still Magical for CMs or Former CMs?


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Original Poster
A lot of people would love the opportunity to work at Walt Disney World, mainly because of their love of the place as a visitor or guest. What about those of you who are or were cast members who worked in WDW.....does it hold the same appeal to you now (or then) as an employee going there to work as it does for a guest on vacation? Or is it just "ho hum, just going to work to get a paycheck"?


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Never worked there, and don't think I'd ever want to. The idea of it is nice, but I always say the best way to hate someplace you love is to get a job there. LOL Now, I'm only speaking for myself here... I'm sure most of the CM's love it. But for me, I'd rather appreciate it as a guest. :)


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This question comes up often, and it really just depends on the person. For some, they can "appreciate" the magic even more. For others, the magic is a bit "less" magical.

Imagine knowing how all of the illusions in a magic show work. For some people, the value of a trick almost entirely in the secret of how it works. But for others, knowing the secret adds to the performer's presentation value and enhances the viewing experience. If we didn't know how the Voyage of the Little Mermaid show animated all of the characters, then we could just assume it's all animatronic and no big deal. But knowing that it's a cast of human performers intricately choreographed together with precision timing adds to the audience appreciation of the show (or at least my personal appreciation for it).

If you pay close attention to your surroundings (and eavesdrop on the conversations of those around you), you'll notice plenty of "off duty" CMs enjoying the parks as guests. If mere CM status degraded the experience for all CMs, then I'm sure they'd find better things to do with their time off the clock.


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Former CM (college program-er) um...is it still magical? Yes. Is it AS magical as it was before I was a CM? I don't think so. It tough to judge for me because being a CM for 6 months is really what turned me into a DIsney nut. I guess it's not necessarily worse, it's just different than I remember it pre-CM. Actually, I think what made it loose the magic was moving to FL and becoming a local with an AP :(


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I only worked there for 8 months on the college program, but, for me I think it almost became more magical. I loved being able to slow down and not have to worry about getting everything done. For example, going to a park without riding a single ride. I think it became a different kind of magic. It did change, but it was a good change (for me). That's just my personal feeling. I know some people may disagree.

Joseph Robinson

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Former CM here, and it is just as magical. It's not like I was ever particularly wow'd by the "show" in the first place, so seeing it all behind the scenes didn't change much. What makes Disney special to me is the atmosphere and seeing how happy it makes other people. Creating that happiness was a very important thing for front line cast members while I worked there, it was cool to be a part of it.


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Former CM here, it's been 15 years. It only made it more magical for metro share it with my husband and kids.

I think it could depend on where you worked and for how long. I was at DD for 6 months.


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Former CM from the 90's. It's still magical for me but to be honest I always get so excited before I go that I expect there to be a choir of angels singing and a golden light, perhaps some weightlessness as I float through the gates and it never quite lives up to that as I step into MK. It's actually often a let down since I expect it to hit me in a big wave as I see the castle but that never quite does it for me.

Usually sometime within my first day I get an overwhelming feeling of - I'm here...I'm actually here. Then I get a little lump in my throat and pretend I got some dust in my eye. Usually it's the smell of POTC that does it for me...sometimes it's the taste of a Mickey Premium bar. I never know where or when, just that sometime it will wash over me that I am back "home". If I ever do a full trip without that feeling I think I would be done.

Knowing more of the ins and outs just makes me a better "tourist". Though to be honest - other than skipping backstage at points to get places faster it's no more than what many of the savvy people on here do. You just know the best times for attractions, the best spots for fireworks and the pleasures of taking time to soak it all in from your favourite attraction to the tinest details.

I'm less rushed now as I travel through and I focus on different things. For me it's photography and my upcoming solo trip for a conference will include 3 or 4 extra days for me to wander alone, probably do only my select favourite attractions and take some great photos, sit on park benches while people watching, take long lunches and do things in a manner that I can't when I bring newbies or the rest of the family with me.

It honestly does all depend on the person - I was a Disney nut before I was a CM so it enhanced my love for Disney and I had a solid background of at least a dozen vacations from '76-'95 before I worked there so I already had a sense of nostalgia for the parks. I worked with a guy who wanted Disney on his resume, never saw any of the animated movies, never went to the parks other than work and only ever went to PI on Disney property. He had free passes to the parks and I don't think he was ever in an attraction there - he worked, got drunk, went home - that's it. It takes all kinds.


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I know a bunch of people who work at Disney and Uni. None consider it a happy or amazing experience. It is a job to them, just like everyone else's job is a job to them.

These boards will have many people who loved it. We are Disney's biggest fans. :) Many people who do it a temporary thing, like a short stint as a college kid, will also have better opinions.

But most of the people work there because they need money and that is a place to work that isn't too far from their homes.


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My sis-in-law was a CM for a while. She still lives in Kissimmee, has an AP and is in the parks at least once a week. So she still loves the place.


Keep Moving Forward
My cousin is a CM at DL currently she also did a tour on DCL if judging by her Facebook is any indicator the magic has not died for her at all. She seems to spend most of her free time at the DLR. Her boyfriend (also CM) and her always having romantic dates all over resort. They also just returned from a two week trip to WDW.


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It takes me 40 minutes to get to work on a good day, up to 2 hours on a bad day, depending on how bad traffic is on Colonial and I4. That being said, if I didn't like working there, I wouldn't, considering the pay.

Quite honestly, it IS a bit less magical for me now, but not because I'm behind the scenes - it's because I'm going to the parks so much now. Not to advocate drinking... but it's so much more fun being buzzed and at Disney, lol. One thing I never get tired of is probably 'Wishes'. Always magical and makes me tear up.


As a guy, I don't use 'magical' often in every day conversation...okay, never. And I'm not about to start :) I grew up going to Disney every year and loved it as a kid. I did the CP and worked at an attraction where I had the opportunity to work with a lot of fun people, make fun of the tourists and I got to see the inner workings of a company that has 60K employees at one location. As a college kid, going to 'work' at an attraction was awesome. It's certainly not anything I would want to do for a career but for those 5 months, it was a blast and allowed me to gain a better appreciation of how WDW operates.

I've gone a few times since then and still enjoy it very much (now with my own family). As I look up at the control towers of the various attractions, I remember what it felt like to be sitting there, praying the ride doesn't go down on my watch!


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I'd love to work there, but it would have to be in their IT department. I'll be graduating in 2015, and after that I'll be looking to move down there. Even if Disney isn't hiring, I'm going to transfer down to the Tampa area with my current employer.


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I had an ex-girlfriend that worked at Disney for several months and she really bought into it. She was truly about making it special for kids. She would get mad at our cast members that would not take it as serious as her. One time we were at MK and I mentioned the wire from Cinderella Castle that Tinkerbell flies across on and she got extremely mad at me. She said "wire? Why do you have to say that? Tinkerbell flies."


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Former Monorails CM here. I always enjoyed WDW as a kid. I was always the guy that had to know how everything behind the scenes worked. I did a CP and then stayed FT for a short while after. I had an absolute blast. I was in Monorails during a turbulent time since it was not too long after the wreck. But still a good overall experience. Driving the trains was an absolute blast. But I would never want to make a career working for Disney (no offense to those who currently do - I raise my glass to you guys!). But I'll tell ya, it was a hard dime to turn. I barely made $8/hr driving the Monorails. I am now a full time IT specialist making three times that (at entry level), and IT has always been my field of choice too. Driving the Monorails at Disney is the only position I would like to have there. Being a former pilot, it is going to be hard to see the trains go driverless in the next few years. It kinda sucks because it is something that I will never be able to do again (if they follow through with the plan to convert and keep the trains driverless), but at the same time it is also neat to be able to say that I had the experience while the opportunity was available. Lots of memories for sure. I will always enjoy going back to visit WDW but it will never be the same to see ol' Red (or any of the other trains) gliding overhead. One of those things where sometimes I prefer to remember how things used to be rather see what they have become. I hope to be the next guy to win a Monorail car at auction to put in my backyard!


Well-Known Member
Former CM. Luv was correct when he/she said that this might not be the best place to ask, as most of us on here are WDW fans. Here is a quote from a friend of mine who was a pretty prominent entertainment CM: "Knowing the ridiculous games you have to play and hoops you have to jump through to be successful at WDW doesn't prevent me from enjoying a ride on Haunted Mansion." For me, understanding how things work and what has to happen to make things work is part of the magic for me. So in that way, working there made it more magical. It was nice knowing Cinderella and Snow White and having them hug me if they saw me in the parks as a guest. By the same token, bad experiences by guests or CMs don't surprise me when I hear of them because I know about the games and hoops. So, yes, there are LOTS of CM who are there for the very small paycheck and don't put a lot of effort into it. There are also those that are there for love of the job and give it all they've got.


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Im a huge wdw fan and plan on applying for a job there. Im in cosomotolgy school and should be done in about 8 months. =) My husband will also . =) I think it will be magical either way.

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