Growing up in Southern California 22 miles north of Disneyland is something that I will be forever grateful for. For the first few years of my life, we would go to Disneyland 4 times a year – spring, summer, fall, and Christmas time. There was no need for an annual pass, especially because they didn’t exist until 1984!
After my sister was born, visits to Disneyland slowed to once a year during the summer. I always enjoyed my visits to Disneyland because they were special. It was easily my favorite place! The rides, shows, and characters were always fun!
Fast forward to February 2002 when I had saved enough money to buy my first Disneyland Annual Pass. I got the Deluxe pass because I didn’t know how often I would be going to the Parks.
In April 2002 I drove down to Disneyland on a Thursday afternoon after class. I exited the 57 freeway at Ball Road, drove down the street, and then turned left on Cast Place, and walked into the Casting Center.
I filled out my application and waited for my interview. At 5 pm on that Thursday, I had accepted a position as a Cast Member in Attractions at the Disneyland Resort.
On May 4, 2002, I had Traditions, which is the first introduction to becoming a Disney Cast Member. I learned a lot about the Company and its history that Saturday, got my Cast ID, and my first assignment as well.
After Traditions, I went to Disneyland for the first time as a Disneyland Resort Cast Member. I showed my new ID at the Mickey & Friends Parking Structure, parked, took the tram, and headed into Disneyland. This was a different visit to the place that I loved going to growing up!
The next day, I had my ‘Attractions and You’ class where I learned more about my new position. At the end of the day, I was given my training schedule and location – Haunted Mansion, Saturday, May 11 and Sunday, May 12 from 5:30 am to 2 pm. I was nervous because I didn’t know what to expect.
I met my trainer the following Saturday morning, and the rest is history! I had learned all about the Haunted Mansion and how to operate it. After a few weeks at Haunted Mansion, I got scheduled for something called ‘GSO Main Street.’ I didn’t know what that was, so I asked. There were at least 6 of us who were going to be trained on what it’s like to be a Guest Show Operations Cast Member.
I spent most of my first summer at Disneyland on Parade Guest Control guiding guests to viewing areas for the parade and the fireworks. That first summer was a very fun and memorable experience!
In addition to knowing Haunted Mansion and Guest Control, I was also part of the Opening Team of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and learned Splash Mountain. I spent 7 magical years as a Disneyland Resort Cast Member.
As of yesterday, April 19, 2020, over 100,000 Disney Cast Members have been furloughed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. My heart goes out to each and every one of them. I know what it’s like to not be a ‘part of the Magic’ during this time.
Being a Disney Cast Member is very special. It’s a role and position that is unlike any other in the world. Creating magic for thousands of guests every day is something that can never be explained or understood. Disney Cast Members make magic every day regardless of what department they work in.
We are all in this together, whether you are a Cast Member or a Guest! We are with you, and we are waiting for the day when we can experience those magical memories once again!