21 Thoughts of a Brit Training to be a Cast Member at Walt Disney World

For the past two weeks I’ve been in training at Echo Lake in Hollywood Studios, and I’m happy to announce that I’m now officially a cast member! That’s right, I’ve earned my ears and ditched the trainee addition to my name tag. In this post, I thought I’d cover a few things that I’ve encountered during this time, relating to both my training and nationality. These happen to be the things that have been commented on the most by my fellow cast members and guests. I’ve tried to make this as unspecific to quick service food and beverage as possible, but of course cast members in other positions may have had different experiences.

So here’s 21 things that I’ve experienced as a Brit training to be a cast member at Walt Disney World:

  1. All your American work colleagues comment on the fact that you’re from the UK and insist that they love your accent the first time you meet them. Yep, it happens so much that it’s number one on my list.
  2. There’s always someone trying to copy the way you pronounce certain words. In particular words like “water” and “rubbish” are considered quite amusing by some of my new work colleagues.
  3. Conversations about home are inevitable. You hear about every time a guest/colleague has visited the UK, or how they have a distant relative somewhere within the British Isles. Basically, you’ll hear about any connection someone has to the UK.
  4. You automatically drift towards your fellow Brits at work. It’s just easier.
  5. You hate working in the heat and like to complain about it. Yes it’s what we signed up for, but complaining about the weather is something us Brits do best.
  6. You find it difficult adapting to the American version of English. It will never feel right calling crisps ‘chips’ and chips ‘fries’.
  7. You find it surprising how many people can’t understand you. I’ve discovered that saying times like ‘half past ten’ or ‘quarter to twelve’ make no sense out here in Florida.
  8. You live in fear of someone asking you directions or a question about your work location. Chances are you won’t know the answer yet.
  9. You have to keep reminding yourself to do the Disney point. After a while you end up using it 24/7, just to make sure that it’s programmed into your brain.
  10. You LOVE going backstage. Not just because you no longer have to smile constantly, but because you still get a kick out of seeing some Disney secrets. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of walking past the ‘Cast Member Only’ signs and knowing loads of shortcuts.
  11. You look forward to doing Elearning just because you get to sit down in air conditioning for long periods of time. Getting used to full-time work can be difficult so a rest here and there is always appreciated, even if it means reading up on the Disney Dining Plan for 40 minutes. And who can say no to air con when it’s always hot?
  12. You’re thankful for the ‘earning my ears’ addition to your name tag. It’s good to have a valid excuse for not knowing the answer or doing something wrong.
  13. Giving change in a foreign currency is harder than you thought. Everything takes twice as long as you try to remember which coin is which and its value.
  14. You love meeting new people from a variety of cultures. Everyday you get to meet someone from a different culture, and it’s great to share experiences and perspectives. This isn’t called the Cultural Exchange Program for nothing.
  15. It’s hard getting used to the hours. There’s a variety of hours out there, including some really early and really late shifts (especially if you’re in Magic Kingdom), as well as some pretty long hours. Hopefully you’ll get used to it.
  16. Your feet kill. It’s full-time work, so I guess it’s not all that surprising. But being on your feet all day at work and then being on your feet all day in the parks on your days off can result in a few blisters.
  17. You can’t wait to start making magical moments. Having heard so many great stories at Traditions, you can’t wait to have similar tales to tell and make someone’s holiday.
  18. You hate how your life revolves around the bus timetable. Whilst the free transportation to and from work is appreciated, the hugely irregular bus service isn’t. This means that long days get even longer as you’re forced to rely on the buses.
  19. The assessment is easier than you thought. The sound of a written test and a performance assessment can be a little daunting, but when it comes to it you find that you know more than you thought.
  20. You don’t want to be left to cope alone now that you’ve earned your ears. Just like taking the stabilisers off a bike, things can be a little shaky at first but everything will be going fine in no time.
  21. You learn to get on with things and appreciate your days off more. After Traditions, getting the same days off as your friends can be tricky, so you quickly learn to make the most of the time you have together. The same goes for your days off, you simply don’t have time to be lazy if you want to get the most out of this amazing opportunity.
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6 thoughts on “21 Thoughts of a Brit Training to be a Cast Member at Walt Disney World

  1. Fantastic blog… looking forward to reading more about your amazing experience… how long will you be there for??

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      1. Look forward to reading them 🙂 I’m going out to Orlando end of September so reading your blog is making it more exciting!!!

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  2. Very interesting read: it’s great to learn more about what it’s like for someone in the UK staying in Florida. I just have a few comments:

    1. Don’t feel bad about complaining about the heat, those of us from the northern portions of the US do it too!

    2. You’re absolutely right about irregular bus schedules! It used to take me an hour and a half to get to work when I lived in Seattle, just because I spent so much time waiting for bus transfers. Not fun.

    3. I hope you enjoy the remainder of your time in Florida, despite the drawbacks! I think that what you’re doing is an excellent adventure, and I wish you all the best!

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