You never really know what it’s like to work at a place until you actually do it and walk in the shoes of the folks who make it happen. And that goes for any industry.
But Disney is one of those brands that everyone knows and pretty much all people are curious about.
And Disney parks are places that attract really rabid fans that even border on the obsessive.
You just know a lot of weird stuff goes down in those parks…
Here are some very interesting stories from AskReddit users who worked at Disney parks.
1. Wow! That’s really nice!
“There was a couple from somewhere in the Midwest that had driven to Miami to adopt a disabled child (their 9th?). On the way home they decided to stop at Disney World for the kids.
After pulling into the Epcot parking lot, their handi-van caught fire. They got all the kids out, but the van was a total loss. Disney put them all up in one of their hotels while the couple tried to figure out what to do next.
Turns out…there was a convention of Rotary International at the Swan hotel. One of the members saw the story on the news and at breakfast the next morning, passed the hat among the members.
They ended up collecting enough to buy the couple a brand new van, extra equipment for all the kids, and a hefty check left over. I have always held a certain amount of pride in the Rotary club for this amazing generosity.”
2. Ashes to ashes.
“I used to work at the box office, I once had a woman come up and ask for a ticket into Disneyland, she then placed a box on the counter while looking for her wallet.
Idk how she managed to get that box past security. I see a picture on it and then I see dates I realize that they are the ashes of assuming her little girl. I had to keep her at my window while I waited for security.
It broke my heart but a lot of people like to dump ashes on rides and it literally just gets vacuumed up at the end of the night.”
“I worked at one the Restaurants in MK.
I had a family abandon their adult son, who was in a wheelchair with a slew of health complications, in the middle of our walkway while they went on rides.
He was there for about 2-3 hours.”
4. Oh my God…
“I’m surprised no one has mentioned Towel Baby. Most people who worked at WDW-MK in the early 2000s heard of or met Towel Baby. It’s a rather sad story so i’ll try to tell it respectfully.
Several times a week a couple with annual passes came to the Magic Kingdom with what appeared to be a swaddled infant. However, if you looked closely, the woman was carrying a rolled up towel wrapped in a hospital newborn blanket. The man was always very gentle, leading his wife through security and into the park.
I’m not certain if they went on rides but I know for sure that they always asked for a table for three at restaurants. They came through my turnstile a few times and while the woman rarely made eye contact, they were always soft spoken and respectful.
The story / legend was that the couple had lost an infant years prior and the woman fell into a deep depression and became delusional. The only thing that kept her somewhat functional was fussing over this towel and coming to the Magic Kingdom.
Observing them navigate the park was a masterclass in compassion, not only watching the husband care for his wife, but seeing every single cast member treat them both with respect and kindness. I remember managers telling us not to make fun of them (obviously) but also not to fuss over them – they’re just another family enjoying the park.”
5. That’s a lot of money.
“Former Walt Disney World merchandise cast member here. Was on the Disney College Program last Fall. I worked primarily in the Star Tours gift shop “Tattooine Traders”. This is one of my best stories.
We had several autographed pictures behind the counter; Luke, Han, Leia and Chewie was $10,000. I was on the register near the pictures when this older gentleman asked me how much the center piece was. I told him “ten thousand dollars sir!”.
He looked at me and said “that would look great in my theatre room, how many do you have in stock?”. I said “two including the one on display” he said “perfect I’ll take both!”. The total after taxes was a bit over $20,000.
I was a bit flustered swiping that credit card, I know there are some rich people out there but never really got to see if first hand. My favorite part is that as I offered to ship it home for him he says “no thanks! I brought my plane with me!”.”
6. Hollywood stars.
“I worked at a restaurant in Downtown Disney in California as a host.
James Spader came in once, tried to get a table with his dog. Who was obviously not a service dog (and even if it was an emotional support dog, they don’t have to be legally allowed inside a restaurant.) I told him I would be happy to seat him if he left his dog at the Kennel, right across the esplanade, but I could not seat his dog inside – what if a health inspector came in?
He yelled at me so much, his face turned red. He told my manager to fire me. Luckily, the restaurant had a patio, and the manager sat Spader at a table on the patio closest to the exit so we wouldn’t get in trouble. My manager actually stood up for me, told Spader I was right. Spader still tried to get me fired.
This was 10 years ago, I still hate James Spader with a red hot passion. Such an entitled ass. And since he always plays assholes, I know he’s not even a good actor.
However, Christian Slater was very polite when he came in.”
7. The regulars.
“Former photographer at Disney World and worked very closely with the characters. There were some creepy regulars. There were this couple who’d pretty much come in everyday and would get super mushy with the cast members, like a first name basis kind of thing and they would make sure to catch specific performers during their set.
No one knows how they know this info, we think they just stalk them. Some CMs think it’s harmless but I think it’s incredibly odd.
They even expect some special treatment because they are regulars. I’ve only encountered them a couple of times but they managed to find me on Facebook just based off my name tag info.”
8. So weird…
“I don’t work there , but my aunt and uncle do. Uncle told us that among the bitter employees, Mickey is referred to as “ the rat”.
My favorite tidbit is that ,because nothing bad is supposed to happen in Disney , there’s weird euphemisms for a lot of things. If there needs to be a puke cleanup at one of the rides it’s called in as a “protein spill”.”
9. The haunting.
“I was a CM from 2007-2014.
It was said that there is a ghost of a little girl at Soarin on B side. They say she died in the parking lot before DCA was built, but no one can say exactly how. Some have claimed to hear footsteps coming up the metal stairs that lead below the screen during a flight.
But the tower cm is the only one there since the room is closed off during a flight and an open door would stop it immediately. So imagine sitting there, basically tuning out the show you’ve heard SO many times, and start hearing metallic footsteps. It’s dark, you feel like you’re being watched.
Very uneasy feeling.”
10. The dirt.
“Knowing that the tinker bell that flies out of the castle in a steel cable is a short Korean man
The face characters (people whose face you can see), especially the princesses, are THE MOST arrogant people I have ever met ever.
This one time, guests pulled me over into the woman’s bathroom because some crazy bitch was hitting her fucking kid inside the stall and the kid was wailing. And they wanted me to intervene cause the woman was Hispanic (I don’t speak spanish). Security was called, it was fucked. No idea what happened to the kid.
To be honest, I have much more good stories than bad stories. The place I worked in was actually super shitty with shitty managers, but Disney is a nice place to work. They actually do give a shit about their guests, it’s not just a front, and I liked that.”
11. We don’t do that, sir.
“We had a rich guest come in to Club 33 (secret restaurant in New Orleans Square) for the first time I believe and he wanted a private room and some Disney princesses to “have fun with” and wondered if any of the hostesses or waitresses were interested when we told him we could not accommodate him.”
12. A bad accident.
“This isn’t a creepy story, but a horrifying one. I was working the day of the Columbia accident. I tried to find my telling of this story in my post history but I’m on mobile and it’s taking me too long. In 1998 on Christmas Eve, a cleat ripped off of the ship as it was docking.
The clear sling-shouted through the crowd, nearly decapitating a guest in front of his kids. It was terrifying not knowing what was happening or who was affected. I can only imagine how the CMs felt when the America Sings accident happened.
I know I’m not being very helpful with links because of mobile, but the info is public so I hope someone can link the references I’m making.”
13. Gettin’ busy.
“I worked at the stunt show in Hollywood studios last year, and we always had to stay open past 2am some nights for private events.
Most of these were for cheerleading groups who would rent out the park and our theater became a dance party, which was annoying but really not too bad.
The worst part was about every 30 minutes we’d have to walk through our theaters queue because teenagers would sneak into the trees and just go at it.
One night a fellow cast member and I caught 6 different couples within the span of two hours, and had to report them to their captains which was always the most uncomfortable situations.”
“The workers are paid below living wage but many are so obsessed with Disney culture they would rather be poor than work elsewhere, especially the young ones. Many spend their off days at the park too.
Disney takes advantage of this lotalty for sure. It is a very cult like place for employees with many of them having “getting out” and “life after Disney” stories.”
15. From the front lines.
“In 2008 I worked at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique inside the castle at the Magic Kingdom – you know the place where Princess makeovers happen? Most days I performed the actual makeovers: telling girls (and sometimes older woman back then when it was allowed) stories while I did their hair, nails and makeup.
Stories like “I did Cinderella’s hair this morning – along with Hannah Montana who sat over there in x chair”. (Remember this was 2008- Hannah Montana was huge). The moms would always then – without fail- turn to their daughters/husbands and exclaim “did you hear that hunny!? She did Hannah Montana’s hair!” After which I wouldn’t have the heart to correct them and say “she’s as fake as Cinderella”.
I’d just smile and play along.
Well some days I would get lucky and work the front podium checking guests in. This was a highly coveted spot and hard to get. My favorite dumb guest story happened on one of those days. Please keep in mind there is no alcohol sold in the Magic Kingdom.
Set up: guest comes straggling over looking beat up and tired and over heated. I check their princess (as each girl was referred to) in and they then lean in very very close to me. I ask if they need something.
Guest: where can I get a beer in the Magic Kingdom?
Me: I’m sorry sir but we don’t sell beer in the Magic Kingdom. If you want a beer you can head to any other park or hotel.
Guest: but REALLY- where can I get a beer in the Magic Kingdom?
Me: I’m sorry sir, we don’t have any beer in the Magic Kingdom.
Guest: (looking around from side to side moving in closer still): this – this is the Magic Kingdom?
Me: yes sir.
Guest: so if I go over to Tomorrowland I can get a beer there?
Me: I’m sorry sir, we don’t serve beer in the Magic Kingdom. (At this point I’m struggling to repeat myself with a smile)
Guest: (winking at me while equally getting annoyed) okay- I’ll go over to to Tomorrowland then!
The guest then storms off leaving me bewildered. I’ll never know if he found his beer or not – but if he did it wasn’t in Tomorrowland.”
That was a nice behind-the-scenes peek, don’t you think?
Now we want to hear more!
If you’ve ever worked for a big, well-known company or organization, give us some dirt on what really goes on behind closed doors.
We’d love to hear from you!