Have you ever wondered what Cast Members at Walt Disney World get to see or experience behind the scenes? We were quite curious ourselves & decided to share the best details on how Disney gives you the most magical time while at their parks.
• The cast members that are part of PAC (or Parade Audience Control) are responsible for making sure the parades run smoothly. One part of that is that they swiftly, and almost unnoticeably, break down the stanchions (roped barriers) towards the end of the parade. Most guests aren’t even aware!
• The rumored tunnel under MK actually DOES exist, and it’s called the utilidor. It features tons of break rooms, cafeterias, pin trading center, bank, and even a Disney library. The walls have different color stripes for cast members to follow so they can exit at specific parts of the park.
• Magic Kingdom that guests see is actually on the 2nd floor (and the utilidor area is the 1st floor).
• Cast Members at Magic Kingdom can’t leave their land while in their costume (other than certain CMs, like train station operators and PAC.
• Disney pays so much attention to detail, even down to the lights on Main Street buildings. Unbeknowst to many guests, Disney has a large board filled with dozens of different types of light bulbs. They switch them on and off when Main Street USA is turned on or off. The reason behind this wall of bulbs hidden away from guests? In case one on Main Street is damaged or burned out, it can be replaced from the board – and NOT be brighter than the surrounding bulbs! Pretty clever!
• Do you ever smell popcorn cooking or something baking while on Main Street USA? Chances are Disney has pumped those smells in to add to the experience.
• Every land has a different soundtrack. As a guest transitions from one land to another, both soundtracks can be heard and blend together. However, there isn’t a way for Fantasyland and Tomorrowland soundtracks to blend, so the area in between those two lands is the only place without music.
• No gum is sold in the park’s shops.
• Animal Kingdom is the only park within Walt Disney World with doors at the entrance of restrooms. This was designed in case an animal were to escape an enclosure.
• Those giant terminte mounds on the Kilmanjaro Safari ride are actually fake! They are disguised feeders for the animals.
• Do you always hear the screams from riders on Expedition Everest as you pass by? These are actually an added ambiance (much like the food smells at Magic Kingdom), not actual riders. You can also hear them at Tower of Terror. They are generally used at thrill rides where an outdoor segment is viewable to passing guests.
• Morocco’s pavilion is the only pavilion sponsored by a government and not a company.
• Every country in Epcot’s world showcase employs people from that specific country. The only exception may be the characters, performers, or certain staff members at the company sponsored restaurants.
Cast Member Specific
• There’s a Cast Member only recreation area called Mickey’s Retreat, which includes basketball courts, baseball diamonds, and paddle boats to use. It’s only available for cast members and their immediate family.
• There’s hidden cast member only stores inside the parks featuring heavily discounted items, which typically are damaged or retired items, but sometimes include old park decor.
• Imagineers aren’t just people who design rides, movies, or games – they can also be librarians, historians, and even chefs!
• If a child breaks a souvenir, drops an ice cream cone, or loses a balloon, cast members can give them a replacement.
• Puke is called a protein spill.
• Cast Members sometimes get special access or privileges, like watching the fireworks show from the roof of a Main Street USA shop.
• When someone who works at Disney plays a character, they may say that they are ‘friends’ with that character. They are not allowed to tell non-Disney employees that they are Ariel/Mickey/Belle/etc., so they are instructed to say that they are friends with them.
• Face characters (like the princesses) are paid more than costumed characters (Mickey, Pluto, etc.) because they are also required to maintain their nails, makeup, etc.
Special thanks to the cast members who gave us this insightful information. Many have chosen to remain anonymous, but we would like to acknowledge a special shoutout to Morgan and Tawni. You can follow Tawni on Instagram @mickeygirlforever.