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Disney Park Characters...with heads off???

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I totally agree with Robb. I was working for Disney a while ago and keeping the „magic“ alive is the most important point. I mean if you can not handle that as an employee, then work for another company.

I met a lot of characters and all of them were very professional, even backstage.

A couple nights I was part of “Mickey´s Tree Lightning” Ceremony with characters on stage and it was an amazing experience. Backstage we met with our character and it dosn´t matter what they were doing before the show, from the moment they put on their heads, they were totally in character. I mean it was like the real Mickey Mouse would be infront of me, but I think that is what Disney needs and what makes the difference. They always told us, there is a invisible line between beeing backstage or onstage. From the moment you are going to cross the line, you have to be sure to do your show.

The same should every other Disney employee do and respect, because this is what Disney is selling, the “magic”. I was always trying to do my best to keep the spirit alive. For sure there is only 1 Mickey Mouse.


--Soren “Disney forever” Schomburg

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Robb (and others too!)


You make some very valid points and I want to add my 2 cents. I have worked at WDW and for DCL and the Magic is what makes it. If cast members didn't care, Disney would not be where it is today and the fact that 10000's of CM's keep the magic alive is very special and amazing at the same time. When I saw this thread and started reading, my daughter came up and asked what I was doing. I Instictively shut off the monitor - even thought I don't work for the mouse, I still respect it and all that goes with it.


As for being a "friend" of a character - I have done that too. People cannot understand the feeling you get when you see that child that sees Tigger or Pluto - You cannot put into words the Magic you feel as the person they are so in awe with.


It is the Disney Magic that brings my family to WDW every year - goodness - my 3 year old has been 5 times and we live 1500 miles away!


You hit the nail on the head when you said that cast members have to buy into their role (whether a friend, host or attractions op) - and yes it can be boing and mundane - but it can also be the most magical place too. If you don't buy into the Disney Philosophy - you don't have to work there! And know this - If I could work there - I still would - but that is another thread in itself.


Long story short - I am very surprised that the photo has surfaced and maybe the pic should not be dislplayed here too, but I also know that it was not done maliciously and that it has raised one of the best discussions in a long time! For that I say "Thanks!"



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"The Magic" is as real as you believe it is. I choose to believe. I tip my hat and offer my sincerest thanks to all the cast members that choose to believe as well. When I look over at my wife during the fireworks show and see a small tear running down her cheek while she has the biggest smile you can imagine, I know that none of us have believed in vain.


For us, the magic is real. Maybe not all time, not every single minute, but during the moments that it is real, and you feel it, you know that it can't be denied. If you feel differently, I respect your right to do so, but I feel so sorry for you that you miss out on what I feel is the whole point to begin with.


As for the picture, I honestly wish I'd never seen it, but that's what I get for looking.


Good discussion so far. I've enjoyed reading it.

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That wasn't really in response to you, Dane. Just my general opinion. I just remember going through Traditions training thinking Disney management was a bit off their rocker.


I just think they take it a bit too far sometimes, but understand that the Disney magic is still important...just not THAT important.


I look back and I really wasn't thinking when I made this post. While I agree that the Disney magic is very important, when I see photos like the one posted (one of good taste at least) I don't have much of a problem...yes it violates the magic but I personally don't have a problem with it. BUT that does not mean that I would do anything to violate the magic, even though this post sort of did before it was edited.


I realize that extra care for Disney magic is what makes a great cast member, and though I only see my role at Disney as a temporary college job, in no way do I want to tarnish the magic. But I don't think I would go out of my way to stop others from ruining it.


Maybe that's why I don't stand out at Disney...and that is okay for me. I enjoy my job and value it more than most, but unfortunately not enough.

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  • 4 years later...

Sammi and I have been looking at a lot of "Disney Princess" pictures and stuff since our Florida trip, and today I happened upon this image and laughed that it linked back here to TPR. I know this is an ancient thread, but I have to share something related to this....


Sammi went through a phase a few years ago where everytime I mentioned the characters she was all like "it's just a guy in a suit", but when we got to Magic Kingdom June 21st she was crazy into it (turning 15 that very week), especially the "human" characters. Now, I would have thought it was just my girl (she's not a jaded, overly mature kid at all), but while in line to see Aladdin and Jasmine, there were two girls about 15-17 years old in line behind us. They were totally goth looking, and yet, they were both about to pee their pants with excitement. And it wasn't being silly or stupid - it was genuine. The one (I called her Pebbles all day when we would see them because she had a cheetah print shirt and Pebbles Flintstone orange hair) kept going on about which Princesses they had seen and which ones they still needed to see, etc. They were so cute. And the characters were totally committed to having "teenage" conversations with them. My favorite picture of the whole trip was a candid of Sammi and Ariel talking in the Grotto. All our character interactions that day were, in a word, MAGICAL.


In a few years, I expect there will be a young girl from Ohio working at WDW and delivering the Magic you all talk about here. Samantha came away from our one-day at MK completely in love with the idea of spreading the magic as a character herself someday soon!

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^That's a cool story.


I have to admit, even after all these years visiting and working at theme parks---the sight of seeing the characters go above and beyond to make their interactions special (whether it be taking the time to interact with a person one-on-one or just being really good at the character they are playing) never ceases to remind me why this industry is so cool.

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^&^^ Love those special interactions with the characters.


Sammi has the perfect body (you can go online and see the requirements for most characters) for a ton of face characters, ship her down and she can stay with us as long as she hooks KT up with some princess or fairy time!

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When you apply at Disney, you should know what you're getting into.


... minimum wage seasonal employment?


If you're not there to sell out to an ideal and put selfishness aside, then don't bother. It's things like staying in character, not whoring your exploits out on YouTube, and smiling EVERYDAY while on the clock no matter how ignorant that guest's mundane question is. That's what showmanship is all about, and that's why Disney has always been the leader in that department.


oh, right, that.


While it may be the attitude of the company that Magic is a standard to be lived up to, the reality is that they aren't paying any better for it. It actually says much, much more about disney that the standard exists in the first place when we're talking about (mostly) unskilled entry-level work that pays much worse than comparable work for the personal investment. Presumably everyone who applies for a CM position does know what they're getting into, but they also know it is not likely to be a career. I prefer to look at it from the (probably overtly pessimistic) angle of being impressed by there being any magic at all given the circumstances.


I wouldn't put "disney magic," broadly defined, in the same category as trade secrets like the Coke formula; everything about it is an open secret. Obviously for the 5-year-old who hasn't realized -isn't capable of realizing- the characters are costumed actors, that's a little different, but everything boils down to attitude. If you want to point to a factor, I wouldn't place too much blame on the college kids behind registers. Since the Eisner changeover Disney- Disney the corporate giant- has become increasingly adept at commodifying the Magic, and when you turn something like that into a commodity it inherently loses some of the intangible value.

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We had Dennis Snow (customer service for Disney World) come into our facility several years ago for a seminar and I was VERY impressed with what he had to say. I have his book 'Unleashing Excellence' and have been utilizing the same concept into my job which is customer service oriented for the products we sell.


It's pretty to easy to remember his train of thought: "Through the lens (or eyes) of the customer" and "Everything speaks". It is something that you have to ALWAYS be thinking about when you are in that type of role where you are dealing with customers on a daily basis.


You slip for one minute in a job like that and the consequences can go viral within minutes given today's social media.

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It's interesting that this thread got revived the same day that I applied for a cast member internship for next summer! I really want.to be part of the magic, and I promise I won't break character if I get a job!

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That's a cool story.


Joey, here's the picture I was talking about!


Elissa...be careful what you offer Actually, a nurse at our surgery center has a daughter who has been down there for several years now- she plays Ariel, Evil Stepsister, Jessie, etc and LOVES it. She was giving me some hints on what they look for, and talked like a strong dance background is a huge plus, so yea! Those tens of thousands of dollars won't be a waste after all, LOL!!


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I don't think most people realize just how difficult playing a character at a theme park is. Even if you are a costumed character, to be good at your job you still have to figure out what you can do to remain in character without talking and within the limits of the costume. For example, at USH, I always see the Scooby costumed characters making it a point to seek out guests with snacks in their hands. For face characters its even more difficult--since they have to look the part, act the part, and sound like the part!

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