As the mother of a castmember I have to say - if we knew then what we knew now… If you are retiring to Florida you’d probably enjoy working at Disney on a part-time basis. If you’re a kid from another country - as a mother I’d have to discourage my child. Disney from the "other’ side is not magical. My daughter left in great excitement in February. She couldn’t wait to get started. She’s a upbeat, friendly kid - and a very hard worker. She thought her year at WDW would be a dream come true. It wasn’t. The dorms are run-down and dirty. When we visited her I was shocked at the state of them. I held my tongue, but I desperately wanted to take her home right then. We got cleaning supplies and I spent 2 days cleaning the apt she shared with 3 other girls. One girl from Germany was very clean - the other two from a different country were not. It wasn’t pretty. Keep in mind these kids come from far away - they’re not going to travel with cleaning supplies and a vacuum. There is a vacuum - you have to rent it. On $3.00 an hour you soon learn there are things more important than a clean apartment. Yet these same apartments are “spot checked” on a monthly basis - and you get demerits for a dirty apartment (Disney’s “standards” for the dorms are not the same as for the resorts - trust me) - even if it’s your roommate’s mess. The work begins with a kid either starting in merchandise, hostessing the restaurant or popcorn cart. At these jobs tips are strictly forbidden. A boy in England refused a tip from a guest at the fish & chips window. The guest reached over and stuck it in his hand and took off. The manager saw the kid holding the dollar - he was dismissed and sent home. Unless you are prepared to send your kid money every week, they are living on $3.00 an hour - many live on Mr. Noodle and cereal. It’s all they can afford. Only servers and food runners get tips - but you have to work up to that and it takes 6 months. In your first three months three demerits and you are out. If you are sick and come to work - that’s a demerit because you shouldn’t be around the public. If you are sick and stay home - you guessed it - demerit. Disney’s response: don’t get sick. In WDW - with thousands of people milling around. My dd worked with bronchitis which turned to pneumonia and a hospital stay. Fortunately she had a doctor’s note. No one from Disney checked to see how she was doing. She had to take a taxi to the hospital and one when she was released. When she got back to the dorms kids chipped in to pay the fare - she had no money. If you work your way up to server you do make excellent money on the tips - but you work 12 to 14 hour days. Drugs are rampant, partying is rampant, girls have been attacked and raped. Disney will throw you out for the drugs. They’ll throw everyone out that is in the same room - even if you stopped by to borrow some milk (that happened to a girl from Germany) , ignore the partying and generally send the attacked girl home - warning others not to speak of it - there is no investigation into the crime. If they sense you are “depressed” or “unhappy” - or might be gossiping about Disney you will be sent to Disney’s counsellor - who after 15 minutes decides “you’re depressed”. Then Disney will send you home - and you have to vacate the premises within 8 hours. Yes, 8 hours. To kids from all over the world - with no money, no place to go, no where to store their things. I’m pretty sure this must be illegal - but who fights Disney? It happens time and time again. My dd was home for a ‘break week’ this summer - she is not happy. She went back because as a server the money was good and she and her boyfriend want to get a house and get married. She’s coming home now because it’s just not worth it. Canada hired too many kids so her shifts have been cut to 4 hours. Only 20% of the kids who go last the year. The rest either self-terminate or are fired. Her best friend is a nervous wreck, but has to wait until November for her parents to pick her up - my dd doesn’t know if she can make it that long. A friend of her’s from England has been suspected of theft (she’s innocent). Not only is she devastated that they would suspect her - she’s terrified if she gets thrown out she won’t be able to get a flight back to England and she can’t afford a hotel. We’ve told her if it happens to come to us immediately. I can’t speak for the College Program - the “foreigners” (as they are called) are kept strictly away from the American kids. So - if I was a mother in Canada, England, or wherever and my kid was interested, I’d discourage him/her, STRONGLY. You’ll all save yourselves a lot of grief. Also - if you a Disney lovers, then you’re whole perspective of Disney changes - which is sad. We are trying to separate the employment from our enjoyment in the parks, because Disney was our happy place. But it’s not very happy for the CMs. I thought long and hard about writing this post here - I’ve been a Disneyaholic for 25 years and it’s hard to face the truth about the place we love. But as a mother, I felt it was more important to warn others of what they might be getting into. You can take or leave what I have said - perhaps your child will have a different experience - that’s what we thought. We were wrong. As my dd says “I’m sure Walt wouldn’t have treated us this way.”
Update: The English girl was terminated for “suspect theft and drinking”.