Around 85 years ago, give or take, Walt Disney began something incredible with a dream and a mouse. That dream (and even that mouse) would eventually evolve into something beyond imagination or at least potentially Walt Disney's imagination and arrive at what we call today Disney. However, what remains now of that original dream and what is blossoming as we reach the 21st century is not something that I ever thought I would be a part of, until now....
This post is my way of announcing I have just become a Disney cast member! It's part-time, it's seasonal and the reality is, it does not pay that well, but there is something about it that remains beyond the monetary and contains the magical. It retains this positive upbeat feeling for me to be the sorcerers apprentice, to be employed by The Head Mouse in Charge!
It's great. And I want to write about my experiences as much as I am allowed because as always... the magicians assistant does not give away the trick. By giving something away it loses the magic, not to mention I signed a contract that I would basically protect the brand, the mouse and everything to do with Disney that they tell me I cannot share. So I won't ever be sharing something that I am not supposed to, so don't ask, and if you do ask I won't tell you and I am a very stubborn person with access to software features that can block you ;-). So lets keep this fun and I promise, scouts honor that I will share anything I am allowed to with all of you as long as you always keep in mind that any views I express in this blog, in these videos are simply MY views etc. and those are not the views etc. of my employer.
So getting onto the fun stuff!
I got to go through my first Cast Member door on October 27th my birthday of all days! It was pretty awesome. The best way I have thought to describe it is stepping into controlled chaos. But let me rewind a little...
I live in Dallas, Texas at the moment and the only Disney connection here is of course the Disney Store in North Park Mall. So right now, if you are looking for a cast member that works at one of the Disney parks I am not the one for you. I write about the parks primarily but I see this new job as a cast member at the Disney Store as an opportunity to expand and talk about the cool Disney things you can find locally. Honestly, before I was hired I had no idea the local Disney Stores did all these events that I have already heard mentioned. I'll bring more info about those as I hear about them. For now let me talk about my experience!
I have to say to start, I have never done so much paperwork for on-boarding for a job, things to read through or documents to sign and I have been a substitute teacher, an after school art teacher and the like, but this was a lot. It took me a few hours each day for 2 days to read through it all and fill everything out. But I got everything done and showed up for my first day, on my birthday to finish everything up and work with the manager to order my costume (uniforms at Disney are called costumes) and my name tag, not to mention any other paperwork I had to finish. When I got there I let the first cast member I saw know I had arrived and was a bit early. I always try to get to things early. Early is on time and on time is late in my book. The cast member commented that that was great, always good to arrive early. Thus begins my first piece of advice for potential cast members. Always arrive early! This time I was around thirty minutes early because the highways in Dallas are under this seemingly constant state of construction which causes delays and traffic is Dallas is terrible so I always give myself plenty of time.
The cast member that I alerted walked me back toward the back of the store, which was so full of people and small kids it was hard to weave our way though but we did and when we got to the door the cast member waved up at the Cast Member only sign and said something like "your first cast member door!" I was thrilled! It was it's own little present and I really did feel in that moment I was stepping behind the scenes of some kind of a theatrical production and not just a retail store. It really was controlled chaos from floor to ceiling. Which, I'd like to tip my hat to that level of organization in a small space. Just amazingly done. And with that I was in! The manager did not care at all that I was early, I overlapped with another seasonal hire a little but that way she was able to give us bother some important info and she didn't have to repeat herself. My manager is pretty amazing, she has got things down, but then again you would if you started in the college program like she did and worked for Disney for 20 years. She's told me a little about herself the two times we have spoken but from what little I know she is for certain someone to learn from. And I want to learn, because I really would like to be a full time cast member some day and potentially work at the parks in Orlando. We shall see! But i'd like to give it a try at least.
After we wrapped up all the paperwork I had another amazing experience that I didn't expect and brought me a lot of joy. My manager actually asked me what pronoun I preferred! I don't show my picture often but I was born a woman, but I identify more with being a man and have gone back and forth the past few years trying decide if I want to fully transition and allow myself to be transgender. It's not a decision I've taken lightly so, I've taken my time... but this one experience on my birthday really was another gift. I went ahead and told my manager I preferred him. And on my way out she even went out of her way to say him to another cast member on my way out. I had a little tear in my eye really for joy.
So not only did I become a cast member, for real (lol), on my birthday but I also kind of just came out in the real world as trans and now I've kind of committed to it and it feels good! It is such a relief to feel actually accepted for who you are by the company you work for. It's almost radical, but it really shouldn't be... but it is. It's radical and amazing and I cannot wait to share more with all of you on my own journey as a Disney cast member.
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