Why You Should Hire a Former Disney Cast Member

Why You Should Hire a Former Disney Cast Member

With layoffs at Disney announced last month, last week and today, we look at the reality that many former Disney Cast Members may have to look for work elsewhere. If you’re an employer, that may mean good news for you, as we talk about the reasons why you should hire a former Disney Cast Member. With that, we share the kinds of discussions you should host with a former Disney Cast Member to assess their work experience and to see if they are truly a right-fit for your organization. And what if you can’t hire a former Disney Cast Member? We offer a new program where you can help support those furloughed and laid off who really need support, while getting some unique Disney-based offerings for you to enjoy.

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More Layoffs

In our last podcast we spoke of 4,000 additional layoffs happening in The Walt Disney Company. This was in addition to the 28,000 announced previously.

Now this week it was announced that 1,800 more Cast Members have been furloughed from the Disneyland Resort. The furloughs is impacting both union and non-union Cast Members. All of this is in light of of the fact while Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure has opened for dining and retail, the likelihood that the parks in California will re-open any time soon is becoming less likely, especially since Orange County California has more COVID cases than ever before.

The long and short of it is that many Disney Cast Members will be seeking employment elsewhere–even in locations far away from Anaheim and Orlando. This podcast looks at the possibility that you might be able to hire a former Disney Cast Member. We want to look at the reasons why, as well as the discussions you might host that will help you identify whether that candidate is right fit for you.

Reasons Why You Should Hire Former Disney Cast Members

Positive Attitude. More often than not, the kind of individual who seeks to work at Disney comes with a positive attitude. Indeed, the positive atmosphere and culture is a magnet to those looking for the same. That doesn’t mean every Disney location is a positive environment. Some are even toxic. And that may have resulted in the individual wanting to move on. But largely, Disney Cast Members are a positive group, and they seek organizations that provide for that espirit de corps.

Difficult Selection Process. It’s pretty hard to get a job at Disney “knowing someone”. The Casting system at Disney is designed to reduce that as much as possible. They have a system for selecting candidates that is generally rigorous. They are comfortable following a mantra that is largely, “slow to hire, quick to fire.”

Right-Fit Backgrounds. Disney does considerable screening before hiring individuals. It doesn’t mean that someone less qualified could slip through the system. But it does mean that by and large, a lot of work has already gone into finding the best person possible.

Team Players. By and large, Disney Cast Members are expected to be good team players. This is not a solo-act show. Disney Cast Members should be capable of working effectively with others. On average, they should have better people skills and should be able to understand, relate to, and empathize with others. Social skills matter at Disney. They should be better than most when it comes to relating with customers and fellow employees.

More Fully Developed. Disney Cast Members are given many opportunities to gain extra development and leadership activities during their tenure with the organization. If they take advantage of this, it may mean that you have more developed employees than other candidates.

Discussions You May Want to Host in Interviewing Former Disney Cast Members

All that said and done, it may be well to host some conversations to better discern whether they are the right fit for your organization. Note I didn’t say questions. I said hosting discussions. If a Disney Cast Member is worth their wait they should be able to do more than respond to questions. They should be able to interact. So here are some discussions you may want to host.

By the way, you may want to ask these questions in the employment application. But again, it’s their ability to carry out a discussion with you that matters almost as much as the response itself.

First, in discussing their departure, did they leave on good terms? They may have been laid off, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t leave on on good terms. Discuss their last months and weeks before their departure.

By the way, Disney will never tell you why an individual left the company. They will give you the dates they worked with the company and you should compare those dates, but they will never provide that reason.

Second, did they say they didn’t like their boss or the team they were with? Typically, though not always, Cast Members should be able to identify another work location, as Disney Parks are often large single site employers (Walt Disney World being the largest in the country). There are always exceptions to this, such as roles so unique in IT that there would only be one likely place to execute that role.

Third, ask them, what did you like about your role? Also, ask them later on in the interview (but not sequentially right after asking that question) what did you least like about your job? Listen intently to both responses. If their response leaned heavily toward a discussion of what they didn’t like, rather than what they did like, that should be a flag for you.

Fourth, discuss with them what activities did they get involved with while working for Disney? Do they mention clubs, or service opportunities or unique work assignments. Not everyone is in a place they can do additional projects or activities on the side (perhaps they’re time is limited caring for an elderly person at home), but know that Disney offers many ways to get involved.

Fifth, discuss what standards were expected of them in their role. One of those sets of standards is the Disney Keys which includes Safety, Courtesy, Show, Efficiency, and most recently Inclusion. They should be able to articulate the importance of standards like these and how they implemented and lived up to those standards. Did they embrace these standards? Can they even name them? Every Disney Cast Member should know these on day one when they go through Disney Traditions, which is their orientation. Most–especially those who served on the front line–should be able to describe how those keys came to life.

If they left more recently, ask if they got involved in Aspire or other learning & development programs? Aspire is Disney’s free tuition program, which empowers Cast Members to seek out higher education. Additionally, there are many offerings through the Disney University. Discussing this may give you a sense of their interest and commitment in improving and developing themselves.

How Else You Can Help Former Cast Members

Beyond hiring former Cast Member, you can also help Disney Cast Members and others in and around Walt Disney World during this time of furlough and layoffs.

It was noted recently that though the parks have been closed much of 2020, it still has received some $20,000 in coins tossed in their fountains and wishing wells. Disney noted that these were going to help those who were homeless in Central Florida, which is a really good cause.

But we have a better idea of what to do with your coins to others in need, and in return, you get something more than just a wish. Our websites, Disney at Work and Play celebrate not only all that is wonderfully Disney, but it also focuses on the many business and life-long lessons one can learn from the “happiest place on earth”. And now we offer a Patreon group that you can join.

When you do, we provide you with new Disney experiences to include exclusive podcasts, YouTube videos and even interactive apps. We hope that we can offer you something that benefits your work and your enjoyment of all things Disney.

We offer four tiers for becoming a part of all that we offer. The first two, Explorer and Discoverer, are associated with Disney at Play, and are focused on fun facts and excitement that all of us enjoy as Disney fans. It includes what we refer to as interactive Disney Discoveries.

Our Disney Discovery Interactive app featuring Pandora: World of Avatar.

The second two tiers, Navigator and Adventurer allow you to experience our world-class learning & development solutions for bringing best-in-Disney concepts back to your organization. Here we offer interactive park guides where you can see the business behind the magic whether you’re in the parks or on your sofa at home.

Our Disney at Work Interactive Tour: Disneyland

And Note: These two levels could be justified as a business expense by your organization since they are learning & development opportunities.

Know that your donation at whichever tier goes entirely for the first three months to support Embrace Celebration, a non-profit group designed to support those hardest hit in the tourism center of Central Florida to receive assistance during this holiday time of year. Many Disney Cast Members and others who serve guests visiting The Walt Disney World area are not only supported by this effort, but help to support.

So whether you hire a Disney Cast Member, or simply help support some of those great Cast Members in need, know that you will be getting value out of the experience. Visit our Patreon Group page to learn more.

J. Jeff Kober