“So, you work at Disney, right?”
Dun dun DUN! The dreaded question most cast members receive at least once in their time with the mouse. The first time it happens, you’re wondering to yourself, “Why is this person messaging me when we haven’t talked in 6 years?” Then it happens. They beat around the bush about you working at Disney until finally they get up the nerve to ask how you can hook them up.
Or, you get the opposite. Here’s an example of someone asking me that I… 1. Had only talked to once in my life and 2. This is the second sentence they ever said to me about a month after meeting them:
Her: “Can you get me and my boyfriend in for free to Disneyland?”
Me: “Sorry, I’d have to be there and I’m in Nevada for school right now.”
… and no response.
Constantly people are asking me for advice, discounts, free entry- and usually I’m very nice about it and try to help in other ways- and yet I never receive a response back because it’s not a, “Hey you! I’d love to get you in for free even though I barely know more than your name!”
So, this is an open letter to everyone who knows someone – who knows someone – that works at Disney to explain why we do not spread our free entry to all the citizens in the land. And why, when you ask us for help with planning, please remember to say “thank you”.
Let me start off by saying that we really do understand how expensive it is to go to Disney. Although us cast members get to enjoy the parks for free, we deal with guests every day that remind us how hard they worked to get there, along with how much they spent. When the prices go up, so does our anxiety: because we know exactly how stressful it’s going to be on the people that come through our gate, and it’s our job to make sure they get every single penny worth of their trip. If we fail as cast members, their trip is also a failure. We want everyone to have a magical experience because it also makes our day, too.
Cast members work their butt off when they are in the park, sometimes up to four hours without a break, in the humidity, with no shade, and sweating in places that sweat should not be found. They are to look alive while on stage at all times, to make as much magic as possible while sweating through their costumes pretending it is not as hot out as it actually is.
As cast members, we do receive some wonderful perks from working at the park, and I’m going to take a moment to explain those:
- We receive discounts on merchandise for ourselves only.
- For the work that we do, we also receive 4 complimentary tickets a year (2 if you are seasonal). Four. FOUR. Yes, four a year. What makes these tickets so wonderful is that they have no block out dates, so they can used on any day as long as the parks aren’t at capacity. We can give these tickets to anyone, but with the recent rise in block out dates, these tickets are coveted because it is the only way we can get our family into places like The Magic Kingdom during their visit.
- CMs also have this beautiful card called a maingate. This card lets the CM get in 3 people per day, up to 16 times per year (6 if you are seasonal). But I’d like to tell you exactly why this does not benefit you…
There have been some years I only used my maingate maybe once or twice. Other years where I used up every single pass. Part of the rules when using the maingate is that as a cast member, if I let you in with it, I have to stay with you during your entire park visit (unless you’re family). And if I don’t know you, or if you are trying to come in with your boyfriend for a romantic day at the parks, it is sure going to get weird having me around. On top of that, I just spent the last 12 days working 8-12 hour shifts at the park you are visiting, and the only place I want to be is curled up with Netflix, avoiding the sun like the plague.
Now your next argument is, “But how will they know you aren’t with us?”
And that is a very valid question. Because Disney might not follow us around all day to make sure we split up. The keyword there is might. When you get into the park, you are holding onto my sacred guest pass that I have to have returned to me, and if I don’t know you very well you might:
- Never return the pass to me and
- Make me lose my job by doing something dumb
If you are someone I don’t know very well, it is not worth it for me to risk my source of income because you don’t want to spend any of yours.
On top of that, as I said earlier, I might just want to stay home and relax instead of making the trek to the park for someone I’m not very close to.
However, if you are a good friend, or family (objective, of course), it is a no brainer that I am letting you in. We are going to go to the parks together and I am going to show you the best way to get around the park and we are going to have an absolute blast.
But if I don’t know you- do not ask me for tickets. Before you do, think to yourself, “Would I hang out with this person if they didn’t work at Disney? Have I talked to them in the last year? Do they know who I am?”
Because if you do ask, and we know you’re just trying to use us, then we will screenshot whatever you send us and use it for story time backstage at work the next day.
And if you ask, and the CM says they can’t because they have plans with their family for their passes or they are working those days, thank them anyway! Do not be angry. Take that opportunity to ask them for any advice about the parks and listen to it. They know what they’re talking about. 🙂
An ex-cast member who will not ask her Disney friends to hook you up on your trip
P.S. I realize seasonal doesn’t get these perks any longer – this was written quite some time ago! Even more reason why seasonal would be safeguarding them now 😉
39 thoughts on “No, I will not get you into Disney.”
Seasonal don’t get comp tickets anymore nor do they have a maingate. Don’t ask.
Yup! Even more reason why they’d be hesitant.
u don’t have to stay with your guests u sign them in and stayed with them for awhile and then leave
Technically the rule is that you have to stay with the guest the entire time if they are not family! Most people do not follow this, but it is still an official rule.
I know a CM that did not stay with his guests. Camera caught it(yes there are cameras watching) and he was fired on the spot after working there for 20+ years. He did not get to explain or offer any reason. They are very strict about following policy rules.
Correct. Cameras and plain clothes security are everywhere. I was the CM who had my guest caught without me. Not a fun time in Security or getting escorted off Property being told not to come back.
For you CMs that do sign people in and leave…ask yourself first, “is this worth my job?”.
Incorrect. You DO have to stay with them. I also was a CM who was caught without my guest and sat in Security for hours and was driven off property and told not to come back. Sure people get away with it a lot, but do you want to take the chance?
So……… that’s a maybe if I ask super nice, lady I don’t know?
*Ba dum tiss*
Haha, I love this! Having been an entertainment reporter for years, I get similar emails from people I haven’t seen since high school: Can you introduce me to Taylor Swift/get me a meet-up with Florida Georgia Line for my kid/nab me tickets for a sold-out Garth Brooks show? NO. I. CAN’T. Wish I had that power, but I’m but a lowly journalist!
Haha! I think some people realize we ourselves can’t even get some of those perks that come with the job. The worst part is the fact that most of these people are the ones from high school that you barely knew in the first place.
CT now earn up to 9 one day park hoppers per year based on hours worked. Yet another reason to be understanding when the answer is “I don’t have any extra passes.”
I agree completely! I used to be seasonal and when I heard about the change it was one of my first thoughts – hide the passes! hahaha
I’d love to pay your way through Disney parks so you could help us better navigate!
Haha! My family always liked that about visiting – so easy to get around. Ask the CMs, they will make sure you get to where you need to be! 😉
I call BS! Most people know that Disney cast members who got their friends in. If that has changed than Disneyland is more greedy than most have thought.
Like the writer said, cast members have the right to sign in their friends and family a certain amount of times a year. But why would we waste those sign-ins that we worked hard for on people we barely know? We are supposed to stay with our guests throughout the visit. If our guests cause any trouble or break rules, we can face inquiries by HR and possible termination.
It’s not that people don’t do it, it’s that some people are not worth the effort and/or the the use of the passes.
‘Friends’ is the keyword. And it’s usually CLOSE friends for the reasons mentioned in this article. Not random acquaintances, former third grade classmates who found you on Facebook, neighbors who say hi once a year, people who go to the same gym, or any of the various and sundry people who usually hit Disney employees up for free tickets.
This is so my life. Especially as a seasonal cast member like other readers have pointed out. No more main gates. No more comp tickets. My passes are reserved for family and close friends ONLY.
Try working for a beer company.
Do people try to get free beer? Haha! It’s already so cheap!
Not true at all
How are you going to say it’s not true? Are you a cast member?
i admit for asking someone i hardly know, but i didnt ask for free, i asked for less expensive tickets, but i did ask nicely and did thank them, i am not rude, was just wondering, i wasnt making much at the time and my husband had just lost his job when we had wanted to go and take our daughter but we had expenses in other things more important. It is a great article, cause i have gotten asked to use my discount (for a large retailer) for black friday, but i could get fired so i simply decline. i will be sure not to ask, unless i know someone more closely and they offer, or i will go cause i paid for it.
Honestly for me it’s more about the appreciation of it. I have just found that when people ask me, they tend to feel very entitled to it and when I tell them I can’t due to x number of reasons, they don’t ever respond with a thank you or anything. When someone is genuine, it’s much different! As long as you are kind, I don’t think anyone would be offended. 🙂
thats good to know, thanks(:
When I worked there I certainly didn’t go around telling people I worked there. I didn’t tell them what I received or how many. That’s my business. Not anyone elses business. I certainly wouldn’t list them online. I had complete strangers who knew about the free tickets ask me for them. Or ask me to use my discount at the register. I know someone who got fired on the spot for doing just that! I’d tell them I wasn’t ready to quit just yet and if they made a fuss I’d say they could speak to my lead or manager. I had people pressure me to let them at “as soon as the park opens” even though I worked til almost 4am and only slept one hour before I had to go let them in, just to turn around and drive the 40 minuets back home. So going into the park on my days off or getting out of bed before I had to wasn’t my favorite thing to do. That was before they sent us letters INSISTING we accompanied people the whole time. I know someone else who left her friends in the park, they got in a fight and security came. This person could have lost their job because of their idiot friends! We can’t sell the tickets, that’s automatic dismissal as well. So basically the discounts are for the castmember & immediate family on penalty of losing your job. Personally I didn’t care about the perks much. The discount is only 10%, 20% after 3 years but last I heard Annual Passholders were getting 10 or 20% so who cares if you work there? (And btw you can have your pass revoked if you try to give the discount to others! Don’t do it!) Never used all my Maingate the almost decade I was there. Frankly we’re paid barely over minimum wage and got maybe a .25 cent raise for the first 5 years IF minimum wage hadn’t increased, otherwise we’d get that. Never both. So I only received ONE raise in those 5 years. When the economy collapsed, I was paid just as much as someone who just started for 2 years. I knew people living in hotels or squashed in tiny apartments like myself with roommates because we can’t afford our own place in a decent neighborhood. Believe me I’d rather have had more money than the silly perks. None of the things in that park can replace the need of having a roof over your head and food to eat.
Actually the discount is 20% immediately and 35% after 3 years, Its been the same for the last 20 years. If you had really worked there for 10 you would know that.
Whatever. I let little things that don’t matter anymore to me slip from my mind. I could care less what they get now or 20 years ago.
You are awesome, thank you for writing this.
And the spouse of the CMS get hit up with the same request. I can comiserate with you on this.
This is FABULOUS!! I’m sharing it on FB!! I’ve had those requests & let people know, sorry my passes are for MY family & friends…not yours.
Thanks for writing this for us to share…my Mouse Ear Hat is tipped to you!! 🙃😊🙂
My husband’s distant cousin, who neither of us have ever met except through Facebook, asked me if I could get a group of Princesses to meet in front of the Castle while his daughter’s boyfriend proposed to her. I don’t even work at the Park. I work in another division of the the company. I certainly don’t have that kind of pull, and if I did, I wouldn’t be using it on someone I don’t know!
Haha! As an ex-cast member (and I’ll probably go back and work there after I retire from my current career path) I wish this was printed out so I could have mailed it to anyone who inquired! Well said! I love the visual of you being the 3rd wheel on your guests’ romantic date at the Park.
Preach sister! To anyone who said this isn’t true, this girl has it right, and that’s all there is to it
Before I was a CM and I was invited to get my self and kids in I Always treated my host to a meal. I have Never had anyone even offer that to me so now I’m Always too busy to let someone in and NEVER if I don’t know them.
Also if the CM does decide to actually “hook you up” at least show up on time. I didn’t have family to let in and all my friends also work at the park so I would occasionally agree to come and use a sign in (I never stayed with them which I knew was against the rules) for a casual acquaintance and half the time the people were late. If your going to take advantage show up on time, I didn’t feel bad at all the 3 times I just left when people were over 30 minutes late.
Every time ive signed my wife’s cousins in, (perfectly nice people who i’m always happy to help) theyve sent us a starbucks card or a bottle of wine. We are absokutely not supposed to sell our sign ins and these were not asked for, just thank you gifts for helping them, but i dont drink coffee or wine, but my wife does. So for the hour and a half i take out of my day and invest in signing in my wife’s cousins each time, she gets a treat.