I had the pleasure to live my dream and be a WDW Cast Member for the Disney College Program during the Fall of 2012 and just returned home in the beginning of January. Despite the fact that I had vacationed at the World 20 times before my CP and had a lot of knowledge for someone who is just turning 23, I still managed to gain a wealth of new tips and secrets. I wanted to share what I've learned in hopes that perhaps it will help at least one person have a better vacation experience. While what I've learned is probably nothing new to most people, I think it's good to put it all out there anyway
OK, so my Role during my CP was Strollers/Main Entrance Merchandise in the Magic Kingdom. That basically means that I rented not only Strollers to Guests, but also Wheelchairs/ECVs and lockers, as well as worked in Newsstand (that itty bitty shop all the way on the left before you go through the Tunnels into the park). Here are some tips to make both your life easier and the life of the CMs
1. When shopping in Newsstand, please know that the selection available there is EXTREMELY limited. While there is a nice selection in terms of hats, there is a much wider selection available inside the park. Guests seemed to get a little frustrated that we didn't have everything
2. Also, in Newsstand, no candy or sweets are sold. I don't think there is a real reason for it, but Guests would often come in looking for chocolate or lollipops, and we just didn't sell them there. We had a few snacks, like pretzels and cheese crackers, but no candy. For that, should you not feel like trekking all the way back into the park to the Confectionary or Emporium, there is a small selection of sweets in the Locker Shop on the other side of the Main Entrance area.
3. The Locker Shop OFFERS JUICE!! I know that some places are limited in terms of their drink selections, but Guests are always happy to see, especially at the end of the night and the Locker Shop is the only store still open, that orange and apple juice are options for the kids. I mean, i certainly don't want to be drinking a coke at 2 am with all the caffeine, so I think that this is a great thing to know for all you parents out there. Newsstand, however, does not have juice. They only have water, sodas, and Powerades.
4. When renting a locker, SAVE YOUR RECEIPT. Since $5 of your $12 spent on a locker is a key deposit, you are entitled to get that money back at the end of your day in the Magic Kingdom. But, to do that, you need to actually have your receipt with you. Disney policy does not allow CMs to refund you the $5 (even if you do bring your key back!) without proof of purchase, and it can only be returned to you in the way that you paid. For example, if you paid cash, we can only give it back to you in cash. Same with a card, and it must be the same card. I seriously cannot tell you how many times i have been yelled, screamed, and cursed at by Guests because "nobody told them that they needed to keep the receipt" and they couldn't have their money back. I know for a fact that in the morning, many of the full-timers are working and not all of them are very diligent in explaining this to the Guests. However, when you are returning your key at the end of the night, that is when most of the CPs work. And I also know for a fact that ALL of them explain to the Guests to save the receipt. So, im telling you all now haha. And if for some reason you do lose your receipt, please do not yell and scream at the CM. We do offer options for you: Since your deposit is equal to $5, we do offer you either $5 on a Merchandise Credit card or 2 Dasani waters. So dont freak out haha, It is not worth it and it is not the Cast Member's fault that you lost your receipt.
5. Wheelchairs will cost you $12 per day, but that price is discounted when you rent for multiple days at a time. The price decreases to only $10 per day, which saves you a little bit of money. ECVs, however, are first come first serve. They will cost you $70 per day, but $20 of that is a key deposit. So, like with lockers, you will get the $20 back when you return your key with your yellow contract. Because they are first come first serve, there is no deal for renting for multiple days. You must go to the park each day and rent separately.
6. ECVs are LIMITED. They are only able to rent around 130-ish ECVs due to capacity laws and such. My tip for making sure you get an ECV is to either come early in the morning or mid-afternoon/dinner time. By then, many people are leaving the park and either heading back to their hotels, going for a dinner reservation, or on their way to another park. Usually, if there is a waiting list, it will be shorter and diminish quickly at these times, as more come back and get charged.
7. If you rented either an ECV or wheelchair and are leaving the park but are coming back later on, ask the CM at the chains to put them on hold for you. They will write HOLD on your nametag and bring the ECV into the back, where it will charge while you are gone. You will, of course, go and get your key deposit back (should you not, for some reason, make it back to the park that day, at least you will have your money back). Then, when you return, you will simply pay the $20 key deposit and be on your way with the same vehicle you had earlier. This is a great tip for busier times of the year.
8. If your ECV breaks down while you're in the park, just call! There is a number on your key with the extension 6644 on it. Go to any merchandise Cast Member in the park and tell them you are having a problem, whether it's dead or just not working right. They will call the Locker Shop, and a CM will be sent out to you asap, with a tow ECV and a new vehicle for you. It does not cost you anything, except maybe a little bit of time. Now worries, though! If there is not a lot of craziness with a bunch breaking down at the same time, it usually only takes about 15 minutes for a CM to get there.
9. Strollers will cost you $15 for a single and $31 for a double per day. Like wheelchairs, strollers are also discounted if you rent for multiple days. There will be a pricing guide next to the register to show yu how much you will save. And, along with both lockers and wheelchairs/ECVs, they are transferable between parks! That means you pay once one place and can use them all over property for that day. Very convenient for park hoppers!
10. CLEAN. OUT. YOUR. GARBAGE. Like, seriously. Some Guests are really just disgusting. I've had to clean out dirty diapers, half-eaten Turkey Legs, and who knows WHAT else out of the back of strollers. My friend even had a water bottle full of URINE spill on him out of the back of a stroller. So, please folks, take the time to clean up your own mess. While cleaning strollers is part of our job, we didn't sign up for that
11. Infant strollers are available upon request.
12. The canopies on the strollers are NOT MEANT TO CLOSE. While they do close for stacking/storage purposes, they are not meant to be closed while Guests are using them. So please, do not try to force them shut. You only wind up breaking them and ruining them for someone else another day. And, if you are trying to close it because you're child is too tall for it, chances are your child is too old to be in one anyway. No, 10 year olds should not be riding around in strollers. Make them walk.
13. Depending on what time the park closes, the stroller register closes. Say, for example, the park closes at midnight. The stroller register may close sometime between 10 and 11. So, if you are just coming into the park for Wishes at 10 and need a stroller, chances are you may not need to pay for it. The CM standing outside the rental area will normally just let you take one. But the register MUST BE CLOSED FIRST. If there is someone still behind the counter, you must pay the full price. No discounts for half-day.
14. The Train Station, where i spent the majority of my 5 months in WDW, is one of the greatest spots to watch the parades and Wishes. We often would run right outside of the station on Main Street to watch them each night. And no, it really never gets old.
15. If you are attending a special event, such as MNSSHP or MVMCP, there are usually 2 parades and 1 fireworks show scheduled. If you can, skip the first parade and just watch the second. There are SIGNIFICANTLY less people at the second parade, since most parents with little kids have left. The parades are exactly the same, as well. You can have a front row seat anywhere along Main Street. My suggestion is to watch both the fireworks and parades right in front of the train station. You look directly down Main Street and can see everything.
Well, thats all i can remember right now. I hope this helps at least 1 person in the future, even just a little bit. If anyone has any more specific questions or would like me to explain something a little better, please dont hesitate to comment on this thread or message me directly! I'll be happy to help as best I can!
DCP Fall 2012: Strollers/Main Entrance Merchandise, Magic Kingdom
Vacations to WDW: 20
Vacations to DL: 2
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