Saying “we” instead of “they”: Life as a former Disney cast member

Tonight, I became very conscious of how often I say “we” when talking about goings-on in Disney.

“In Downtown Disney, -we- have been…”
“-We- are trying to make parking as efficient as possible.”
“When -we- go on break at Cirque, -we-…”

I think the fact that I (and I’m sure other former cast members) use “we” instead of “they” when talking about Disney is quite telling of the company culture. I truly felt like I was part of a family while working there. I felt like an integral aspect of the whole.

But I realized tonight, when talking in class about how Disney immerses guests into stories, that I shouldn’t be saying “we.” As much as I wish I was, and hope to be in the future, I am no longer employed by the Walt Disney Company. And I’m wondering if and when I’ll be able to break the “we” habit.

Tomorrow I am embarking on my first journey “home” since I finished my CP in August. The newly formed Disney Alumni Association is holding its first big event this weekend, and I was one of the lucky 400 or so who was able to book a spot. I will be meeting up with two of my CP roommates and staying at All-Star Music. I’ll get to see friends and coworkers who I haven’t seen in a few months.

I’m really looking forward to it all, but throughout all the planning, there’s been a twinge of sadness: I’ll be going as a full-on guest. My ties to the company are in the past. I won’t be using my maingate to get into the park, and I won’t be showing my blue ID for discounts. I won’t be able to walk behind Cirque du Soleil and use the back entrance. I won’t be able to go into the DisneyQuest box office. I’ll see new parts of Downtown Disney that were merely construction materials a few months ago, when I walked past them every day. And it’s going to be weird not having been immersed in it.

It’s been a hard couple of months being away from Walt Disney World and my job as a main entrance operations cast member, but I think it’s going to be even harder to be THERE and not be a cast member. I think overall this trip (and my two upcoming trips family in November and January) are going to solidify what I’ve already come to know: I am going to work for Disney in the future. Somehow, some way, Walt Disney World is going to be a part of my career. And I cannot wait (though I have to wait, since I can’t graduate until Spring of 2016 — but that’s another story).

As strange and different as it will be, I’m excited to get back “home” for a few days. I’m looking foward to seeing what it’s like to experience the parks not just as a guest, but as a former cast member. I’m probably still going to slip up and say “we” when talking about Downtown Disney, but hey, maybe it’s one of those things that once you’re part of the family, you’re ALWAYS part of the family. Who knows. šŸ™‚

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