Thanks to Reddit AMAs, or “Ask Me Anything,” we now know more about the behind-the-scenes of amusement parks than ever before. Here are 11 facts about working at an amusement park, straight from actual employees.
1. Disney princesses have to be creative liars.
In order to be a “face character” (not in a full-body costume), you have to be pretty quick on your feet. One cast member who was Mulan had children try to speak to her in Chinese on occasion. She would respond, “I bet Mushu if I could go an entire day without speaking Chinese, he'd feed the chickens for me tomorrow.” The same woman also played Silvermist the fairy. When kids asked her to fly, she would say, “I’m saving my pixie dust for later.”
2. There are no special roads to get into Disney World, but there is a special parking lot.
Disney employees have to enter the park with everyone else. They show an ID to the attendants to get in for free. But they do have their own “HUGE” Cast Member parking lot that shuttles them to the underground behind-the-scenes area.
3. The rides are checked every day.
The Six Flags Rides Department has employees who ride the attractions every day, and maintenance happens every day too. According to one employee, “The maintenance on the rides is required every day before any operation or person is allowed to ride. They will inspect tracks, ride units, safety systems, and ride operation thoroughly before handing it over to any operations team.” Another anonymous ride operator at an unnamed amusement park confirmed that their company’s employees do that too.
4. They don’t have to deal with puke THAT often.
One former Six Flags employee explained, “People don’t throw up nearly as much as you would expect...I worked a majority of my time at a ride called Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth: a spinning wheel that raises and tilts with the guest against the wall. Couple people threw up.” A former Disney World janitor also wrote that he didn’t have to clean up puke “as much as you would think.”
5. Ride operators have to listen to the same songs over and over again.
A former ride operator at Cedar Point’s Top Thrill Dragster roller coaster had to listen to the song “Ready to Go” on repeat every day. Apparently the park’s management sometimes asked employees for song requests, but never actually played the songs.
6. People ask if they’re going to die on rides a lot.
When it opened in 2003, the Top Thrill Dragster was the tallest roller coaster in the world at 420 feet, and its ride operator dealt with terrified riders every day who asked, “Am I gonna die?” Their go-to reassurance was that the ride was “certainly safer than their shower/bathtub and their car.”
7. They are not allowed to talk to people who threaten to sue.
One redditor asked a Six Flags employee, “When working in Customer Service how many people would come complaining about ‘fake’ injuries they had sustained on rides and talked about suing?” Apparently, that’s not a good strategy to get what you want. When someone threatens to sue at Six Flags, the employee has to stop talking to that person and call security immediately.
8. They are required to carry water with them at Disney World.
It’s hard to not sympathize with employees working outside during hot Florida summers. But at least we know they’re hydrated: The former janitor wrote, “They actually require you to have a water bottle with you since it can be so hot down there.”
9. Photographers have their pictures taken too.
A front gate photographer at King’s Island was asked, “Have you ever had anyone ask to take your picture instead?” The photographer responded, “Yes. At least once a day.”
10. Disney Princesses do their own makeup.
Each character has a precise makeup routine with a distinct profile and colors. The actors learn how to do their own makeup in training.
11. People who work at Disney World the longest have more input on their job.
According to a former cast member, “There is a bit of a hierarchy with the people who have been there the longest. Twice a year (I think) they do something called bids where they can request where they want to work. For example, if you play Belle you may have a preference to work in MK, Epcot, or one of the restaurants. The longer you have been there the higher you are on the list so you have a better chance of getting what you want. Around bid time you will hear all the performers talking about who is higher on the list and who bid what locations.”