Categorized | Disney College Program

Cast Member Interview: Caitlin – Main Entrance Ops

DisneyQuest Main Entrance Ops

What was your role and in what location did you work?

My role was Main Entrance Operations. Believe it or not, I worked at Downtown Disney! (Before my CP I had no idea there were any Main Entrance roles outside of the parks.) My roles were “admissions” at Downtown Disney West Side – I worked ushering at Cirque du Soleil La Nouba and ticketing at DisneyQuest.

What did you like most about your role?

I loved the guest interactions. At La Nouba, we would seat upwards of 600 people per night, so I got to meet a lot of really cool guests! If it was a slow night and I was working inside the theater (as opposed to taking tickets at the entrance), I could actually talk with guests who were sitting near my area. I also loved watching guests (especially the young ones) experience the show — I saw some great reactions during every performance!

At DisneyQuest, most of our role was transaction based – sell the tickets and send the guests in. But there were some days where I’d get into great conversations with guests! And it was always great when I’d recommend a DisneyQuest attraction and the guests would stop by the window on their way out to tell me they loved it!

In addition, I wore my CP nametag at Quest (and a hometown one at Cirque), so I got asked about my CP a lot. It was always fun to talk with guests about their vacations, but it always felt good when they were interested in learning a little about me as well!

What were the negative aspects of the job?

At first, the hours kicked my butt. I’m a morning person, so working the Cirque shifts, which were generally 4:00 pm – 11:30 pm, was tough in the beginning. But you fall into a routine and get used to it pretty quickly.

There were also some really difficult guests, but I always tried to make that a personal challenge: make the guest happy. A lot of times with unhappy guests, they’re unhappy with the situation, not necessarily with the cast member, and I had to keep that in mind and try to understand the situation as a whole. There were always challenges with guests, but it made me work that much harder to make their experience as pleasant and accommodating as possible.

How would you describe a typical day?

So a typical day at Cirque went like this: I’d arrive at Downtown Disney about an hour before my regular shift and get a snack. Then I’d change into costume and go upstairs to do the pre-show cleaning (around 4 PM). Each usher would take a checklist of things to do before the show. This checklist would include a section of the theater to clean and a few other short tasks. After completing the checklist, the ushers who finished first would work on preparing trash collection bags for between shows (we’d do a lot of prep work during the first hour). At 5 PM we’d have our pre-show meeting, where our leaders and coordinators would give us a rundown of what to expect: how many tickets were sold for each show of the night, how many groups we had, etc. Then at 5:20 or so we’d open the theater to load the first show, which was at 6. During the show we’d stay in the theater in our respective positions to assist guests and watch for recording devices. After the show unload (around 7:40), we’d clean the entire theater (again, each usher had a list of what to do based on our current position). At 8:10, we’d load the second show, which started at 9, and do the whole thing over again. Then we’d clean the theater a final time after the second show, and then head out around 11:30. One of the best parts of Cirque is that there are 11 different usher positions, so you rotate jobs almost every night. You’re not doing the exact same job in the exact same spot every night. Also, during one show half the ushers would go on break, and during the other show the other half would go on break. It was a LOT to learn, but it was so much fun!

DisneyQuest was much less complicated. I’d go in for my shift, get a money package and count it for accuracy, log into the ticketing system, open my window, and wait for guests! I was able to sell DisneyQuest tickets as well as tickets for the four theme parks (any number of days/fun visits), non-Florida resident Annual Passes, and DisneyQuest/Water Park annual passes. The DisneyQuest box office is the same office as West Side Guest Relations, so I was also able to assist GR with certain tasks. My typical day consisted mostly of sales, but I also sorted ticket stock and helped with lost and found items.

What advice would you give others who will be working in that the same role?

Every day is a new adventure. MEO at Downtown Disney was, for me, anything but monotonous. You meet so many new people day to day. And the cast members in those locations are amazing people – lean on them. It’s a family.

Is there another role you wish you could’ve done instead?

Instead? No. I would have loved to experience MEO in different areas (parks, for example), but I honestly wouldn’t trade my experience for anything. I ended up in the exact right location.

What housing complex did you live in and did you like it?

I lived in the Commons! I did like it – I was blessed to have my car with me, though. I did like having laundry facilities in my individual apartment (mostly because I’m lazy and don’t like dragging my laundry to a separate place).

Is there anything you wish you would’ve known ahead of time?

I don’t think that anything could have better prepared me for my CP. I did so much research beforehand and I talked to so many people about it. However, every single experience is different for every single person. It’s hard to tell someone exactly what they’ll go through.

Overall, what are your thoughts about the Disney College Program experience?

The DCP changed my life. I knew that being a cast member would affect me, but I had no idea just how much. Every single day of my CP was the best adventure, and even the bad days were still worth it. That said, it is not all fun and games. It’s not all playing in the parks. It’s work, HARD work. You have to be willing to work long hours. But even despite that, I had the absolute time of my life and I’m pretty sure the DCP is the best thing I ever did!

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