All cast members regardless of whether or not you’re working in a full time, part time, or college program role will have to participate in both on-boarding and the famous traditions class. When I was trying to learn more about what they do during on-boarding and traditions I wasn’t able to find a whole lot of information, which has led me to publish this post.
Disney doesn’t provide you with a whole lot of information about what to expect at on-boarding and you can see that lack of communication just by looking around at the group of people in the waiting area. The most commonly asked question in regards to on-boarding is what should you wear? You do not need to dress up like you did for your interview but since you are still in the casting building I would recommend that you still keep a somewhat professional appearance. Also, you will be taking your photo for the Hub, which is Disney’s internal website, so you may want to take that into consideration when planning your outfit for the day. The main point of your on-boarding appointment is for you to provide the necessary documentation to show that you are able to work in the United States. If you have a passport I recommend bringing it because it’s the easiest method of documentation, otherwise you will need to refer to the list Disney provides of other appropriate documentation methods. I should probably mention that I saw numerous people being turned away because of issues with their birth certificate, which is why I recommend the passport instead.
Tips for On-Boarding:
Arrive a few minutes early. The room you are looking for isn’t hard to find, but if you wait until your appointment time you might end up waiting in line.
Make sure you have the correct forms of identification. Like I said above I saw numerous people being told they would have to come back another day because of issues with their documents and some even had to reschedule their traditions class. Don’t be one of those people.
Don’t worry about dressing up too much, but make sure you still look somewhat presentable.
Oh traditions… this is the class that all cast members regardless of their work locations are required to take. Yes, that even means the Hollywood studio executives have to sit through a Traditions class. For Disney World cast members your class will take place in the Disney University building located in the Magic Kingdom cast parking lot. The location can be somewhat hard to find if you are relying on a GPS unit and parking can be a bit of a nightmare so it’s best to allow plenty of time if you plan on driving yourself. College Programmers can just take the normal Magic Kingdom bus and it will drop you off right next to the building.
When you first walk into Disney University building someone will be there to direct you to the waiting area, which is usually the cafeteria. Be sure to find the right group because there is a good chance that there will be different groups there for different times. Once your group is called you will be individually looked over to make sure that you meet the “Disney Look” guidelines and will be handed your new company ID badge. For those of you who are not in the college program your ID badge will have the photo they took of you at the on-boarding appointment printed on it. CP’s will instead have a faceless ID, unless you go seasonal after your employment. Once you are inside the room you will have a choice of where you sit. Do not focus too much on where or who you sit with because you will be asked to find a new seat with different people once you get back from your first break. That brings up another point…. There are several ten minute breaks throughout the day, which really help to break things up.
I almost forgot to mention the ears! When you come back from one of your breaks you will be presented with a set of Mickey ears. You know the kind you wear on your head. Your traditions leaders will usually ask the group if anyone has a unique story about their ears and you’ll be surprised at what you hear. Someone in my group had recently buried their wife with a set of Mickey ears and his story of her long battle with cancer and what Disney meant to them left very few dry eyes in the room.
The main point of traditions is to give each and every employee of the Walt Disney Company a background on the company as well as explain how Disney approaches guest service better than any of their competitors. In all honestly, it feels somewhat like a brainwashing session, but overall it is a fun and valuable experience. In addition to guest service you will also go over basic safety and ethics. Most of this is common sense stuff and will seem a little boring, but don’t worry the afternoon is where the real fun happens.
After you get back from lunch you will be taken into the famous utilidor or more commonly known as the tunnel, which is located underneath the Magic Kingdom. This is where you get your first peek behind the scenes and if you’ve never been in the tunnel before it is truly amazing. I was shocked to see the simplest things such as how they handle the trash in the Magic Kingdom (its basically sucked through tunnels at high-speeds). You might even get lucky and sneak a peek at one of the princesses on their lunch break or Mickey Mouse walking around without his head on! Once you finish your tour of the tunnel you will be taken upstairs to Main Street, USA where you will have the opportunity to go out into the park and observe the various details and service points that were discussed earlier in the day.
As you’re escorted throughout the park and the tunnel you will be wearing a headset that allows you to hear your traditions leader talk. This way the traditions leader can talk to you about the park from the employee perspective without shouting and ruining the magic for the guests that are around you. You’ll probably notice that some guests are a bit confused when they see a large group of professionally dressed people walking through the Magic Kingdom with what looks like an FBI earpiece.
After you get back from the Magic Kingdom you will then discuss a few of the things that you saw out in the park and how you as a cast member can go the extra mile to make a guest feel special. After that the big moment comes where you will be presented with your nametags and who else is going to present them to you than the boss man himself Mr. Mickey Mouse. It’s a pretty cool way to end the day and helps seal the deal as far as showing you the magic Disney strives to make for both its cast members and the park guests.
Tips for traditions:
Arrive early – If you’re driving yourself be sure to give yourself plenty of time to find the place and get a parking spot.
Dress appropriately – Make sure you are familiar with the Disney Look guidelines and dress accordingly. It’s better to be overdressed rather than turned away for not looking the part.
Ladies forget heels – While it is important to dress appropriately you need to remember there will be a lot of walking involved as you will be going into the Magic Kingdom.
Bring Snacks or Lunch Money – Keep in mind that depending on when your traditions class is the cafeteria at Disney University may or may not be open. Either way it’s a good idea to pack a few snacks and some money in the event that the cafeteria is open and you want to grab something.
Don’t be afraid to make friends – Everyone is new here and because you’ll be doing some group activities you’ll have an easy time making new friends.