(This is an article I found, written by Amy Ziese. It was posted on ThemeParkTourist.com. We did not write this and do not take credit for it.)
Working as a Cast Member helps you hone some unusual skills you might not get anywhere else.
Every Disney Cast Member learns the basics of doing the Disney point, navigating the parks, and interacting with guests during their training. However, there are many other skills that Cast Members tend to pick up on the job. Things you might not consider to be terribly useful in everyday life often turn out to be very handy when you’re dealing with thousands of theme park guests on a daily basis. Here are some of the stranger things that Cast Members often learn to do.
9. Sense Nausea from Great Distances
Cast Members who work on rides with a motion sickness warning tend to hone this skill particularly well, but the ever-present heat and humidity in Florida can make guests green at the gills just about anywhere. After a few months on the job, Cast Members learn to spot that glassy-eyed look even from a distance. You always hope you can get to the guest before he has a hand over his mouth, so there’s at least a chance of getting him to a bathroom in time.
8. Judge Children’s Heights at a Glance
Any Cast Member who has worked at an attraction with a height restriction is sure to have a special talent for identifying children who fall under that height. Cast Members typically figure out where the height restriction falls on their own body. That way you know any child who comes past your waist is good to go, while those who are mid-thigh definitely need to be measured. This skill is handy on the job, but awkward when you unconsciously eye up the kids in line with you when you’re riding attractions in your off time.
7. Determine Nationality in Under a Minute
Cast Members get to meet guests from all over the world. After you’ve had some experience chatting up international visitors, you’ll notice some commonalities in dress and mannerisms. This skill has nothing to do with determining someone’s heritage, so skin color and facial features don’t really apply. However, you can usually tell from someone’s choice of clothing or footwear where they’re from. If you can’t guess before talking to them, you’re sure to figure it out after you’ve heard their accent. Non-English speakers also seem to know certain English words that change depending on where they’re from.
6. Figure the Time Based on the Sound of Fireworks in the Distance
Walt Disney World has at least three fireworks shows every night of the year. In certain spots on property, you can even hear more than one. Cast Members can often ditch the watch in the evenings and determine the time by figuring that the wind is carrying the sound of Illuminations over from Epcot, so it must be nine. Unfortunately there aren’t many practical applications for this, so you just look a little strange cocking your head to one side and mumbling “ah, nine o’clock.”
5. Understand the Unique Language of Kids
If you’ve spent much time around small children, you’ve probably recognized that there are many things only parents seem to understand. What’s gibberish to an outsider often makes perfect sense to Mom or Dad…or to a seasoned Cast Member. The more popular words like characters’ names and certain attractions are easiest to pick out. The best Cast Members also know how to communicate with tots right on their level as well.
4. Count the Number of People in a Group in Seconds
Sure, you always ask “how many,” but you also go into the grouper position knowing that a lot of people will get the answer wrong. Guests also like to answer with math problems, like “two here, and three behind me, and then a kid.” Needless to say, it’s handy to have a good eye for figuring out which groups are together and determining how many are really with the guest in question.
3. Guess What a Guest Will Ask Before he Gets the Question Out
In certain positions, a Cast Member’s whole job is to answer questions. Cast Members in guest relations, the greeter position of an attraction, front desk areas in the hotels, or stocking shelves in a gift shop tend to get lots and lots of questions. After a while you pick up on what the guest is asking long before the question makes its way out. This is especially useful in cases where the guest himself doesn’t actually know what he’s asking. The literal answer to “Where’s Disney World?” is “Right here…all around you…you’re IN IT.” But most guests are actually referring to the Magic Kingdom when they ask this, which changes things drastically.
2. Speak in Acronyms
Cast Members love acronyms, particularly those with three letters. Many popular acronyms assume the word “ride” is tacked on to the end of an attraction to get the right number of letters. Disney’s Animal Kingdom is “DAK” (pronounced like it rhymes with “pack”). Kilimanjaro Safaris is KSR, Dinosaur is DTR (adding “The” as well as “Ride”), and The Great Movie Ride is GMR. Since these don’t make pronounceable words, you just say the letters. If you work in the rotation that includes Aladdin, the Enchanted Tiki Room, and the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, you’re at ATT. String enough of these together and it’s almost incomprehensible to someone who’s not in the know.
1. Scoop Trash up Without Missing a Step
Picking up stray pieces of trash on the ground is an essential Cast Member skill that goes all the way back to Walt. The man behind the mouse was known to pick up litter in the streets of Disneyland to keep up the flawless appearance of his park. Naturally, Cast Members are expected to follow suit. This skill is really handy anywhere, but it does get you some strange looks from your friends when you keep falling behind at the mall because you’re reflexively picking up every crumpled napkin you see.
Useful or not, the skills and habits you pick up as a Cast Member are many. If you’ve been looking for an immersive way to pick up a few new talents it may be as simple as working for a mouse.