Disney World Employees Share the Most Bizarre Things They Have Ever Seen at Work
Disney may like to be called “The Happiest Place on Earth,” but workers at the acclaimed theme parks reveal a different story. Amid all the cheer, chaos can happen at any given moment, and it’s up to the folks working there to power through it with a smile. Employees both past and present take to Reddit to talk about the wildest thing they ever encountered on the job at Disney.
40 Minutes Too Long
I used to work in Magic Kingdom from 2007-2010. I pulled a week at the strollers area, and a guy comes up to the gates and realizes he forgot his tickets, so he decides to go back and get them from the car. So far, so good, however, Super Dad leaves his three kids at the gate unattended. Two of them looked to be between 7 and 12, but the youngest had to be no more than 4.
So, for anyone who doesn’t know, in order to get back to your car from the gates, you have to take either a monorail or boat back to the lot and then a tram to your car. On a good day, this round trip can take over 20 minutes. This guy was gone for almost an hour. After the first 10 minutes, Disney security took the kids to the child care center and left two Florida state troopers in their place. The guy got a thorough scolding upon his return. Not sure what happened after that.
Wait Right Here
I did the management intern program in 2006. I got a call while managing over at Everest. It seemed that the person up front had a husband, wife and child walk up trying to ride. The child was wearing one of those child pet leashes they have where it connects to a strap around the chest. He was completely all over the place.
Well, the cast member told them that the child was too short to ride. So they offered them a pass that allows one parent to cut the line and ride and then another pass to let the other parent cut the line, so someone could sit with the kid.
They didn’t want to do that, as they both wanted to go together and get a picture taken. They then walked the kid over to a fence and tied him to the fence and went to ride the ride. I show up and security and my boss are all standing around a child tied to a fence.
If Looks Could Kill
I was a lifeguard in the kiddie section, and a little kid dropped his pants and was peeing in a bush. When I told him he can’t do that, he just stared me down until he finished and went down the slide I was on without saying a word. He established that he was the alpha male.
Everyone Gets a Ride
I worked in Magic Kingdom (Walt Disney World) from 1987 to 1989. Someone posted that not much happens due to Disney’s operational controls. That is not how it works in real life. When I worked there, usually at least once a week, I witnessed something out of the ordinary happening. For example, two of the ferry boats connecting to and from Magic Kingdom came within 10 feet of each other one night. It seems that one of the pilots was talking to a couple of cute girls and did not give up the right of way.
Another day, one of the ferries ended up outside of the channel and grounded with a full load of guests. It took about three hours to clear that mess up. The old monorails used to have a problem with overheating brakes, which would cause smoke to enter the cabin. One time, the guests saw the smoke went out the emergency exits and onto the top of the train and onto the rail. That one was a real mess with helicopters, media, supervision and lots of angry guests. A lot of complimentary passes were handed out that day.
I worked there from 1993-97. One day, I was walking to the Cast Member Bank to cash my paycheck. The bank is behind the bank on Main Street, and the gate to go “Onstage” is a little further down. As I walked up, the gate slammed open, and Donald Duck came stomping through, followed by Minnie and several other characters. Donald yanked his head off, threw it on the ground and screamed, “Dumb kid! Kicked me in the Junk!”
Donald was played by a 4-foot-4-inch man. Seeing an enraged little person in half a duck suit was one of the funniest things I have ever seen. (I couldn’t laugh, or he would have kicked ME in the junk.)
The Circle of Life
While I was working on Dumbo, these inebriated people removed their infant from the seat belt and held the baby like Simba outside of the carriage while the ride was up 18 feet in the air so their other inebriated friends could take pictures of them doing it. We had to emergency stop the ride. They were escorted away, and I heard they were arrested once outside the park gates. It was very scary to witness.
The Sound of Walking Away
I worked at the front desk of one of the Disneyland Resort Hotels. A lady, followed by another lady with like an 11 year old kid, walked up and asked if there is a place where people leave messages for their family if they are separated. I said, “not really” and inquired more about the situation. Apparently, the first lady was helping the other lady, who didn’t speak good English, and her kid. The lady and her kid were in line for Indiana Jones when the father said he was going to the restroom, but he never returned. They later went to the car, and the car was gone.
They were hoping he left a message for them somewhere. The English-speaking lady and I realized he left them, probably for good. The father was probably thinking, “At least I left them at Disneyland.” I spoke to my manager later about it, and apparently, this happens every so often. A father decides to leave his family and thinks if it’s at Disneyland, it softens the blow. It ruins Disneyland for the family, if you ask me.
Goofy Is a Real Person
I was 19 years old when I worked for Disney World, and my heart still skipped a beat when I saw Goofy take off his head for the first time. Yes, I KNOW that Goofy is just a guy in a costume. Of course I do. I’m a grown man.
And yet…actually seeing it? I would equate it to seeing a human take off their own head and revealing that there’s a smaller human inside working all of their joints for them.
Where Do Liars Go?
I used to work in the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique as a Fairy Godmother in Training (FGIT from here on out), and one time we had a very Christian family come in and have their daughter done up by a friend of mine in the chair next to me. We like to tell the girls stories about the real princesses coming in to get their hair done every morning, all of us having sleepovers, using “jellyfish jelly” (from Ariel, of course) to style their hair, that we’re 200+ years old (since to be a bona fide Fairy Godmother you have to be 1,000), etc.
Every story my poor friend told this little girl, she would scrunch her face up and say things like “That’s not true!” and “Stop saying fibs!” It’s adorable when the girls react so cute and don’t believe it at first, so we’re all laughing. Then my friend tops it off with the fact that she’s 230 years old, and the girl nearly stands up in the dang chair and screams at the top of her lungs, “LIARS GO DOWN BELOW.”
There’s No Control
I have hundreds, considering I worked mainly Guest Control. I once had a woman with no teeth grab my face and kiss my cheek once I helped get her new sweatpants after her dog peed all over her. I later saw the same woman begging for money on Harbor. Guest control was always an experience.
Wild in the Woods
When I worked at Wilderness Lodge, we had a guest that was visiting the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds. He stripped down to his red boxer shorts outside one of the restaurant windows and then proceeded to run through the campground from security. Somehow, he found a backpack leaf blower and put it on and continued to escape security. They finally found him passed out in a utility shed all curled up to that leaf blower wearing nothing but his boxers and covered in scratches from the woods.
A Horrid Family
I worked at one of the the restaurants in the Magic Kingdom. I had a family abandon their adult son, who was in a wheelchair with a slew of health complications, in the middle of our walkway while they went on rides. He was there for about 2-3 hours.
Down by the River
I fell in the Rivers of America working on the canoes on my first day in attractions. They said nobody had fallen into the river in years. I just tell myself that’s not true. Minute 12 into my first day — dunked into the green abyss. It took me days to get that smell of duck poo out of my hair (oh man, I forgot about people dumping their loved ones ashes). I got my new costume and proceeded to slip in the canoe on my very next trip and slam my head against a seat. Knocked myself out cold. They sent me up to medical, and that was my last day on the canoes.
Lost in Space
As a Space Mountain cast member at Walt Disney World, we all would rotate positions every 45 minutes. I was at load (where people start the ride), and this guy was very nervous in line, arguing with his friends in another language (maybe Portuguese?). He got on the rocket, even though he seemed nervous, and before I sent him off, I made sure he wanted to go. He nodded and continued into light speed (27 miles per hour, by the way).
After a few minutes, the ride was emergency stopped, and a code that was familiar but I couldn’t recognize was called over the intercom. I saw my supervisor sprinting downstairs to the doors to the ride. He had gotten off the ride. You see, at the beginning of the ride, you are going pretty slow as you climb the coaster. He had just decided to get off. The creepy part of this story is that we all searched the building for about an hour (lights on, about 50 people searching), and no one found him. So, this man got off the ride, went down about 200 steps, and somehow found the exit, never to be seen by us again.
Ashes to Ashes
I used to work at the box office. I once had a woman come up and ask for a ticket into Disneyland. She then placed a box on the counter while looking for her wallet. I don’t know how she managed to get that box past security. I see a picture on it, and then I see dates, and I realize that they are the ashes of her little girl. I had to keep her at my window while I waited for security. It broke my heart, but a lot of people like to dump ashes on rides, and it literally just gets vacuumed up at the end of the night.
Hungry, Hungry Hippos
I worked the night shift at the Animal Kingdom, and I was working on the safari at like 3 a.m. As I was struggling to get something working near the hippo river, I heard one of the hippos do their crazy loud noise out of the pitch blackness like 5 feet away from me. I then had the terrifying realization that if I fell in, I would most likely be finished within a minute and wouldn’t be discovered until the morning when they would find my truck on the ride path. I was much more careful in that area after that.
Somebody’s Watching Me
I was a cast member from 2007-2014. It was said that there is a ghost of a little girl at Soarin’ on B side. They say she passed away in the parking lot before Disney California Adventure was built, but no one can say exactly how. Some have claimed to hear footsteps coming up the metal stairs that lead below the screen during a flight. But the tower cast member is the only one there since the room is closed off during a flight, and an open door would stop it immediately. So imagine sitting there, basically tuning out the show you’ve heard SO many times, and then starting to hear metallic footsteps. It’s dark; you feel like you’re being watched. It was a very uneasy feeling.
Bringing Disney to Its Knees
I had a woman who was so unbelievably angry at my hotel, I honestly don’t remember why, that she was literally screaming at my supervisor that it would just take “one military girl like her” to bring Disney World “to it’s knees.” This was almost 10 years ago, so I forget most of the story now, but I recall she had a giant trash bag of merchandise, and I think she was angry about a long distance bill charge too. It was genuinely so insane.
Public Bathroom to Go
Monday night during the parade, a mom and her kid came running up to Splash looking for the restrooms. We (myself, three other cast members, and two coordinators) told the woman the restrooms are closed and directed her to the Tangled restrooms. She freaked and started screaming that her kid wasn’t going to make it that far and that we needed to open the Splash restrooms for her. As the restrooms were gutted at the time, that wasn’t happening.
She then screamed, “Well he’s just gonna pee HERE,” and she led her kid behind a sign in front of the ride. One of the coordinators threatens to call security, and the mom screams “DO IT!” as she’s holding her kids junk in her hand. Coordinator immediately whips out a radio and calls for security. You could tell the mom didn’t think she’d actually go through with her threat. As soon as the kid was finished, the mom picked him up under one arm and literally booked it out of Frontierland toward Liberty Square.
All we could do was laugh.
Moon Over Disney
An inebriated guy got permanently banned. He was smoking, and I was told to tell this very large man to please move around the corner to a smoking area. I am not confrontational, and this was not fun for me. He wasn’t happy and flicked his cigarette at me, which I had to promptly put out and toss. He went over to the smoking area, loudly and vulgarly protesting. Thankfully, the manager took over at that point and tried to make the guy happy. I found out later the guy mooned the manager and got kicked out.
No Two for One Deal
I did the College Program from May 2012 until May 2013 and worked Attractions in Tomorrowland. People would do a lot of dumb stuff, but the most bizarre was when I was working at Space Mountain, I was on rotation in a position called “Mountain 3.” Basically, I stood by the handicap entry to the ride, helped people get on and took wheelchairs to the exit.
Anyway, it was middle of summer and really busy when a lady wearing a big Disney hoodie was going through the normal line. I thought it was a little weird to wear a jacket during the summer, but whatever. She then gets to restraint, which is the last check point before the ride begins. At restraint, they just check your lap bars and then press a green button. The cast members heard a whine coming from the lady’s jacket and found that she was trying to smuggle her infant daughter on the ride. So, he calls me over because I have a radio, and we kick her off the ride, call our managers and security. She ended up getting blacklisted from Disney World.
Get on Your Feet
I used to work in the stores, and there was this one guy who came in and sat with a little girl (who was left alone in the theater by her nanny). He started asking her weird questions like who she was with and how old she was. It wasn’t until my fellow cast member (also a guy) noticed and approached them that the guy stood up and left immediately.
We also had another incident where a guest complained to one of my stage leads that there was a man going around and asking children how old they were. Turns out he didn’t know the size of his own kid’s feet, and he was trying to find another kid who was the same age to figure it out. My stage lead pretty much yelled at the guy.
They Used the Force
I worked in stores at Disneyland just out of high school. One day, while stocking the shelves in the part of the store where Star Tours lets you out, I see what looks like mud tracked around the store. I’m wondering where it came from, and then I see and then smell what looks like a somewhat intact soft poop on the ground. I immediately run to tell someone to call custodial and then run back to try to block people from walking all over it, but by then, it was too late. It had been smeared all over.
The wait for custodial felt like forever since I was trying so hard not to gag at the smell and not laugh at the guests who walked through the poop stains. I just couldn’t figure out how someone managed to poop on the floor in the middle of the store without anyone noticing.
Pose for the Camera
Once while sweeping the line for the Finding Nemo subs, I noticed this Asian family secretly taking pictures of me and recording me on video. So, when I confronted them about it, I gathered from their broken English that their daughter thought I was attractive, so they started taking pictures. I had a good laugh about that and took a picture with her as well.
A Zac Attack
I used to work in attractions at California Adventure, and I would occasionally get scheduled for crowd control on parades and special events. In 2007, they held the premiere for “High School Musical 2” at the resort. The after party was at one of the hotel pools, and my job was to keep people away from a stage that was being constructed for the event.
All weekend, people were buzzing about the fact that the cast was there, and flocks of teenage girls would break into a sprint whenever they saw the plaid-vested tour guides that typically wrangle our celebrity guests. It was the subject of a fair amount of complaining among my coworkers. As I’m standing near the stage under construction by the pool (which was still open to the public and very crowded), I noticed Zac Efron 20 feet away, shirtless and hiding in plain sight. No hoodie, no sunglasses, nothing. Just him and those abs lounging right under everyone’s nose.
Tower of Zero Toilets
I work at Tower of Terror in Orlando. Guests do silly stuff all the time. A week or so ago, somebody just straight up pooped in the queue. On top of that, only ONE guest told us about it. It was in a section of the queue that cast members only walk once at the end of the night. But one guest was like, “Hey, there’s a poop back there.” I almost didn’t believe him because he was the only person to tell us about it.
Walk the Dinosaur
I got deployed (they needed people, so they moved me there) to Animal Kingdom for a week. I was at the Dinosaur ride in merchandise and was leaving at night when everything was stocked and clean. I forgot where I was for a second when I heard screeching noises. They still hadn’t turned off the dinosaur noises, and it was pitch black outside
Not Very Conspicuous
Disney World college program former cast member here. I suppose the most bizarre things were what the guests didn’t see. A man was found dead from a apparent suicide in his hotel room. The room’s windows and entrance were immediately concealed by those “pardon our dust” renovation ply boards as costume characters/cast members had an impromptu meet and greet to divert attention away from the room as police arrived to process the scene.
The lobby of the Grand Polynesian Hotel features a rather elaborate waterfall foliage atrium where a poisonous snake was found. In the utmost efficiency, dressed as janitors, animal control captured the snake within a 15 minute window while the guests were once again distracted this time by fire jugglers.
We Will Never Forget
I was a cast member during 9/11. It was a scary time, but it was amazing how quickly Walt Disney World responded and closed the parks. I worked for one of the All-Star resorts. They had Disney characters come to the resorts to entertain the kids on the day of 9/11 while parents focused on the news. In the following days, I was placed in the lobby of the hotel with a computer and phone to assist travelers with finding trains, rental cars and buses home since air travel was suspended. Those families that could not get home were given free hotel accommodations for up to five days until airlines resumed full service.
Throwing Up on the Seven Seas
I drove the boats on The Seven Seas Lagoon (Lake outside the Magic Kingdom) for my internship. I had a lady get physically sick on my cruiser while on our way from the campgrounds to the Magic Kingdom, so we shut down at the dock. Thank God, I got taken off my shift (no clean up), or so I thought.
I took the lady to the first aid station under the train station and took my 15 minutes. On my way out, this lady is at our assignment station with my manager. Turns out she was not staying at a Disney Resort. So, I am assigned to the van to drive her to her resort offsite. I spent the next 20 minutes getting directions fed to me from my co-castmember while this lady was periodically getting sick into a bag. Interesting night, but the watercraft assignment for college interns was usually interesting like that.