Just one detail to take care of from my last post…in my last entry, I posted a trivia question: “What city is Main Street USA based upon?“ The answer is Marceline, Missouri. This is where Walt Disney grew up (he was not born in Marceline, despite what you may have heard/read). He wanted Main Street to feel not only like his hometown, but he also wanted the guests to feel as if they were entering a Main Street like the one from their hometown as well. So now that you’ve learned a little more about Disneyland’s history, let’s fast forward to the present and my current experience in the Disney College Program!
As of Wednesday, I have started on-the-job training! I have already learned quite a bit about the different aspects of custodial, but there are still two more days of training.
On the first day, I met with fellow DCA/DTD custodial new hires (also from the Disney College Program), as well as my trainer. We met at Harbor Pointe, which is a central check in location for Disneyland Resort Cast Members. After some introductions, we began training.
We started by going to Costuming and getting our Custodial costumes (at Disney, we wear costumes, not uniforms). The custodial costume is unique because it is used resort-wide. So while a CM who operates Big Thunder Mountain Railroad would look out of place at Tower of Terror, a Disneyland Park custodial CM would blend in fine at Disney California Adventure since both parks use the same costume. It’s all white, with a maroon belt and a bag which is used to carry around park maps, buttons, and stickers for the guests, along with the tools we need to do our job. There are also optional jackets, sweatshirts, and hats we can wear. Here are some examples of how a custodial CM could look (yes, these are all pictures of me haha…sorry for the weird angles- one of my roommates, Jose took these- blame it on him lol):
A regular custodial costume (just click the photo icon to view):
Here I am wearing an optional baseball cap and jacket (notice the reflectors!):
And then for this one I removed the hat and jacket and traded it for a sweatshirt:
Afterward we headed over to our side of the resort, Disney California Adventure. There we were given some basic information about our position and an overview of what we would be doing that day. Obviously a lot of this information is confidential, so I am not allowed to discuss it. But anyway, after that we were given a tour of DCA and all of the backstage areas (the places the guests can’t go). We were introduced to leads and managers of the different areas of the park as well as boundary lines for the different work zones. At the end of the day, we worked crowd control for World of Color- basically waving flashlights to the ground to direct guest traffic in and out of the Paradise Pier area. After we took a knowledge assessment of what we learned that day and headed home.
On the second day, things were more hands-on. After going over information on chemical safety and touring the backstage areas of Downtown Disney, we went into the park and got our first experience in sweeping. There are specific ways the broom and must be carried, but it is a very easy job. Then we got into one of the dreaded parts of the job- a Code V. A Code V is vomit. I shouldn’t have to explain in any more detail! So yeah, it’s not pleasant at all, but at the same time it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Once you get over the fact that you’re cleaning up someone’s meal, it’s no big deal- these things happen sometimes.
Later in the day, we practiced proper mopping techniques, swept the Hyperion Theater queue area, and went over procedures for cleaning up a Code V on Tower of Terror (fortunately we did not have to clean anything up- we only went over what to do if it were to happen). And then same as the day before, we took a knowledge assessment over what we learned.
I do have to say that one thing I LOVE about my role is the guest interaction. I’ve already lost count of how many guests have asked me questions over the past couple of days. I knew that custodial CMs would have to know the park inside and out, and I felt that I definitely met the requirements seeing as I have visited the Disneyland Resort so many times over the years. So I’m glad that I’m able to help them make the most of their vacations! Another nice thing about being a custodial CM is that you are allowed to trade pins with the guests. Pin trading was introduced at the Disneyland Resort about 10 years ago. Guests are encouraged to buy pins at stores at the Disneyland Resort, and then trade pins with the Cast Members. It is very popular and has been a very successful program. I initially thought that I would have to buy my own pins and lanyard, but to my surprise, Disney provides pins and lanyards for the Cast Members. Of course, these pins are not mine to keep- they must be returned when I stop working for Disneyland (which will be in August unfortunately). But it is nice that Disney is willing to make this easily accessible for both Cast Members and guests. I myself am a pin collector (I started my collection in 2001, and it’s grown over the past decade to include over 300 pins!), but this is the first experience that I have gotten in trading. After experiencing it as a Cast Member, I can’t wait to buy a pin set and trade for other pins as a guest! So if you are also a pin trader, come find me in DCA or DTD and trade with me!
So that’s about it for now…sure, my role will blow (chunks) at times, and some days will (literally) be crappy, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. While custodial isn’t the most desirable job, it is very important. We are responsible for providing guest services as well as creating a safe and clean environment for both guests and Cast Members. Knowing that I am helping to make the parks just as special for the guests as they have been for me makes this job worth it at the end of the day. Of course, I still have a couple days of training to go before I start the real work, but I have a feeling I will still stand by what I’m saying now at the end of my program!