Theme park cast member stories: 'Is that *really* your name?'
By Robert NilesInspired a bit by the movie Adventureland, from time to time I'll be posting vignettes I remember from my days as a Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom attractions cast member. If you've worked in the industry, as well, feel free to post your favorite (reasonably family-friendly) stories in the comments.
Published: April 13, 2009 at 10:42 AM
My favorite place to work was Tom Sawyer's Island, driving the rafts to and from the island. A couple of times, however, glue holding my nametag to the pin attaching it to my shirt gave way, and I lost my nametag into the river.
No big deal; just take the pin back downstairs to the costume department, and they've give you another one, free. (They'd charge you a buck for the lost tag, if you didn't have the pin and the story.) If they didn't have a tag with your first name on it, you'd have to make do with one from the bin for a couple days, until they could make a new tag and deliver it to you.
Unfortunately, that meant that you would have to go by that other name while "on stage" until your new tag arrived. Having no "Robert" that day, I decided to have a little fun and go with the only other "R" name in the bin...
Randy. (UK readers, please contain yourself while I finish the story.)
The next morning, I was skedded to work the Tiki Room, which meant long stints standing in front of the Swiss Family Treehouse, as the turnstile position for Tree was part of the Tiki Room's staffing rotation. Without my regular Robert name tag, I was supposed to respond whenever a guest called me Randy.
Again, no big deal, until a couple of elderly English women approached the tree, and one near twisted her neck off whipping her head around to take a second look at my nametag.
She grabbed her friend by the arm.
"You've got to take a look at this!" she exclaimed, pulling her friend toward me.
"Is that *really* your name?"
"Yes, ma'am, it is," I lied, like a good Disney cast member.
She squealed, wrapped her arm around me and declared, "I have got to get a picture of this!"
So the women corralled the next person in line, and demanded that we all step out in front of the free for a photo: "Randy" the Walt Disney World cast member, with two elderly, and presumably equally "randy," English ladies draped over his sides, giving him a long and thoroughly inappropriate embrace.
"Wait 'til we tell the others about this!" the second giggled. And for the rest of my shift, I greeted in my queue dozens of older English ladies, chuckling, smiling and sometimes winking as they passed me.
[For those unfamiliar with English slang, who don't get this story: here ya go.]
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