Park of the Week: Islands of Adventure

Vote of the week: Have you worked in a park?

February 15, 2008, 8:27 PM · This week's question just popped into my head. It doesn't really have anything to do with trip planning, but as a former Disney World cast member, I am curious:

By "worked in a park," I am talking about fixed-site theme and amusement parks, where your primary job assignment was to work inside the park -- and not for a parent company or subsidiary elsewhere. (So, for example, working at Disney-owned ABC and being assigned to go down for a shoot one day at Disneyland doesn't count.)

If you have worked in a park, please share a favorite story from your time as an employee, in the comments. And if not, share a favorite story about a theme park employee. Heck, maybe s/he's reading!

Replies (17)

February 15, 2008 at 9:18 PM · i never work in the parks but i have friends who work in wdw, and is a kind of bittersweet relation betwen them, but i'm happy because the last year we could enter free to all the disney parks ;D
February 15, 2008 at 11:40 PM · Actually, yes. Many years ago, I was a volunteer at the dolphin show at SFMM (this was back when they still HAD such). It was a contract show, animals and staff provided by Marine Animal Productions and facilities provided by the park itself.

We did a little of everything... Breaking out fish in the morning (from the freezer), cleaning up the area, helping with props during the shows, etc.

My favorite times... The off-hours and between shows, when we could spend time just being with the critters. Dolphins, like most other 'smart' mammals, are attention fiends. Besides, the better you get to know them, the more likely they'll be willing to "work" for you during the shows.

The whole thing, regrettably, fell apart shortly after the movie "Free Willy" made its dubious debut. The then-head of SFMM, who had seen the movie, decided that he didn't want captive marine animals in his park. The result was predictable.

This was doubly unfortunate, because the regular staff very often played host to visiting students from the Exotic Animal Training & Management (EATM) program at nearby Moorpark College. It used to be a good way for said students to get some practical hands-on in the marine mammal field.

Happy travels.

February 16, 2008 at 4:35 AM · No. But my brother is a higher-up at a major theme park here in the US. Maybe he'll come and post. :)

I remember the dolphin show at SFMM. Good times .. back when there was still magic at the Mountain.

February 16, 2008 at 7:11 AM · Many years ago I was fortunate enough to work for Kings Entertainment Company. Boy do I miss the good old days when their parks actually had themes. I actually worked for 3 of their parks during the 7 years I was on staff. Who knows maybe some day I can return to the industry.
February 16, 2008 at 7:26 AM · I worked on the Palace Pier (Brighton Pier) in Brighton. That is regarded as an Amusement Park. Does that count?

I selected no btw!

February 16, 2008 at 7:51 AM · Not yet but as soon as I turn 16 I'm going to work at Howl-o-Scream BGE.
February 16, 2008 at 10:24 AM · Yes. 4 years at SFGA in Chicago and 2 years @ WDW, all in the entertainment dept. I have to tell you all that the best time I had while working in the parks was during rehearsal periods for shows and parades. They always took place after the parks had closed between 9pm and 1am. Walking through a completely empty theme park is one of the most serene things you'll experience. If anyone has the opportunity to work at a park, just once, I highly recommend it.
February 16, 2008 at 10:43 AM · I haven't worked in the theme park, but I have worked in the Disney Resorts in Orlando (mostly the All Star and Boardwalk resorts). Best part was for me working with the other cast members and meeting people from around the world.
February 16, 2008 at 7:33 PM · I think it would be fun and I'd get a kick out of helping to make other peoples' trips a bit more enjoyable. I've certainly benefitted from others' efforts on my behalf, and the universe demands quid-pro-quo.
February 16, 2008 at 10:05 PM · I spent near to 7 years at Warner Bros Movie World here on the Gold Coast - Australia in various roles, from pre-opening of the park, cast member in Retail, nightfill, food & beverage to trainee supervisor.

Have also worked at Dreamworld on and off over the last 20 or so years in seasonal roles from food & beverage as a kitchen hand to fairly recently Photographics and Merchandising assistant.

February 18, 2008 at 5:27 AM · Yes, I have. Started with Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ,,before SF took over...And actually had the pleasure of working with Waner LeRoy, designer and creator, during that time...And then moved on to Dorneypark,,and worked there during there transition to a major theme park. As well as a t Ghosttown in the Glen in NE pa. ANd Wild World in Largo, Md, again before, SF...Have also worked at Walt Disney World, And Seaworld, in Orlando..AS Well as at Old Town in Kissimmee Fl..Been both host, trainner, and operations managment, as well as in design and development..with a few of them...And would return to the bussiness.
February 18, 2008 at 8:25 AM · I went through a series of internships through the Walt Disney World College Program, finishing up as a management intern in Magic Kingdom Custodial in 2004. That summer we had three hurricanes that forced an early closure of the parks. All three times I was the closing manager in MK East (Tomorrowland & Toontown) so I had to make sure that all of the trash cans and other things were secure in my lands. By the time Jeanne hit us we were old pros at securing the park!
February 18, 2008 at 9:40 AM · I spent one summer during my high school years employed by Busch Gardens Europe. I worked as a cashier in a gift shop, and enjoyed it very much. I would have returned the following summer, but I found a retail job that would work me part-time all year, and I really wanted the extra spending money around the holidays!
February 18, 2008 at 11:03 AM · I've worked at Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney's Hollywood Studios and Universal Studios Florida.

And while I wouldn't rank it as my "best" theme park memory, one of the high points was working as a shopper for Walt Disney World in the fall of 1982. At the time the drinking age in Florida was 19. I was 20 but looked much younger. So they sent me and a youngish looking 19 year-old girl around to all the restaurants and bars that served alcohol to see if we would get carded. We'd go in, order a drink. Drink the drink and then move on. Disney paid for our drinks and our food and paid us to do the job.

Best Disney job EVER!

February 18, 2008 at 3:23 PM · Well, can't think that far back to think of best other than free admissioin, and working for dirt, but worked Magic Kingdom back when 20K actually was there, Mission to Mars (way to go Mr. Johnson) Delta Dreamflight, and Circle Vision, yep, long time ago and oh yeah the sky way cars, those were fun actually to work.
February 19, 2008 at 8:02 PM · i worked at disneyland on the indiana jones ride about 7 years ago. i have so many good stories, had a lot of fun.
February 21, 2008 at 6:45 PM · No, not at this point anyway. I would like to work my way to high end managerial position, like Al Weiss who started by closing cash registers at the end of the work day at age 18 and is now president of worldwide operations for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

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