Theme park cast member stories: Walt Disney World's ultimate weight-loss plan

January 4, 2010, 11:04 AM · Year after year, people list "losing weight" among their top new year's resolutions. For theme park fans who are looking to do that in 2010, allow me introduce you to the most effective weight loss plan I've ever encountered.

The Tom Sawyer Island Plan.

Step one - drive (or fly) to the Walt Disney World Casting Center. (You can use the west coast version of this plan by going to Disneyland's casting center, but you won't sweat off nearly as much weight working in Anaheim as you will working the summer in Orlando.)

Step two - apply for and get a job driving the Tom Sawyer Island rafts. (Having freckles can be a big advantage here. Apparently, Disney casting reps really want to find the people most likely to fry in the sun.)

Step three - spend six to eight hours a day, standing up, driving shadeless rafts and walking up and down the paths on Tom Sawyer Island. Moving the raft tiller will work the upper body, providing your strength training, while walking the island gives you lower-body and cardio workouts.

Step three - continue work into the summer, when Orlando's heat and humidity turn each shift into a six-to-eight-hour sauna, complementing your workout. (Bonus: If you can score an old-school polyester double-knit TSI costume, you'll sweat like a high school wrestler in a rubber suit, trying to make weight.)

Step four - take your fitness to the next level by extending to work the roll-out crew for Parade Audience Control. Clipping parade route ropes together provides a high-tension resistance workout, while rolling the parade rope from a 40-lb. spool strapped to your chest is the ultimate in Disney attractions weight training.

(Advanced students who find that the Tom Sawyer Island Plan no longer delivers desired results may choose at this time to transfer to entertainment and don a full-body character suit. Ideally one with a ginormous, heavy head. This not only doubles the sauna effect, but also develops your balance and ESP, as you attempt to identify little kids who'll pull your tail, before they actually do.)

After just three months on this plan, you'll often find yourself in the Disney cast cafeteria, scarfing down a 5,000-calorie basket of nachos... while still losing weight.

Some folks might try to sell you on the Haunted Mansion Plan, with its miles and miles of walking the load and unload belts. And while that plan is a great choice for people who want a long-distance cardio workout, the Mansion's indoor setting will rob you of the outdoor sauna effect. In addition, you won't get the same upper body work as you will wrestling the TSI rafts.

Unfortunately, Disney has discontinued its sadistic "Mike Fink Keelboats Plan," which provided all the benefits of the Tom Sawyer Island Plan, while forcing you to balance on a rickety keelboat while also spieling - doubling the cardio work and forcing you into in a yoga-like level of breath control.

See your Disney casting rep to sign up today! ;-)

Replies (11)

January 4, 2010 at 2:03 PM · Very true, Robert. Very true.

There is also the College Program weight loss program. The only thing that's different is a) it can be any outside ride and b) instead of nachos its ramen. Nachos are a delicacy for the college program participant.

By the way, happy new years to you and to the rest of the TPI family

January 4, 2010 at 5:06 PM · Hilarious!!!
January 4, 2010 at 5:07 PM · Excellent!

I hear Davy Crocket Canoes workout is sought after on the West Coast!

One thing I would love to see on the site is "staying fit at theme parks". Now I know people do not want to think about dieting and exercising while on vacation, but I am pretty sure you do get a good workout walking around the park, especially in EPCOT and there has to be some dishes that are better for you (like the Premium Bar)vs others (Like the Kitchen Sink!)

January 4, 2010 at 6:52 PM · Can't say that I remember the keelboats, but sounds similar to that of Jungle Cruise skipper, with our constant spielfest of tired out corny jokes will leave you breathless and gasping for air. There were times when we've purposely sped up the boat at squeezeplay just so the elephants can spray us down with our funky brown jungle water. Yes, we really were that desperate!
January 4, 2010 at 8:36 PM · You can also get a good weighttraining session by applying for a job as a neighborhood carney. Watching them put these rides up in summer looks hot. step 1 get a job at the amusement company (must be a traveling company) 2 Get the biggest ride on the lot perferably a coaster. ( do not do a simulator or gravitron the indoors will cut back on heat and sweat you prduce)3 set it up in a parking lot or lot without trees.4 lift the hundred pound piece of steel track and put it together. 5 sweat and have fun in the sun while doing this excersise program.
January 4, 2010 at 9:05 PM · try working at speedway! i lost 20 pounds working there during june-august on my college program. it gets twice as hot since you are working with all the metal cars and their motors
January 4, 2010 at 9:08 PM · YES! So true!
I worked in the Land of the Dragons (Children's) area of Busch Gardens Tampa one year-- and lost 6 pounds!!! (awww, I don't weigh much to begin with) I can't tell whether I lost 6lbs of sweat... fat (hoping)... or my mind. I will never do THAT again!
January 4, 2010 at 11:28 PM · funny!
January 5, 2010 at 9:32 AM · Funny and accurate. I just went to DL 2 days ago. I had to marvel about how the cast were in such great shape as opposed to the visitors who ranged from "overweight" to "morbidly obese." Now I understand.
January 5, 2010 at 2:15 PM · Very funny Robert... I bet u were in great shape when u were doing that job.
January 8, 2010 at 9:11 AM · Add the old school Columbia summer shift at Disneyland too. No shade all day, the old sailor costume exposed plenty of skin for the sun to roast, pushing the loading platform back and forth, actually climbing up and down the bell housing as hawkeye and spieling an active dialogue as the captain. Of course, the old costume and the real spieling are gone today as well as hawkeye having a much easier perch to stand on, but the rest still applies (I am quite fair skinned and no amount of sunscreen would protect my shoulders back in the early 90s).

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