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- Disney employs thousands of people at its theme parks across the globe.
- Some people dress as Disney’s beloved characters, while others work as customer-service representatives.
- Disney also hires scuba divers, chocolatiers, and artists to keep its theme parks up and running.
- These unique jobs and others are featured in a book and complimentary documentary called “One Day at Disney,” which showcase the wide variety of roles held by Disney employees.
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Ranch hands can be found in various areas of Walt Disney World.
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One of the first theme-park jobs highlighted in Bruce C. Steele’s “One Day at Disney” – a book about the people who “make the magic across the globe” – is a ranch hand.
Ranch hands are common in Walt Disney World, where they often work at the Fort Wilderness Resort’s Tri-Circle-D ranch. They’re responsible for leading trail rides and giving tours of barns, though they sometimes head to Magic Kingdom to lead horses through parades.
When performing the latter task- or picking up a Disney bride in Cinderella’s carriage – ranch hands are also required to dress in elaborate wigs and costumes, according to the book.
Scuba divers, or attraction machinists, are responsible for maintaining water attractions after Disneyland closes each night.
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Between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. each day, attraction machinists maintain rides like the Jungle Cruise and Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. They check boats and tracks for fallen leaves and branches, and also ensure that underwater mechanics are working properly.
According to “One Day at Disney,” their work has helped ensure that the animatronic elephants featured in Walt Disney’s Jungle Cruise are essentially the same ones installed 65 years ago.
At Disneyland Paris, you can find one employee — or cast member, as Disney calls its workers — sculpting art from fruits and vegetables.
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Cyril Soreau could be the world’s only Disney employee to carve art from fruits and vegetables, according to “One Day at Disney.” He began working at the theme park as a cook, and later created carvings for VIP dining guests.
Now, he mainly carves Disney character portraits on watermelons and pumpkins, and is often found outside Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. And though you can’t purchase any of his work, Soreau sometimes hands out carved apples to children, according to the book.
Each animatronic inside Pirates of the Caribbean is dressed by a Disney cast member.
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Those who dress animatronic characters are called audio-animatronics special project leads, according to “One Day at Disney.” They attach clothing to characters using Velcro, and often work on Disneyland rides like Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, and It’s a Small World.
The cast members are also responsible for frequently replacing garments so that the ride always look new to visitors. According to the book, costumes are replaced every four to six months.
Chocolatiers can be found working in Disney Springs, a shopping area located within Walt Disney World.
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Chocolate is popular throughout most of Walt Disney World. Not only is it sold in all four theme parks, but it’s even used to create Christmas decorations at the Contemporary, Beach Club, and Grand Floridian resorts each year.
In Disney Springs, however, chocolatiers at The Ganachery dedicate their entire jobs to the candy. According to “One Day at Disney,” they make sweets in front of eager shoppers, and do so while standing up; the store’s small layout doesn’t provide room to sit.
Disney’s chocolatiers learn the craft through “chocolate classes,” which they take after being hired.
One Disney World cast member is responsible for buying the entire theme park’s holiday decorations.
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Because Disney World spans four theme parks – not including other Florida properties – it takes a large team to decorate the area for the holidays. But one cast member, the senior facility coordinator, is essential to getting the job done.
According to “One Day at Disney,” the senior facility coordinator is responsible for purchasing every decoration in the parks. That includes larger-than-life Christmas tress, hundreds of ornaments, and tons of garland.
It also takes a full year to get everything in order, though most of the heavy lifting begins in September when the decorations are removed from a giant warehouse. This is typically done at night when no guests are still in the parks, according to the book.
Employees wear lots of hats on Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas.
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Sidney Bain, for example, is a Disney cast member featured prominently in “One Day at Disney.” He’s worked at Castaway Cay for 20 years, and has done numerous jobs while there.
One of his main responsibilities is to greet Disney Cruise Line guests each day as they enter the island from their ship. According to the book, his voice is also heard on the tram cars that bring them there.
And to make sure that the destination is always in pristine shape, Bain lives onsite throughout most of the week.
Dancing with parkgoers is just one job role associated with attraction hostesses.
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According to “One Day at Disney,” attraction hostesses are mainly responsible for directing guests during parades and fireworks. They’ll set up ropes and take them down, and also direct parkgoers to walkways and viewing areas during different events.
Still, their jobs change day to day, and even hour by hour. Sometimes, you can find attraction hostesses taking photos for parkgoers. At other points, you’ll likely see them dancing with parade viewers.
Arborists maintain trees, plants, and nature walkways throughout Hong Kong Disneyland.
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In Hong Kong Disneyland alone, parkgoers can find more than 200 species of trees and 400 types of shrubs spread throughout five different nature trails. According to “One Day at Disney,” the landscaping is maintained by a group of arborists, led by the park’s first and only female tree specialist, Jackie Ma.
Ma told Steele, the author of “One Day at Disney,” that her job is both unique and difficult, as the arborists have to climb many of the trees they maintain. She also has to trim and shape each area of foliage to “make them look beautiful.”
The exteriors of many Disney attractions are actually optical illusions created by a cast member.
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George Montano, the general lead of Disneyland’s staff shop, is yet another cast member featured in “One Day at Disney.” He’s worked at the theme park for 51 years, and has also worked at Disney destinations around the globe.
His specialties include plastering and rock-carving, or making attraction exteriors look like they’re made from real stone. His work can be seen at Fantasyland in Disneyland Paris, Mickey’s Toontown in Tokyo Disneyland, and throughout most of Disneyland in California.
The chimneys he created for the exterior of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride are among his proudest accomplishments, according to the book.
Some of Disney’s custodian workers are also artists.
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From Florida to Hong Kong, Disney parkgoers can occasionally find custodians creating portraits of Disney characters using water and pavement. They use small brooms to make their art, which often features familiar faces like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, according to the book.
In China alone, 20 custodians make up the Hong Kong Disneyland art them. They spend most of their days taking care of general park needs – like sweeping and cleaning – but get to take an hour out of each day to draw for parkgoers.
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