Excerpt for Mouse Tips: The best advice from Disney cast members on making the most of your Walt Disney World visit by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Mouse Tips

The best advice from Disney

cast members on making the most

of your Walt Disney World visit

By: Alex Richman

Copyright 2018 by Alex Richman.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the creator. The exception is for the use of brief quotations in a printed or online book review, or for promotional purposes.

If you have received or downloaded an electronic copy of this book outside of self-purchasing it or receiving it as a gift, please delete this copy. Please do not post on free book websites.

ISBN: 9780463217306

Smashwords Version


This book contains over 250 tips, suggestions, ideas and warnings from anonymous Walt Disney World cast members. This book is not affiliated with the Walt Disney Company, Disney Parks and Resorts, or any Disney organization or subsidiary.

I think the best resource for tips and advice on getting the most out of your Walt Disney World vacation comes from the cast members themselves. They know the “do’s” and the “do not do’s” of the parks and resorts. These are the people who have seen it all. They have dealt with every type of guest (good and bad) and every type of situation, including those most people couldn’t imagine. They know the ins and outs to park operations, rides, places to stay, things to do, and what to avoid.

However, cast members can’t publicly answer some of the questions guests ask, especially ones that might involve a subject that could put either Disney or its guests in a negative light. Cast members can be disciplined or fired for what they say in person or social media, on YouTube, in discussion forms, or on their blogs, even if it is the truth. The reality is that there are Disney corporate officials checking posts in social media groups and on websites looking for those who reveal what should not be revealed. Current cast members will create fake “throwaway” accounts to answer questions on Reddit or will use fake names on Facebook to discuss certain topics. Still, there is a risk they could be identified.

I interviewed cast members and former cast members who were guaranteed anonymity as a part of this project. This way, they could be completely candid and honest, without fear of any retribution (up to and including losing their jobs). I interviewed cast members in person and via email, ensuring them all that their names and locations would be kept confidential. There is no identifying information in this book to trace the comments, tips, advice and suggestions offered to back to specific people or specific working areas in parks operations.

I can assure you, all ideas come from Walt Disney World cast members working in all four parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom) and cast members who work at the resorts, water parks, reservation center, and in other customer-facing roles (such as bus drivers). Since the tips are from various cast members, I did not put quotes around each piece of advice. Read everything as if someone was speaking to you. There are over 250 tips in this book, directly from the people who make the magic happen in the Disney parks every day.

Absolutely no “behinds the scenes” information is given that is not already public. And no, I will not tell you how “the magic” works, and neither will cast members (this could get them terminated). If you are interested in the operations of the Disney parks and resorts, there are paid tours at Disney that will show you how some of the most beloved attractions work and will take you to the Utilidors and underground areas of the Magic Kingdom. (These tours will not let you take video or photos in these backstage areas either). This is not the purpose of this book, and we don’t want to ruin the magic or surprises for anyone.

This book serves as a comprehensive, detailed and organized book of tips that can help first-time Walt Disney World visitors as well as repeat guests. These suggestions and reminders should help improve your visit, help make your trip safer for you and your family, and help you make the most of your vacation. Enjoy!

Check Your Sources of Information

Many of the online blog tips and guides on the internet about visiting Walt Disney World are poorly written, outdated, or are written from a single perspective or guest experience that does not reflect the needs of the readers. Many blogs or news articles offer advice that is bad, outdated or just wrong. You will also see the same info regurgitated again and again, with some of it just being not true (no, you can’t get a death certificate from cast members at the Haunted Mansion). Some news sites just repost and rehash the same incorrect information from another site without factchecking it. If you want real advice about your visit, about attractions, or about park activities, then go to Disney Parks blog, call Disney’s customer service number, talk with an authorized Disney travel agent, or get your online information from reputable writers and video creators.

Be wary of individual blogs or YouTubers with very small follower numbers or sensational headlines. Be wary of clickbait sites claiming stuff like “10 Disney Secrets Cast Members Don’t Want You To Know” or videos with titles like “I Got Kicked Out of Disney.” Most of these articles and sites out there are total garbage or are trying to get you to read or watch for advertising revenue.

Avoid the Disney rumor mills. Do not believe anything you see or read about new attractions, attractions closing, or ride changes until the word comes officially from Disney via press releases or announcements on official Disney websites. Most Disney rumor sites have about a 50 percent accuracy on reporting upcoming things based on securing copies of permits that are filed for demolition or construction; however, Disney can often change their mind about projects and cancel or delay construction, resulting in confusion. We’ve heard rumors for years about the Imagination Pavilion closing, or about the Tomorrowland Speedway closing, or even the Carousel of Progress closing. These are all just rumors and speculation that people promote to get their articles read or their videos watched.

Be wary of any social media posts sharing photos or videos from claimed “incidents” at the parks. Many of these are wrong, altered, or completely faked. If they are real, they often happened years ago. An example is someone sent out a photo on Instragram of the window being out of a monorail, and claimed the windows fell out mid-ride. That wasn’t true. What really happened was the monorail lost power, and when the power goes out so does the air conditioning, so the monorail cast members had guests open the windows for air circulation. Someone else made a fake YouTube video claiming it was footage of a cast member dying at the America Sings attraction in Disneyland. While this was a real accident (look up Deborah Stone), there is no real video of the accident. The YouTube video is fake but gets thousands of views and shares.

Please do not buy park passes from someone on Craigslist or eBay. Many of these are fake park passes. They are often copies of ones that were already used. Or, they are multi-day passes and someone already used a day. Passes are not transferrable, so someone can’t use a pass for one day and then sell the rest of the days to you. Please only buy your tickets from reliable sources- from Disney directly; an authorized Disney travel agent; AAA; Tickets at Work; or some other company where the tickets are legitimate. We regularly have to turn people away at the gates because they bought fake or already used tickets.

Disney will never give out free park tickets, cruises, merchandise, resort stays or vacations on Facebook or other social media platforms. Official Disney contests will be announced on the Disney website, or on official Disney social media feeds (look for the official account/page checkmarks on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook). Any official contest offered by Disney will require you to agree to the terms and conditions of a contest and will require you to enter your information on the Disney website. Disney will never give anything away by asking people to like or share photos. Anything you see like that online is a total scam. Please report any of these pages- they are fake. If you see your friends liking or sharing them, warn them because they risk being hacked or spammed. Only follow and trust Disney pages that have the official social media check marks.

Planning Your Visit

As a cast member, I’m constantly amazed at the number of people who come to Disney who have done zero research on their Disney trip. Would you spend $5,000 on a car, an appliance, or a computer without researching or trying it out first? Then why would you do that for a vacation? At the bare minimum go to our website and check out the attractions, shows and restaurants.

If you’ve never been, or you haven’t been in years, things change. I’ll get people asking me where a ride is that we closed over a decade ago. You can see all the park maps online. You can watch our most recent vacation videos online. There’s a ton of information out there.

Watch the planning videos as a family. Review everything together. Check out the maps and plan activities as a group. This is part of the magic.

We post a ride refurbishment schedule on our website. If there is a ride you love, before you plan your vacation, check it to see if it will be down for scheduled maintenance. Of course there are unexpected shutdowns due to things like the weather, but in terms of longer closures (like a month or more), check in advance so you’re not disappointed that Splash Mountain is down for its annual refurb in January.

Purchase this book or download sample versions for your ebook reader.
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