Ask any group of Disney fanatics what their dream job at Walt Disney World would be, and a great many would likely reply “monorail driver”. And why not? It’s an iconic position at the Disney resort that looks like a lot of fun. Disney World Transportation runs under the philosophy “getting there is part of the fun”. They do their best to live up to that tenet every single day. Whether carrying passengers via monorail, bus, boat, or tram, Disney World Transportation Cast Members are often the first representatives of the resort that guests encounter.
It takes a special person to make that first impression a great one. The Cast Members must be able to answer a battery of initial guest questions, convey their guests to their destinations in a pleasant and safe manner, and do so while operating heavier machinery than most people will face in their lifetimes. And that’s only the start of it. Here are some of the requirements of Disney World Transportation Cast Members that you may not have known:
7. A Compelling Reason to Be There
When facing the initial job interview, nearly all Cast Members are asked why they want the position they are applying. In the case of transportation roles, they don’t want to hear answers about how driving the monorail is your dream job or how you always wanted to pilot the ferry boat. Instead, they want to hear what skills and experience you would bring to the role. Don’t tell them how you would love to pilot the monorail, tell them why you would be a good monorail pilot.
6. Good Vision
As part of the hiring process, anyone considering a job in the Transportation Department has to take a vision test. The reason for this should be fairly obvious, but suffice it to say that unlike rides inside the parks, Disney Transportation is not guided by rails. (With the exception of the Monorail of course! You’d better believe that comes up when Transportation Cast Members get together and playfully insult each other!) Wearing glasses is fine, so long as the applicant can pass the vision test with them.
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5. A Healthy Dose of Fearlessness
At the very least, Cast Members need to be able to move past the fact that they are piloting a monorail that is over 200 feet long and carries 360 guests, or a ferry boat that weighs 385,000 pounds even before adding the weight of 600 guests. The lives of those guests are in their hands. That kind of responsibility is not for everyone. It doesn’t matter what the Cast Member is driving; nothing at Disney World can stop on a dime.
4. A Clean Driving Record
Depending on the role within the Transportation Department, applicants must have a valid driver’s license, have held that license for a number of years, and have no moving violations for at least the past twelve months. Bus drivers have the additional requirement of either possessing a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) or obtaining one if hired. If you’ve got a lead foot and a few tickets in the glove compartment, you’d better learn to slow down before attempting to get a job with Disney Transportation.
3. Willingness to Work Early and Late Hours
Disney transportation begins running long before the parks open, and continues to operate long after the parks close. Guests have to be picked up at and returned to their resorts if they’re staying on property or to their cars if they’re staying off site. To make this happen, Transportation Cast Members have to be willing to come in as early as 5 AM or stay as late as… well, 5 AM sometimes. And the hardest part of working those hours isn’t necessarily the exhaustion from staying late or living with a bad schedule; it’s keeping the smile on your face and courtesy in your manner while working them!
2. Ability to Pass the Test
Because of the responsibility that comes with transporting guests, there is a lot of training that comes with any position in the Transportation Department. At the end of training you are required to take a test to determine if you are able to effectively operate in your area. Part of the test for Watercraft Cast Members demonstrating their ability to control the ferry boat is to dock the boat at the end of the Grand Floridian dock. Then they must back the ferry one foot away from the dock, and slide the ferry boat to the right and left along the dock. All while maintaining that one foot distance. Disney Trainers do an incredible job preparing Cast Members to take the tests, but in the end it is up to the individual to prove his or her skill. If the Cast Member can’t pass the test, they can’t work in that area.
1. Safety, Safety, and Safety
Safety is paramount at Disney World. It comes first in the list of “Disney Keys” to a Great Customer Experience: Safety, Courtesy, Show, and Efficiency. Transportation Cast Members in particular must always be conscious of guest safety. There are so many ways in which a guest can be seriously hurt. Tram Drivers must be ever aware of guests crossing in front of them or guests standing up while the tram is in motion. While Monorail Operators have a number of safety features to aid them in preventing collisions, nonetheless they must make sure guests are not injured getting in or out of the monorail cars or by doors closing. Watercraft pilots not only have to be mindful of guests falling overboard and hard-docking, but also the many guests on the water in personal watercraft and pontoon boats (who often insist on crossing or even stopping in front of them!). Bus drivers may have the toughest job of all, considering they have to share the road with guests in their own vehicles frantically trying to get to the parks as quickly as possible.
In a department that considers itself part transportation and part attraction, it’s not surprising to find that Transportation Cast Members have great passion for the service they provide to their guests. Some of them have even been known to lead their passengers in Disney singalongs! Nonetheless, many guests take the Transportation Department for granted.
Have you ever had a memorable experience taking a ride on a Disney boat, monorail, bus, or tram? Has a Transportation Cast Member ever made getting there part of your fun?
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