A day in the life of a working cast member (plus the Hub)

This is not a day in the life of a typical cast member, but you get the picture.

So a little while ago I wrote something over how the record card and Disney Look guidelines work, but I realized that new CPs have a lot more questions over more general things - the most popular of which is "what will a typical work day look like for me?"  Though every role and location is vastly different both in when you'll work and what your responsibilities will be, today I'm going to give you a general idea how an average work day might look for you.  Note, however, that this post does not guarantee completely that this is exactly how your job will be so as before, take all of this with a grain of salt!

As a CP, a single shift can last anywhere from four to fourteen hours - there aren't any hour caps in place that I know of unless you've worked out that you're still an active student with Disney and therefore need time off to take your classes.  However, for the purposes of this post we'll say that a typical shift for you is eight hours long.  We'll also say that you have a role that only ever works mornings and early afternoons.

Arriving and Clocking In

There are two ways to clock in - through a typical wall clock or through the Cast Deployment System (CDS).  Wall clocks are mostly only used for cast members who don't rotate positions (office workers, or those participating in classroom learning) or those whose rotation is directly overseen by one person (like character attendants).  CDS is used for any role that have more than just a few cast members rotating through positions - attractions, Photopass and merchandise are a few roles that have CDS deploy their cast members.

No matter which method your role uses, you'll want to show up to work about fifteen minutes early at least (so if your shift starts at 8:30 AM, intend on being there at about 8:15).  This is for two reasons.  First, at least for CDS, the system opens up fifteen minutes before your shift starts and it's a good idea to put yourself in the queue for the first assignment of your shift as early as possible.  Secondly, if you have a role where your coordinator needs to prepare anything for your shift (Photopass, this is very important for you) it's good to come in early so they know you are there and can get you out to work on time.

Rotation, rotation!

So, what is rotation?  Essentially, it's a way to keep a single cast member from being stuck in one position for an entire shift (though days like this may still happen for you, especially if your location is short on people for the day).  Let's say that your typical shift that we discussed earlier is at an attraction that has the basic positions of load, unload, Fastpass queue, greeter and stroller parker in that order.  Your first assignment that you get at 8:30 AM is greeter.  This means that when rotation goes out, you'll be bumped from your position and sent to relieve whoever is parking strollers.  You'll also bring instructions to that person - "go to break", "go see your coordinator", "go to position X" or something along those lines.

Some roles have much more complicated rotation, however.  Photopass, the role I had on my last program, basically assigns a cast member coming off of break the position most needing to be given a new assignment and doesn't pay any mind to any sort of pattern or cycle.  This sometimes makes it difficult to know where you will go next, though it's also pretty fun.

Clocking Out and Going Home

If you're not closing a position for the day (and since we're using our example situation of someone who only works mornings and afternoons, you won't be in this post), you'll eventually be given instructions to return to your base/break room and prepare to clock out for the day.  You won't be able to clock out early unless your manager says it's okay no matter what method you use to clock in and out of work.  You need to still be dressed in costume when you clock out too, so if you brought a change of clothes don't put them on until after you're off the clock.

If you can't get to the wall clock/CDS computer right when your shift ends, that's okay!  You have up to fifteen minutes after your shift is over to clock out before you get penalized.  If your bumpout is late and no one has told you what's going on, you'll usually be extended until someone can come by and relieve you.

Bumming Around the Hub

So in the title of this post I mentioned the Hub, though I haven't gotten around to mentioning it yet.  Well, I'll take the time now to explain it a little.  The Hub is essentially a virtual center for all things related to being a cast member, from a place to send in requests for shift swaps and time off to a list of cast discounts to park news.  You'll be able to access it and all of its features once you start training and get your login information.

One thing to keep in mind, though - some of the information available through the Hub is very sensitive and shouldn't ever be shard with non-cast members.  This includes information that hasn't been released publicly, information on a cast member's work location available through Rostr and backstage maps.  You will get into serious trouble if you are found breaking this rule and breaching confidentiality.  Disney takes this stuff seriously.

So that's about it for work-related stuff for now!  I hope that this answered some of the questions you might have about how a typical shift might work for you, though of course every job is different and you may find that you will expected to do very different things.  Remember - if you have any suggestions on what I might talk about next you can always contact me and I'll do my best to tackle it!  Until then, have a good day!


  1. Once you have access to the hub, can you use it on your personal computer/device or only disney owned computers?

    1. Hi Cassidy!

      You can access the Hub on any computer as long as you know your log in information. However, there are some things - like checking your work record card - that can only be done from a Disney-owned computer.