CP etiquette (AKA how to not annoy people while out and about)

Empty seats on a CP bus?  Never happens!
Being a CP is fun.  Being a CP is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  Being a CP also comes with quite a few stigmas, and any alum will agree that there will be those in WDW - your workplace, your favorite park, etc. - who won't want you around.  Don't take it personally, there are many reasons why they won't and there's not much you can do to change their minds.

However, trying to break the CP stereotype - mainly that CPs are lazy, overly wild and indulgent, and cause problems for guests - is always a good thing to do.  We want to ensure that we can have fun while ensuring that future programs will be treated fairly and respectfully.  And isn't it somewhat fun to break someone's misconception of you anyway?

This post will be a bit large, as I'm writing down some unofficial "CP etiquette" that might be useful for you to know no matter where you are, so if there's any particular section you want to read more closely just scroll (or CRTL+F to find) until you come across it.  And if any alumni would like to add their own etiquette tips feel free to contact me and I'll add them!

While At Home

  1. You don't have to be a mouse, no one is making you stay silent at night and being quiet doesn't mean you can't have fun.  However, remember that you're in an apartment with very little soundproofing and everyone else has a different schedule from you.  If you need to be noisy at night, consider going to a common area like the pool or out to a club or other public place.
  2. Respect your neighbors' complaints if something you've been doing is bothering them.  You don't have to dumbly go along with whatever they say but at least try to see the situation from their eyes.
  3. When doing laundry in a public laundromat, be prompt when it comes to removing laundry.  Not everyone has time to wait for you to come and remove it themselves is they need laundry done right away.  If someone else moves your laundry for you, it's nothing personal.
  4. That being said, try to treat others' laundry with respect if you must remove them.  Don't put them anywhere dirty.  If you have a dollar to spare maybe even consider putting their clothes in the dryer if they still need drying as well - just make sure to tell them where their clothes went!
  5. Be nice to the security guards.  If they need to see your ID up close don't get fussy with them - they are only doing their job.
  6. Be nice to the maintenance workers even if they aren't nice to you - treat them as you would any guest at work.  It doesn't help you to be snippy if they're being rude.
  7. Drive slowly around the complexes' parking lots.  There's a lot of foot traffic from CPs going to and from work, their car, friends' apartments, etc.
  8. If you see someone struggling with groceries (especially if they obviously don't have a car), offer to help them!  I had a few CPs help me with groceries on my program and it was so nice that they offered.
  9. Respect your roommates.  I've already written a more in-depth post about living with them so check there if you want to learn more :)
  10. When family comes to visit any of your roommates or neighbors, be courteous and give them their space.
  11. The pools can be small, so make sure that anyone who wants to use it gets the chance to.  Same for the lounge chairs.
  12. If you know your neighbors and one of them gets a package left outside their door, it might be nice of you to keep it safely inside your own apartment and give it to them when they get home.  Just make sure they, well, know you :P

While On the Bus

  1. If it's late or very early, please respect those CPs who want to nap or ride the bus in peace.  And never ever talk loudly on purpose just because you see someone sleeping.  I've seen it happen before and it's extremely rude, not to mention annoying for everyone else on the bus.
  2. Stretching out across a few chairs is fine if you're on an uncrowded bus, but if not let someone sit in the seats with you.  And don't pretend to sleep just so you don't have to move.
  3. If you haven't worked that day and you're riding a full bus, do the respectful thing and offer your seat to someone who's worked.  You may be tired but I can tell you that working CP is probably even more tired.
  4. On that same token, don't try to vilify other CPs because you think they didn't work that day and are sitting down.  Character performers go to and from work in street clothes, and anyone can change out of their costume after their shift if they desire.  If they really didn't work, sure, they might be being rude - but they're not worth wasting your energy on.
  5. If it's closing time at the park you're visiting for the day, try escaping to a resort that has a CP bus route without parks on it.  Not only will they be less crowded with CPs, but you'll also be allowing those who have worked a better chance of getting on a bus faster back at the park.
  6. Be respectful to the driver.  Don't impair their ability to focus or drive.  If the bus breaks down, don't harass them when they're calling for help.  Be understanding and flexible if the bus doesn't have air conditioning, windows that can be opened, etc.  The driver didn't choose to drive that bus.
  7. Feel free to engage fellow bus riders in conversation, but if they don't want to talk don't force them into it.
  8. When getting off of a bus, don't push past people who are also trying to get off.  You'll all be out eventually and being impatient doesn't help you get off faster.
  9. Don't mess with a sleeping CP on a bus unless you feel they may be missing their stop.  Even then, wake them gently.
  10. Be considerate about how much you bring on a bus with you - there are very few situations where you'd need something as large as a suitcase, for example.
  11. Don't chase the buses.  Not only will the bus driver probably not stop for you but even if he does, you're not being fair to those who were able to be there on time.
  12. Never tell a bus driver to wait for you at a stop while you get off and go do something.  This happens relatively often on the J bus (DAK) route because it stops at costuming.  The driver needs to stick to a schedule and everyone else on that bus has somewhere to be.  Accept that you will simply have to catch the next bus and let it go on its way.

While At Work

  1. If you get an assignment you don't like, don't complain.  You are needed to go and do something that your manager has deemed important, and it's not very adult to throw a fit about it.
  2. Don't take extra time on your break unless you absolutely need to.  And there are very few cases where you'll need to do it.
  3. Work hard.  You don't have to be a goody-two-shoes, a brown-noser or an overachiever but you didn't travel all the way to Florida to not work when you agreed to do just that.
  4. Accept that some of your coworkers may not want to get too friendly with CPs - or even openly dislike them - and that there may be nothing you can do to convince them otherwise.  However, don't take this as an excuse to treat them rudely.
  5.  On the other hand, some of your coworkers (especially the ones closer to your age) may really want to be your friend.  However, remember that you must act professional around them while at work.
  6. Thank your coordinators, character captains, managers and whoever else for their hard work.  They sometimes have to run themselves ragged keeping everything in their area in check even if they don't seem to be.
  7. Take criticism in a mature manner if you get it.  Even if you think it's undeserved, taking it too personally doesn't help you prove anyone wrong at all.
  8. If you don't get recognized for working hard, whether through Four Keys Cards or otherwise, don't throw a fit.  Your work is appreciated even it's not formally acknowledged.
  9. On your last day of work, be sure to thank everyone for working with you on your program.  Bringing food is nice if your work location allows it, but it's not necessary.

While Playing in the Parks

  1. Being a CM doesn't net you any special favors.  No worker is required to let you through Fastpass lines without a pass, access to VIP seating for shows, free food or merchandise or magical moments.  Insisting that someone do this will just make them very annoyed with you!
  2. Be courteous of other guests.  They may not have that much time to explore the parks before they have to go home and should be given the chance to do just that.
  3. Don't announce to anyone listening that you work for Disney.  This can make some guests veeeeery uncomfortable as they might feel that you are detracting from their vacation or get resentful because they know that you got into the park for free when they had to pay.  You don't have to keep it a secret either, just don't make a show of it.
  4. Don't visibly wear your IDs, CM or housing, while in the parks.  First of all, it's not allowed.  Second of all, it makes it obvious that you are a cast member and a CP.  If a worker tells you to put it away, do so politely.
  5. You can't go backstage as a guest.  Don't even try - it disrespectful to those that are working, disruptive, against the rules and confusing to guests who see who they think is another guest going into a cast member-only area.
  6. Watch your language.  You're around a lot of small children whose parents may or may not want them hearing swearing, derogatory language or dirty humor and they will not appreciate you doing it at all.
  7. Don't get in the way of another cast member doing their job.  If the CM is helping a family of guests find a bathroom, for instance, it's inappropriate to jump in the conversation and offer to help them out - unless the CM doesn't know, that is.
  8. Leave the park when it closes.  Just because you're a cast member doesn't mean you'll be allowed to stay someplace as long as you want.
  9. Cast members can't do Extra Magic Hours.  Period.  Don't try to make a cast member overlook this fact.
  10. Discounts do not apply to all things you can purchase in a park.  If a cast member says you can't use your discount, respect that and move on.  If asking if a place offers a discount, be polite.

 When Meeting a Character

  1. Sometimes, characters will need to go away for a short while even if you've just gotten to the front of the line.  The attendants will not make an exception for you no matter how hard you beg.
  2. NEVER HIT A CHARACTER!  Even if you think you're just playing around, the character might not appreciate it.
  3. Even if you don't want Photopass some photographers will give you a card anyway.  Don't freak out on them.  Just throw the card away when you leave if you really don't want it.
  4. Don't insist on the characters performing "magical moments" for you.  If you don't know what I'm talking about this probably doesn't apply to you, but if you do... just remember that the characters are not robots.  If they don't feel like performing a particular action for you you need to respect that.
  5. If you know a friend the character is hanging out with at that particular moment, don't harass them or break character integrity.  EVER.  They'll probably have talked to you before about what they and their character friend find acceptable and unacceptable things to say, but even if they don't be reasonable.
  6. Don't insist on taking too much time with a character.  We're all adults, even when we're meeting one of our favorite characters we know that there is probably a child somewhere in line who will get even more fulfillment out of seeing them than we will.  Five minutes is quite enough time for several photos, a bit of play with the character and autographs.  Most of the time you won't even get to stay for five minutes.
  7. When it's time to leave the meet-and-greet area, LEAVE.  Don't dawdle.  The character has said goodbye to you and is ready to meet the next family in line.
  8. It's okay to have fun with a character!  Kisses, hugs, dances and other games are all common things to do.  However, if a character doesn't want to play they just don't.  Come back another day and they may be in a better mood!
  9. One of my favorite things to do while waiting for characters is play "line babysitter" - where I talk to a family with small children and get to talk to the kids about their day.  Sometimes the parents appreciate having the kids occupied by something else and enjoy the fact that their children are being social.  However, there are also those parents who might not like them talking to a complete stranger, even if you don't look threatening, and don't want to be bothered.  Always gauge the parents' reactions before you start chatting with the kids.
  10. Men (and women), you can't kiss face characters on the cheek.  They may kiss you, but you can't do it yourself.  And don't insist that they do it for you because they may not want to.

While Traveling Around Florida

  1. Not everyone is young or a tourist.  Be kind to the older locals, especially if you go to the beach (why beach? Because a lot of them are located near small towns that likely have a lot of older folks out and about during the day).
  2. Share the road.  Be considerate of your fellow drivers.  Drive safely.
  3. When visiting the grocery store/Walmart/Target, don't pull stunts like putting people into your cart, running or messing up store shelves.  Act like an adult - you're there for food and other necessities, not to blow off steam.
  4. Respect the workers on toll roads.  If you didn't want to pay tolls, you would've found ways around the plaza.  (Meaning other roads, not blasting through without paying.)
  5. Beaches have many rules - make sure you know them all.  Don't litter.  Don't break glass.  If you bring food with you clean it up.  Don't throw things in the water.

Well, there is my super-long list of all things politeness.  Again, if any alums out there have any tips to add I'd love to hear them!  It's always good to hear different perspectives on an issue.

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