by Brittany DiCologero and Chaz Saldi
“Give the public everything you can give them, keep the place as clean as you can keep it, keep it friendly.” – Walt Disney
This interview features Chaz, former Main Street custodial CP and my fiance, who participated in the spring 2015 Disney College Program. Chaz is from Boston, MA, and is currently attending Bunker Hill Community College, where he majors in History.
Q: What made you want to do the Disney College Program?
A: The Disney College program was something Brittany actually told me about. I’ve always had the dream of working at Disney, and living in Florida so it seemed like the perfect way to accomplish this.
Q: What was your role and location? Was it your first choice? If not, what was?
A: I was Custodial in Magic Kingdom South. Custodial actually was my first choice, although I didn’t ever think I would be placed not only in Magic Kingdom, let alone in the south zone, right along Main Street and the front of the castle, so I really lucked out in that sense.
Q: What was your training like?
A: I had two days of classes and several days of on the job training including an assessment. The classes ranged from simple stuff like how to change a trash can liner and how to sweep with a pan and broom, to more complex things like the the ingredients of various cleaning chemicals to complete layouts and showtimes for the park. One thing that custodial does that other roles do not is they take a second orientation day other than the usual orientation tour that other roles take. This orientation is solely to get you acclimated to each zone of the park, not just your own. we walked around each area, learning where every CDS, Compactor, and AVAC is located, just in case we are in the area for any reason.
Q: What did you like most about your role?
A: Oh wow, where do I start? The freedom was incredible. you didn’t have to worry about being in any single place for an extended period of time, and the zones in each area of the park were pretty big, making it hard to be bored in any location you were in. Due to the nature of the role, a guest could ask you any question at any given time, sometimes you could even walk a guest to where they wanted to go, because the costumes weren’t tied to any specific land. I found myself working right in the front and walking guests to New Fantasyland or Frontierland to help them find where they needed to go.
On top of that, guest interactions were always special. Being one of the first cast members guest would see would mean they were always in a great mood, excited and ready for magic. Being stationed in the front of the park meant that if you’re assigned to a hub zone or plaza zone, you were taking pictures for (or sometimes with) guest more than cleaning. There was also a sort of comradary with the other custodial cast members, everyone was willing to help everyone with their duties, you knew that everyone sort of had your back, in case the park was really busy or you were just simply having trouble keeping the cans empty. Even restroom shifts were pretty fun. They went quick because you were always working and and moving.
Q: What did you like least?
A: The hours. most weekends I had to work, and on those days you might not leave until 3 am or even later. And while almost all the zones were inside the park, my location also included the monorail station and BDO (bus drop off), which were outside the park where there were no other cast members and guests would be so excited to enter the park they wouldn’t want to stop and interact with you, so it could get pretty lonely. And while it was no problem for me, the job could get pretty disgusting. But those things were very easy to get over after the first time you see them, they don’t ever really bother you again (even after the program).
Q: Would you recommend this role to a friend?
A: I would absolutely recommend this role to a friend. Custodial gets a bad rep for its occasional disgusting moments, but 99% of the time it was the most fun job I’ve ever had.
Q: What advice would you have for new CPs in this role?
A: Be prepared to speak to everyone. as I said, you are the first cast member most guests see, or you’re further into the park where your bright white costume sticks out, so you’re usually the one who answers the questions for the guests. Don’t sweat the gross stuff, and be prepared to make a lot of friends in many roles including your own.
Q: What have you been up to since your program ended?
A: I’ve gone back to school, and started a new job as manager at AMC, which I fully credit to the skills I learned at my role in Disney.