Disney Traditions: The First Step to Endless Possibilities

Amanda Watson

by , Communications Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

At Disney, our cast members and employees are at the heart of everything we do. And while our roles may all be different, we share one thing in common: we all start our Disney careers with the magic and heritage of Disney Traditions.  

This orientation program welcomes and inspires all newly-hired cast members as they take their first steps to endless possibilities with their Disney careers.  

The history of the Disney Traditions program dates back to the opening of Disneyland park when Walt Disney himself approved the development of orientation for new employees, which still serves as a strong foundation today. The program covers everything from Disney basics, history and heritage, to providing exemplary guest service and ways to create happiness for our guests. And is facilitated in multiple languages by cast in various roles, levels and work locations.   

Jeanne Burger, a Disney Vacation Club associate at Walt Disney World is among a new class of facilitators who will welcome new cast members at Disney Traditions.   

“The Walt Disney Company is unlike any other,” Jeanne said. “Each and every cast member is chosen for specific reasons and we are very excited to get to know them, give them the tools they need to succeed with the knowledge that has been passed down from generation to generation and serve as a mentor once the program is complete.”

While many aspects of the Disney Traditions program are a well-kept secret, the program brings people together and sets cast members up for success in their roles, now and in the future, in a fun and uniquely Disney way. From our facilitators sharing experiences to help our cast better navigate their roles to visiting the parks to learn how to create magic, the program bonds our new hires together and teaches them what it means to be a Disney cast member.  

“I met so many amazing people during my Disney Traditions experience that it led me to want to become a facilitator myself,” Luis Alonso, guest experience manager at Walt Disney World said. “I really enjoy being able to connect with our newly hired cast members and teach them about our company and culture while experiencing a little magic along the way.”  

The Disney Traditions program isn’t just an ordinary onboarding program. From the high-energy facilitators to a dynamic learning environment, cast members are encouraged to be their authentic selves and discover new things about themselves that they can bring to a unique role in creating happiness every day. 

Channing Reid Black receiving Mickey ears

“When you get a role with Disney, it’s not just a job,” Channing Reid Black, performer with Disney Live Entertainment at Disneyland Resort said. “It’s about becoming part of a family, a community. It’s a place of belonging and inclusion.”  

By the end of each Disney Traditions class, each cast member earns a well-deserved nametag and is ready to continue to learn and develop their skills as they begin their incredible Disney career and experience of a lifetime.  

If the heritage and culture of the Disney Traditions program inspire you, perhaps you are ready to take the next step in your career. Discover the vast opportunities to join our team at Disney Parks, Experience and Products!  

Comments

  • i start November as a 29 yr veteran of the theme park industry i saw this as the end of my path to work for a company my grandfather helped build he was on the day construction crew when Disneyland was built im beyond pumped to bring my magic to the resort as a custodian
    see you soon

  • I’m just sad cause I didn’t get to experience the full traditions, we did ours virtually. Didn’t get to experience getting that nametag and my Mickey ears. No Mickey ears in fact. I feel like I missed out on an integral part of the Cast Member experience.

  • Back when I went through Disneyland training, it was called Disney University (I actually have a letterman’s jacket from Disney University — it wasn’t part of the course, but they were sold in Disneyland Park for a while in the 1990s). I figure that “Traditions” is basically the same thing, but updated.

    Recommended reading: “Window on Main Street” by Van Arsdale France, who was the person who actually put the training course together. I bought the book at Disneyland, lost it, and then it was out of print when I tried to replace it. But the good news is that it is back in print. Amazon has it, last I checked. It’s an amazing read.

    My ABSOLUTE favorite story in the book: when Disneyland opened, the 5 Freeway didn’t exist. People drove for hours on surface streets to get to Disneyland on opening day.

    And all the parents who told their kids to “hold it” so they didn’t have to stop let their kids out of the car and they just were “going” all over the parking lot behind opened car doors. A parking lot cast member ran up to Roy Disney and said, “Roy! There are people [going] everywhere!”

    And this one I’m not going to edit, so it’s Disney’s call whether they allow this comment: Roy looked at the cast member and was so happy that people were actually showing up in droves, he just said “God bless them, let them pee.”

    This may be too much of a story for the Disney Parks Blog, and if so, I get that if this comment is declined. But behind the story of how Mickey Mouse was behind Roy actually giving his speech at The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World when it was dedicated, when he was saying “I’m not going out there without my brother (Walt had, sadly, passed)” and he accepted Mickey Mouse taking his hand as going out there with his brother, this parking lot story is my second-favorite Disney Parks story.

    I mean, I had great moments as a cast member, and I miss it, but these are two historic moments that relate to Disney Parks history.

    Van Arsdale France is integral to why a Disney Parks experience is what it is.

  • I just celebrated 10 years at Disneyworld, and in my Traditions class, I laughed and cried more in one day, than I had in the 20+ years I had with the phone company. I still love Disney!