8 Surprising Reasons Why Working at Disney World is a Dream Retirement Job
It’s no wonder that retirees flock to Florida, known for its warm, sunny weather and laid-back way of life. If you have children and grandchildren who would love to visit Disney World, Orlando is a great spot to settle in. And what about working at Disney a few days a week? The Mouse is known for hiring retirees seeking part-time work.
The Happiest Place on Earth hires greeters, bakers, tram drivers, bartenders, gift shop employees, and more. Plus, the benefits of working for the Mouse are pretty sweet. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the best perks of working at Disney.
1. Free entry to all Disney parks
Many a Mouse lover felt a little deflated when Disney announced another ticket price hike in early 2018. But if you’re a cast member (a.k.a. employee), this won’t matter — you can get into all the parks absolutely free (though there are few blackout dates, including Christmas.) Free parking is included.
Want to bring the grandkids or other friends and relatives? No problem. You get a limited number of free tickets for them each year.
Next: Go where ordinary guests never will.
2. Exclusive behind-the-scenes tours
Many cast members will tell you their favorite perk is a free behind-the-scenes tour of the parks. These exclusive events are often closed to guests, or reserved for private parties.
One retiree who works part-time at Disney World mentioned her favorite backstage tour was of the Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom. Tour guides led cast members on a walk through the ride with the lights on and they visited every single room on foot.
Next: Attend private parties after hours.
3. Cast member parties
How would you like your own private after-hours Disney party? Well, Disney gives cast members occasional opportunities to enjoy the rides and even to meet special characters.
In addition, Disney World honors cast members hitting milestone anniversaries with the company by throwing them a red carpet gala night at the parks. Honorees enjoy a formal dinner and drinks before going on the rides.
Next: Save big at the gift shops.
4. Discounts on Disney merchandise
Stocking up on Mickey and Minnie merchandise has never felt better when you get 40% off. During retirement, anytime you can save on home decor or a gift for your grandkids is a win.
Your company ID gets you 20% off all merchandise, and October through February the discount increases to 40%. These savings apply at all Disney parks, hotels, stores, cruise ships, and ports, and on the Disney website.
Next: Enter raffles for free shows.
5. Prize raffles
Who doesn’t love to win prizes? Disney cast members can enter raffles to win tickets to a wide range of events. These include Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, a VIP tour of the parks, or a stay in the Cinderella Castle. Other things cast members can win include tickets to Cirque du Soleil, Orlando Magic games, or theater shows.
Next: Cruise at a deep discount.
6. Disney resort and cruise discounts
Cast members enjoy 50% off their stay in a resort room, and their friends/family get 40% off. (Discounts are subject to availability.) With half off a resort room, the hardest part might just be deciding between the Grand Floridian and Polynesian resorts.
Are you looking to take a cruise in your retirement? Last-minute 40% to 60% discounts for Disney cruises just might be one of the best perks for cast members. The available cruise dates, ships, and ports are listed on the company intranet around three to four weeks before the cruise sails. (You must be employed by Disney for 90 days prior to booking a cruise.)
Next: Save at the restaurants.
7. Disney dining discounts
Anyone who’s visited Disney parks knows how pricey the food can be. But as an employee, just show your badge and you’ll get 20-40% off. This includes restaurants at the theme parks as well as Disney Springs. Blackout dates apply each year, typically over Thanksgiving weekend, Christmas week, Valentine’s Day, some April and May dates, and around the 4th of July.
Next: Get discounts outside of Disney.
8. Discounts at local merchants
As a cast member, not only will you save money inside Disney World, but at local area merchants as well. One retiree who works at Disney reports getting 15% off at her hairdresser and a substantial discount on hearing aids — just by showing her cast ID.
Local stores and restaurants that provide discounts to cast members include Nike Outlet, Timberland Outlet, Cici’s, Howl at the Moon, and Señor Frog’s. Disney Springs merchants that also provide discounts include AMC Theater, Splitsville Bowling, Lego Store, and Ghirardelli.
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