Last week, we looked at what it looks like to be a quick service food and beverage cast member, today we're looking at merchandise. While not one of the "high need roles" listed on the application, they are a high volume role, which means that many CPs are cast in this role. Robert, Breanna, and Jared have helped me provide more info about this role, all three were friends of mine at Disney World in spring 2016.
"As a merchandise host I had a variety of tasks that ranged from operating the registers, stocking the merchandise around the store, and greeting guests that come into the store and assisting them with their shopping experience. In merchandise you have a unique opportunity to interact with guests not just behind the counter but also throughout the store, which is something Disney calls "Merchantaining" (merchant + entertaining). Often you will be rotated around to different positions within the same shift, including moving from one store in your zone to another. Depending on where you are located, other responsibilities may involve food handling and/or PhotoPass assistance." (Robert)
"Run the cash register, restock the floor, greet guests entering the resort, sort merchandise, occasionally participate in dance parties" (Breanna)
" I worked at Hollywood Studios at various merchandise shops. You could see me playing with BB8 from star wars which was called merchantainment, you could also see me ringing register." (Jared)
"Frontierland had a great management team! On my first day I met my trainer at costuming to get my costume, and pretty soon I was out on-stage getting hands-on experience! There was one training day at Disney University where we learned more about the registers and transactions, but most of the training was on-stage to get you used to a typical work environment. You have a set number of days with a trainer before you're left on your own, and the first day without a trainer can be a little nerve-wracking but there are always other cast members to help you out! In your first few weeks you will be scheduled other training days to learn about merchandising beyond the basics (food prep and PhotoPass get their own training sessions)." (Robert)
"1 day of general all-star training followed by merchandise training at Disney university before going into my store. Then there was one day of observation where we got an overview of all three stores. The next day we Began practicing on the register with our trainer. The day after we learned closing procedures and took our assessment. About 1.5 weeks later, we had one additional day to learn heart of house (stock) training." (Breanna)
"Merchandise has Welcome to Ops, Welcome to Merchandise, then Tier 1 which is learning your area, Merchantaiment at DU which is all about the register, Tier 3 which is all about the register, Tier 4 which is stocking and then you also take your assessment, I also worked at Star Wars Launch Bay which had its own training as well as being apron trained and then I even was alcohol trained as well if I wanted to pick up at resorts" (Jared)
They all worked between 32-40 hours each week, averaging 36 hours. Most shifts are between 6-12 hours. Breaks depend on the length of the shift. 6 hour shifts with a 15 minute break, 7 hour shifts with a 30 minute break, 8 hour shifts with a 30 minute and a 15 minute break, or 8 hour shifts with two (one unpaid) 30 minute breaks.
"The management team at Frontierland was great! Every one of them was friendly and easy to talk to, and they really encouraged us to excel and congratulated us for going out of our way for a guest. At the end of my program they gave me my "Ear-book Page," which had pictures that they took of me throughout the past four months!" (Robert)
"Location: I loved getting to know guests who stayed at the resort and came into the store multiple times. I loved the dance parties that we used to have with guests. Role: I get super excited about buying souvenirs, so I enjoyed watching other people get that excited. I also liked buying gifts for people at home and telling them it was from my store" (Breanna)
" I loved the diversity of each cast member and what we were able to do as a group" (Jared)
"PhotoPass is hard. It was really difficult to communicate the pricing and options for the pictures, especially to guests who did not speak English well. It was always a struggle and my interactions with guests were rarely anything more than me giving the same spiel over and over again." (Robert)
"Location: was very slow at some times, especially during the day when most people were at the parks. It was also a really long bus ride home.
Role: hours vary so much. I know people who worked at mk until 3 am, and sometimes I had to be at work at 5 am" (Breanna)
"I do not really have anything negative to say." (Jared)
"My favorite memories have always been interacting with the guests. One time I was helping a couple find their picture for Splash Mountain-- both of them had trouble with seeing, so I magnified the images on the screen so they could find theirs. After selling their picture they mentioned that they wanted to go on again, so I had an idea. For the rest of my shift, I kept checking the pictures to see if I could find theirs and print it beforehand so I could hand it to them as they got off the ride. It turns out that they went on twice in a row, so I printed off both pictures, greeted them at the end of their second ride, and gave them both pictures free of charge! For Splash Mountain it was encouraged to offer free pictures for special occasions, and this was one of those times when I used that freedom to make their day extra special!" (Robert)
"We had a family visiting from England for 3 weeks. They came into the store at all-star sports every single night to trade pins and I got to know them quite well. It was awesome to form such a connection in a place with thousands of guests." (Breanna)
Do you still have questions about the role of merchandise? Feel free to comment below, find me on social media, or contact me in the "About Me" tab. Don't forget to subscribe to my email list to get weekly updates about new posts. To find more about Merchandise and other roles, look at the "roles" tab in the "topics" section.