There Are Gaston’s All Over Disney
Every person who has ever done the Disney College Program has most likely ran into at least one entitled full-time Cast Member. This Cast Member thinks they are the best at their job. They think they know better than their co-workers, coordinators, managers, and even the higher ups in the company. You might even buy it when you first start because they put on a good show. You see them interact with guests and they seem to be really outgoing and fun but after you really get to know them, you see how they really feel about themselves and other people. For this story we are going to call this Cast Member “Gaston.”
How to Handle Gaston
They will try to tell you how to do your job the way they think it should be done even if it is not actually a policy in your position. If you pay attention in your training you will know what you can and cannot do. If Gaston tries to tell you that you are doing something wrong but you were never trained on it, just ask your manager immediately. By asking a manager you do two important things. First you show your manager that you strive to do the right thing which they will appreciate. Second you make them aware that Gaston is trying to boss you around which is overstepping their boundaries and bypassing the chain of command. These are both important because Gaston will probably report you to managers at some point for some little mistake you made and when they do your manager will know that Gaston has it out for you and that you are trying your best.
Gaston being Gaston
Example: I had not been a trained CP at the Wildlife Express Train for too long when one night we were holding at Rafiki’s Planet Watch station waiting for the last guests to come up from the main attraction area there. While we were waiting Gaston condescendingly asked me if I had made an announcement to the guests on the train that we were waiting. Gaston was trained for the train but was working the Rafiki’s Planet Watch station that day. He knew I did not make that announcement because he would have heard it. He could have said “Hey I know your new and it’s not required but I find it a nice thing to let the guests on the train know we are holding for a few.” That would have been a kind recommendation but instead he went with passive-aggressive and made me feel like I made a mistake. I told him “No I did not make an announcement. I didn’t know I was supposed to do that. I was never trained to do that.” Thinking I had made a mistake I made the announcement to the guests on the train that we would be holding at Rafiki’s Planet Watch while we wait for the rest of the guests to make their way to the train.
Immediately after I closed the train I found one of my managers and said “Hey I had a question about the last train of the night from Rafiki’s to Africa with that last load of guests. Gaston had said that I was supposed to make an announcement telling the guests we were holding while we waited for the rest of the guests to catch the last train. I don’t remember being told to do this in training so I just want to make sure that I do it correctly. Am I supposed to be making an announcement for the final train or not?” My manager told me that you can if you want to but you don’t have to. It was not a requirement. She seemed kind of opposed to the announcement by the way she was talking about it. I decided I would not be making this announcement because I personally felt it just reminded guests they were waiting and then they would focus on that whereas if they just get on the train and wait they tend to not really care at that point in the day to hold for a few extra minutes anyways. Wasn’t like we had to wait long it was maybe 5 minutes at most. Most guests when they got on the train felt like they were on an attraction so they weren’t looking at is as waiting.
The next time I was conductor and we were holding at Rafiki’s Planet Watch and Gaston came up to me to tell me to make the announcement I said politely “You are more than welcome to make the announcement if you want to but I don’t feel it is necessary.” He was kind of shocked that a CP who’d only been there a few weeks had that level of confidence. I don’t think he was used to that. This is why really paying attention in training and know exactly what you can and can’t do in your position is so important. It frees you from the Gaston’s out there.
Some time passes since this situation occurs and by this point I had established good relationships with my managers and coordinators. I asked them not only for policy guidelines when those questions arose but I asked them for their personal opinion on grey areas to get some tips from those with experience. Gaston still came at me a few times but he had no power over me because I had knowledge of my position which allowed me to be confident in what I did.
The next time he called a manager on me my manager talked to me about the situation and because of my foundation they appeared to be upset with Gaston for bothering them again over something that was trivial. The situation was one day I did a magical moment for a kid by letting him and his family blow the whistle on the engine and take some photos. The family had asked me when they were exiting the train so I took them right up to the engine for the magical moment. They took a little longer than I had expected. As the engineer it is my job to open the doors in the pre load area near the first two cars of the train. Since I couldn’t leave the family alone in the engine I did cause a very short delay in boarding the next group of guests. Gaston called a manager and told on me of that. My manager said it’s not a big deal but next time just make sure to let the next group of guests board the train before you do the magical moment which I totally agreed with but at the time I hadn’t encountered that exact situation so I didn’t handle it as well as it could have been handled. At the same time I broke no policies or rules. Gaston also got himself a small talking to because he could have walked down and opened the gates for me. The managers said we should try to help each other out when we can. Gaston was visibly not happy about that comment.
There was pretty much tension between me and Gaston my entire program. I just ignored him mostly though. I didn’t let him get to me and when he would try to tell me what to do I’d just “Ok thanks.” And ignore him.
He was so oblivious to how people perceived him too that I remember one day he yelled at me for something that was his preference on how I should do my job. Then after work I was walking from backstage to the Cast parking lot and Gaston drove up to me and asked if I wanted a ride to my car. He was allowed to park backstage for some reason I have no idea why. He was talking to me like he hadn’t been a total dick to me less than an hour earlier. I politely refused his ride to my car mostly because I didn’t want to spend an extra second with this guy but after he pulled away I was so baffled that someone could talk to a co-worker and then act like everything was cool.
No One’s A Dick like Gaston
One fateful day Gaston was coordinator at my location. I didn’t even know he was trained to be coordinator until this day but they must have been short because they tossed him into the ring. He was not a good coordinator. All day long every time I went into the office he was frazzled.
I had a few minutes left on my lunch break and was waiting in the office where 2 other Cast Members were waiting for their breaks to end too. Gaston came in the office to check the computer and scolded the one girl for being late, which she was not. He made her clock back in early and then when she left the room he called her a fucking retard in front of myself and the other Cast Member.
The other Cast Member who was there did the right thing and contacted management about it. For those of you who think that CP’s are ignored or walked on, you might want to pay attention to this part. Management took action against Gaston. They first called us all in to talk to us one at a time. After hearing our statements they demoted Gaston and reprimanded him. Now, Gaston had mentioned before his hopes of becoming management or moving to a different area in a higher position. With this on his record he would not be able to do that anytime soon if at all. Management stood up for the CP’s and the guy who got on everyone’s nerves got what he deserved.
After this incident I didn’t really hear much or see Gaston as often. He was still a Cast Member but when I saw him after this he kept his mouth shut for the most part. I don’t take pride in knocking someone down but this guy deserved to be knocked down. The other Cast Member I was with that day who opened her mouth not only stood up for her friend and co-worker but she prevented a bad Cast Member from getting in a position of higher power that would have almost definitely abused that power and treated the Cast Members underneath of him like garbage. He was already treating Cast Members on the same level as him like garbage so imagine what a little more power would have caused him to act like. In his mind it would have been validation of how awesome he thought he was as a Cast Member.
In summation don’t be afraid to speak up when you or someone around you is wrong. It will not fall on deaf ears. Disney tends to take these matters very seriously. You may only be a CP but that doesn’t mean you have to be stepped on by Gaston’s out there who think they are above the rules.