Are you interested in the role of merchandise for the Disney College Program, or maybe you found out you were accepted into this role and want to know more? You've come to the right place! I was a Merchandise Cast Member during the Fall 2015 program. I'd be more than happy to share my experiences and tips with you.
Merchandise can be more than just selling Mickey ears, mugs, plushes, and t-shirts. I had no idea that Strollers/Wheelchairs/ECV's/lockers was considered merchandise until I got down there. Some other things that are considered merchandise depending on your location: doing the embroidery for Mickey ears, scooping ice cream at the Boardwalk Resort, making and selling candy apples, cake pops, and things of that nature at places like the Confectionary, Big Top Souvenirs, or Goofy's Candy Company, and I even heard that the carnival games in DinoLand USA at Animal Kingdom are considered merch!
My home location was at Magic Kingdom on Main Street USA! I couldn't have asked for a better location. No, not the Emporium, not Main Street East, but Strollers! I also worked at two gift shops in my location: Locker Shop and Newstand!
|Newsstand at the Magic Kingdom. You can buy stamps here, |
and mail out postcards to your friends back home!
Your role asks you to keep the store stocked and show ready at all times, make transactions for guests when they make purchases (you may also get cash apron trained), and help guests with anything they might have questions with. Sometimes, a guest is looking for something specific that you don't have in the store. When this happens, you can call other merchandise locations across property to see if they have it stocked at their store! Putting the guests' needs first is so important as a cast member.
Merchandise is more than just stocking shelves and ringing up purchases. We have what is called merchantaining! If the word made you think of merchandise and entertaining put together, well, you're absolutely right! While at work, you are allowed to wear or play with the merchandise in your store and promote that item by interacting with guests! Since we sold lots of Mickey ears, I wore my Minnie headbands to work almost everyday. It was so much fun! We also loved wearing the Christmas lights necklace that we sold around the holidays, as well as playing with light up glow sticks and stuffed plushes of course. I personally loved taking one of the light up glow sticks and having guests limbo underneath it as they exited the park. Merchantaining is such a fun way to interact with guests - they have as much fun with it as you will!
Another perk to merchandise -- pin trading! You'll get a cast lanyard and a set of pins as part of your costume, and part of your job is actually to pin trade with guests! Guests can come up to you and ask to see your pins, and if they see one they like, they will ask to trade pins! Each guest can trade up to two pins per cast member. I always loved pin trading. It was so fun to see what the guests were collecting and was also a chance for me to ask them how their vacation was going! At my specific location, we had a pin board that we kept behind our register that was loaded with pins. Sometimes, if my task was to create a magical moment, I would take the pin board, put it on the "pin stroller" that seated Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Donald and Daisy plushes, and took the pin board on a stroll around Main Street! It was so fun to interact with guests that way, and seeing a stroller full of plushes being rolled around Town Square made everyone's day!
One other fun thing that I loved about merchandise was giving out free buttons! Have you ever seen a guest wearing a "Happy Birthday" or "Family Reunion" button? Merchandise cast members get to give those out! I loved writing people's names on their buttons and dotting their I's with Mickey. Such a simple thing like that can go a long way with a guest.
Lastly, your location may have a greeter position, where you stand at a specific location and wave to guests and also help them with any questions they might have. Sometimes, I would wear a Mickey glove and give guests "high fours" on their way out of the park. In my location, our greeter positions would be assigned at night. Our job was to send guests with rented strollers to the stroller return as well as answering their questions. I would get a lot of questions about where the monorail was, how to get back to their resort, what time does the Electrical Parade/Boo To You Parade/Once Upon a Christmastime Parade/Wishes/etc. start, where is the Fastpass for the parade, which is faster: monorail/ferry, where can they view their PhotoPass pictures, where is Guest Relations, etc.
Like I said earlier, merchandise cast members have the freedom to pick up shifts across Disney property. You can pick those shifts up from EHH on the Hub (you'll learn all about what these are during training), or trade or pick up shifts from the many merchandise shift exchange Facebook pages! I usually never had a problem giving a shift away, or finding one to pick up if I wanted hours.
During my program, I picked up these shifts in other locations:
Epcot: Green Thumb Emporium (in The Land) and Image Works (Figment Gift Shop)
Magic Kingdom: Big Top Souvenirs (Storybook Circus)
Animal Kingdom: Mombasa (Africa)
Sadly, I never made time for a shift at Hollywood Studios. I just loved working with my friends at Strollers too much. I did, however, pick up a park greeter shift for Mickeys' Very Merry Christmas Party!
|From top to bottom: I protected the Land, became a figment of my imagination, starred in the circus, was a stroller conductor for many princesses and pirates (home location, what up!), explored the wilderness, and spread joy as a Christmas elf.|
I think I summed up the merchandise role as best as I could! Hopefully this answers any questions you might have as a future merchandise cast member. If you have any more questions, please feel free to comment below and I'll be sure to help you!
Thanks for reading! I hope you all have a magical day and I'll see ya real soon!