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What it's like to work on a Disney cruise

Former Actress Dishes On Disney Cruise Experience

Disney is an iconic brand in entertainment, and actors and actresses play a huge role in making audiences believe that anything can happen when you 'wish upon a star.' (Sorry, we had to.)

So what does it take for performers to turn a cruise ship into a place where dreams come true? According to one actress, months of training and a strict regimen once you're out to sea.

Raye
Raye, who chose not to give her last name or the role she played, performed on a Disney Cruise ship for seven months. She told Business Insider that, prior to boarding the ship, she trained for two months at a circus school in Toronto.

And for good reason. She says 'performing on a moving ship is a whole other ball game. We needed special safety training for the pyrotechnic and the flying scenes. We had to learn how to dance and move on a stage when it's rocking.'

The cruises were seven days long and Raye said she performed five nights a week, but even on her off days, she was technically on, greeting the ship's passengers in character alongside Disney's first couple, Mickey and Minnie. Daily Mail reports that 'character integrity' was of the utmost importance. (The site also included these photos of Raye from Facebook.)

Raye Raye

Raye also discussed some of the less dreamy parts of the cruise experience, such as living in a tiny cabin without a window or cell service or - heaven forbid - not being able to tan.

But she ultimately chalked that up to the fantasy aspect of her role and said, 'Belle can't have a bikini line.' Well, that's true.

Join the discussion

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gcarlson007 February 09 2014 at 2:53 PM

There is not enough love, or, enough money, to get me to live down in the hole of a ship! No daylight, no view, = no escape!

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1 reply
lorry gcarlson007 February 09 2014 at 8:49 PM

there are many cabins with windows also balconys ,i've been on 11 cruises 10 with carnival all wonderful experiences. there are more then 7 floors high that's no way you would say you are in a hole.

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gary February 09 2014 at 8:01 AM

oh ,i dont know. she didnt sound like she ws really complaining.

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1 reply
ggblank1603 gary February 09 2014 at 8:24 AM

She wasn't

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loamylam February 09 2014 at 2:26 PM

I really didn't take it that she was 'bad mouthing' Disney. She was simply relating her experience on a cruise ship and the way things are done. Perhaps she revealed the name of the company because she was also giving info on the character she portrayed. I thought she gave a good view of what occurs on a cruise ship and especially in the eyes of her job/position. It is my understanding most ships operate in a slavery working manner. The only difference is they accept applications instead of the old fashioned method of 'chainghai-ing.'

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markruck February 09 2014 at 9:27 AM

Sorry, but this story is unfair.

Not saying that Raye isn't telling it like it is, but it's like this on EVERY cruise ship, not just Disney. So, if the impression given to some is to paint Disney as some sort of slave driver as the help is "on" all the time (and some comments here indicate that), that's singling out Disney, which is absolutely wrong.

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1 reply
Liz markruck February 09 2014 at 9:32 AM

I agree, that is why most ships do not employee American workers. Other people are glad for the job. Not saying the amount of hours or work they put in is right. But most of the ships are not American employers anyway. What flags fly on Disney vessels???

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1 reply
bdgrizcp Liz February 09 2014 at 1:51 PM

Ships are resistered in the Bahamas. All four ships, that is.

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Jerry February 09 2014 at 12:51 PM

So she won't give her last name or the role she played. Yet, there are pitcures of her and she makes a reference to "Belle can't have a tan line". Yet another piece by HP that says absolutely nothing of value.

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thehoggies February 09 2014 at 11:32 AM

Belle's bikini line...

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Steve February 09 2014 at 11:16 PM

The crew has an entirely different experience than the patrons. My brother did that for about a year, and had basically the same story. They can't eat where passengers eat, use the gym, pool, etc., even on their "day off." They have their own cafeteria, and areas of the ship that they are allowed. And the pay is not that great either, they really depend on your tips.

So now he's working on a Union ship, it's ugly, no pool (which he couldn't use anyway), but he makes about 3 times the pay. He's out for four months, then gets four months off, PAID.

He found his job at usajobs.gov a government website that is the real way to apply for government jobs. Not all jobs are on a ship, but that's what he was looking for as he really hates the drive to work. He says the best thing about working on a ship, is that you get up, walk down the hall, and you're at work. And with a cruise ship, because of the passengers, you're restricted on where you can go. On the government ship he gets a bigger cabin, he can use the gym, or hang out any where he wants to when off duty. If you can hack being out at sea for four months at a time, he says that's the only job to have, he would never work on a cruise ship again.

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Debbie February 09 2014 at 3:42 PM

One of these years...lol...I'm hoping on going on a cruise myself....but all I want is some relaxation and to be left alone....nice quiet peace...that is why I'm going on a adult cruise or at least going on one that has an adult area....

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Bill Anderson February 09 2014 at 3:47 PM

It can't be that bad. I've been on more than one cruise where I have sailed with crew members and entertainers I had met on a precious cruise. In all cases I felt like I was renewing and old friendship. Cruise ship crew members definitely are a special breed.

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bdgrizcp February 09 2014 at 2:03 PM

I used to service commercial kitchen equipment in south FL and had occasion to service cruise ships while they stopped at Port Everglades. Most of the staff worked more than one job and were working 14 hour days. There wasn't much else for them to do. Meals were all provided (and the food in the crew's dining rooms was excellent), laundry service is provided. Obviously there was a division between front and back of the house staff (in many cases different nationalities). I generally worked with a ship's engineer and I have to tell you they knew their stuff when it came to technical aspects of the ship and the equipment. And they patiently endured me asking question after question about that stuff. Her job as a performer is quite a bit different than most of the crew you'll run into on a cruise ship--or never see at all.

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