Being Jack Sparrow

matt.'s avatar

This is one of the best insider accounts of Disney I've ever read. What it's like to audition to be Jack Sparrow, entertaining the crowds, being offered BJs on your lunch break, and ultimately being broken by what sounds like insanely intense working conditions.

Really fascinating read.

I understand things have changed a lot since I worked at Disney. Being a Jungle Cruise skipper was the next best thing to being a face character. But, we got away with more because of the nature of the attraction.

We use to have management hide out in the jungle and listen to our speils to make sure we weren't going off the script. I took my chances but always remembered the fact that it was a family park.

Of course, most good skippers had an "after dark, adult" version of the script that was quite popular, particularly with the jungle groupies. That version we performed without a microphone just to be sure we didn't get caught. Of course, we only had a small group of riders usually when that version was presented. Sometimes only one or two riders.

Oh, the good old days.....

Lord Gonchar's avatar
Awesome article.

Is anyone really surprised that's how things work inside Disney though?

Alexx Argen's avatar
I have been hired by local movie theaters in my area to be jack sparrow when the movies came out. Let me say people going to see the movie alone were weird but i don't know if i could handle those disney people.

I work at MFi here in buffalo as a cowboy in the shootouts and the people are the park are pretty weird also. I wouldn't think because MFI is no Disney but some of the regulars are out there.

Its sad when your best friend asks you the exact running time of a ride. Good thing I didnt know.

Jeff's avatar
It seems to me you have two things at odds. You have someone who considers themselves a kind of artist (and rightfully so, I think), and Disney with its careful and deliberate design of, well, everything. The reason the magic is so convincing for so many people is that nothing is left to chance. Given that situation, what choice do you have but to play by their rules?

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

Fascinating story. I've heard how monumentally anal Disney can be, but doesn't it sound like something cool to do for a day or a week? I know I would.

My author website:

janfrederick's avatar
Great story. I played the Rocketeer in the early 90's back when I worked for our local AMC. I got to throw out the first pitch at a minor league game. It was strange...being hounded by kids...signing autographs. But strangely, there were no Disney reps there making sure I didn't pull half the stupid crap I ended up doing. ;)

"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza
That story was really interesting. On a personal note I was suprised to learn that Disney broght the Lead position back to the parks.

I worked at WDW MK over 10 years ago on the college program and they had just elmiminated the Lead (asst manager) position company wide. When they eliminated the position the existing leads either went up to a management position or back down to a highly paid line position. The ones that went down were super bitter about it and would do anything and everything to make it seem like the operation was disfunctional without the Leads to hold things together. Also the bitter ones wouldn't listen to their former peers that had been recently promoted. It was a mess at times and a bit frustrating to start working in the middle of this, but I guess they proved their point in the long run.

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