In today’s From The Mouth Of The Mouse, we take a slight detour, and travel a bit south of Disneyland Resort, all the way down to SeaWorld San Diego! Kevin, who worked for them in the early 90s, was kind enough to share some tales about working with one of the OTHER SoCal theme parks!
JEFF: Tell me a little bit about SeaWorld, and how you got into it as a kid.
KEVIN: Since I grew up in San Diego, we had school field trips to SeaWorld all the time. I always loved going so I could pet the dolphins and pilot whales.
JEFF: How did you go get started working at SeaWorld?
KEVIN: I worked for SeaWorld from 1989 to 1996. I really didn’t want to work fast food when I was 16, and SeaWorld always hired for summer. My dad’s friend’s daughter worked there so I filled out an application and she submitted it for me. When I interviewed, I was hired on the spot in park operations.
JEFF: What did you do there?
KEVIN: My first position was a host at Cap’n Kids World. After two years there, I wanted to do something else. I transferred to become a show host at Sea Lion & Otter Stadium, Dolphin Stadium, Shark Encounter and Window to the Sea. After a year, I was hired as a human resources assistant, eventually becoming a human resources representative.
JEFF: Can you tell me a little about a normal day those positions?
KEVIN: In Cap’n Kids World, after clocking in, we would grab a pan and broom. As we walked the area, we would sweep up trash. Once we were in the area, we would be assigned to a play element to supervise kids. Depending on the shift you had, you might hose pathways or sweep around the area. One of my favorite shifts, which would only happen every 6 months, was the night we spent cleaning the play elements. We would scrub down the bridges or remove all the balls from the ball house and clean. Sounds like a drag, but several of us liked it. We got to spend time with our coworkers. I think we were hand-picked!
A show host started the same way as a Cap’n Kids host. The show host would be staffed at a show entrance and handle crowd control or answer questions. If you were staffed on the east side of Dolphin Stadium, you picked a child out of the audience who would get to interact with a trainer during the show.
As a human resources assistant, I accepted job applications, scheduled interviews and kept track of I-9 forms. I worked with high school districts to make sure minors had work permits.
As a human resources representative, I wrote and edited the bi-weekly employee newsletter and employee correspondence. It certainly improved my writing skills! Back then, I wrote the newsletter on WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS. Also, I had books of clip art. I would go to the copy room and hold up the clip art and the newsletter to the light to make sure the clip art would fit in the spaces. Then I’d photocopy it before it went to print. I was also the assistant editor of the quarterly employee newsletter which was produced using a desktop publishing program. I enjoyed interacting with everyone in the company when I was in HR. I still miss everyone. When I go to SeaWorld now, it takes all my willpower not to sneak behind the scenes and walk around.
KEVIN: I can’t remember a specific guest, but when I was in human resources, we did fundraisers for different charities. I organized a couple of movie nights for employees. We had movies screens in Window to the Sea. I showed Sleepless in Seattle and The Nightmare Before Christmas. The movie nights were very successful
We had to help lost children or parents locate their loved ones. With children, I would get on my knees so I was at their height. I would comfort and assure them that we would find their parents. Of course it was always a joyous time when everyone was back together.
JEFF: Any other fun stories that you’d like to share, I’d love to hear them!
KEVIN: I have a few I’d like to tell.
My first day was in May 1989. In San Diego, we have May Gray and June Gloom. Well, it was rainy but I was eager to be trained. At the time, we were owned by book publisher HBJ. They had a big US map guests could walk on. We had to go squeegee the map. Being my first day, I didn’t want to state the obvious but squeegeeing in the rain was certainly counter-productive. I would squeegee a puddle, turn around and see it came back.
Working as a show host, we knew the shows by heart. I would stand out of sight of the animal trainers but in view of the audience at Sea Lion & Otter Stadium. I would act out the show. The audience would be watching me instead of the trainers. Eventually the trainers would catch on, come around the side and give me a dirty look.
It was raining one day, and I was staffed at Sea Lion & Otter. Before each show there was an announcement about the splash zone. Before the first show, the trainer announced “If you’re sitting in the first six rows, you will get wet”, which was the normal announcement. Before the second show she came out and said “If you’re sitting anywhere in the stadium you will get wet”. Before the third show she announced “If you’re anywhere in San Diego, you will get wet”.
There is a building height limit where SeaWorld is located. The sky tower was grandfathered in. After I left SeaWorld, they called me to speak to the San Diego City Council. SeaWorld was trying to increase the height limit. I spoke about educational reimbursement at SeaWorld. I was honored that I was asked to speak.
Thanks so much for sharing with, Kevin!
We have announced our very special, Cadet-only trip: The CommuniTour! It will take place April 27th-May 2nd 2014!
That’s right, you have the opportunity to spend a week with your favorite Communicore Overlords by going on this special Adventures By Disney: Backstage Magic! See the wonderful sights of Southern California, including Disneyland, California Adventure, Imagineering, The Jim Henson Company, and much, much, more!
Here us talk about it in this special announcement episode on our iTunes feed!
Space is very limited, so be sure sign up today! For more information and the full itinerary, head over to
If you are, or know, a Cast Member who would like to share some of their stories and possibly be featured right here on MiceChat, please email me at [email protected]. I’d love to hear from you!
You can read older columns of From The Mouth Of The Mouse here!
Jeff also writes a MiceChat column titled The 626. We invite you to check it out!
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