Getting chosen for special events at Disney World – PREP018

There are several special things you can be chosen for at Disney World like parades, shows and park openings.

Today, I've got an interview with somebody whose family has been chosen for all of those things. She shares her experiences and tips on getting picked for these special things that can bring a little extra magic to your trip.

I also have a quick tip that will let you know a shortcut to exiting one of the nighttime shows.

These are notes from this episode. There's much more info included in the audio so be sure to listen to the episode for a better explanation.

Interview with Jody Williams

Jody has a blog at where she details the various experiences they've been chosen for.

In this episode, she discussed being part of the Animal Kingdom parade, opening 3 of the parks and being part of the Indiana Jones show at Hollywood Studios.

Jody also shared some of her tips for increasing your odds of being chosen which include wearing matching shirts, being willing to say yes to what Cast Member's ask (and without hesitation), arriving early and sometimes just a stroke of luck.

Here's a video showing the Cast Member named Barbara who Jody mentioned. She makes me happy to watch.

Quick tip of the day

When you enter the theater for the Fantasmic! show at Hollywood Studios, you come in from the top left part of the theater. When you exit, go out the top right of the theater which will take you right to the front of the park.

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Have you been picked for something special at Disney World? Or are you hoping to be chosen? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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My son was so excited to be seeing Captain Jack Sparrow and wanted badly to be a part of his crew. So he dressed up and walked around MK all day long in order to be chosen. Captain Jack picked him out of the crowd, called him “Mini Me” and even personally sword fought him instead of letting Mac sword fight him. It was unforgettable!!

Amanda Ramsey

My 2 sons and I were chosen as the “First Family” this past weekend on Mickey’s birthday!! This was my boy’s first visit and my first visit in 25 years. I had never heard of the “first family” thing so we definitely weren’t trying or matching or anything. We arrived at Magic Kingdom about 45 min before the park opened because we had been unable to get a Fastpass for 7D mine train so we wanted to get there early to get to ride it without waiting. That plan went out the window pretty quickly! They started letting people past the magic band scanner about 30 min prior to opening and a woman immediately approached me and asked if we would be interested in doing her a favor. I said, Of course, and she said Mickey needed help opening up the park. I was confused at first, but I said, well sure! From that moment we were treated like royalty. We got pictures inside the park with no one else there and got to hang out with the fire chief and performers in the train station. Then of course, we watched Mickey and friends arrive on the train and followed the fire chief to the balcony to sing Happy Birthday to Mickey and wave to the crowd. Then we got a private ride down Main Street in the fire truck. We had a personal photographer who captured the entire thing for us. Truly an unexpected and magical experience. (PS We didn’t get to ride 7D Mine Train, but who cares after what we got to do!!)

Deidra Mathis

Hello, We are a retired military family of 3. We came out their in 2014 before my husband retire from the Army. My daughter doesn’t remember her trip. so now we are planning a trip for May 2017 and I really want to give her a life time memory of Disney with Minnie and Mickey she will never forget. If you can help us by putting a big smile on our faces and a time of memory would be amazing for us. Thanks


Hi all! Took our 5yo and my dad for the first (and only☹️) trip in 2012. My son wore his mouse ears and “My First Visit” pin EVERYWHERE!!! My dad was “That Guy” at Monsters Inc and my son was interviewed by one of the monsters. Our son was also selected to be the rebel spy on Star Tours and we were selected to be the first family at our Play and Dine Breakfast at Hollywood and Vine.
Most likely, some combination of pure dumb luck, maybe our travel agent???? and probably our unending enthusiasm, despite being exhausted!!! It really is the happiest place on earth


my family was selected for the Animal Kingdom Parade once, it was so much fun! We did not match and I can’t think of anything special we were doing, a gentleman asked if he could sit with us at breakfast, I thought it was going to be a timeshare it dvc pitch, but I said yes, and he just said he likes the way our family interacts with one another and would we be willing to ride in a parade float.

Kristie Dover

The first week of Oct we were on a 7 day trip at WDW. We spent the first few days going hard and had planned on being at rope drop at MK on Monday. The kids were exhausted and so was husband, I decided it would be a much better day with some rest. We finally got ready and to the park around 10:00. We had our cute matching tee’s on, but for cute picture purposes only, didn’t even know we could picked as Grand Marshals. As we walked in the sweetest lady I have ever met walked up and asked if we could chat. We stepped over to the side and Ms. Peg told me it was her job to pick the Grand Marshals and she chose us! It was very magical and an exciting day with lots of surprises!


Thank you for sharing the information and video about CM Barbara! I took a photo of a CM who was having a ton of fun dancing during the Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It! parade during my 2013 visit, and I’m sure it was her. I can’t wait to get home and check my scrapbook! 🙂


I remember going to the Indiana Jones stunt show in the 90s and being devostated that I was not quite old enough to be chosen as an extra. I made it my goal to be chosen every other trip since I would meet that age requirements. When the time came, I would jump up and down like a crazy person, wearing my funky disco-like Goofy hat (that no one else seems to own). It totally works, b/c I was the 1st extra picked the few trips I’ve made to WDW since I reached the magic age.


i have been to Disney several times in my life (and going at least another 2 times this year…. Yes I have drank the koolaide!) and up until our last time Sept 2014, I was never picked for anything. Day 1 of our 2014 trip, was picked for Indiana jones, then I was picked for enchanted tales with belle. My hubby and I ditched the rest of the family and did Harry Potter for 1/2 a day and I got picked there for the Wand experience. This isn’t a getting picked thing but I did manage to get pictures with all of the disney princesses (including Anna and Elsa without a fast pass saw them in 15 min wait) plus mary poppins and Alice, along with jack skellington and Sally. My one friend commented on my pictures saying that I won disney.


My husband always get picked everywhere we go. I think it is his handlebar mustache! 🙂


The last time I went to Disney was in June of 2009 when I was turning 16… We went to animal kingdom and me and three sisters were chosen to teach everyone the Hakuna Matata hand jive at the lion king show! It was so cool and such a great memory to have!


I’ve only been to Disneyworld once, and I was 17 years old by the time we went. I was so excited to be going, and I read everything I could about DW. In one of the travel guides that I read, there was a tip on how to beat the crowds at opening time (I don’t remember what the tip was though–this was 18 years ago.) Anyway, when it was time to go it, I ran towards wherever the book had suggested to go, and as I was running, a cast member stopped me, and pulled me and my family aside. Other people started following us, but the cast member said “No–just this young lady and her family.” He led us to the ferry that they use to transport cast members and wedding parties, and we got to ride over on that.

I will always remember that experience–it was so awesome and a great way to start out our trip to Disney.

Jan Del Bone

My hub was picked out of the crowd at Epcot to be Romeo in a street play, was introduced on the movie screen at the Muppet show as the man who was paying for everyone’s snacks after the movie, and was approached by Belle who started a whole little street thing by mistaking him for the King. Not sure why he was chosen, but he loved every single minute of it, and somehow they just knew he would ! (It helps to be friendly and pleasant, and responsive to others.)


My husband and I were on our honeymoon. We were at animal kingdom when we were approached. It started as a simple congratulations. Then into a how long have you been married question. Next thing we knew we got offered to sit in the parade. It was awesome. I’m so glad I wore my ” just married” pin


We were chosen as the Magic Kingdom family of the day on our trip this past October. It was a lot of fun!

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