Ex-Jack Sparrow Walk-Around Character tells all

One former Disneyland cast member who entertained guests as Captain Jack Sparrow as part of the park’s promotion of the popular Pirates Of The Caribbean films has written a revealing look at his life as a Disney character. From what it took to get hired, his day to day responsibilities, and what eventually led to his termination you get a unique look at his job.

Disney wanted us to tone Jack down, so they put us through an acting class to discover reasons why Jack walks and talks the way he does. Obviously he is based on Keith Richards, who’s always messed up, which is why they came up with the class. “Don’t be flirtatious,” they told us. “See women as trouble.” And they said as far as alcohol goes, don’t even mention drinking. But the Pirates of the Caribbean song is all about drinking, and they’re drinking all along the ride. So I eventually broke that rule, because it would have taken me out of character. When parents took pictures, I’d say, “Everyone say ‘rum,’ ” and the parents loved it. The kids would just ask, “What’s rum?”

As you might expect, Jack Sparrow (portrayed by Johnny Depp in the movies) was a ‘popular’ character:

As Jack, I had four hour-long sets a day. We worked in New Orleans Square. I would find a place I liked, and the hosts would set up my line. A host is someone who helps run the line of people that forms to meet you. They’re basically your security. When we started, Disney thought they wouldn’t give us a host. They thought we’d mingle. I laughed at that. I said, “I don’t mean to be the guy that knows it all, but from Renaissance Faires I can guarantee you this character will have the park’s longest line.” Disney had invented a Jack Sparrow autograph the three of us learned, and immediately the line for autographs was gigantic. The Jacks ultimately got two hosts.

(Read)

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9 Responses to Ex-Jack Sparrow Walk-Around Character tells all

  1. Whit says:

    That’s pretty interesting. It’s hard to read an account like that because you find yourself agreeing with the writer concerning rules and management, but then you realize that those rules and the way they are enforced are what sets Disney parks apart from others.

    It would be tough.

  2. GoofyGator says:

    Seems like a complete self-absorbed jerk!

  3. Charles Canzoneri says:

    Wow, was this Spencer from “The Hills”. Sadly, I live in Hollywood and these self-important idiots are all too common. Even now, he’s clearly proud with hot cool he thinks he is. He deserved to get fired 100 times over. The rules are there for a reason, they help create the show that Disney wants to put on. Are we supposed to be impressed that he had an Ariel girlfriend and women hit on him cause they have Sparrow/Depp fabtasies?
    Get Over Yourself!

    Signed,
    “Weird” Annual Passholder

  4. Ugh, the backstabbing in that story is completely off-putting.

    Some weasel going to the guy’s private myspace page, printing a pic out and turning it into management? What a sad little life they must lead.

  5. Ken Grashoff says:

    Interesting read that I actually enjoyed.

    I always laugh about Disney employees complaining about the point system. Three lates or absences in a month get you written up at my company. Pretty simple.

  6. Lindsey says:

    Wow, I was a little shocked at the part where he said that if he called in sick, he had three points taken off. What? He doesn’t even get one sick day? That seems a little harsh.

  7. It is very interesting how important this person thinks he is. Disney takes everything seriously, that is why they are so successful. They create strict rules to protect their image.

  8. meg says:

    I think people are being a little harsh on this guy – he’s perfectly entitled to think Disney are a bunch of anal lawsuit-fearing elitists. And I (an annual passholder) tend to agree.

  9. Ken Pellman says:

    Disney’s attendence policies are extremely lenient. They may have changed recently, but there was a time when a cast member could call in sick for four straight shifts without a doctor’s note about once a month for a year before consequences (besides either having to use sick time or go without pay) started kicking in – and that was only if they enforce the rules.

    Still, people would get fired for their attendence. But they had to be really, really bad about showing up, and they’d only get fired after all of the other progressive discipline (warnings, suspensions, etc.)

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