Amphibians (such as toads, frogs and salamanders), reptiles (such as lizards and snakes), small land mammals (such as hedgehogs and squirrels), chiropterans (such as bats), insects (such as bees and butterflies), birds (such as falcons, swallows and chickadees), as well as horses, dogs, sheep, cows and donkeys: whether they are on the stage or behind the scenes, they enjoy a variety of roles. Some have even become Cast Members’ everyday teammates. It’s almost like being in a Disney cartoon!
Working with animals: 6 professions at Disneyland Paris
- Horse rider
Trains horses and performs at shows, special events and the Horse-Drawn Streetcars attraction. Two horse riders ensure safety by managing flows at the Disney Parks entrance sequence.
- Gardening technician
Monitors sheep grazing backstage and on-stage.
- Dog handler or security dog handler
Manages safety and explosives detection in partnership with his/her dog(s).
- Wildlife technician
Protects the animals on site, regulates the population of unwanted species and looks after the hives (pollination and honey production).
Maintains stables, distributes food and looks after the horses, donkeys and cows.
- Biodiversity projects officer
Ensures the preservation of fauna and flora through landscape management.
They have some very special colleagues!
Working with a four-legged colleague, negotiating with bees…these are some of the things that go on at Disneyland Paris! Five Cast Members share their experiences.
Marine Balzer & Maggie
Anti-explosives search dog handler
‘It’s more than a partnership, it’s like working with your best friend. We worry about each other and I won’t let her go on her own to smell a suspicious package. I live next door and I often come to see her on my days off as well because I can’t take her home at the moment. She has found her place in the kennel and she is happy with our routine. Sharing my daily life with her can also be very fun and…unpredictable! Once when we were working on a package a family had forgotten, Maggie carefully grabbed their child’s sandwich! It all ended in laughter with the family, and I was able to offer them a voucher to replace the stolen meal. Now I know I’m dealing with a foodie! ”
“For the past four years I have been looking after, among other things, the bees at Disneyland Paris as well as the Berry chickens, for which we have set up a dedicated area near the hives.Working with bees is very special: each hive has its own character! There are some “nice” bees which are docile, some that are very productive and others who display more vindictive behaviour. It all depends on their queen, who alone determines the character of the entire hive. I adapt my work to each one, but sometimes you also have to take into account external circumstances, such as the weather or disturbances in the surrounding area which can affect the functioning of the hives! ”
“With cows, we have to keep our distance and avoid domesticating them by brushing or petting them like we would with a horse. At the same time, they need to know us well enough to let us get close and allow us to treat them if we need to. We need to find the right balance so that they follow our instructions when moving them. These cattle are very curious, as soon as something changes from the ordinary they will immediately make observations and notice the novelty, which also demonstrates their intelligence. Last year, Hannibal deemed Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show… with Mickey and Friends! to be of limited interest. During performances, he stood in front of the door and waited wisely for it to open. He is now happily retired! ”
“Working with sheep often involves the unpredictable. When we switched to eco-grazing, I took an introductory training course in flock management to be able to take care of the animals and better understand them. Because with their natural instinct to wander and as prey, you can’t trust them: as soon as sheep see a hole, they try to get their head through it! We’ve had to go out and find them several times: once a visitor to Disney’s Newport Bay Club even called Security because there was a sheep watching him through his bedroom window! ”
Experienced stable Cast Member
“Before joining the Disney Village teams I worked in a traditional stable, but beyond caring for animals working in a show stable is very different. During performances of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show…with Mickey and Friends! we work as assistants to ensure the comfort of the animal and its rider. During the day, we take care of the horses and our donkey Gapy. A walk and a few hours in the paddock brighten up their daily lives. It was more complicated with Cacahuète, our old donkey, who has since retired: he was a character and convincing him to go out took as long as persuading him to go back in! ”