It's the most magical place on Earth. Whether it's the west coast Disneyland, the east coast Disney World or the international parks Disneyland Paris or Shanghai, the wonderful world of Disney has become one of the number one tourist spots in the world. Kids and parents alike flock to these parks to create new memories together. Friends enjoy their favorite Disney films or shows at the parks, and romantic partners gather to create heartfelt memories with one another. It's an incredibly powerful business and creative force in the world that accurately reflects the powerhouse that is the Walt Disney company. Yet, what park attendees rarely ever think about and perhaps they should is this: what do the employees at the park go through in their job?
We don't really stop to think about the fact that the park employees are there every day. They have to listen to the same songs over and over, deal with screaming kids and overcrowded park goers who are all waiting hours to ride the same ride. On top of the crowds they are dealing with, Disney has a strict set of rules that all employees are expected to follow, and they are pretty harsh. Rules that dictate when they can eat, what to wear or even in some cases, when they can talk.
So come along on this journey with us today as we explore 30 disgusting rules that Disneyland employees must follow at all times while working at the park. You won't believe what these employees go through.
30 Food For Thought
Eating every day is about as common as breathing for most people. Rarely do people in this world willingly and voluntarily give up food for an entire day. In a world where some poor unfortunate people are denied access to food on a daily basis, you'd think in countries that have an abundance of food working individuals would never be denied the chance to eat. However, if you find yourself working at the happiest place on Earth, eating is strictly forbidden inside the park grounds.
If you are a Disney cast member, don't expect to eat anytime soon.
While on the clock at Disney, all cast members are forbidden from eating while in the park. What? You have to be in a special private room to actually eat. Does Disney think that anyone coming to the parks just doesn't think cast members eat? Everyone eats Disney. What's the big deal?
29 Strict Hair Styles
The last thing you'd expect to be monitored by Disney is a cast members hair. A person's identity is typically reflected in the hairstyle of their choosing. Taking that away is like taking away the part of a person that makes them unique and able to stand out from the crowd. Yet, you see, being a part of the Disney park family or cast is about conforming who you are to match the role you've been given.
Disney has some pretty strict hair policies at their company.
Besides needing to have the hairstyle of the character you are portraying at Disney parks, cast members are not allowed to shave their eyebrows at all. Men cannot keep their hair longer than over their ears and shirt collars, and women need to keep their hair tidy. Although they can braid their hair, there are no beads allowed in their hairstyles.
28 Size Matters
Embracing the cast member role of a Disney character involves many different aspects of your life. When you go out for a role, you, of course, have to be prepared to embrace the persona of that character. This is typical of any acting job, of course, so nothing out of the ordinary there.
Auditioning to play a character at a Disney park isn't just about your acting talent, however.
No, you are also expected to look just like the character. That means not only having the right look but also being the right size and shape to fit the costume. No special alterations are made for anyone not fitting into these costumes. Not only is this not cool, but there's no wiggle room for anyone who doesn't fit the character's race or gender either. Disney is a very non-flexible company when it comes to the portrayal of their characters.
27 Smoke Screen
Although it's been proven to be an unhealthy habit, smoking is a general right everyone is entitled to. It's been around for decades, and while states and businesses have cut down on the free reign of smokers, there are still established areas given to those who choose to smoke to be able to relax and take part in this smoke break away from public view.
However, smoking during a break is forbidden at Disney.
While I understand forbidding smoking while in character or in restaurants or public areas, having a designated smoke break area is a pretty common practice, and it's shocking to see Disney has forbidden this. This further shows just how much control Disney the company has over the cast members working these long days at the park. Once again, no one is saying smoking is good for you or that you should smoke in the park. Yet, where are the smoking-specific areas, Disney?
Working at Disney must be a dream come true for those who grew up loving the world of Disney. Getting to work in the park filled with all your favorite movies and shows is the stuff of every Disney fan's dreams. Yet the thrill of working at Disneyland fades when you learn what is expected of you.
No one can know everything.
There should be nothing wrong with asking for help from someone who would know the answer to a question better than you. However, at Disney parks, you are expected to know the answer to every possible question. You pretty much have to know everything about everything at Disney. If you are asked a question by a visitor at any Disney park, you must know the answer or temporarily excuse yourself to quickly phone an operator and find the answer quickly. You are not allowed to say "I don't know."
25 Code Words
That's right, Disney cast members are expected to use code words for situations that arise in the park. If you witness a child throw up in the park, you aren't allowed to say they threw up. You used to have to say they had a "protein spill," but now cast members have to refer to it as a "code v." This particular rule employed by the house of mouse is very confusing to me. I understand wanting to maintain an air of professionalism.
However, when something like a child vomiting occurs, it's not exactly a secret.
Usually, there are a lot of people around to witness something like this happen. It is a massive amusement park after all, and there aren't a ton of areas that offer privacy. Why feel the need to disguise these obvious actions with code words? That's some super secret agent stuff right there.
24 The Two Finger Rule
You read that right. This may seem very strange to the average park goer, but if you've ever seen this two finger point in action, there are some very serious reasons for it. The reasons are both because some cultures are offended by the use of one finger and since visitors from all around the world attend the parks and other Disney properties, all employees must respect those cultural differences.
At Disney, all employees must use two fingers when giving directions or pointing.
The secondary reason that is strange is that Walt Disney always pointed with two fingers because he was always smoking. With a lot of these park rules, you'll notice that they were in part influenced by the actions of Walt Disney himself. The man who built the company and the parks influenced so much of the way the parks operate even in this modern age.
The job of a Disney employee is not only difficult but the role of a lifetime. You see, working at a Disney park isn't like any other job. Walt Disney wanted the park visitors to always be an audience, with the employees being the actors and the park being the stage for the greatest show on Earth. To Disney, the world's a stage and Disney employees are the players. Being an employee at Disney means you are never an employee. While technically employed by Disney, at any Disney park, you are always referred to as a cast member.
You are taking on the role of an actor when you become employed at the park.
Not only must you have all the answers to any park goers questions, but you have to play the role of your job perfectly. You must embody the heart and soul of all things Disney, so be prepared!
22 Who Am I?
Being a cast member at the park is a lot of work for all cast members. Whether you work as a custodian or run the gift shop in Fantasyland, all cast members have vital roles that take a lot of work and cause a lot of stress. However, one of the more crucial and stressful jobs at any Disney park is that of the in-costume characters. The actors who must tackle the roles of the beloved characters of their favorite films. Characters like Gaston or Buzz Lightyear or Elsa are all brought to life by cast members at the parks, and these cast members must embrace the roles with all of their hearts.
At Disney parks, the "cast members" who portray various Disney characters are forced to be in character at all times.
That means anyone playing "Gaston" or "Elsa" must never break character, no matter what the circumstances.
21 Trash Training
There are a lot of courses and training classes that cast members at Disney parks must undergo. In the name of embracing the cast member role and becoming one part of the Disney ideal, you must learn to do things the Disney way. Yet, this next item that Disney employees must abide by will seem both silly and outrageous all at the same time.
Have you ever noticed the way cast members pick up trash?
All employees at Disney parks are given special training for one important task: picking up trash. You see all "cast members" are expected to pick up trash when they see it, even those in character. However, Disney forbids them from just bending over and picking it up. They have to majestically swoop the trash off the ground and into their hands to throw away, requiring them to attend special training for just that case. Wow.
20 Secret Job
The excitement that comes from getting a job at Disney parks all over the world is an amazing thing. Whether you're a lifelong Disney fan or just are proud of the fact you're part of such a large and successful company, getting to become a cast member is a very big accomplishment. In this day and age of technology, people's first instinct is to share the exciting moments of your life on social media. However, by joining the Disney park world, you are becoming part of a secret society of sorts.
If you get the role of a character at a Disney park, you are forbidden from telling anyone.
You aren't allowed to access social media while in character, and cannot disclose online that you have a job as a Disney character. It's like being forced to be a spy for the government. Maybe you are a spy for the government! Dun-dun-dun!!!
19 Piercing Problem
Besides tattoos, piercings are another form of self-expression that has faced intense scrutiny over the years. While it's always been common for young girls to get their ear lobes pierced with elegant earrings, men have been ridiculed by society for getting their ears pierced. Not only that, but a recent rise in different piercings have garnered criticism by the same people who deemed tattoos inappropriate.
These piercings include lip rings, tongue piercings, eyebrow studs, piercing cheeks, or even elongating one's earlobes.
While there are strict rules for every day piercings, all Disney cast members are not allowed to have lip, nose or tongue piercings. They're also not allowed to gain earlobe extensions or any sort of disfiguring body alterations. In other words, you are expected to keep what the company deems a family-friendly look and stay presentable for the entire duration of your career as a Disney cast member.
18 Social Media Ban
This next item is going to make you feel like a modern teen in high school who just got caught Tweeting during social studies class. Besides not being able to share what character you are playing online, you cannot use phones at all while working inside of a Disney park. You can only access your phone after you have left the grounds. Whether it's the fear of having the magic of the show at Disney ruined by behind the scenes photos leaking onto the internet or something else, I'm not quite sure. However, one thing is for sure: don't expect to be Tweeting about the kid who threw up on you after riding the Matterhorn for the tenth time or take a selfie by the Ferris Wheel at Paradise Pier at sunset, because if you're a cast member at Disney you are not going anywhere near a cell phone while working.
17 Fireable Offense
Getting fired is never an easy thing. Losing your job is difficult for so many reasons, from the loss of financial security to struggling to find health insurance and more. Yet, in some instances, the stories that accompany being fired can be ironic, cruel, or humorous, depending on what the story is. It can help the process of coping with being fired to be able to have a unique and truly strange story to accompany it. While there are a lot of rules in this article that make sense, in theory, there are some things that employees have been fired for that are outright strange. One employee on Reddit told people he was fired for eating a piece of popcorn that had fallen on his shirt, while another cast member who worked as a Disney Princess was fired for having a broken ankle. Disney is pretty rough on their "cast members."
16 Till The End...
In the same vein as before, you as a cast member at Disney have to remain in character at all times. This rule extends to your last breath. Apparently, a Disney employee who worked as a scuba instructor in a Goofy costume was forced to sign a document that stated in the event he began drowning, he would have to be taken away in costume before being saved as to not upset any children while in character.
Wow. This rule is completely disgusting.
At some point, you'd think saving lives would be more important than anything else. I understand wanting to protect the magic and innocence of children's view of the park, but when a person's drowning you should be able to focus on saving their life, not keeping the magic alive. I guess that's just my silly way of looking at things though, right?
15 Don't Speak
We've already discussed the difficulties that come with being a cast member at Disney parks and having to get into the same mind frame as the character you are hired to play. From mastering their autographs to having the right look and personality, it's one of the more difficult jobs an actor can have when you have to play the character nonstop nearly every day. If you thought having to talk and act like a character in costume was rough, it gets worse.
All cast members who wear full body costumes are forbidden from speaking.
These are the characters like Pluto or Goofy or Mickey. The cast members are forced to stay silent at all times so that children cannot have their imaginations or days at the park ruined. Can you imagine being in a hot costume like that for hours a day and not being able to say a word?
14 No Frowns
I don't know about you, but I hate being told to smile. Sometimes when you've had a bad day or just are focused on something, you don't really think about the specific facial expression you are using. So being told to smile is really frustrating. However, if you decide to work for Disney, be prepared to smile nonstop. That's right, you must smile at all times while working in the park. No frowning allowed. You are expected to be happy at all times. Not totally shocking considering the parks are called the happiest place on Earth. It doesn't make it any less frustrating to know that you have to plaster a fake smile on your face for hours at a time. At some point, those fake smiles are going to be frozen on people's faces, and it's going to look more like the Joker's personal park more than a Disney park.
13 Backs Straight
So far we've covered some pretty petty rules that all cast members at the park must follow. From the never-ending clown smiles to your hair, Disney seems to have a hand in nearly every aspect of their cast members lives while they are working inside the park. However, this next one is not only strange, but seems nearly impossible to monitor and enforce. Disney even monitors your posture while working as a cast member for them. Yeah, you have to have perfect posture while working there, which makes the non-bending for trash rule make somewhat more sense. I'm not quite sure what the origin of this posture rule is. It feels like a very old school rule about manners from the 1920's. In all reality, people don't have perfect posture 100% of the time. Sometimes people need to bend and stretch, so trying to enact this rule seems pretty out there.
12 Tattoo City
The world and society as a whole has come a long way on the subject of tattoos. Once considered non-professional and a sign of being lower class, the world (for the most part) now recognizes tattoos for the art and self-expression that they are, and most companies have opened their doors to people with visible tattoos to be able to work for them.
However, there are still some companies that view tattoos as being non-family friendly.
Not shockingly, all cast members of Disney are expected to cover up any tattoos they may have. It doesn't matter if several visitors have tattoos (some Disney themed). If you work at Disney, you must find ways to cover up your tattoos. This feels like a very old school way of looking at tattoos and like something Walt Disney came up with himself. Good luck to anyone with a tattoo sleeve of any kind.
11 Wrong Glasses Bro
A good portion of the world wears glasses. Some form of vision impairment has given rise to the use of glasses to see, and the rise in demand for glasses has given designers a way to make more fashionable glasses. However, these designer eyewear pieces are not acceptable in all places of work. Apparently, if you wear fancy or cool looking glasses that are recognizable, businesses fear they will detract from the business at some point. I'm not sure the exact reasoning behind it, but this is how some businesses operate. If you work for Disney and have bad eyesight, you'll be happy to know that you are allowed to wear glasses. However, all cast members are expected to wear pretty tame glasses, with no bold colors or visible logos of any kind. So no fancy bright pink glasses or novelty glasses of any kind are allowed.
10 Identity Crisis
Unless you're a celebrity like Cher, then there's a good chance you have a last name. A lot of people have middle names too, and these three names create your own unique identity. Although people use your first name more often as a sign of solidarity and friendship or familiarity, strangers and professionals usually use either your full or last name to address you. Its a sign of courtesy and respect until you feel comfortable enough to move onto a first name basis. If you became a cast member at Disney, be prepared to lose a bit of yourself in the process. More specifically your last name. That's right, all cast members wear name tags with only their first names on them. This is because Walt Disney himself instituted this rule, having everyone refer to him as Walt while working and the rule kind of stuck from there.
9 Nail Art Ban
There is a serious rule that all employees must follow at Disney. Not only are men expected to keep their nails no longer than their fingertips, but everyone is forbidden from having outlandish and long nails. Also, nail polish is forbidden, including fun Disney themed nail art. Now in this modern day and age, nail art is one of the latest forms of self-expression. The incredible amount of detail and creativity that goes into these nail art creations is astounding, and a lot of people like to share their passions in life through nail art. This often includes their love of various fandoms like Disney, and you'd think in an environment like Disney parks you'd want employees showing off as much Disney love and pride as possible. Why then would they discourage employees from showing off that kind of pride and self-promotion while working there?
8 Beard Specifics
Another popular form of self-expression primarily for men is beards. While some prefer to be clean shaven, beards have garnered a lot of popularity in recent years, and with that popularity has come a lot of various beard styles. Yet it shouldn't come as a surprise that in a company like Disney, all cast members are regulated in regards to their beards.
Shockingly, men are allowed to have facial hair within Disney.
That in itself is quite a win considering how much is banned at the park. However, they must be fully grown in and trimmed. Mustaches cannot extend past your lip or past the corners of your mouth. Beards are not allowed to be shaped at all. So pretty much you have to keep it pretty tidy and can't have large grizzly style beards or unkempt beards. It's a very strict and regimented beard style.
7 Autograph Training
The magic of going to a Disney park as a kid is indescribable. The movies you grew up on coming to life is incredible. What's even more special is getting to meet your favorite Disney characters. Not only can you meet and take pictures with these characters, but you also can get their autographs. I remember as a kid going to Disneyland and waiting eagerly to fill up an autograph book with my favorite character's autographs. However, the cast members who have to sign these books are expected to have a specific handwriting style. Disney even has a special training class for those cast members in character. You see, those who dress as Disney characters are often asked to sign autograph books for those attending the parks. When you get the role of the character, you are given specific training to sign autographs as the character would, so that it matches the autograph of that character.
6 Too Much Respect
We've all been there. Someone at one point or another has come up to us and asked a really dumb question. "Sir you're appointment is scheduled for 3:00 next Friday." "OK, so what time should I be there?" "...3:00." It's a pretty straightforward question that should be pretty self-evident right then and there. However, that's not always the case, and it can lead to some pretty hilarious encounters. Yet, if you encounter one of these scenarios at Disney, you are expected to keep a certain manner around the person asking it. Rather than laugh or shake your head at the "duh" moment, you have to smile and politely answer the question, ignoring the obvious answer that already existed. While it's a pretty straightforward rule to keep a certain air of professionalism, I can't imagine how difficult it must be for cast members to stifle a laugh at these dumb questions.
5 Celeb Freakout
Celebrities enjoy going to the Disney parks just like everyone else. Often they have children that they want to introduce to the Disney memories they grew up with, and want to include themselves in this precious childhood memories their kids will take with them throughout the rest of their lives. However, despite their celebrity status, the cast members at the park are not allowed to freak out over meeting these larger than life icons.
Instead, they are to treat them the same way you would treat anyone at Disney.
While this is a cool rule, the strictness of the rule and expecting people not to have a fangirl or fanguy moment with a celebrity is a bit hard to enforce. I mean, imagine working at Disney and not freaking out when you meet say, Emma Watson, despite being a huge fan of Harry Potter and Beauty and the Beast? Even the coolest of us would freak out a little.
4 Gum Shoe
No, I don't mean the old noir style detective gumshoe. No, I'm talking about actual gum here. Gum is used by a lot of people around the world. They refresh our breath. They wake us up when we are tired during the day. They are easy to carry around with you as you walk around in your day to day life.
Yet it will shock you all to know that even gum is regulated at the wonderful world of Disney.
More specifically gum use in regards to the ever-growing cast members who work at any Disney parks at any given time. There are a lot of little things that, although little, are pretty disgusting that they are regulated by Disney. This first example is about gum. Gum is a pretty easy and sometimes breath-refreshing treat. However, gum is strictly prohibited from being used by all Disney cast members.
3 Costume Change
While there are obviously a lot of challenges to taking on the job of being a character at a Disney park, there is no denying that getting that job means getting to wear some pretty authentic and cool costumes. For any Disney fan or cosplay fan, this is a dream job as you get to literally become these larger than life characters. The costumes are so real, in fact, that some cast members have tried to take the costumes home with them. Not shockingly, one of the bigger rules at Disney for any cast member working as an in-park Disney character is that they are not allowed to take the costume home. Believe it or not, some people in the past have asked to take the costume home for their friend to use, and so Disney has specifically told employees that taking costumes home is strictly forbidden.
2 Heat Wave
One thing that everyone has imagined and seen in pop culture has been how hot full body costumes get for cast members. Spending any long period of time in that costume can get hot, but can you imagine spending hours in that closed environment during a hot summers day? Unfortunately, there is a disgusting rule in place that forbids cast members from taking off their costumes, no matter what. So even in 100-degree weather in Southern California, cast members are expected to brave the heat wave and stick it out, leading to a lot of health scares with employees. While in theory, it makes sense that a company like Disney wouldn't want the magic of their park to lose it's appeal to children seeing cast members taking off these giant heads of their favorite characters. However, a person's health has to come into account at some point.
1 That Disney Life
The strangest most disgusting rule I've ever heard of is Disney cast members are not allowed to acknowledge any show, movie or property outside of the Disney purview.
Ever wanted to know what house Mickey would align with on Game of Thrones?
Maybe you always wanted to know if Elsa would become a great addition to the Justice League with her ice powers. Don't bother asking any of the cast members at a Disney park. All characters and cast members are forbidden from talking about non-Disney related projects and must feign ignorance when asked by others. That's taking Disney love a little bit too far. Talking about these other projects isn't going to influence park goers to abandon Disney in favor of those other projects. More likely than not, park-goers have already become fans of these projects. Otherwise, they wouldn't have brought them up, to begin with. Duh Disney!