Disney might seem like the perfect company to work for to many people, especially if you can land a job at theme parks such as Disney World or Disneyland. They are places of wonder that encompass everything that is great about being a child, from the thrilling rides to the instantly recognizable stars such as Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck. This is why the parks have become so popular ever since the first one opened in 1955 and is a major reason why so many people want to work at them. After all, what could be better than spending your working hours amongst the characters and attractions from your favorite films, or dressing up as a Disney princess to entertain children?
Well it turns out that working at Disneyland or Disney World isn’t such a straightforward process. The company has plenty of secret rules and regulations that employees must adhere to at all times – or risk being fired. These range from the types of instructions you might get at any job in the world, to completely bizarre and baffling ones that seem to make little sense. The high standards and demands are so tough that most people would probably not last more than a few weeks.
10. Fingernail Length
It isn’t unusual for businesses to require their employees to come to work looking clean and hygienic, in fact it’s kind of a given for the most part that you’ll keep yourself looking smart. Disney though, takes this requirement one step further by not just asking that staff ensure they have their fingernails trimmed, but that they remain at a set length. Male workers have to make sure that their nails don’t extend past the fingertip, while women can grow their nails slightly longer so that they are (at most) a quarter of an inch past the fingertip.
9. Height Requirement
Discriminating against people for their height is something that is generally not tolerated in modern society, which stops the vast majority of employers from preventing those of a certain height from carrying out a certain task. Obviously, in some cases it is necessary to restrict who can apply for a post based on their height, such as with fighter pilots, but you would not generally think that Disney would have a strict code. Women wishing to be cast in the role of a Disney princess at one of the theme parks will need to be between 5’4” and 5’8”, so that they are to scale with the character.
8. “I Don’t Know”
Sometimes it is possible for someone to simply not know the answer to a question, regardless of the fact that the member of staff is there to help give guidance to people. After all, it just isn’t possible for anyone to know everything. You wouldn’t think that at Disneyland or Disney World though, staff members are strictly forbidden to say “I don’t know.” If a visitor asks a question that they don’t know the answer to, then they have to phone an operator to get assistance.
7. They Can’t Break Character
As everyone will know, each Disney character has their own unique personality and a set of interests or background story. Cast members who are portraying these characters are expected to stay in costume and behave exactly as they would be expected to if they were really in a film. This includes all types of odd rules that mean that cast members can’t discuss things that are outside of the world of Disney, such as current affairs, and must be able to imitate their character in every respect, even going as far as being able to copy their signature for signing autographs.
As part of the iconic Disney look that must be adhered to at all times, workers are also required to make sure that they have a hairstyle that conforms to the conventions laid down by the company. While this may seem extreme, it is important that appearance standards are upheld for the sake of Disney’s reputation. For men, the hair must be “neatly cut on the back and sides, forming a smooth, symmetrical appearance so that it does not extend beyond or cover any part of the ears or the shirt collar” while women should wear their hair in a “classic, easy-to-maintain style”.
5. Pick Up Trash In A Graceful Manner
Every single employee at Disney is required to pick up trash and junk if they see it lying on the floor. This not only ensures that the parks stay clean and tidy, but also means that the company does not have to hire as many cleaners as they would otherwise. However, those who are working as cast members and are in costume are not allowed to simply bend over and pick up trash like a normal person. They have to remain in character and gracefully swoop to the floor to pick up the rubbish in one fluid motion.
4. No Body Modifications
In keeping with other rules that staff must look the part at all times, most types of body modifications have been banned for Disney employees. Things such as body piercing, earrings, earlobe expansion and skin implants are all forbidden as characters in the Disney universe don’t have them. Disney does allow staff to have tattoos though, as long as they are easily covered and aren’t offensive. This would make it difficult for anyone who can’t cover up their body art, however.
3. Constant Good Behavior
You might think that every employee at any job in the world has to be on good behavior while carrying out their work, especially if they have to deal with the public. Disney though, takes this to the extreme by having a variety of strict rules that workers must follow. This includes the fact that those in costume cannot use mobile phones, slouch or even eat while in character. Going one step further are regulations that prevent staff from frowning at any time or having bad posture.
2. You Can’t Talk About Your Role
While it may be pretty fun to play a Disney character such as Aladdin, Snow White or even Goofy, you won’t be able to let your friends know that you are doing so. While it is completely fine to say that you work for the company, rules state that you can’t discuss your job on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, or even let people know what role you play at the theme parks. This is to ensure that the mystique around characters is never broken.
1. No Pointing With One Finger
Although people are often brought up to not point at people or things because it can be considered rude, Disney has not gone so far as to ban the practice entirely. Instead, any staff member who needs to point a visitor in a direction or let them know where something is located must do so with either an open palm or using two fingers. The reasoning behind this is twofold. Some cultures consider pointing with a single finger to be offensive and as the theme parks are visited by people from all around the world, Disney considers it safer to not do that. Also, using two fingers or the whole hand makes it easier for children to see where you are pointing.