Crowned for being “The Happiest Place On Earth”, the in-depth rules that Disney has in place for its workers, makes it a strict place to work. With an assortment of parks and resorts all across the globe, the world-wide corporation has extreme stipulations on their rules in comparison to typical work environments. While all companies have their own rules and regulations mandated within their official policies and procedures, the Walt Disney Corporation enforces rules that they desire to keep private.
Wanting to keep the magic alive within their theme parks, Disney has many uncommon rules that keeps their employees as elegant as their beloved princesses. From height requirements to penmanship courses, the Mickey Mouse corporation strives to live up to their prominent standards. All the while, Disney entrusts their cast members to be tight-lipped when it comes to ensuring these demands. Their rules may seem over-the-top for some, but the company appears to be doing something right as it continues to be a favorite tourist destination for family vacations.
However, most likely due to former disgruntled employers (or vengeful villains) the revelations of working for one of the world’s most dominant companies is exposed for all to read. So if you love reading about Disney’s dirty little secrets, check out these 15 secret rules that Disney doesn’t want you to know. But… now you will.
15. Beards Must Be Neatly Trimmed To The Company’s Standards
While the man bun and beard trend are currently popular among millennials, those looks won’t fly for Disney’s physical appearance standards for employees at their theme parks. It may be fine for staff members working in the park retail department to have beards, under the conditions of Disney’s rules of course, the company is much more strict when it comes to their male actors portraying roles. There may be characters within the Disney realm with beards, but the corporation advises their cast members to have their facial hair adhere to their policies. For instance, if a beard or moustache is needed for their role, it can’t be a little bit of stubble, it must be a fully grown beard. Seeing as Disney is far from accepting hobo type characters, the grown facial hair must be neatly trimmed. Moustaches also have a measurable standard in which the actor must abide by. A moustache is not allowed to grow past the lip and the corners of the mouth. Presumably, the Beast character gets a free pass on these facial hair rules.
14. All Employees Have Janitorial Responsibilities
No matter what your official title is at Disney, be it actor or cook, all employees must tidy up after themselves. Whether it’s an attempt to treat all workers fairly, or a way to not hire extra janitorial staff, their high standards of a clean appearance is further supported by this rule. Bottom line is, if you’re employed at Disney, you have to pick up any trash you see lying around the park. So if a cast member is dressed head to toe as Cinderella, she is still expected to stop and dispose of any garbage she encounters.
However, while Disney expects their staff to pick up random food wrappers, they are trained to pick up the litter in style. The company requires their workers to gracefully scoop up the rubbish rather than a standard pick-up. Which means they don’t want Belle squatting to pick up an unwanted Dole Whip cup, they expect her to elegantly dispose of the trash as the real Belle would. Someone should be sure to pass on this rule to Cinderella’s evil step-sisters.
13. Cast Members Are Not Allowed To Have The Same Name
Names are an important part of identification, seeing as they are given at our birth, they encompass who we are. However, Disney has no problem giving their employees a new name if there are two staff members with the same given name. Seeing as the actors portraying the company’s characters don’t wear name tags while on the clock, Disney aims to avoid any confusion that may arise if two casts members had the same name, by giving one employee a new name to go by. Each cast member working at the Disney Reservation Center must also have different names in order to avoid any confusion when referring to a reservation employee. Therefore, in order to ensure that all things run smoothly, the Mickey Mouse corporation will give an employee at the Reservation Center a new name to identify themselves as. Furthermore, only first names are printed on cast members’ name tags seeing as Disney prefers to only call their staff by that name only.
12. Employees Must Learn Standard Code Words
Disney may be a happy place to visit and create memories, but it is also a place to get sick. Between all the fried food, sugary sweets and whirly-twirly rides, guests are bound to get sick at some point throughout the day. As the attractions flip and spin guests, the food they consumed is doing the exact same thing in their stomachs. Seeing the aftermath of an upset tummy is not a sight that Disney would be pleased to advertise. Therefore, the company has a code word to conceal the real identity of the problem. When alerting the janitorial staff to come and clean vomit off the pristine cobble stone pavement of Main Street, employees must refer to the incident as a “Code V”. Hearing this broadcasted on a staff walkie-talkie is much more alluring than the alternative. There is nothing like yelling “clean up on aisle 2” that gets Disney enthusiasts extremely grossed out at a place that alludes to a magical experience.
11. Employees Can’t Wear Eyeglasses With Logos
Throughout the history of Disney, there are only a few main characters that wear glasses. Some beloved characters such as Carl Frederick from Up, are known for their extra pair of eyes, but ask yourself when the last time was that you saw Aurora take off her glasses before settling down for a nice snooze? Now while Disney does have height requirements for their cast members, they can’t exactly discriminate against applicants who wear spectacles. That sounds like a potential lawsuit that Mickey strives to avoid. If for whatever reason a staff member is unable to wear contacts to improve their eye sight, they are allowed to wear their personal glasses. However, the company has restrictions regarding said eye accessories. Under no circumstances should a cast member’s glasses advertise any rival company. Which means that no logos are allowed to be present and they must also be a respectable color and shape that offers little distractions.
10. There Are Strict Hairstyle Limitations
From Rapunzel to Elsa, Disney princesses have beautiful locks that are the envy of every female of any age. Their silky strands are adorned in complex styles that have been recreated by many theme park guests who dress up for a day in the Magic Kingdom. While cast members who portray the iconic tribe of Disney princesses are able to wear their hair in their character’s signature up-do, other staff members working the rides or in the shops have regulations to abide by. Male employers must have neatly cut or shaved hair that doesn’t extend over their ears or the shirt collar. Additionally, they are unable to tuck their hair behind their ears or wear a hat that isn’t permitted with their designated uniform. In contrast, women are able to wear their hair down, but if it’s longer than their shoulders, they must pull it back to avoid it falling over their face. Strangely enough, Disney also doesn’t allow shaved eyebrows, apparently that’s not a good look for Prince Eric.
9. All Employees Must Abide By Particular Fingernail Measurements
Understandable enough, Disney asks for all their employees to keep their nails neatly trimmed at all times in order to ensure appropriate hygiene standards. Now this may seem like an acceptable and common rule that is also enforced by other companies, but Disney proceeds to take it one step further. The Mickey Mouse corporation has their staff members abide by this rule by enforcing actual measurements of keeping their fingernails at a length deemed acceptable. While it’s unsure if Disney management actually goes around checking their cast members’ nails, they still practice this rule for appearance’s sake. Male employees must keep their nails as short as the end of their fingertip. On the other hand, women are able to have longer nails, but they must not be any longer than a quarter inch from the fingertip. Disney also asks their staff members not to have distracting designs or colors painted on their nails that will be unrepresentative of the company’s reputation.
8. Cast Members Are Prohibited From Showcasing Their Body Modifications
Disney fanatics will go to the extreme to prove their love and loyalty for the friendly mouse, but employees are prohibited from exposing their body art. While staff members are allowed to have tattoos, they are not to be shown during working hours and need to be covered by either bandages or concealer. Furthering their strides of upholding their reputation, the corporation forbids their cast members from having any visibly distracting body modifications, such as earlobe expansion and tooth fillings. Traditional ear piercings on women is welcomed, but Disney will not hire any applicants with piercings on the face or on the tongue. These rules are especially true for any individual who wishes to be cast as a character actor. The list may express common modification rules of other companies, but Disney is at another end of the spectrum in regards to those employers. But I’m sure tattooing ‘Andy ‘ on the bottom of your foot is warmly welcomed and appreciated, just keep your shoes on.
7. All Actors Must Meet Height Requirements
When it comes to selecting employees, Disney isn’t afraid to hold back their specifications. While the company has no height restrictions regarding staff working throughout the park in facets, actors portraying the infamous characters must be the right height. To the parks, upholding the perfect realm of Disney is captured in every facet; even an employee’s physical stature is in play during the hiring process. If candidates are the right height for the role, between 5’4” and 5’8”, then they are considered for the princesses or princes of the Disney canon. However, smaller applicants, 4’11” to 5’2”, are considered for acting gigs for shorter characters such as Wendy, Alice, and the iconic Tinkerbell. Besides height measurements, other physical attributes such as skin complexion, facial features, and body language are highly considered before one can take on the coveted role.
6. Cast Members Must Stay In Character At All Times
In true Disney fashion, the company thoroughly enjoys going above and beyond in regards to ensuring that what is canon, stays canon. Actors portraying characters at the popular theme parks are contractually obligated to stay in character at all times. When talking to guests of any age, they must conduct themselves as their character would. Which means if it’s not in the Disney universe, then it doesn’t exist. So don’t expect Snow White to dance and lip-sync to your favorite Taylor Swift tune anytime soon, for she will only sing with the birds and deer from the forest. This is the company’s way of keeping the magical world of their stories intact for fans that enjoy the fictional realm. Additionally, if actors get the opportunity to interact with any celebrities while at the park, they must remain under the spell of their character and not express any fangirl tendencies.
5. They Must Pass Autograph Training
Young enthusiasts visiting the parks decked out in Mickey ears are always ecstatic to interact with their favorite characters. Throughout Disney, there are multiple opportunities for guests to meet and greet beloved franchised prince and princesses. While it’s more common nowadays to just take group pictures or selfies, there was a time (and still today) where visitors would ask the characters for their autographs. Equipped with a permanent marker and decorative autograph book in hand, Disney employees sign their character’s signature that they were rigorously required to learn. Seeing as the autograph is unique to each character, every actor portraying them is under strict guidelines to sign correctly. Throughout the hiring process, future cast members are taught the signature penmanship of their character and must accurately learn the autograph before officially being offered the role. If applicants are unable to sign to Disney’s standards, they are given the boot.
4. Social Media Is Forbidden To Park Actors
In today’s society, every little detail is posted on social media. Whether it be Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat, the world is bound to learn who ate what for lunch and who went to the gym. With access to these platforms at the tips of our fingertips, people of all ages feel the need to tell all in their statuses. However, that’s not the case for Disney employees. The company has a much more conservative outlook when it comes to sharing information regarding their staff. Actors and actresses employed at the theme parks are banned from discussing their job on any social media platform. Disney enforced this rule in order to preserve the magic of their acts by keeping daily performances and conversations private. While cast members are required to keep a tight lip throughout their employment at the happiest place on Earth, it appears that ex-staff have free range to blast information about their former position on social media.
3. Employees Must Know Everything
It’s no secret that Disney staffers are required to take their job very seriously. In fact, the company’s employees are required to know everything. If they have the role of Snow White, then they must know every little detail regarding the beloved character including their interest and history. When interacting with young children, cast members will be bombarded with numerous questions about their character or their fictional universe. So if a wide-eyed child asks an actress where Dopey is, the Snow White character better answer with “working in the mine” rather than “I don’t know”. On the other hand, if a staff member is questioned about something regarding the park or accommodations and they are unsure of the answer, they are required to immediately find out for the guest. Disney runs on the satisfaction of being able to assist their visitors in all capacities.
2. Staff Must Point With Two Fingers
Based on the amount of tourists who flock to Disney’s parks on a daily basis, staff members are bombarded with an array of questions throughout the day. When asked, “which way to the spinning teacups”, employees are not allowed to point with just one finger, despite that being the most commonly used responsive gesture. Disney staff must either direct guests by using a flat open palm, or use two fingers to guide them in the correct direction. Not only is it more clear to see what the cast member is directing them towards, but pointing with more than one finger is a useful way to not offend any visitors. In some cultures, it is considered rude to gesture with one finger. Disney strives to welcome all tourists with an enjoyable experience and doesn’t want staff to unintentionally offend them while directing them do their next attraction.
1. Cast Members Are Required To Practice Rules Of Etiquette At All Times
Much like the rest of Disney’s rules and regulations, the company has high expectations for the way in which their cast members should behave while in character. When on the clock, the company expects their actors to leave behind who they really are and step into the shoes of their alter ego. From the physical attributions to autographs, the Mickey Mouse corporation also expects their employees to hold themselves to the utmost respectable manner. The etiquette portrayed must be an accurate representation of the character. Which means that using their phones, chewing gum or even food, and smoking is against policy when wearing their costumes. Think about it. It would be extremely confusing and perhaps traumatizing, if a young guest witnessed their favorite princess smoking a cigarette by the bathrooms. They will watch the film over and over again in order to find out when exactly Elsa had time to light one up when she was busy turning everything to ice.