In the U.S., California and Florida host Disneyland and Disney World, an expansion of Walt Disney’s masterful creation where thousands flock to respective Disney properties for job opportunities, a college program, and an opportunity to take on an iconic role as a character actor. While the dream role interests many, cast members have countless rules to abide by on each shift. Here are ten rules that cast members must never break.
1. You Can’t Say What Is Wrong or I Don’t Know
A former employee shares a strange rule followed at the parks. “The weirdest thing for me was that if something goes wrong, you aren’t allowed to say what is wrong – but have to keep it in theme. Obviously, it makes sense. For example, if I tell you that a boat stalled, you have no idea what that means or how long it’ll take (and telling someone anything turns into an escalating game of telephone – a stalled boat turns into a dead body).
So instead, I’d smile and say that the wildebeest are stampeding. Or if the lights were off at the Tiki room, I’d joke that we just couldn’t wake Jose, so we were calling in experts. And if pressed, I’d say that we couldn’t disclose why, but it wasn’t anything serious and to check back in a bit,” she writes.
2. Facial Hair
This rule has been updated to allow clean-shaven, even facial trims, but before 2000, Disney cast members were prohibited from growing out facial hair, although Walt Disney donned a mustache.
I’m adding this one as every visitor chuckles at the infamous two-finger pointing technique. Some cultures take offense to one-finger-pointing, so Disney members tend to use a two-finger system, although one worker mentions the rule books don’t say you need to use two fingers, just not one. This means a cast member can wave with their entire hand, two fingers, three, or four.
4. No Social Media
If you’re lucky enough that Disney hires you as a cast member, you cannot post about your profession on social media. One person shares their son’s past with working at the theme park.
After earning a full-time position with Mickey, an employee, “Took a photo of the Disney water tower with Mickey’s ears and posted it on Facebook saying “View from my new parking spot.” He was terminated the following day. So apparently, you either disclose all of your social media accounts, or Disney’s spies scour the web for violations,” someone claims.
5. Trash Collection
What would you do if you saw a discarded Dole whip cup on the ground of Adventureland? Pick it up and toss it in the garbage, right? Sure, if you’re a visitor, but if you work for the mouse, you must swoop and scoop.
While strolling through the park, cast members glide over trash and scoop it up while walking to help keep the park tidy. The idea behind this rule is if cast members assist with cleanliness, so will visitors.
6. Stay in Character
Character actors must stay in character at all times. When lining up to ride The Haunted Mansion, the character actors meet you with glum faces and unbreakable straight faces. They make puns about the ride, encouraging you to fill in all the “Dead space” in the room, which frightens kids and amuses adults. They threaten their job status if they smile.
7. Outfits Stay on Property
After a magical shift, workers turn in their costumes and uniforms to keep the Disney atmosphere within the bounds of Disney. This way, no one besides Disney workers uses or sells a Disney uniform.
8. Underground Tunnels
The rumors are true! Disney is equipped with an underground transportation system for its workers to maintain the magical spirit and allow cast members to travel quickly and efficiently between stations.
9. Everyone is Equal
Of course, we learn this in grade school as an anti-bullying lesson, but Disney reinforces this tactic, especially regarding celebrities. You are forbidden to geek out over celebrity visitors or ask for photos or autographs. They are visitors just like everyone else, and cast members must treat them as such.
10. No Extravagance
Aside from staying in character, personal expression and accessories are highly regulated within the parks. Cast members cannot have extensive jewelry, dyed hair (highlights are allowed if blended well), visible tattoos, or glasses with eccentric designs or dark shades. Disney is all about universality through conformity.
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