The Disney parks are known as some of the most magical and happy places on Earth. That is why they are such a popular vacation destination for adults and children alike! Even with long lines, huge crowds, and crazy weather, Disney has a way of making sure all the pieces fall into place to make your trip one to remember. But in order to make every family's vacation as seamless as possible, it takes a lot of behind the scenes work on the part of Disney employees.
People who work at the Disney parks, also known as Cast Members, have a huge list of rules they must follow in order to make everything perfect for Guests. From dress codes to hair and nail requirements to behaviors they can't do, the employee guidelines are pretty insane! They are so much more strict than any other workplace I have ever heard of. Cast Members are encouraged to have a certain look and way of acting that makes them seem more like a homogenous unit instead of individuals. Want to know more about these secret employee guidelines? Check out the list of 25 insane Disney Cast Member rules below!
25 They Can't Have Visible Tattoos
If you love Disney, chances are you have thought about getting a tattoo to show your passion. However, this would definitely hurt your chances for getting a job as a Cast Member. Tattoos that are visible outside of your work uniform are a big no-no for Disney parks employees. No matter how tiny or tasteful they are, visible tattoos show off too much of your individuality and cut into the Disney ideal of innocence and purity. So if you want to work at Disney, reconsider getting that full sleeve on your arm or cute little ink on your wrist.
24 They Must Have A Unique Name
Back when Walt Disney first opened Disneyland, he insisted that everyone be on a first-name basis with each other. This leads to more camaraderie and less fear between people of different levels at work. However, it can also make for some awkward situations between employees who work in the same area. You see, no two people working the same job on the same shift can have the same name. So if you are named Jennifer and there's another, more senior Jennifer on your shift, you're given a temporary name tag with a different name to wear while you work.
23 Jewelry Is Regulated
Jewelry is a great way to show your personality but can also be distracting. For this reason, Disney Cast Members are only allowed to wear simple jewelry that doesn't distract from their uniform. They can wear one ring per hand (not counting wedding ring sets) and basic earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and watches. You won't ever see a Cast Member with big, dangling earrings or chunky bracelets clanging around. In addition, toe rings and ankle bracelets are totally off-limits! These rules help keep the illusions that Disney sets up intact.
22 Staying In Character Is A Must
Cast Members who play a beloved Disney character work super hard to keep the magic alive for Guests. One key rule for characters is that they must stay completely true to their character at all times while on shift. Their personality, mannerisms, and everything they say must make sense to what people would know of that character from their movie or TV show. For instance, Ariel should make a lot of references to the ocean and Maleficent (the villain from Sleeping Beauty) should act mean.
21 They Can't Eat On The Job
One of the key ways that Disney feels like you've been transported to different times and places is by removing anything that would disrupt those illusions. The Cast Members are there to serve you and promote whatever country or environment their part of the park is supposed to represent. So if you saw them on their break going about their regular lives, it would be a bit jarring. For this reason, Cast Members can't be seen eating in their work uniform or costume while on shift. Instead, they must either change to go eat in the park or chow down at backstage cafeterias.
20 They Aren't Allowed To Say "I Don't Know"
"I don't know" is not a phrase in Disney Cast Members' vocabularies. Disney's customer service standards require each employee to go out of their way to help Guests with whatever problem or question they may have, even if it's in no way their department. If a CM doesn't know the answer to something, they must call another person who does and won't leave you until your problem has been resolved successfully. Leaving a Guest without assistance or an answer is the ultimate no-no!
19 Characters Must Learn Their Autograph
Besides learning all about their character's personality and mannerisms, there's another important thing that is part of Cast Members' training. Anyone who plays a character, whether it's a face character or in a suit, is required to learn the official autograph for that character. That way, you can get 10 autographs from Minnie Mouse and they would all look pretty much the same. It helps keep the magic alive! Signing autographs is a huge part of playing a character at the Disney parks, so making sure they look uniform and have a special flourish is key.
18 They Can't Blab About Their Role
Another way that Disney ensures that magical bubble isn't burst is by making CMs stay quiet about their roles. Of course if you work a regular job you're allowed to talk and post about it. But if you're in an entertainment role, revealing which character you play is forbidden. To get around this rule, many Cast Members who play characters will say they "are friends with" Belle or Buzz Lightyear or whoever it is they dress up as for work. This lets their pals in on the secret without giving away too much to kids or Guests.
17 Body Piercings Are Off-Limits
Did you ever see a person with a tongue ring in the Old West or a nose piercing in Colonial America? No, and that's exactly why body piercings are not allowed on Disney Cast Members. Besides one piercing in each ear for women, these types of body modifications must be taken out while at work. More major body mods like ear stretching and gauges, tongue splitting, tooth filing, brands, and skin implants will keep you off of Disney's new employee list for sure.
16 Nothing Exists Outside Of Disney
For Cast Members playing characters, they must act like nothing exists outside of the Disney universe while on shift. They can acknowledge other characters and things that aren't from their movie, but have to act like they have never heard of things that don't exist in Disney films. For example, if you ask Cinderella which Hogwarts house she would be in or question Peter Pan about his favorite fast food restaurant, they would have to act like they had no clue what you're on about.
15 Their Hair Must Look A Certain Way
In order to ensure that all Cast Members have a polished, clean-cut appearance, even their haircuts and styles are regulated! Men must have short hair that doesn't fall past their ears or shirt collars. Women are required to have simple styles of any length, but must tie back long hair so it doesn't fall in their faces. Tight braids without beads or charms are permitted but bright, unnatural dyed hair is not. Ladies also aren't allowed to shave their heads! Making sure CMs look clean and put-together makes Guests trust them more.
14 Costumes Have To Stay In The Parks
Getting to wear a costume for work sounds like the perfect way to get a costume for free. No need to head out to the party store at Halloween or when someone throws a costume party, right? Wrong! Cast members must turn in their character costumes at the end of their shift and those with regular uniforms aren't allowed to wear them for personal use. That also includes being forbidden to let friends and family borrow their work outfits. This ensures that all parts of the world Disney creates stays exclusively within the parks.
13 They Have To Travel Underground
When the parks are crowded, it can take a long time to get from Point A to Point B. So how do CMs travel across the parks so quickly? Every Disney park has a system of underground tunnels that they use to transport Cast Members and goods without disturbing guests or disrupting the magical environments. This also ensures that Mickey Mouse won't get bombarded on his way to his meet-and-greet area or that a Haunted Mansion maid won't have to appear in Tomorrowland.
12 There Are Height Requirements
If you have always dreamed of playing a character at a Disney park, you might be heartbroken at the casting process. Whether you want to play a face character (like a princess) or a fur character (like Donald Duck), there are strict height requirements for the Cast Members. Size, especially in comparison to kids, is important to conveying the character to Guests. For instance, the Beast has to be tall because he is big and formidable, while Tinkerbell must be petite because she is a tiny fairy.
11 Rules Of Etiquette Must Be Followed
While there are tons of very specific rules for Disney Cast Members to follow, they must also adhere to a number of more general rules of etiquette. Treating Guests and other employees with respect and kindness is of course at the top of the list. Frowning and slouching are forbidden, which can be hard when you're super tired or annoyed by the huge crowds! CMs also can't chew gum while at work, as Walt Disney hated it and feared gum would muck up his parks. Smoking and using cell phones on the job are also against the employee guidelines.
10 They Must Look The Part
In addition to being the right height for their role, Cast Members who play characters must also have a certain physical look. Though they often wear wigs and lots of makeup, there are other physical requirements to be a pirate, princess, or villain. Age, weight, and skin tone are huge factors in the casting process. You also have to have similar facial features to your character like big eyes for Ariel or high cheek bones for Tiana. Finally, because no Disney characters have tattoos or other body mods, you can't have them either.
9 No Crazy Nails Allowed
Working at Disney sounds like the perfect time to get that fun Minnie Mouse themed manicure, right? Unfortunately, Cast Members can't show off their fun side on their nails. Both men's and women's fingernails must be short and clean, with ladies' nails no longer than 1/4" past their fingertips and guys' fingertip length. Nail polish is permitted, but is has to be a subtle, neutral shade. No sparkles, bright colors, or fun nail art here! This is just another way to keep employees in on the illusion.
8 They Can't "Fan Girl"
Celebrities love Disney as much as everyone else and often visit the Disney parks. This is awesome, but getting tons of selfies with stars is not a perk of being a Cast Member. CMs are instructed to treat celebs like every other Guest. They must be polite and accommodating but not ask them for photos or autographs. After all, these people are here on vacation like everyone else and should be allowed to enjoy that down time. Having memories of meeting a celebrity is just as good as a picture, I guess!
7 Eyewear Is Part Of The Dress Code
Believe it or not, Disney Cast Members have a dress code that goes right down to their eyewear. Both prescription glasses and sunglasses must be free of company logos and have "a conservative, neutral color and style." In other words, styles that are too fashionable or crazy distracts from the magical bubble and are therefore forbidden. Sunglasses can't be too dark, either. And if you wear glasses but play a character who doesn't? Get ready to wear contact lenses for every shift.
6 They Talk In Code
As you might have noticed, maintaining their manufactured environments is the main reason behind most of these Disney CM rules. It is also why Cast Members speak in code to each other a lot in the parks. They don't want to alarm guests in the event of an emergency, so they use "Code (insert letter here)" to alert other employees to a situation. Some of these codes include "Code V" for when a Guest has vomited and "Signal 25" when a fire has broken out somewhere.
5 Social Media Posts Are A No-No
As I mentioned above, CMs who play characters in the parks are not allowed to discuss their role with anyone besides coworkers while on the job. Now, in the age of technology, they are also forbidden from posting about their job on social media. This means no posting photos of themselves in costume, taking videos behind the scenes, or writing anything that would reveal the details of their job. Disney is super serious about separating the magic of the parks from the real world and not following this rule could get you fired!
4 They Can't Point
When you are at a Disney park and ask a Cast Member for directions, keep a close eye on their hands. CMs are not allowed to point with one finger and must do a two-finger gesture instead. This is because pointing is considered rude in many cultures and Disney does not want to offend any of its many guests who visit from other countries. Whether you want to know where the bathrooms are or you're being herded out of the park at night, look for the classic CM point!
3 The Parks Are Stages And Work Is A Show
As a general rule, CMs are supposed to treat the parks as a stage and their jobs as shows. That's why they are called Cast Members! They must commit to the Disney look and positive attitude no matter how they are feeling that day. Giving every Guest a smile and maintaining the magical bubble Disney creates around them is the most important part of their job description. Once they go backstage they can do what they want but when they're on shift in the parks, they have a role to play.
2 They Are Required To Pick Up Garbage . . . Even Princesses
One of the things that Walt Disney emphasized since he opened Disneyland in 1955 is cleanliness. He believed that Guests should never have to see trash on the ground or overflowing out of bins. That attitude still holds true today. In order to keep the parks in tip-top shape, all Cast Members, regardless of their job, are required to pick up trash and deposit it in a garbage can if they see some on the ground. It doesn't matter if you're a princess or a janitor, you have to do your part!
1 But They Can't Bend Down
All CMs have to pick up rogue pieces of trash, but they can't just bend down and pick it up off the ground. That would be too obvious and take Guests out of the moment! Instead, Cast Members have to use a "swoop and scoop" motion to gracefully remove garbage from the ground. They are also required to drop it in a bin while walking by to make it look more nonchalant. This method is one of the first things new employees learn during their CM training.