Considered the happiest places on earth, the Disney parks seem like a magical place to work. But what makes a magical experience for guests of the park is the hard work that employees put in, and strict rules that cast members must follow. While there are certainly benefits to working as a Disney cast member, there are also non-negotiable requirements you must meet before you can put on that Mickey Mouse costume.
Every rule that the cast members follow is designed to keep up the magic of Disney and provide the very best experience possible to the guests. Sometimes, that’s harder than it sounds. Check out these 10 real requirements to becoming a Disney cast member.
Disney princesses have some of the most enviable hair imaginable (looking at you, Princess Jasmine), but that doesn’t mean that cast members get the same privilege. The hairstyles that are permitted for cast members in the Disney parks are actually quite limited.
Men can’t have hair that extends beyond the ears or collar. For women, hair must always be brushed and easy to manage. It should also be naturally colored, and if there are highlights, they can’t be any more than two shades different from the base color.
In some cultures, pointing with one finger is considered the height of rudeness. So Disney cast members, who deal with people from all over the world every day at work, are not permitted to point with one finger. It wouldn’t be the happiest place on earth if the staff were offensive to entire cultures!
When cast members indicate a direction to guests of the park, they should use at least two fingers. It’s actually the most common for them to point using an entire flat hand, just to make sure they don’t cause offense to anybody.
Much of the training comes through the Disney Traditions class that all newbies are required to attend. This is where cast members learn that they’re not allowed to point with one finger and that picking up trash in the parks is also a requirement of all Disney employees, from the cast members up to the execs.
In addition to learning the basics of the class, cast members find out all about Disney in the class. They build their knowledge about the characters, the movies, the history of the company, and the general Disney culture.
Disney has an incredibly clean-cut image, and they have spent decades building it up and maintaining it. Cast members are not permitted to do anything that puts that professional reputation in jeopardy, and that includes having any visible tattoos at all. While tattoos are becoming more commonplace and acceptable among professionals around the world, Disney is firm on this policy.
Sometimes they might get away with having a tattoo that guests won’t be able to see, but there is certainly no ink allowed if it’s visible through the costume.
Those who have been to the Disney parks around the holidays know how fantastic the celebrations can be. While the parks are a great place for guests to celebrate, they are still a workplace for cast members. And since they’re open during the holidays, the cast members don’t always get time off for the holidays.
Some of the busiest days at the park are Thanksgiving, 4thof July, and New Year’s Eve. This means that it’s even harder to get someone to cover your shift, so the likelihood of having to work over the holidays is pretty high.
Speaking of having to work through the holidays, full-time cast members are expected to have full availability, and that goes beyond just the holiday. Typically, full-time is thought to cover five days a week. But at a place like Disney where the park is open over weekends and holidays, and there’s work to be done well into the night, you have to be available 24/7.
According to Disney Fanatic, full-times must be able to work any shift, any day of the week. That includes holidays, nights, and of course, weekends.
It isn’t just the hair on your head that the Disney bosses care about. Men have to be very careful about what facial hair they grow. Originally, when Disneyland first opened its doors in the 1950s, all facial hair was banned. But in 2000, those rules changed to allow male cast members to grow a mustache. However, that rule has conditions.
It was decided in 2012 that men can have beards and goatees, but it must be extremely well maintained. It must be trimmed and can’t be longer than ¼” in length.
Disney is even particular about what type of glasses cast members wear. Visible logos and brand names aren’t allowed, so you better check those Ray-Bans in at the door. All glasses must be conservative in style and color.
When it comes to sunglasses, Disney is equally strict. In some departments, sunglasses are allowed, but they not be overly dark or have mirrored lenses. This would stop guests from being able to look at the cast members in the eyes. Overall, the glasses should not taint the look of the costume.
When you work as a Disney cast member, you are required to provide the ultimate guest experience. That means that when people ask you a question, you always have to answer it. Nine times out of 10 you should be prepared with the answer, which is why cast members have to be as knowledgeable about the park and Disney in general as possible.
If cast members don’t know the answer, they still can’t leave the question unanswered. Instead, they have to say, “I’ll find out for you now.” And they better fulfill that promise!
All the hoops that Disney cast members have to jump through are designed to ensure that they are representing the magic of Disney at all times. To make guests feel like they’ve stepped into a fantastical place where the problems of the real world don’t exist, cast members can’t act like regular people. This means that they must always be on their best behavior.
There is absolutely no slouching permitted while in costume, nor can cast members chew gum or be seen eating or drinking. Their customer service skills must always be top-notch, even when they don’t feel like it.