Costumed character workers in Orlando suffer abuse and discomfort

Posted Monday, September 14, 2009 10:16 AM | Contributed by Jeff

They get kicked, punched, groped and cursed at during the course of their normal workdays — and that's usually just from the kids. Workers in character costumes at theme parks, including Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld, and at restaurants in Orlando's tourist corridor, often discount the indignities and injuries associated with their jobs and uncomfortable outfits.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

Monday, September 14, 2009 11:30 AM

Nothing new. I remember gang bangers beating up the poor smurfs at Great America back in the 80's. The job isn't all it is cracked up to be (that and potential for getting arrested if you aren't careful with your paws).

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Monday, September 14, 2009 1:51 PM

In the other side there's some very cush aspects to the job. I had a roomate years ago that did a character gig with Disney. Their work is adjusted by the temps outside. When it's above 80 they go out for only 20 minutes and get the rest of the hour off. They have to stay out longer if it's cooler. Also if it rains they get paid to hang out and watch watch movies. This was back in the mid 90s so things may have changed since then.

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Monday, September 14, 2009 2:46 PM

20 minutes in a fur suit that weighs 100 pounds on an 80 degree day can seem like an eternity. Trust me.

You need the other 40 minutes to cool off and rehydrate. And, their jobs aren't necessarily over when it rains. A lot of character work is done indoors now at restaurant meet and greets and in indoor attraction areas.

But even then, being in a costume isn't as easy as it might appear. Little ventilation, difficult to see, not able to really communicate in the event of an emergency. Not an easy gig by any stretch of the imagination.

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Monday, September 14, 2009 3:12 PM

I did a little bit of the "costumed character" gig when I worked at a ski area in the winter of '05-'06.

I can personally attest to the fact that your vision stinks, and was even worse since I wore glasses.

There were a few people on the crew who actually SKIED and SNOWBOARDED in the thing, with a handeler of course.

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Monday, September 14, 2009 3:39 PM

It is just sad to think that kids would kick, punch, grop and cursed at these characters. I am assuming when it says "kids" it means teens and not younger than that because if so the parents of those kids should be ashamed of themselves! I mean I am 27 now and find it cool to take pictures with these creatures!

Last edited by Collin Aynes, Monday, September 14, 2009 3:40 PM
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Monday, September 14, 2009 3:47 PM

i've got a new respect for those guys & gals who do it.

Of course, they don't do it to Tigger because Tigger hits back. :)

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Monday, September 14, 2009 4:23 PM

I'm always impressed when I see 'Snoopy' come out on the ice at CP. Granted, he doesn't do any real figure skating moves (how could he possibly do so?) But he does have to go up and down steps, as well as negotiate the ice itself -- which just makes me respect the person under the costume that much more every time.

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Monday, September 14, 2009 4:33 PM

I'm sure they pratice moves like that blindfolded just to be on the safe side.

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Monday, September 14, 2009 5:40 PM

The boy cried "Mickey, Mickey!" and ran to embrace the character, buthe accidentally grabbed the young woman's chest inside the costume,Frank said. The child responded with a confused, "Minnie?"

I remember commenting a while ago about the guy who groaped Minnie and wondered to myself if they sometimes mix the actual gender with the charater gender.. Seems I was correct on that..

Hopman Said:

...Tigger hits back


So does Pluto:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvlzkdxad-A

Last edited by ridemcoaster, Monday, September 14, 2009 5:42 PM
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Monday, September 14, 2009 5:49 PM

Okay, who would win in a fight, Tigger or Pluto?

Seriously, whoever was Pluto that day should've been fired. That's the type of thing a Six Flags employee might do.

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Monday, September 14, 2009 6:16 PM

The ones that really impress me are the sports mascots that do slam dunks and cartwheels. It looks like it's hard enough just to walk a straight line in one.

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Monday, September 14, 2009 7:19 PM

Imagine seeing a blue bear on skis. I have. :)

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Monday, September 14, 2009 8:41 PM

We're not discussing acid trips here. ;)

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Monday, September 14, 2009 9:54 PM

Collin Aynes said:
It is just sad to think that kids would kick, punch, grop and cursed at these characters. I am assuming when it says "kids" it means teens and not younger than that because if so the parents of those kids should be ashamed of themselves! I mean I am 27 now and find it cool to take pictures with these creatures!

I wondered the same thing, but then the story mentioned that the character was pushed down the steps at a Chuck E. Cheese. I'm assuming there's few teens and more youngsters there.

I can seen teens or maybe 11-12 year olds acting up because they think that's cool, but younger than that? Anyone younger than a teen should be there with parents. It's sad to think kids pull that kind of behavior right in front of their parents. It either means the parents haven't taught the kid much about proper behavior, or the parents think it's funny themselves.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009 3:56 AM

wahoo skipper said:20 minutes in a fur suit that weighs 100 pounds on an 80 degree day can seem like an eternity. Trust me.

Whoa which Fursuit/Mascot weighs 100 pounds? I wonder if the Pooh suit weighs that much. Well I am assuming that suit is heavily padded so the body suit part would be hot. From what I have heard on another more costume related forum, Normally the bodysuit isn't the bad part, the worst part of the suit is the head which usually isn't that well ventilated and is the hot part of the suit. Also the head also has the vision problem, this is why all theme park mascots should have a spotter with them to help direct them and to make sure guests are not taking advantage of em by making the characters put their arms in the wrong spot where they can't see. (see Tigger Incident or one of those times)

I know one thing about the article, it has no mention at all about the spotters for the mascots. Spotters are the ones that keep them safe and try to keep trouble makers away so they don't get injured.

Last edited by Sawblade5, Tuesday, September 15, 2009 4:03 AM
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Tuesday, September 15, 2009 6:50 AM

No. It was the mascot suit I wore at the ski area.

Here's a pic: http://www.patspeak.com/gallery.php?idx=407[url][url]

Don't ask. It's one of the pictures on that page.

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Last edited by Hopman, Tuesday, September 15, 2009 6:55 AM
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Tuesday, September 15, 2009 4:29 PM

Oh we gotta ask!! :)

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009 4:55 PM

^I'm betting on Boris the Bear... ;)

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009 3:15 AM

I bet that was real fun Hopman. How did you get to be a part of that I wonder?

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