Disney cast "whisper" their secrets

Jeff's avatar

This isn't really news, but the take away is that, as with any job, some people don't like their jobs, others do.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

There is a reason they are called jobs. If they were all fun and games, you wouldn't get paid to do them.

99er's avatar

Sounds like a bunch of whining to me, especially the comment about having tattoos and dyed hair. All jobs have rules and policies that you are told up front.


Jeff's avatar

I do think some aspects of the dress code are completely out of touch (especially as compared to the guests). My wife works at a very fancy theater with a nose ring and a streak of blue hair. Nobody cares, and guests there are paying more for two hours of entertainment than anyone is a day at Magic Kingdom. That said, the rules are established up front. I'm sure they're missing out on excellent people.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

You can lose some excellent people if you get enough who do not violate your policies without a significant drop (if at all) in quality of work force. Add to it an important business objective (for Disney its image) and the policies make even more sense. Same dress code rules wouldn't work hiring for a state fair.

99er's avatar

I completely understand Disney's strict policy because of the image they want to portray in the parks. It is all about the "show" and "theme" of just about everything. The only way to accomplish that is to keep everyone looking like they belong where they belong. That said, the areas of the parks where you have no guest interaction or are not confined to a "land" should have a relaxed policy on grooming. I have four tattoos in rather hard to hide places but that didn't stop me from applying and getting the job. More often than not there are ways around grooming polices but you have to inquire and apply instead of reading the rules and moving along. But if you want to be Cinderella you can exactly bitch about not being able to have tattoos.

Aside from actual costumes/wardrobe/uniforms, most of Disney's grooming policies are on par with the rest of the industry. Actually a lot of parks still don't allow beards so if anything Disney is ahead of the game on it.

Last edited by 99er,


It's interesting the attitudes that have changed regarding the grooming since those policies were established. Tattoos are not as scary as they were 25 years ago and people didn't "express themselves" with green hair.

I worked for Disney in the mid 90s and it was understood that if you wanted to work for Disney that was the deal. Back then you couldn't even have a mustache. It was explained to us in the orientation/Disney Univ that the root of the grooming goes back to when Walt started Disneyland, he wanted to counter the public perception of amusement parks which were apparently considered seedy then and to make the park experience more appealing to families.

The grooming guidelines for cast members on stage/front of the house are important because they want to appeal to everyone and maintain a squeaky clean image. I agree that the backstage/behind the scenes grooming guidelines are out of date at this point.

Is it true you can't smoke? Even at home, I've heard. No smokers.
I don't know how that could possibly be enforced.

99er's avatar

At Disney that is most definitely not a rule. There are cast designated smoking areas backstage.


That's good to know. Now I can go audition for Dreamfinder.

The Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals do not hire smokers. They test specifically at hire only. Clinic also randomly drug tests. Not sure if those tests include tobacco. Some states protect against discrimination is employment. I don't think Florida is one of them. So Disney could refuse to hire smokers but it sounds like they do not do that.

slithernoggin's avatar

Disney has no problem with smokers. (Well, they'd frown on Snow White being on stage with a cigarette clamped between her lips.) There are designated off-stage smoking areas for cast members.

I have friends who played Bert and Mary Poppins; after their shift they'd usually go to an on property bar to drink and smoke.

Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

Cleveland Clinic and UH both have non-smoker policies, yes. I can't speak for the Clinic (since that's not where my paycheck comes from) but the UH policies state that you won't be hired if you're a "tobacco user."

People who were employees already when the policy was enacted (2010-ish) are grandfathered in and don't have to quit. However, the smoking policy for them is very strict. They cannot smoke on any UH property, including in their cars on property. If you do choose to smoke during your breaks you cannot smoke anywhere within line-of-sight of property. (Which gets complicated if you're hourly and have to punch out if you leave property.)

I think Disney doesn't allow cast members to smoke while in character costumes, but that seems pretty reasonable. Belle's ball gown reportedly costs over $10k and it'd be pretty risky to allow someone to smoke while wearing something like that.

99er's avatar

I assure you the gown she wears is not that expensive, it isn't cheap either but not exactly $10k. You are not allowed to smoke in any type of show costume but that really doesn't matter because just about everyone takes them off the second they are off stage. Nobody wants to keep those heavy, hot costumes on any longer than they have to.


I would surmise that one off the key reasons for not smoking in costume is that Disney doesn't want any of their costumes to smell like smoke. Meeting Belle or any of the characters that smell like smoke would take a little of the magic away, so it's best to just not do it.

I'm a part-time actor here in Ohio and our company's hard and fast rule is no smoking in costume. All the reasons above are good. If you don't own it you're not allowed to ruin it.
The fact that most of the costumes haven't had a good cleaning in decades apparently doesn't matter. It's a good thing the audience can't smell us up there, it would do more than take away some magic.

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