Cast members work very hard to preserve the magic and promote the best guest experiences possible. There are thousands of cast members that work within parks and resorts in a wide array of roles in order to keep the parks running. There are so many extra details and requirements that go into their roles that you may not even think about. Here are 6 secrets about cast members at Walt Disney World:
6. There are lots of rules about hair, nails, costumes, etc.
Disney has always considered all details, and the rules for the cast members are no exception! There are various rules about the length and styles that hair can be. For men, the hair can’t be long enough to go over their ears or the collar of their shirts. For women, their hair has to be neat. Neither are allowed to have any “loud” colored hair or any jewels/beads in their hair. As for their nails, women’s nails can only be a certain length past the fingertip, and men’s nails can’t be past the fingertip at all! Costumes are part of the requirements for cast members who work in the parks. The costumes are checked out from costuming and then returned for cleaning/pressing. They must be perfectly worn and there are guidelines around when pantyhose and certain colored shoes are required based on the role, costume and area. This includes the name tags that you see all cast members wearing. If a cast member forgets their name tag, they use one of the “loaner” tags and answer to a different name all day. It is all part of looking the part in each role and setting the appropriate image that Disney wants the guests to associate with their cast members.
5. Mums the word on social media.
Disney cast members are not allowed to discuss anything about their job and what they do on social media. It would take the magic out of the experience for so many friends, family and acquaintances if cast members vented about the guests that they encountered that day, issues associated with the parks or within their role, annoying co-cast members and any kind of frustration. Disney is so protective of their brand, image and the magic that they treat this with a lot of control and sensitivity and breaking this rule can result in serious consequences, even termination.
4. Tattoos and piercings cannot be visible by guests.
So Walt was all about the clean-cut look. He wanted everyone’s appearance to be conservative and represent everything that he believed. We already learned about the rules associated with hair and clothes, well this definitely extends to tattoos and piercings. There are no visible tattoos allowed at all. If you have a tattoo that isn’t covered by the costume, itself, then it must be covered with a bandage or something that prevents any part of the tattoo from being seen. If you had tattoos that can’t be easily covered, it is very likely that you wouldn’t be hired to work in the parks at all and would have to work behind the scenes. Women are only allowed to have ear piercings (only the bottom part of the ear lobe) showing. Men can’t have piercings at all. They take these rules very seriously, since appearance is everything!
3. All cast members must pick up trash if they see it.
It doesn’t matter what role you have or what level you are within the company, if you see trash on the ground, you are supposed to pick it up. The cleanliness of the parks is a major concern. There is custodial staff that patrol regularly to keep the parks clean, but it can be difficult to keep up with all of the messy guests and kids who sometimes forget that there is a trash can only 30 steps in any direction. Trash makes the park look messy and dingy, and it can also be a safety hazard. It would be awful for a guest to slip on a park map on the ground or a piece of ice, so that is why every cast member is responsible for keeping the parks clean.
2. The Disney point!
You may notice that cast members never point with one finger. They all do the Disney point, which is to point with at least two fingers instead of only one. It is considered rude in some cultures to only point with one finger, so the Disney point is more universally friendly. There is also a rumor that the Disney point originated from Walt himself. Walt was a smoker and didn’t want anyone to see him smoking, so the cigarettes were edited out of many pictures, leaving it looking like he was doing what we know as the “Disney point”!
1. Safety trumps everything, and is the responsibility of every cast member.
The guest experience and preserving the magic is extremely important to every Disney cast member. The only thing that trumps both of these is safety. The company has a slogan that they teach the cast members, “Safe-D begins with me!” Every cast member is responsible for watching out for, preventing or resolving unsafe situations, even if that means agitating a guest. If a guest sitting on the rails in a queue, and a cast member sees this, they should intervene and ask the guest not to sit on the rails. If guests are running, they should ask them to walk. If they don’t comply, they should escalate the situation according to protocol, as safety is the most important thing.