Countless people refer to Disneyland as the happiest place on earth, because it has a certain sparkle of magic about it. It's nostalgic, it's filled with bright colours and whimsical scenery, and above all else, it always seems kind of, well, perfect. Everything is clean, all the staff are happy, and everything is designed to make your experience the best it possibly can be. The key word there is, obviously, designed — the powers at Disney want you to feel a certain way when you're in the park.
The employees are a huge part of that experience — or, as Disney calls them, the cast members. Chances are, you'll interact with a bunch of them while you're hopping from ride to ride, from the individuals clad in character costumes pretending to be your favourite Disney princesses to the individuals handing you your Disney-themed treats and merchandise at the shops. Employees in any workplace have certain rules for how they're to behave and dress, but Disney seems to have even more rules than most. After all, they don't want someone's experience in the happiest place on earth ruined because an employee startles them out of the experience or is rude to them in any way.
Here are 15 rules Disneyland employees have to follow that you may have never known about.
15 They must always gesture and point with two fingers
People visit Disneyland from all around the world, which means the park has to take all different cultures into consideration. While to Americans pointing may seem like the clearest way to show a guest where a destination is — you just point them in the right direction, what's the harm in that? — in some cultures, pointing with one can be seen as a rude gesture. Disneyland doesn't want anyone feeling uncomfortable or offended, so they've made it a rule that all employees must gesture with two fingers. Apparently, some Disney employees internalize the rule so much that they wind up pointing with two fingers once their shift is over, because they're just so used to doing it all day! Who would have ever thought Disneyland employees and flight attendants giving a safety demonstration would have something in common?
14 "I don't know" isn't a permitted response — ever, even if they truly don't know
In many workplaces, you're told to simply admit when you're not clear on something or simply don't know how to do something. After all, it's easier to explain than to clean up a huge mess you've made because you were completely wrong, right? Well, things are a little different in Disneyland. If a visitor asks an employee a question and the employee simply doesn't know the answer, they are never, ever allowed to simply respond with "I don't know" and leave the guest without all the necessary information. They have to call someone to get the information or ask another cast member who may know or whatever it takes to ensure that the guest leaves with their question answered. Of course, this is for park-related questions — Alice in Wonderland is probably allowed to offer an "I don't know" if you try to ask her about the meaning of life or something like that.
13 They're not allowed to discuss their job on social media/in real life
Disneyland is a huge park with a ton of staff, so you would think that you'd meet a fair amount of people who work there or have worked there at some point, right? Well, you wouldn't know it until after they had left their position with Disney, because the park is apparently quite secretive. In order to maintain a certain illusion, employees aren't allowed to discuss their job on social media or in real life, where someone may see. We're not quite sure what the harm is of someone spilling on YouTube that they had a frustrating day as Cinderella and that walking around in that poofy dress is hot and exhausting, but hey — they have a certain image to maintain, and they're very protective of that. No spilling secrets!
12 They must learn their character's signature
Many children love to collect the autographs of their favourite characters to take home as a souvenir from their trip. So, when they spot a character walking around the park, they'll rush over and ask him or her to sign something for them. Obviously, different employees play the same character — no one employee can be there every single hour the park is open, every single day — but you certainly don't want children comparing signatures with their friends and finding out that they have two completely different looking autographs from the same character. So, employees who spend their time as a certain character must be trained in how to sign that particular signature to ensure consistency. After all, if Minnie Mouse's signature doesn't have a heart over the 'I', is it really even her signature?
11 They're not allowed to have crazy facial hair, and it also must be trimmed, groomed and a specific style
Different workplaces have different rules and regulations when it comes to appearances. Some more casual workplaces are find with messy hair and casual outfits, while others demand that you look polished and put together every time you step into the office. Disney has its own quirks when it comes to how employees can look, and one of them involves facial hair. Specifically, men aren't allowed to have facial hair that is a 'work in progress' — if they don't want to be clean shaven, they have to have either a full moustache or full beard, no creative in-between style. And, it must be trimmed and groomed and not crazy long. Honestly, it seems like way less work to just rock a clean shaven look while you're working there, but hey — some men are just beard men, we get it.
10 They're not allowed to have any visible tattoos
There are many, many Disney fans who have been touched by a certain character or movie and inspired to get some ink to pay tribute to it. However, you won't find any Disney ink on actual employees — or, at least, not that you can see! We're not sure what the reasoning behind the rule is, but Disney employees must cover their ink if they have any while they're working in the park. We can understand the reasoning behind the rule for cast members who are dressed as characters — it may look a little strange for Snow White to rock a full sleeve of tattoos — but why the restriction for everyone else? We suppose it's easier to implement a rule for everyone than to pick and choose who must follow it.
9 They must have acceptable length fingernails, and absolutely no nail polish
Disneyland is ver, very particular about how they want their employees to look. It seems that they don't want anything to take guests out of their Disney experience, so employees can't really be too radical with their appearance — and that includes nails. Men must have nails that are quite short, as in cut down so they're no longer than the end of their fingertips. And women, while they're allowed to have slightly longer nails, cannot have nails over a quarter inch past the fingertips — so, no crazy acrylic nails that look like talons. And, nail polish is absolutely forbidden for employees. It seems a bit over the top to demand something like that, but hey — we suppose they're the boss so they're allowed to make whatever rules they want, right?
8 They have to do double duty as janitors — any trash they spot, they must pick up
Disneyland likely has a ton of staff members whose sole responsibility is to keep the park clean and tidy. After all, a ton of people pass through those walls every day, leaving garbage everywhere and spilling drinks and doing all kinds of things. Someone always swoops in and cleans it, like magic, and that's mostly due to the janitorial staff. However, no cast member is immune from keeping the park clean. Employees basically have a rule that you have to keep the park clean — so if you're walking around and you spot a piece of garbage, you must delicately swoop down and pick it up to toss in the trash. We're not sure how much the park can really enforce this, but hey — perhaps it develops a sense of camaraderie to make keeping the workplace clean a group effort.
7 They must always use code words for unsavoury situations
Obviously, crazy things happen within the walls of the park every day. I mean, this is a place where kids stuff themselves full of junk food, run around in the hot sun, and get on every ride they can see that will shake them around. It's only a matter of time before someone gets a little nauseous, or something happens. However, Disneyland employees are again tasked with keeping up an image of the park being a happy place where nothing ever goes wrong — so if they have a situation on their hands, they must always use code words so that the guests don't know what's up. For example, if someone hurls on a ride, they call it a "code V," etc. Obviously, if you know the lingo the code won't do much, but the average guest doesn't — so they're blissfully unaware of what the park has just announced needs to be cleaned up.
6 They are never, ever allowed to break character within the park
California gets hot all the time, and we can only imagine how hot it must get when you're in a character costume. From the full body costumes that involve a plush head and basically every human body part covered, including your hands, to Princess costumes that have yards and yards of fabric, employees are likely sweating like crazy half the time. However, if you're playing a character within the park, you're not allowed to break character — ever. Even if you're exhausted. Even if you think you're alone, or just with another employee where no one can see, Disneyland doesn't want any child hearing their beloved characters discussing a party that night that they're hitting at the club in town, so employees are supposed to stay in character, always. Yikes! Sounds tough.
5 They can't shave their eyebrows (not sure why they had to make this a rule, but...)
Okay, we're not entirely sure which employee decided to fully shave off their eyebrows in order to require this to be a rule, but... it exists. Employees are not allowed to shave their eyebrows, plain and simple (although we wonder if women who paint on brows would even be noticed, honestly). The hair rules go even further, though — employees are supposed to have fairly natural-looking hair, and guys aren't able to have long hair that extends over their shirt collars while women aren't allowed to have beads in their hair or a messy mane. Everyone must look neat and polished and Disneyland perfect. Hey, if you went to work in an office they would likely expect you to turn up with your hair brushed, at the very minimum, so this rule isn't quite as out there as some of the others.
4 They're literally not allowed to have the same name as another cast member — if they do, they have to pick a new name to be referred to at work
Walt Disney, the man behind it all, preferred to have a casual atmosphere at the park — he wanted his employees to simply refer to him as Walt, not to hold him up on some boss pedestal as Mr. Disney. He extended that rule to other employees as well, and so everyone is just known by their first name. But, what happens when you hire five Marks, or three Natalies? Well, simply — whoever isn't the first one with the name has to pick a new name. That's right — in order to avoid confusion amongst the substantial staff at the park, anyone who has a repeat name must select a different name they'd like to be referred to while within park walls. Crazy! So, if you dream of working at Disneyland, you'd better start brainstorming ideas now because the likelihood of you having a repeat name is pretty high.
3 Their make-up must look natural and blended
There are countless tutorials out there on YouTube where beauty gurus have crafted looks inspired by certain Disney characters, and they're often completely over the top — in the best possible way. After all, make-up to many is basically an art form, why not play around with it? However, if you're working at Disneyland, you'll want to save your tutorial-worthy looks for your free time — make-up work in the park must be fairly natural and well-blended. No one is supposed to be admiring the unicorn liner or bold lip on one of the Princesses — they're just supposed to look like the living embodiment of the cartoon characters. So, when it comes to Disney-inspired looks, you'll have to check out the internet rather than the park itself for inspiration, because it sounds like those Princesses will all be in neutral looks.
2 They're not allowed to have funky glasses or anything with branded frames
Obviously, there are bound to be several cast members who wear glasses — it's basically just a numbers game. Not everyone who needs help with their vision likes to wear contacts, so you're bound to have a couple no matter who your employees are who require glasses. However, there are rules about what kinds of glasses cast members can wear at Disneyland. Namely, nothing crazy and nothing that displays the brand too prominently. In the same way that Disneyland cast members are supposed to have fairly neutral hair, neutral make-up, etc., their glasses are supposed to kind of just blend in as well — no over the top neon pink frames with a designer logo splashed on both sides. They want a specific image at the park, which is fair enough — it would take the character out of the world a bit to see Ariel wearing Chanel frames.
1 They must wear a specific kind of underwear
Okay, obviously Disneyland doesn't force their employees to undress and show off their undergarments every day at work — that would be wildly inappropriate. However, they are expected to wear appropriate underwear — that means nothing that is visible through costumes or clothing. No one should be able to tell what kind of lingerie you're rocking under your princess costume, which is fair enough — asking your employees to wear outfits that don't make their undergarments visible isn't too crazy. We imagine some cast members have it tougher than others, though, depending on what their costume is like and what the cut of it is. Well, it's all part of the job, right — they're supposed to look a certain way in order to present that perfect character for all the adoring fans in the park.
Sources: brit.co, alignthoughts.com, disneycareers.com