Some Of The Most Bizarre Situations Disney Employees Have Endured Through The Years
Disney World and Disneyland are known as the most magical places on Earth, and they’re still what most kids think of when they imagine the best family vacation ever. However, if you’re an adult and you’ve ever had to earn your own money, you’ll know there’s always a shady side to every workplace, and the Disney parks are no different.
The park management is fanatical about never letting the seams show, meaning that Disney employees are frequently expected to endure some grizzly situations during their tenure—whether they’re ride attendants or the people under the costumes. There’s dirt in Disneyland—no matter how well they dress it up as magic sparkle. Here are some of Disneyland’s former employees spilling the tea.
Throwing Up Inside The Suit
Even in the hottest, sweatiest weather, Disneyland employees are forbidden from ever unmasking in public. Whether you’re itchy, roasting to death, or a fly gets under the hood, the mouse won’t allow it. This Disney employee, dressed as Dumbo, began to feel queasy during a parade.
He knew there was no way he’d be able to make it to the bathroom discretely—he was dressed as an elephant in a parade, after all. While he was initially able to hold it back, he eventually had to throw up in Dumbo’s head, then endure an hour of parade dancing afterward. The children were none the wiser. Probably.
Piglet’s “Code Pooh”
A former Club Disney employee once explained that being receptive to euphemisms—polite ways of explaining crude things—is an essential skill at Disney. While most indecent incidents have their own code, not everything from the dark side of the human imagination gets covered.
For example, one kid was eager to show off his potty skills in the middle of the play area. A former employee had to chase the crying, pantless kid as he ran away from his bear droppings and around the corner. The employee had to yell something into his earpiece—he chose, “There’s a pooh situation in the play area, Piglet’s on the loose, over.”
Acting Out The Fantasy
Most kids love playing make belief as their favorite Disney heroes and villains, But some kids never grow up—but not in a Peter Pan kind of way. One day, a guest appeared to the cast member playing snow white—minus his Wicked Witch outfit—and gave her an apple.
Naturally, seeing through this rather suspicious offering, the cast member turned him down. The guest became quite insistent and had to be gently escorted away. The apple, as it turned out, had been needled with poison. That’s what we call trying to kill the magic. Also–how frightening!
Space Mountain Erupts
Imagine having the worst gas of your life while manning one of the world’s busiest theme-park attractions on earth. That’s what happened to one Disney staff member as he was stationed at Space Mountain during one of its busiest hours.
After holding it in for an unbearable amount of time, he took a cue from Princess Elsa and “let it go.” The silent-but-deadly bomb was so potent that it even parted the crowd. Kids began crying, and parents began shaking with disgust, trapped in line with nowhere to go. Awkward.
Worked Like A Dog
Playing a famous cartoon character can be a tough gig, even if you don’t have voice lines. Dealing with fans can be extremely tiring, especially when every kid is more excited than the last. So it makes sense that you’d have to tap out to take a little break after so long.
But for one aggressive family, this wasn’t good enough. They’d waited in line a long time to see everyone’s other favorite cartoon dog, Pluto. When they were told that Pluto was about to take some time out, they snapped and shoved the actor into a fountain, where he broke a limb. The family was escorted out and arrested. Some fans they were.
Go With The Flow
While we’re sure that Disneyland has adequate signage to help guide its guests to the restrooms should the need arise, accidents happen when it comes to kids who are still undergoing potty training. That being said, parents have a responsibility to help their little ones where they can.
At Club Cool, a gift shop and soft drink sampling experience, one little girl must have drank too much too fast. A staff member who had just returned from her break saw a visitor pull down his daughter’s pants in the middle of the room so that she could pee all over the floor. There was probably a bathroom less than ten seconds away, dad.
The World On Your Shoulders
Other than the occasional sense of unease at all the barfing, sweating actors inside animal suits, Disney World tourists generally make happy memories from their time in the magical kingdom. Souvenirs can help remind them of those happy times—and while photos and trinkets are available to buy by the boatload, a map can be one of those things.
One Disney World fan may have taken this idea too far. A Disney costume designer reported seeing a shirtless man walking around with a map of the kingdom tattooed on his back on Disney’s 20th anniversary. If he gets lost, he will need some help from a friend to read his map.
This Week On Flashwatch
A few years ago, Disney had a strange problem on its hands. It seemed that some guests at Splash Mountain—mostly women—took to the ride for more than just the thrill of the drop. They made it their mission to show the world—or at least the camera—their private parts.
Management decided to assign someone the job of quickly sorting through photos to ensure any nudes didn’t get through to the preview screens. While it does still happen from time to time nowadays, thankfully, it’s much less common today.
The Fiery Depths
Near the end of 2014, Disney reported that the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train had burst into flames. The Snow White-themed ride had reportedly caught fire after sparks from a magnificent fireworks display set the fake grass in the area alight, which spread to the mine itself.
The flames became a huge, fiery blaze, but firefighters eventually managed to put it out without the whole ride burning down. Thankfully, nobody—the guests or the dwarfs—was injured, thanks to a rapid evacuation effort.
Making A Mickey Out Of The Mouse
This story is an oldie but a goldie. In the 70s, one particular cast member in the park took his job a little too seriously. The role of “main mouse” went to his head, and he began to look down on the rest of the cast as inferior.
One day, during a big parade, the man in the mouse stumbled over his oversized shoes. Rather than helping him up as he flailed around on the ground, the marching band members and the rest of the cast walked by, much to the crowd’s delight. Ouch.
Disney Jail Exists
Disney is supposed to be a magical world and in a perfect world everyone would behave. But unfortunately, there are always going to be a few villains in a world of heroes. There is a special place for guests who misbehave at the theme park.
Disney jail is on site to provide a place for troublemakers. This might include people who steal or intentionally cause chaos without following the rules. Interestingly, some celebrities such as Blake Lively and Robert Downey Jr. have spent time in Disney jail!
The Rules for Disney Workers are Super Strict
Getting a job as a performer at Disney is difficult, but keeping the job is even more difficult! If you think the regulations on park visitors seem intense, they’re much worse for those who work at the happiest place on earth.
Disney characters can be let go for all the usual reasons as well as additional ones. Past employees revealed that princesses had been fired for kissing princes! Disney has high standards and they certainly aren’t afraid to replace people.
Some Cast Members Aren’t Allowed to Talk!
Those who wear full body costumes, such as Mickey, Minnie, and the rest of the gang, aren’t allowed to speak! Even if you go up to these characters and start a conversation, they will not respond because they’re not allowed to.
Disney thinks that if the wrong voice comes out of the character it might ruin the magic of the whole thing. It makes sense but it’s kind of sad. This job is definitely not for those of us who are Chatty Kathys!
Asking For an Autograph is Grounds for Firing
Disney park employees cannot ask for autographs from celebrities who come to the park. Obviously, this would ruin the magic of the costume and defeat the whole purpose of the park.
Celebrities are there for the same reason as everybody else. They want to take part in the magic of Disney and bring their kids to experience it as well. So, no autographs for employees!
People Have Tried to Spread Ashes at the Park
As dark as it sounds, there have been multiple people who have attempted to spread ashes of their loved ones at the Disney park. It’s happened often enough that there is a specific policy against it!
Anyone that attempts to bring remains to the park will receive a lifetime ban. It’s hard to believe that this is even something that employees have to worry about!
Haunted Mansion Cast Members Cannot Smile
So, some cast members can’t talk on the clock and others can’t smile! This sounds counterintuitive to creating the happiest environment on earth but it’s all part of the believability of the park.
The haunted mansion is the creepier side of Disneyland, but remains one of the most popular attractions. Cast members who work at the haunted mansion cannot smile to keep up the whole “undead” act that goes along with the ride.
The Disney Princess Diet
Former employees who worked as Disney Princess cast members revealed that their diets were incredibly strict. Disney wants their princesses to appear just as they do in the animated films: thin.
So, these female employees were forced to follow a strict diet to keep their figures similar to those of the princesses. This meant lean cuisines and low-calorie snacks. A former employee mentioned that they would frequently go to the gym together after work.
“Go Away Green”
If you’ve been to Disneyland you might’ve seen this nasty green color all over. Even this paint color serves a purpose at the park. Employees revealed that this “go away green” color is meant to deter visitors from focusing on things outside of the “magic world”.
Eye sores that don’t fit into the theme of the park will be painted in this color, including “employee only” doors, janitorial areas, etc. Seeing this color all the time will create a pattern and eventually your mind begins to ignore it so you focus on the attraction. Genius!
The Castles are Optical Illusions
Only Disney staff members might know that those huge castles you see at Disneyworld and Disneyland are actually optical illusions. In fact, those grand castles are nowhere near as large as they seem.
The architects of the structures used a trick to make them appear larger. They used smaller bricks at the top of the towers so it seems like they are a lot taller than they really are. They definitely fooled us!
The Animal Employees
As it turns out, humans aren’t the only ones with jobs to do at Disney. Animals are used to make the Disneyworld go round as well. Seeing rodents running around might ruin the magic of the park, so Disney has a solution as always.
They release cats at night to deal with any rodents! These hunters take care of the rats and other animals so visitors aren’t spooked when they should be immersed in the park experience. We wonder if there are employees whose job is to wrangle the cats after their hunting at night.
No Two of the Same Character Can be Seen at Once
To keep the magic alive, there can only ever be one Snow White, one Mulan, one Mickey Mouse, and one Goofy. For this reason, you’ll never see two of the same characters out at the park at the same time.
This is also why people aren’t allowed to come dressed up as the characters. If you see Mulan and then turn around to see another Mulan it will ruin some of the magic that they’re trying to create.
They Aren’t Allowed to Be Called Employees
Anyone that comes to the park to dress up in costume and bring a Disney character to life is known as a cast member. They want everyone to see their job as a role on a stage so they do things a little differently than most other jobs would.
This means that all characters are strictly referred to as cast members instead of employees. While they’re on the clock they’re performing for an audience. The park is really one giant stage!
Employees Confirm That the Smells Aren’t by Accident
Disneyland is known for having very distinct smells in different attractions. The salty seawater smell on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride is no accident. Former employees revealed that Disney pumps lots of smells into the parks.
They call them “smellitizers” and they are supposed to add to the experience of the attractions. If you’ve ever been to one of the parks and smelled the smells, we’re sure you will agree that they definitely add to it!
Employees Have Been Punched by Guests
Disneyworld and Disneyland employees do their very best to invite guests into the world of magic, but sometimes guests really push the envelope. In once case, an angry guest punched a Disney employee in the face and started pushing buttons on the Tower of Terror ride.
The guest didn’t even suffer any legal consequences except for the fact that she was banned from the park for life. The reason for her outburst was that she didn’t have a fast pass for the ride. These poor employees sure deal with a lot!
Employees Have Found Some Pretty Peculiar Objects at the Park
As you can imagine, with so many visitors coming to the park daily, there are lots of possessions left behind. You might expect the regular phone, purse, or jacket lying around, but employees have revealed some crazy items left behind at the park as well.
One employee found a glass eye! Another found a prosthetic leg. We’re not sure how these important items were lost in the first place, but we hope they made their way back to their owners.
Cast Members Have to go Through Autograph Training
In a long list of surprising things that Disney cast members have to train for is autograph training. Disney wants to make sure that the autographs from cast members are consistent. Mickey should sign one kid’s book the same way he would sign another.
To learn the specific squiggle required for their character, they must do special handwriting training! It’s details like these that make the park so incredible for visitors.
Sign up For Disney University
If you want to join the cast and work at the happiest place on earth you have to get educated! There is actually a school to educate potential employees about all things Disney.
This includes protocol for the parks, how to walk, talk, and dress the character, and how to remain in character at all times. This even includes the autograph training. All of these things are important to make the park go round.
Assaulted By Stroller
One angry guest actually assaulted a Disney employee with a stroller of all things! He was upset because he had been asked to leave the park due to his bad behavior. He rammed the stroller into the employee again and again until he was arrested and escorted out.
Employees don’t just have to deal with crazy behavior but they have to attempt to do so while still in character! Obviously extreme cases like this one are the exception in which cast members are not expected to read from the usual script.
Disney Employees must Undergo Safety Training
With so many people around, things can get quickly out of hand at the park. It is important that all employees undergo safety training to protect themselves as well as the guests and children.
Also, many employees are trained in how to diffuse situations that begin to escalate with guests. In most cases, this allows them to calm people down before things get out of hand. But, of course, there will always be the bad apples that must cause trouble at the park.
“I Don’t Know” Is Not in the Vocabulary
The Disney characters are expecting to know just about everything and anything a guest might have questions about. This includes questions about the character as well as questions about the park.
They are actually not allowed to use the words “I don’t know”. Now you can see why Disney University is required for their employees.
Security is Undercover at the Park
Disney has to make sure things run smoothly and that everyone is safe at all times, so security is absolutely crucial. But intimidating security guards everywhere might take away from the magic and happiness that people feel when at the park.
For this reason, Disney dresses their security up in regular clothes so they blend in with other park-goers. Little do you know some of those dorky tourists are actual security ready and waiting if anything goes wrong!
They Use a Secret Underground Tunnel System to Get Around Undetected
Employees need to be able to move around the park quickly and undetected. So naturally Disney has an underground system of tunnels for them to get to where they need to go without interruption.
The tunnels provide a place for employees to keep their “regular” clothes and items. There are prep spaces, costume rooms, electrical controls, a garbage system, and more hidden in the tunnels beneath the grounds.
Walt Disney Placed the Trash Cans Himself
Disney parks stay remarkably clean despite the thousands of people that come and go through the park each day. Part of this is due to the excellent and diligent cleaning teams that work very hard.
Another reason why the parks remain spotless is that Walt Disney, himself, decided where the trash cans should be placed at the parks. He walked while eating a hot dog and decided that the number of steps it took him to eat the hot dog was the exact right number of steps to have between trash cans.
The Secret Hair Salon
There’s a secret hair salon on the grounds of Disney called Kingdom Kutters. It exists to make sure that Disney characters are perfectly groomed to look like their counterparts from their respective films.
This is even available for employees who do not play characters. Disney still wants its employees outside of cast members to look clean and trim. Kingdom Kutters is the place to go for employees to stay looking sharp!