8 not-so-magical rules of working at a Disney theme park

Despite all the hubbub, Disney theme parks have a well-earned reputation for orderliness. Take Disney World for example. Every employee is always in their place ready to answer any questions, the parks are quite clean for a place that pulls in thousands of visitors a day, and incidents are few and far between. But just as a visitor has to follow the rules of such a magical land, the people who work there have even more rules they must follow in order to keep the park running smoothly (and keep their jobs).

Now of course Disney is so “top secret” they keep these rules under wraps so you can focus on the fun. But past employees can only keep their mouths shut for so long.

1. You get to call yourself a cast member.

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In theatre, cast members usually make it be known that they are a member of the cast and not the crew. There is no such division at Disney. The characters, the ride operators and the janitors must all refer to themselves as a cast member.

2. But you must look the part.

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During training at “Disney University” as well as working at the parks, you must wear the “Disney look” attire which consists of business casual clothes and closed-toed shoes. It’s a rule that flows into the job where you also have to always be in costume. If you don’t follow the rules, you’ll have to wear whatever costumes are on hand and who knows if it’s been washed. Like they say in theatre, never break character.

3. And tame the hair.

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Men can’t have hair that extends over their ears and must be clean shaven every day. The women must have naturally-looking colored hair that is a classic hairstyle. There are specific details as to how all of this should look, but for sure you can’t come to work with your eyebrows shaved off.

4. Don’t even try to wear glasses.

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If you must wear glasses, you have to wear a certain shape and one with no logos on it. They have to look conservative and neutral. When you need to take them off, say when you need to clean your sweaty face, you have to put them away rather then sliding them to the top of your head. You’re better off getting contacts.

5. If you’re thinking about snapping it, don’t.

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Disney could care less for publicity and a following on social media. Cast members aren’t allowed to take photos on site or talk about their job outside the Disney gates. A big no-no is allowing visitors to take photos of “cast only” areas. It’s a shame when you have one of the most interesting jobs and you can’t even talk about it. Might as well tell everyone you are James Bond.

6. You have to know guest names.

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Have you ever wondered how the princess knows your name without asking? The cast members are required to do the research if they’re scheduled for interactions. They can get the guest name from either a bill that’s been paid or from the pin you’re given to wear.

7. And point them in the right direction with two fingers.

disney two finger salute 8 not so magical rules of working at a Disney theme park

Apparently we’re all very rude people because we point with one finger. Disney cast members are taught this lesson early on by following the Disney point rule of pointing with two fingers. Does another finger really make that much of a difference?

8. But make sure you pick up the trash before you meet with them.

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All cast members, including execs, must pick up trash when they see it. And as much as they don’t want to pick up that trash, they must pick it up gracefully. As if that wasn’t already torturous, all employees are required to learn code words for situations they can’t openly call out in front of guests. For example, Code V is for vomit, Code U is for urine, and Code H is for horse poop.

I’m guessing drinking on the job is out of the question…

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