Most of the “rules” regarding being a Disney Cast Member have to do with maintaining the ‘Disney Look’ while on-stage (i.e., in front of the public).
1. First of all, when you work for Disney, you’re not an employee. You’re a cast member. From the characters, to the ride operators, to the custodians, to the CEO…we’re all Cast Members (CMs). Interns in the Disney College Program are CPs.
2. There’s a reason the theme parks always look so clean. Everyone working here has to pick up trash if they see it on the ground. When a CM does sees trash on the ground, we can’t just bend over. We have to pick it up in a scooping method to seamlessly remove the trash and continue on our way. And, there’s a trash can no more than 30 steps away!
3. The Two Finger Point: If you ask a CM for directions, they’ll gesture with their whole hand or with two fingers. We will never point with just one finger, because in some cultures it’s considered offensive.
4. Walt Disney liked to be called “Walt,” which is why you will only see first names on the CM name tags. Also, if you forget your name tag or lose it, you’ll be given a loaner one by your manager. Feel free to make up a backstory when you’re “Chris” or “Alice” from Orlando!
5. A cast member is never allowed to say “I don’t know.” If a guest asks a question that we don’t know the answer to, we have to try and find the answer by asking coworkers or picking up a company telephone and asking the Disney operator.
6. The CMs in character roles have to follow specific handwriting guidelines so that each character’s autograph, i.e., Mickey’s, always looks identical. That way no matter which character you’re meeting, the experience is the same.
7. There’s a height requirement for every character role. For example, certain Disney royalty need to be between 5’4″ and 5’8″. There are weigh limits and age limits too. Read more at: Confessions of a Disney Princess.
8. Visible tattoos, tongue piercings, and ear gauges are NOT allowed.
9. The ‘Disney Look’: All Disney cast members look nice and clean, what our grandmothers called “presentable”. That doesn’t happen by accident!
For example, all facial hair on CMs has to be fully grown in and neatly trimmed. Any mustache cannot extend over the lip or further than the corners of the mouth. Male and female CMs are not allowed to shave their eyebrows. Men’s hair cannot extend over their ears or shirt collars. Women’s hair has to be neatly brushed. Braids are allowed, but not beads. Nail polish must be a neutral color, nails must be trimmed and not too long.
10. A character CM always stays in character. Any characters outside the Disney universe simply don’t exist in the Disney parks, so don’t ask a Disney princess what she thinks about Harry Potter World over at Universal.
11. If you work at Disney, you should not talk negatively about what you do on any social media platforms. And, certainly never post any off-stage (behind-the-scene) photos! Cast members have been fired over facebook postings on their personal accounts!
12. CMs can’t accept tips unless it’s specifically part of their role, i.e., a server in a full-service, sit down Disney restaurant. But, we can always accept a sincere “thank you” from guests! 🙂
13. The Golden Rule: CPs spend their off days playing at the Parks. This rule is so true! The DCP program goes by so quickly…either I was working at DAK or playing at one of the parks. I was never back at my apartment just sitting around!
Two Girls and a Mouse Tale
by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins
Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???
We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.
We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney. Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.
Book link on Amazon.com: Two Girls and a Mouse Tale