Dreams, castles, laughter and merriment come to mind when thinking about Disney. Unless, of course you work in the park. Park employees and characters tell us about the good, bad, ugly and strange.Here are some brief observations and stories from Disney park employees.
VIOLATE PARK RULES AND YOU WILL BE REPRIMANDED
Working at Disneyland comes with all sorts of rules and regulations. One former employee reports that the most ridiculous thing they were ever disciplined for was having a very slight 5 o’clock shadow. ”I usually used an electric razor considering my face was in a mask all day. I also have a little condition called pseudofolliculitis barbae. Which basically means it sucks to shave with a bladed razor. So anyway, it left a little stubble. Most of the managers would let this slide since it wasn’t like I had some unkempt beard or something and I explained to them my situation. But one day I had a manager who saw me between sets and pulled me off of my shift to shave with this terrible little razor in the bathroom. I didn’t actually shave and went back to work.”
EVEN DISNEY PRINCESSES CAN BE MEAN
If you think everyone who works there gets along, think again. Life in Disneyland reminds this former employee of high school. ”Some of the break rooms are like the high school cafeteria where the “cool” princesses (elsa and anna) sit on one side and make eyes at the “old” characters (snow and poppins). It’s really childish. Other face performers think they’re on Broadway and demand respect and they hate not getting it.”
GUEST ENCOUNTERS AREN’T ALL MAGICAL…THEY GET PHYSICAL
In response to being asked about the worst encounters with park guests, one employee recounts various physical attacks and harassment.”I’ve been punched in the nuts, had Goofy’s ears pulled. People have taken the nose of the costume and twisted it (which hurts by the way). Had people try to jump on my back, look under the shirt on the costume. Gah, sometimes people suck.So I can’t recall any one person but I had many attempt the above. And all were teens or adults by the way, not kids. I just want to be like… your child is right there, and you are all up in my grill trying to take apart the costume. Quit being a douchehat and enjoy the magic!”
GUESTS WILL SACRIFICE ANYTHING…INCLUDING THEIR CHILDREN TO GET WHAT THEY WANT
This couple was trying to ride Space Mountain and had a black duffel bag. My brother-in-law was working security and heard something come from the bag, so he asked them to open it. They refused. Security comes, forces them to open it. It was their 6-month-old baby.
SOME GUESTS DISREGARD SAFETY RULES AFTER A FEW DRINKS
Other parents have a little too much to drink and potentially forget basic child safety. “While I was working on Dumbo, these drunk people removed their infant from the seat belt and held the baby like Simba outside of the carriage while the ride was up 18 feet in the air, so their other drunk friends could take pictures of them doing it. We had to emergency stop the ride. They were escorted away and arrested once outside the park gates. It was very scary to witness.”
BUT SOMETIMES THEIR ANTICS ARE AMUSING
One time, I saw a mother climb a tree and swing down in the middle of another family’s meet and greet with Beast. She didn’t want to wait in line.
FORMER GOOFY TELLS ALL
A former Disney employee started a thread on reddit under the pseudonym ihaveanotheridentity where he encouraged users to ask him anything about life at the park.People were excited to learn about life at the park, expecting happy, uplifting answers. Former Goofy’s responses ranged from hilarious and light to heartbreaking and dark.
NOT SO GOOFY GUEST ENCOUNTERS.
Visitors can be difficult and strange. ”A guy once asked me to choke him for a picture (I didn’t). That’s a hard one because guests routinely do stupid weird things. I think the worst of them is when people bring their newborn infants to the parks and ask us to hold them for a picture. I can’t see shit in Goofy let alone other costumes and I’m wearing giant gloves or paws or whatever depending on what character I am. Why would you let me hold your baby? Yeesh!”On a separate occasion, a guest threatened his life during a grad (graduation) night event.
DONALD DUCK OVERREACTS AND THROWS A TANTRUM
“I was fired. To make a complicated story short, Donald Duck was, as usual, being a jerk and wouldn’t leave my area because I had signed “Luv, Goofy” right over the bill of a Donald Duck hat. He threw a temper tantrum and as I was dragging him across the floor to get him back to his position a little kid ran out from behind the curtain at Pete’s Silly Sideshow and we knocked her on her butt. The kid was fine and no one complained but Disney didn’t really appreciate me dragging the costume on the carpeted floor so they terminated me.”
THE MAGIC ENDS
After over 20 years of service, this employee was let go after a minor altercation with another park employee. Apparently Disney didn’t see it the same way.