Welcome to the happiest place on earth. It may also be the most expensive place on earth, but chances are if you live anywhere around California or Florida, you've had a Disney experience. Or, maybe, you've travelled all the way there just to experience the magic that is Disneyland or Walt Disney World. There's no denying Disney's huge. And with such an enormous presence in the world, there's got to be some secrets out there that Disney doesn't want you to know. Sorry, Disney. But you can't stop your employees from talking.
Disneyland is home to over 100 to 200 feral cats. They are fed, cared for, vaccinated and neutered and spayed by the Disneyland resort and employees. In turn, the cats help keep the rodent population under control at the park, because seeing a rat scurry by might burst our bubble of the perfect theme park experience. The one mouse they're probably not allowed to catch? Mickey.
One former employee said that "[p]eople have sex there all the time. ALL THE TIME. On rides, in the parking structure. When they get caught they get escorted out . . . unless they are underage then we legally have to call parents. That one is fun." We're sort of rethinking bringing our kids to Disney now.
Walt Disney didn't like it when people called him Mr. Disney. So the name tags that are now worn by employees at both parks on display their first names, so no one can call the employees Mr. or Mrs. anything. Everyone's on a first name basis at Disneyland.
At one point, it's believed that UCLA donated real skeletons to Disneyland to use on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride because the prop skeletons that were being used were not realistic enough. It's unknown when, but eventually those real skeletons were traded out. One real skull remains, however, and you can see it on this headboard in the ride. Many people also wish to have their ashes scattered at Disneyland, and while park employees are instructed to keep an eye out for anyone who looks like they're scattering dirt, some people get away with it.
Maybe it's possible that those at the very top get a fat paycheck, but for others, the pay isn't great. A former security guard was asked if Disneyland paid a higher than normal rate for competent staff members. "That's cute. Most of security is former law enforcement, or kids. They don't pay well, which is why I quit. I loved the work but the pay is crap," he responded.
Obviously, you have to look like the character you're going to play. But besides that, to be a princess, you have to be between 5'4" and 5'7". Still, if you're going to play a fairy or a smaller character, they're looking for something more like 4'11" to 5'2". You can never sit, always have to smile, have to know your film from start to finish and must have the autograph of the princess perfected.
Disneyland follows you, even after you leave. One employee who is no longer working at the park said that even though they're finished working for the mouse, they don't want to talk about their experience too openly even though they're technically allowed to. "I don't want to jeopardize my chance of working for them again in the future. Disney keeps tabs on people that used to work for them, almost like a creepy ex-boyfriend/girlfriend."
If you work for Disney, you're not permitted to have any visible body modifications. That means no tattoos. You can have them, just not on parts of your body that people are going to see. This also goes for piercings - only one earlobe piercing is allowed for women. When you're applying, you have to list any body modifications that you may have.
If you work at Disneyland as one of the characters, you're going to have to get a friend to take a picture for you. If you're caught taking a selfie back stage, that could even be grounds for being fired. Why? Seeing Belle in a dressing room just doesn't have quite the same feel as seeing her in front of the magic castle.
Sure, there's the security you can see, even though they've been instructed to keep fairly out of sight. But there's also a lot of security guards roaming around wearing no uniforms just like all you other commoners. They're looking for anything from shoplifting to you taking a swig from a flask.
Ever felt sick on a ride? You're not alone. It might not come as a huge surprise, but employees frequently have to clean up when the guests have to ralph. "One day, a kid had ate a bunch of pasta with marinara and then promptly threw it all up right in front of the entrance to Big Thunder Mountain," said one former employee.
The music keeps going, 24/7. "From the moment you step on stage until the moment you step off, you will hear the music that plays in your area on loop. I worked in the backlot area at Hollywood Studios, so one of my stores was Tatooine Traders at the end of the Star Tours attraction. I heard Star Wars music all day for several days at a time. I had dreams about Star Wars. I could quote every line from every song that played in the Muppets store after working there for several days," said one former employee.
You're only allowed to check out three costumes at a time, and you're required to wear all pieces, at all times. But, according to one employee, that costume probably isn't going to be your regular size. "During my first trip to the costume room, my supervisor warned me that I should check out a costume two sizes bigger than I'd normally wear, and he was right. Talk about a blow to your ego. He said it was something like the sizing of the costumes followed the sizing of when the park first opened in the '70s, which is smaller than how current sizing works."
One employee explained what happens to things that are misplaced in the park. "You know all your crap that you lose at Walt Disney World? Well, after 90 days of being unclaimed, it gets shipped to a cast-only shopping area in the back of Magic Kingdom Parking lot where it is sold to us lowey cast members for a huge discount! YAY cheap cameras and phones and such." Hey, they had to clean up your vomit. They deserve it.