Three years ago, after graduating from the University of Florida, I decided to take a leap into the unknown and apply for a job at Disney World. A summer of fun in a place I’d dreamed of working in since I was a kid seemed like the perfect way to de-stress after college. To my surprise, I was accepted and started working at “The Happiest Place On Earth”. Or so I thought…

A few weeks into my journey as a Disney employee, my childhood was ruined. As a kid, I’ll never forget the delight I felt when I met Cruella de Vil at the park for the first time, but that memory lay in tatters when I discovered she was played by a former stripper. But that wasn’t the only shocking revelation I made whilst working at Disney World…

Would You Like To Work At Disney World?

Working at Disney World might seem like a dream job. Who wouldn’t want to work in the sun, surrounded by happy faces and thrilling rides?! But behind the scenes, employees are placed in shackles and forced to follow a very large and strict rulebook. Don’t get me wrong, I had a lot of great times there, but here are 30 secrets everybody needs to know about working at Disney World…

If you’ve ever been to Disney World, then you’ll know that the princesses are played by stunningly beautiful women. I was selected from over 400 people at an open audition for the job, but had no idea this played a role in me landing it…

1. You MUST Be Slim

Disney princesses have to be slim. And when I say slim, I mean slim. Sadly, that means that a lot of otherwise beautiful women don’t have a shot at working as princesses in the park. It’s not done for the reason that you might think. Disney Princesses have to have slender waistlines because the costume designs haven’t changed since the ’70s, and back then, women were, generally speaking, slimmer.

I’m sure we’ve all been in the position of accidentally sleeping in before work, or having our train fail to arrive on time, but Disney employees can get into a lot of trouble if they’re late for work and decide to do this in the park…

2. Speeding Is A Problem

If an employee rushes through the park, it’s referred to as “speeding”, and it’s a real problem. Unlike in most other jobs, if you’re late, you’re just going to have to accept it and walk into the park at the same speed as the meandering tourists. It’s considered dangerous if employees run through the park, especially as there’s a lot of small children around, which I think is perfectly reasonable.

Throughout the year, Disney gets its fair share of celebrity visitors. They might be on vacation themselves or looking to try out a ride based on a movie they’ve starred in, and employees are under strict instructions about how to treat them…

3. Celebrities Aren’t Special

Whenever we saw celebrities, we were told to treat them like any other guest. If we failed to follow this rule, and let our inner fangirl lose, then we’d be at risk of losing our job. All I can say is that I’m glad (sort 0f) that I never bumped into Johnny Depp whilst working at Disney World. That being said, I think a hug with Captain Jack Sparrow would be worth losing my job over as I ended up losing it anyway!

As a Disney princess, it was my job to greet families and people pretty much all day. My face honestly hurt with all the smiling that I had to do. Whilst it was adorable seeing little kids dressed the same way as me, this was something I hated about the job…

4. Creepy Dads

I had to play a lot of different princesses during my time at Disney World, and a lot of dads (and even granddads) would try and hit on me. I’d get jokes about living with the seven dwarfs when I was dressed as Snow White, and, when I was dressed as Belle, just as a kid and their mom walked away, a dad said to me, “When the Beast goes to bed, I’ll be waiting for you in the library.”

Since Disney princesses have to be beautiful, gorgeous young men are naturally hired to be princes too. However, the slight hope I had of meeting a prince of my own on the job was dashed when I realized that most of them were…

5. Most Princes Are Gay

Sadly, the most of the handsome young men on the arms of Disney princess are gay. Don’t get me wrong though, there’s still relationships which occur between the princess and the straight princes, which I’ll get to later in this article…

Even if you go looking for more than one Mickey Mouse, I can bet you that you’ll never find them, even though they do exist. This is why…

6. There’s Only One Mickey

Behind the scenes at Disney World, there’s a lot of people who make sure that two of the same character are never in the same place at once. There will be a different Mickey Mouse in the parade from the one who’s doing a meet and greet with guests. Speaking of meeting guests…

I’ll never forget the first time I went to Disney as a kid. To this day, it’s one of my stand-out childhood memories, but despite the fact that most kids grow up watching Disney movies, not all of them are happy to meet characters at the park…

7. Kids Can Attack

Children believe almost anything they see on the screen. That’s why it’s incredibly important that Disney princesses look the part, right down to the very last detail of their outfits. However, there are some things in Disney movies that can’t be recreated. I once had a little girl start shouting at me before trying to rip my dress whilst I was dressed like Tinker Bell when she realized I couldn’t fly…

The price of admission to Disney might seem steep to some people, but I think that you get what you pay for. It costs millions of dollars every year to keep the park the way we’ve all come to know and love it. But some parents decide to mess with us characters…

8. Parents Encourage Taunts

I was once hit by a kid whose dad encouraged it after I laughed when he made an inappropriate comment about me. It only happened once, but that was the beginning of the end when it came to me caring about the job…

Some people spend all year saving up for a trip to Disney. The movies themselves are filled with a lot of weird and wonderful characters, but, on occasions, us princesses can get freaked out by the former…

9. Weird Guests

Dealing with people every day can be tiring. Whilst the majority of guests are lovely, I did have to interact with some people who really were strange. A guy even proposed to me whilst I was dressed as Cinderella. He genuinely tried to give me an engagement ring, which I had to awkwardly return after we’d posed for a photograph. Then he started welling up. But at least I never encountered guests like the ones pictured above…

If you’re an employee at Disney, regardless of whether or not you’re a character, you have to be a good actor. Everything that goes on at the park is a show. It doesn’t matter whether you’re playing Cinderella, or simply sweeping up the trash, you’re referred to by the same title…

10. You Are Never Actually A Disney “Employee”

This may sound a little confusing, but when you are employed by Disney, you immediately become a “cast member”. Disney never refers to us as “employees” or “staff”, only by our first names – which are displayed on our badges. Rumour has it, this is because Walt believed it was way more personal. And to be fair, he was right!

Disney World is a big place, and the fact that there’s so much to see and do creates a host of problems for its cast members. However, if they want to hold onto their jobs longer than I managed to, there’s one thing they can’t say under any circumstances, even if it means going on a wild goose chase looking for a phone…

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11. You Are Not Allowed To Say “I Don’t Know”

If a guest ever asks you a question, you must never reply with “I don’t know”. If you don’t know the answer, it’s your job to find it out. We were given extensive training to prepare us for all sorts of situations, but in those rare occasions where we couldn’t help, we would have to call an operator on the staff phones hidden around the park.

Everything at Disney World is expected to be family friendly and that includes the appearance of every single staff member. Disney takes its image so seriously that they’ve gone to the effort of making an extensive book about what is and isn’t okay in terms of their staff’s appearances…

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12. You Are Provided With An Appearance Guidelines Book 

When you are first recruited, Disney provides you with a whole book dedicated to how you are supposed to look whilst on the job. It is appropriately named The Disney Look Book. Hidden within its pages is everything you need to know about the appearance of a cast member, and, trust me, there’s a lot involved…

Disney doesn’t just want its staff to be happy all of the time. It also wants them to look as plain as possible. They’ve provided their employees with a shockingly detailed description of what they’re looking for, which describes exactly how they should look down to the length of their fingernails…

13. You Have To Follow The Disney Look 

As I just mentioned, all cast members’ appearances must follow The Disney Look Book‘s guidelines. However, the book isn’t the only training you receive. I had to attend a training session at Disney University (yes, that actually exists), as well as a training day in my park. One strict rule for the princesses is that they must stand between 5ft4″ to 5ft8″ tall. Oh, and man-buns are banned for the males.

Since Disney’s appearance is so important to them, needless to say, they make a point of only hiring people who’re attractive. With so many beautiful people spending a lot of time together, well, you can guess what goes on behind the scenes between those who’re attracted to each other, straight and gay, and, shockingly, it can happen whilst they’re still in costume!

14. Everybody’s Having Sex

When you have women beautiful enough to be princesses and men attractive enough to be heroes, it’s no surprise that all the cast members backstage are doing it! I literally walked in on Ariel doing it with Aladdin after the parade. Thankfully, however, they weren’t in costume, as that would have ruined my childhood even more…

If you hadn’t worked it out already, working at Disney World is like no other job on the planet. There’s so much to learn and do before you even step inside the gates of the park, but the one thing that I really wasn’t expecting was having to pull out my notepad to learn a whole new language just for the job…

15. You Will Be Taught A New Meaning Of “Backstage”

Disney cast members basically have to learn a special language when they arrive. As I said before, employees are not referred to as “staff”, only “cast members”, whilst the customers are known only as “guests”. If guests wander into areas that are off-limits to them, it is referred to as going “backstage”. It, therefore, makes sense that everywhere else is called “onstage” – yep, the entire thing is one big show.

With so many people in such a hot environment, filled with an endless supply of food, accidents really do happen, especially on rides. However, us Disney employees aren’t allowed to say things as they are. Even though our code language would be pretty easy to decipher if it was overheard by a guest…

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16. You Must Never Refer To Vomit As “Vomit”

Yes, Disney may be “The Most Magical Place On Earth”, but that doesn’t mean guests don’t hurl from time to time. What do you expect when you combine cotton candy, hamburgers, and roller coasters? When a cast member hears “Code V” echo down their earpiece, they know that someone has thrown up after (or on) a ride. And yes, it’s as gross as it sounds, but it must be cleaned immediately!

When guests are having a lot of fun, it’s inevitable that things will accidentally get left behind. Whether it’s a case of forgetting your handbag at the burger stand or forgetting to pick up your electrical devices again after going on a water ride. When I worked at Disney, I found all kinds of things in the park – from lost cell phones too, believe it or not, glass eyeballs!

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17. We Can Buy Items That Guests Have Left Behind 

As you can imagine Disney accumulates quite a lot of stuff in Lost Property every single day. Once the cameras, phones, clothing, designer bags, and sunglasses have been stored for the allocated time, they are then sold to cast members in a special store. Don’t worry, all the money received is donated back to charity.

This is definitely one the most bizarre things that I had to do when I worked at Disney. The company is so strict with about policy that I’ve never been able to revert back to doing this particular gesture the way I used to. All because our founder Walt didn’t like the way people usually do it…

18. You Are Not Allowed To Point With Just One Finger 

One of Disney’s magic rules is that you should never point with just one finger. Firstly, in many cultures, it is considered rude, and secondly, Walt apparently hated it. Instead, you must guide guests with the index finger accompanied by the middle finger (known as the “Disney Point”) or use an open palm.

Aside from the incredible appearance of Disney World, another one of its most distinguishing features is the amazing way it smells. Have you ever wondered how it’s kept smelling so good, despite being slap bang in the middle of Orlando’s humid climate? It’s all thanks to these special devices…

19. The Secret Of Smells

There’s a reason why Disney parks smell so God damn good (toilets aside). This is because the parks pump pleasant smells around them using things known by cast members as “smellitizers”. Not only do they help mask the smell of the all the trash, but they also pump out certain smells to fit in with the atmosphere of each “land” – such as a salty sea breeze near the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

NEXT: But not everywhere in Disney World smells amazing…

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