The Quick Report

25 Crazy Facts About Working at Disney Theme Parks

Disney theme parks are a place of magic, and as such, have their illusions. So, behind the scenes, there are many actual secrets. These include codes, rules, locations, goings-on, and more the public isn’t aware of… Until now. You’ll never see a Disney park the same way again!

25. A Secret Suite at Cinderella’s Castle

Orlando, Florida. August 04, 2020. People walking on Main Street at Magic Kingdom (340)
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In Cinderella’s castle at Disney World, there’s a secret suite. It’s where Walt and his family used to stay when they visited. Celebrities have stayed there too. Now, winners of various Disney contests are rewarded with a stay in this hideaway. It’s definitely something magical. For couples who love Disney, it could be the perfect honeymoon spot… if you can afford it!

24. What “Have a Disney Day” Really Means… It’s Not Good

Minnie Mouse
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Kind of how “bless your heart” in the South can sometimes really mean something very different … When you hear a cast member say, “Have a Disney Day,” they might be disguising how they really feel. Someone’s potentially really ticked them off. Cast members undoubtedly invented this phrase as a way to vent politely. Hopefully, they’re not saying it to you!

23. The Cast Members’ Cafeteria Is Like Mean Girls

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Former Disney cast members spill the tea in online forums all the time. The gossip is that, behind the scenes, things get pretty tense between cast members, and rifts develop. One cast member said the cafeteria for the cast members was often straight out of the lunchroom scene from the film Mean Girls with its cafeteria tribes.

22. Secret Disney Menu

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For diners “in the know” at Disney, the theme park offers several items visitors can order that aren’t listed on any menu. This “secret” menu includes items such as Ice Cream Nachos or a Mac ‘n’ Cheese Bread Bowl, as well as other Disney treats. A quick Internet search will even provide you with some knockoff recipes.

21. Cats Are Released at Night to Eliminate Rodents

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Sometimes, the best defense against pests is what nature itself has designed. Disney defaults to nature when it comes to keeping rodents and other unwanted pests under control at the theme park. A clowder of stray, feral cats is unleashed to roam the park at night to hunt for prey.

20. A Members-Only Secret Club

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In New Orleans Square lies an ultra-exclusive members-only bar called Club 33. Many celebrities are members, with Jack Nicholson and Tom Hanks rumored among them. Membership carries a hefty last-known price tag of $35,000 per year. Besides club admission, it also includes behind-the-scenes tours, fast passes to all attractions, and a private car on the Disney railroad.

19. There Are Tunnels Below Disney World

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There’s a whole hidden world beneath Disney World. A myriad of tunnels connects different parts of the theme park, allowing cast members to travel around unseen. It’s one more way that Disney maintains its illusions and magic. Cast members say the tunnels are often hot, smelly, and sometimes full of trash.

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18. Spotters Look Out for Sneaked-In Alcohol

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Security guards and other spotters are always on the lookout for people who sneak alcohol into the park. If they spot someone spiking their beverage from a flask or bottle, they will quickly be apprehended. At certain parks like EPCOT in Disney World, visitors are allowed to purchase adult beverages and enjoy them on-site.

17. It’s Illegal to Take Pictures in Disney’s Secret Bathrooms

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Disney has secret bathrooms, and they have a hard and fast rule – no photos are allowed inside them. This is illegal in the eyes of the park, and doing so will get you banned for 30 days. Actress Rebel Wilson found out the hard way after she took a photo in a secret bathroom at Disneyland and was banned.

16. Disney Sells Lost Items to Staff

Lost and Found Box
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When a guest leaves something behind at Disney World, it is stored for a certain length of time. If unclaimed past this limit, Disney offers cast members the first opportunity to buy in a special store. Undoubtedly, this includes a lot of cool things like electronic devices, sunglasses, clothing, and more. All of the profits are donated to charity.

15. Employees Can’t Talk About Work on Social Media

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One of the biggest no-nos for Disney cast members is discussing their jobs on social media. They can chat on social media all they want, just not about Disney. As cast members, Disney employees are responsible for keeping the magic alive for the theme park’s guests. Disney doesn’t want to see this ruined with tell-all posts.

14. Smellitizers

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Ever wonder why certain parts of Disney smell a certain way? It’s because odors have a way of sticking in memory. Disney uses special machines called Smellitizers to distribute scents throughout the park. For example, fresh baked cookies on Main Street and other delicious aromas. This tactic makes you want to buy cookies and other treats.

13. Super-Strict Appearance Requirements for Cast Members

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Disney has strict rules for the appearance of its employees. When not in costume, they must wear business casual attire. No one can have visible tattoos or piercings. Long hair must be neatly pulled back, while men can’t have long hair at all. No shaved eyebrows. No patchy beards. Don’t frown, slouch, chew gum, smoke, or eat in public.

12. How Disney World Keeps Mosquitoes Away

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One thing that’s inescapable in Florida is mosquitoes. But magically, Disney World seems to keep swarms of these biting pests away. They do so with something they call the “Mosquito Surveillance Program.” Disney uses carbon dioxide traps to catch mosquitoes. A team analyzes the insects and decides how best to control their population. Whatever they’re doing – it works.

11. The Weird Two-Finger Rule for Employees

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One of Walt Disney’s pet peeves was people making hand signals or gesturing using only one finger. Employees are never allowed to use a single finger. The two-finger rule for pointing when guiding guests was established. An open palm is acceptable, too. This factoid was featured in the 2013 movie Saving Mr. Banks, with Tom Hanks playing the role of Walt Disney.

10. Hidden Mickeys and Secret Symbols

Tourists walk past a statue of Mickey Mouse at the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort in Hong Kong, China, 10 July 2011
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Secret symbols abound all around Disney theme parks. One of the most frequently occurring are hidden Mickey Mouse heads. This fact has turned it into something of an Easter egg hunt for hard-core Disney fans who search the park to spot these secret symbols. There are even online guides for finding all the hidden Mickeys.

9. When the Music Stops at Disney, Pay Attention!

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Many people aren’t aware that the music at Disney never stops. Even when the park is closed, music keeps playing. So, if you do hear the music stop — pay attention! Something crucial is about to be said. One situation that makes Disney stop the music is to alert everyone about a lost child.

8. The Jungle Cruise Water Is Purposely Colored Green

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Disney is all about ensuring visitors are enraptured in the moment and lost in the magical world. Even its fantasy worlds feel realistic. Clean water isn’t green. Therefore, on its Jungle Cruise, Disney purposely added green coloring to the water. This helps create the illusion for visitors that they’re actually on a naturally algae-tinted jungle river.

7. Code V

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At Disney, you might overhear an employee utter the phrase “Code V.” That’s because cast members aren’t allowed to say the word “vomit.” This phrase is used if a guest upchucks during a ride. Employees avoid the word vomit to avoid making any other guests sick. Such accidental spills are cleaned up quite promptly.

6. Disney Princesses Have Size Limits

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Anyone desiring to take on the role of a princess at one of Disney’s theme parks has to be a certain size. Princesses must be between 5’4″ and 5’8″ tall. That’s only a half-inch taller than the average height for a 20-year-old American female of 5′-3.5″, according to the CDC. 

5. Cast Members Might Vomit in Their Costumes to Maintain the Magic

Orlando, USA - July 25th, 2023: The Donald and Daisy Duck characters in a show in front of the Cinderella castle in Magic Kingdom in Disney World.
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Cast members are not allowed to take off their costume heads when they’re on the clock — ever. They aren’t allowed to break the magic. Even if they’re feeling faint or sick and about to vomit. Yes, that means if they can’t get somewhere fast enough, they’re probably throwing up inside their costumes.

4. All Disney Workers Are “Cast Members” Not “Employees”

Walt Disney cartoon characters perform at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Shanghai Disney Resort in Shanghai, China, 8 April 2011
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Everything at Disney is considered a show, therefore, everyone who works there must always be “in character.” Cast members can never break character. It’s considered part of the magic. Instead of calling workers “employees,” they are referred to as “cast members.” Even if your job is a janitor, you’re still a “cast member.”

3. Name Swapping

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Walt Disney hated being called “Mr. Disney,” insisting everyone call him Walt. This prompted the rule that all cast members have their first names on their nametags. However, they don’t allow any two cast members to have the same name. If your first name is already taken, you have to use a different variation of it or your middle name.

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2. Disney Cast Has to Share Underwear

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Well, at least they did up until 2001. Many of the costumes that cast members wear require special undergarments. These were shared among employees. These include tights, jockstraps, bike shorts, and more. Employees have claimed these items weren’t always clean when issued. Some alleged they contracted lice or scabies from Disney-issued underwear. Eww.

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1. The Largest Number of Employees in the World

Disney’s theme parks around the world employ hundreds of thousands of people. At Florida’s Walt Disney World alone, there are reportedly over 70,000 cast members. The majority of them live in Disney-owned accommodations. That’s pretty much enough to create a city — one that’s made up entirely of Disney employees.

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