10 Dress Code Rules Every Disney Employee Must Follow
No matter what your role, when you work at Disney, you’re always on stage.
Deodorant is not optional
Seems like common sense that wearing a heavy Buzz Lightyear suit in the hot sun is not the time to skimp on deodorant or antiperspirant. But it’s not just character-based Disney employees that are mandated to slap on some deo—they all are. As noted in the Disney’s employee ‘bible’ aptly called The Disney Look, “Due to close contact with Guests and fellow Cast Members the use of an antiperspirant or deodorant is required.”
Regular bathing and frequent hand washing are not left to common sense either and clearly mandated in the look book. And forget about dousing yourself in cologne or perfume; that’s verboten, too.
This personal hygiene mandate may have materialized back in the 1960s. David Koenig, author of five books about Disney told the New York Post that the inside of costumes could reach a whopping 130 degrees. Fortunately, those costumes are better ventilated now than they used to be! (Find out which 15 items are banned from Disney parks.)
A peek underneath
The Disney Look book is picky about what you’re wearing, not only on the outside, but all the way down to your undergarments. If it’s visible beneath “a light-colored costume or business attire,” it’s a no-no.
Even crewnecks have rules when it comes to working for Mickey and crew. “Costumed Cast Members may wear a solid white crewneck or V-neck undershirt under costumes with a traditional neckline. Undershirts should be only minimally visible at the neckline and should not extend past the sleeves. Non-costumed Cast Members may wear any solid color undershirt that is complementary to the outfit.”
You might think these rules are strict, but Disney has come a long way with its rules around boxers and briefs. In the past, Disney characters walking around the park had to wear costumes that included park-owned underwear. Although they were supposedly washed, workers complained about getting lice and scabies (Yikes!). The Teamsters union had to step in to get personal undies the Disney approval.
Don’t hide behind sunglasses
At Disney, looking someone in the eye is a must. In fact, The Disney Look emphatically states, “Sunglasses are a block to interpersonal communication with Guests and should be avoided if possible. Only sunglasses that allow your eyes to be seen are permitted. No mirrored or dark, opaque lenses are allowed.” You can also leave those flashy frames at home. Both sunglasses and eyeglasses “should not detract from the costume or contradict the theme of the show.”
No rainbow-colored nails
You might want to forego the manicure if you can’t live without a dark or bright shade. That’s because Disney not only stipulates that fingernails be clean, but also requires nail polish should be a neutral shade. That means no goth-looking black, metallic gold or silver, multicolored, red, or neon. Ditto for nail art as “charms or decals on fingernails are not permitted,” according to The Disney Look.
Do as I say, not as I do
Walt Disney may have sported his own mustache, but one of his many regulations for park employees was no facial hair allowed. In fact, it wasn’t until 2000 that Disney became a little more lenient in the facial fuzz department. Rules now state, “For all male Cast Members a fully grown in, well-maintained mustache, beard, or goatee is permitted unless otherwise restricted by regulatory codes and standards. Facial hair must be neatly trimmed and may not present an unkempt appearance. Extreme styles are prohibited.”
Lose the tat for the Cinderella gown
You might have guessed this, but tattoos, piercings, and any other noticeable body modification aren’t really in line with the clean cut image of Disney. If you want to work the park, you’ll need to steer clear of “visible tattoos.” You’ll also need to avoid “brands, body piercing (other than traditional ear-piercing for females), tongue piercing or splitting, tooth filing, earlobe expansion, and disfiguring skin implants.” Ladies are the exception when it comes to traditional piercings; one earring in each ear, only worn on the bottom of the earlobe, is allowed.
Learn more about what it’s like to work as a Disney character, straight from a woman who played Alice from Alice in Wonderland.
Avoid hair-raising hair styles
In line with other Disney etiquette protocol, one’s hair and/or hairstyle shouldn’t stand out. The Disney Look touts classic, simple hair styling whether it’s a classic up-do or shoulder-length cut. Perhaps as a nod to Pocahontas or Rapunzel, braided hairstyles are acceptable at Disney as long as you lose the embellishments since “no beads or ornamentation are permitted.” Hair color needs to look natural as well, so that purple hair streak will have to go.
Spare the Spandex
Even the fabric you choose to wear has a time and place, according to The Disney Look. In other words, save the Spandex for yoga. If it’s gauze, metallic and sheer, think curtains, not Disney—and avoid clinging knits and denim. Although you might be a fan of that large Gucci logo, Disney is not. Nor are they fond of patterns that contain large graphics or seem more like casual wear.
Check the bling at the park entrance
When it comes to accessorizing, simple and classic jewelry pieces are Disney’s standard. Your basic “rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, lapel pins, and a business-style wristwatch” make the cut, though it’s important to note, that’s only one ring per hand, not counting a wedding band or set. However, adorning one’s ankles and toes with bling are a Disney fashion faux-pas. Both ankle bracelets and toe rings can’t be worn.
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Think Disney with every move
Would Aladdin chew gum while flying on his magic carpet? Would Prince Charming ever be caught wearing a frown on his face? That may be OK if you’re playing the part of Snow White‘s Grumpy, but not a charming prince. That’s why one of the very first things The Disney Look reinforces is that, “No matter where you work or what your role is, anytime you are in a public area, you are onstage.” Stage presence is everywhere and everything at Disney. That’s why whether you’re a pooper-scooper, food clerk, or Mickey himself, every employee at Disney is referred to as a Cast Member.
Next, find out the 23 secrets Disney employees won’t tell you.