Maintaining an image as the happiest place on Earth is a mammoth task, and crafting a wholesome and immersive experience can mean the mouse can be a harsh taskmaster.
Nobody knows this better than the Disney cast members who paste on their smiles and face the searing summer heat in fur costumes so paying guests can have a magical day.
One former employee has spoken out about her experiences behind-the-scenes at Disney World, Florida to give us all a sneak peek behind the curtain and below are some of her most interesting revelations:
10. Tireless Tunes
One of the wonderful things about Disney is how utterly immersive the experience is... Unless you happen to be a cast member working on the 'It's a Small World' ride.
The music in Disney World (and other parks ruled by the mouse) never shuts off, even when all the guests have left and the janitor is scrubbing the floors. Cast members report dreaming about the movies that the music piped into their area relates to and try to move stores or areas as much as possible to escape the relentless music.
9. Dressing in the Past
Everyone knows that the Disney dress code is pretty draconian and old fashioned, but the clothes themselves are also made in sizes from decades ago.
Disney World Cast Members costumes are created in sizing from when the park first opened in the '70s and run way smaller than modern day clothes. Cast members report that having to go up at least two sizes is common and that if you are too big or tall, you probably won't even be able to squeeze into the patented Disney look, no matter how hard you try.
8. Sneaky Snaps Forbidden
If you happen to be a cast member and want a picture of yourself all dolled up as Ariel, you better get a friend to come to the park to take it. Backstage photos are strictly forbidden by the mighty mouse because they destroy the Disney magic.
Nobody wants to see Ariel in a grey, artificially lit underground cafeteria as opposed to her colorful grotto and taking pictures backstage can be treated as a fireable offense.
7. We'll Be Watching You
Disney parks are overbrimming with security guards who are known for their geniality as well as their professionalism, but there are a lot more people watching you than you think.
There are swarms of plainly clothed security watching you enjoy the magic, but the eagle eyed can identify them through their earpieces.
If you get caught swigging from a hip flask, it's best to just hand over the sweet nectar as opposed to trying to outwit these guys. Screeners looking out for covert items and have coworkers stationed at strategic points in front of them so they can walk right up to you and demand you hand over the covert goods. There's no tolerance for illicit activity in the happiest place on Earth.
6. Uniform Apartheid
For cast members, the entire Disney park is a glistening stage, but this comes with restrictions as well as perks.
You will never see a Disney employee out of their zone because it's jarring to see someone in a Frontier Land uniform in Fantasy Land so cast members' movements are strictly restricted.
If you want to have lunch with your buddy in another zone, you'll have to utilize the legendary underground tunnel system and meet in a private area out of sight because your uniforms can never be seen together.
5. Tunnels of Torment
Speaking of the tunnel system, these subterranean superhighways are reportedly not pleasant. Despite best efforts to keep them clean and tidy, multiple cast members have revealed that the staff tunnels at Disney World can get repressively hot and absolutely reek to boot.
The colossal amount of waste generated by revelers all goes down here and the mountains of fast food wrappers, soiled diapers and other unsavory items generate an almighty stench that is marinated in the hot Florida sun. Yum!
On a brighter note, the staff canteen is down here and a burger costs less than a quarter of the price the public coughs up.
4. Saved By the Smellitizers
Guests can't smell the rubbish at Disney Parks thanks to the liberal use of 'smellitizers,' devices that pump out appealing aromas that are situated all around the parks.
Former cast members have revealed that some of the signature scents are baking cookies and vanilla around “Main Street, U.S.A.,” salty sea air around the “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride, fresh citrus on “Soarin’,” and burning lumber near “Spaceship Earth.”
3. One of a Kind
Despite the colossal size of Disney Parks, you will never see more than one of each character, simply because they are one of a kind.
This makes hunting out your favorite characters a mammoth task, but the military precision of Disney operations means that a cast member can show you the way. Every cast member is issued a guide each day that details character showings and contains phone numbers so they can track down your favorites.
If Snow White happens to be taking a walk in The Animal Kingdom to escape the strains of The Magical Kingdom, you should be able to obtain the information to track her down.
2. Mighty Mouse
The gold Mickey Mouse at the entrance to Hollywood Studios might give a jaunty wave to visitors, but he also has a more dangerous secret.
One of Mickey's ears is made of copper so he doubles as a lightening rod when storms roll in. Now that I'd like to see!
1. Cinderella's Secret Suite
Although it isn't really a secret, cast members have verified that there really is a private suite inside Cinderella's castle at Disney World.
Situated on the 4th floor, this suite was designed for Walt Disney and his family to stay in while they visited the park, but unfortunately he died before it was completed.
This space is only available for competition winners during certain promotions, but cast member photos can give the curious a sneaky glimpse inside the most exclusive Disney hotel room.
(Source: Pop Sugar)