Disneyland is supposed to be the Happiest Place on Earth. But what really happens behind the scenes of the world's most popular amusement park? As it turns out: a whole lot they don't want us to know about. From Disney's dirty little secrets to tourist nightmares, here are the strangest moments from backstage at Disney.
Picked up a shift in Magic Kingdom one rainy afternoon. A lady approached me and asked if I could “close the dome.” I said "Excuse me?" Her reply was stunningly dumb. "It's raining! Close the dome so we don't get wet!" I had to explain to her, a grown woman, that there isn't a giant dome that covers Magic Kingdom to prevent it from getting wet from the rain.
2. The Magic Is Gone
I was working in the kitchen at Cinderella's castle when this family of four came in for their dinner. About halfway through the dinner, the husband politely stands up and taps his glass for attention. His speech made my blood run cold. He announced that his wife of 15 years has been cheating on him for over a year. The entire place stood still in shock. He motioned for his kids, paid the waitress, and left the wife crying at the table.
3. Bilingual Blunder
I was in line at Disneyland California and a group of Japanese teenage tourists were ahead of me in line. I speak Japanese, so I could understand that they were making fun of Americans. They were mostly saying things to the effect of "On TV they seem so cool, but all of these Americans are sooo fat and ugly." They were laughing and even occasionally pointing at people.
I was just staying quiet, but then one of the cast members who evidently also spoke Japanese walked up to them and told them in perfect Japanese: "You guys should really be careful, most Americans can speak Japanese." They all froze up and looked around at people, many of whom were giving them dirty looks. I nodded at them like I was backing him up, and they were horrified. They all left the line promptly afterward.
4. Pluto Didn’t Deserve This
A family attacked a Pluto. I'm not talking "got mad at," I'm talking full-on attack. Pushed her into the fountain and broke her arm. I got to dry all of Pluto's costume and clean the head. Later, the girl playing Pluto told me the reason the family did it, and it was ridiculous. Get this: They were angry she had to take her break after they had waited to get a picture.
5. Leave the Baby at Home
I did the Disney College Program for a year and worked Attractions in Tomorrowland. People would do a lot of dumb stuff, but the most bizarre was when I was working at Space Mountain. I was on rotation in a position called "Mountain 3." Basically, I stood by the handicap entry to the ride and helped people get on and took wheelchairs to the exit.
Anyway, it was the middle of summer and really busy when a lady wearing a big Disney hoodie was going through the normal line. I thought it was a little weird to wear a jacket during the summer, but whatever. She then gets to restraint, which is the last check point before the ride begins. At restraint, they just check your lap bars and then press a green button.
While there, the cast members made a horrific discovery. They hear a whine coming from the lady's jacket and found that she was trying to smuggle in her INFANT DAUGHTER on the ride. So he calls me over because I have a radio and we kick her off the ride, call our managers, and get security. She ended up getting blacklisted from Disneyworld.
6. The Elephant in the Room
I was a safari driver at the Kilimanjaro safari attraction in Animal Kingdom. We had this elephant named Willy. Willy was an exhibitionist. I was driving a safari one day, spewing out facts about elephants, when I hear a tiny voice from the back of the truck yell: MOOOOM! HE HAS FIVE LEGS!!! I turn, and sure enough, there's Willy, standing with his five foot long you-know-what just swaying in the Florida breeze. I had to turn my mic off, I was laughing so hard.
7. The World's Worst Slip and Slide
One day, a kid ate a bunch of pasta with marinara and then promptly threw it all up right in front of the entrance to Big Thunder Mountain. It was a huge pile of watery barf, easily 2 feet wide and 3 feet long. So we called custodial and set up a couple of trash cans to do our best to block the area off so people couldn't step in it.
This dude wearing all white (white shirt, shorts, shoes) comes running down the path from the exit of the ride to try and get back into the line as soon as he can. We tried to yell at him to stop running, but it was too late. He thought he would be a super cool guy and jump between the trash cans. He didn't count on there being a river of barf. It went worse than I could've imagined.
He jumps, lands right in the barf, and his legs slip out from under him. He falls/rolls into all the red marinara barf. It took him a few seconds to comprehend what had just happened, but he eventually let out a blood curdling scream. Thankfully, a manager was walking by when all this happened, so my fellow greeter and I didn't have to actually deal with him.
8. Don’t Mess With Piglet
My mom was a costumed character for a couple of years at Disneyland. She was very committed to keeping character, but there was one instance where she broke. Two teens jumped her when she was playing Piglet and started beating her. At first, she just tried to block and defend herself, but at one point she knocked one of the boys to the ground and pinned him.
Considering my Mom's only 4'10" tall and was wearing ~50 lbs. of costume, I consider that fairly impressive. The other kid continued to wail on her until she yelped and cried out. At that point, the two boys stood stock still, shocked. Then one of them, going really pale in the face, yelled out, "Oh no! It's a chick!"
9. Worst. Day. Ever.
Man oh man, have I been waiting for a chance to tell this story. I used to work for Disney. I was a PhotoPass cast member, which meant I got to randomly patrol the park and snap pics of people next to iconic Disney marks. I got to take people’s photos, give them a card, and then they could buy them after their vacation.
It was an awesome job, people loved me, and I got to use the corniest lines to make people smile. So one day I was wandering through the park, and I notice this kid. He wasn’t that old, maybe six or so, and he didn’t appear to be with any of his parents. Thinking he was lost, I walked towards him, when I realized he didn’t look that good.
He had his hand on his stomach and was kind of hunched over and moaning. Now, an upset stomach isn’t that uncommon at Disney (especially when you know what goes on in their kitchens—but that’s another story), so I could kind of sense what was about to happen. I called out for him to wait, but it was too late.
The kid proceeded to try to tug his pants down, when all of a sudden he starts violently pooping. I mean like furious, possessed, massive fire-hose style liquid poop. And he didn’t stay still, either. He started flopping around, doing this weird bucking style dance, trying to avoid the colossal amount of poop spraying every which way out of his pants, and his butt.
I watched in shock. He looked like a sprinkler system. And he just kept pooping, unrelenting. Did I mention this was right in front of Splash Mountain, as well? The kid was putting on a show for every boat that came sliding down the mountain, as the poo kept sliding out of his butt. Eventually the kid stops pooping, and I think everything’s over. It’s not.
The kid’s bawling at this point, and I feel really bad for him. He tries to run away, but slips and falls face-first into a pool of his own poop. He doesn’t get up. I look around, praying there’s another cast member around for backup. There isn’t (probably all ran away, come to think of it). I step towards the kid, wading through his pool of liquid waste.
It smelled AWFUL. I rolled the kid over, just so he wouldn’t drown in his own poop. “You OK?” I ask. He coughs, and then proceeds to puke ALL OVER ME. It’s horrible puke too, all red and foamy. At this point, all my senses are overwhelmed, so I vomit too, and fall into the devil’s brew of liquids on the ground.
I panic, and struggle to get up, and that’s when I hear the click! of my camera wrapped around my neck. And as luck would have it, the kid’s parents came running around the corner to find me laying on top of their son, covered in poo and puke, and freeze. I could only give them a grin before I fainted…At least I’ll always have the poop-stained photograph to remember the moment by.
10. Free Child Care
I was by the Pirates entrance working on getting people to leave their baby buggies in a semi-neat order to either go under the ropes to watch the show or go on Pirates of the Caribbean, when one of my coworkers and I start to hear a baby cry. Yep, these people had left their baby in the buggy and went on pirates without it.
Naturally, we called a lead and we had to stand there and wait for security; 20 minutes later the family showed up and told us that they didn't think the baby could go on the ride. They probably had been doing it all day.
11. I DON'T KNOW WHAT WE'RE YELLING ABOUT
I worked at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street. On Christmas day, Magic Kingdom was PACKED, obviously. The fireworks were about to start and our shop was pretty much empty because everyone was more interested in getting a spot for the fireworks and all. There were a couple people milling around, thought.
A couple groups are walking around, pretending to be looking at the menu or discussing what to buy; not because they were actually going to buy things, but because they were looking for a less crowded spot to hang around in. We kind of turned a blind eye to it because, whatever, they're not bothering anyone right now, not blocking anything, etc.
I was on register chatting with some of my coworkers when in storms this man in a rage. He starts screaming at all us, demanding to see our manager RIGHT NOW. We all stop and stare, having no idea what's going on or what's happening—most of us had just clocked in about an hour ago, so anyone who might have been in earlier and known what this man wanted has left for the night.
We all assumed he was an earlier customer come to flip out on something someone did earlier. Turns out, was much worse than that. He starts screaming at us that it's too crowded, he can't see the castle very well, he doesn't have a good spot for the fireworks, etc. etc. Just really letting it go at us. Then he ended with the best reply ever.
He ends his rant with, "ME AND MY FAMILY ARE RELIGIOUS AND THIS IS UNFAIR." He then turns around and storms right back out, leaving a totally silent, stunned ice cream parlor in his wake. None of us knew what to do and then the "what the heck was that??" chatter broke out. I'm still not sure what he expected the manager of an ice cream parlor to do about his situation.
12. Beauty and the Breaktime Vent
I was cleaning backstage when Belle came by and pulled a cigarette out of her bra while talking smack about annoying brats.
13. Tough Lady
I worked as a security guard, but at Disney, security has a "character" too: look intimidating. One day, there was a domestic case at the parks. The authorities took "Dad" away and I, from that point, was to escort Mom and her little boy to their hotel room, as they were worried that the dad would somehow sneak back into the property.
They were VERY afraid. As I was walking them, I heard the mother talking softly to her son. "You see? Your Mama's strong and we'll be just fine, the two of us. We're going to have a great trip. See that lady?" she gestured to me. "See? She's a girl too, and look how tough she is! I bet they gave us the toughest guard around."
Later, I got called again when they were ready to go to the parks, as they were still worried that Dad would come back to their hotel. I was walking them and the little boy looked up at me and asked me a question that shattered my heart into a million pieces. He said, “Miss? I'm scared. Are you sure we're going to be ok?"
I stopped, knelt down to his level, and said, "You're going to be just fine. Your Mommy's really tough and she was right, I'm tough too, and best of all, my best friend, Mickey Mouse, made sure to tell all the strongest, toughest people in the park to protect you today. He even cast extra magic to make sure you two have a great day, so don't worry. Just have fun!"
He brightened up and gave me a hug and it was the first time I almost cried on the job.
14. He's Lost Control Again
Once I was running the main station on a ride. A couple and their two kids were about to get on the ride, when suddenly one of the kids pooped his swimming trunks and it went EVERYWHERE. The best part was, the mom screamed " NOT AGAIN! " before they left. We had to cycle out the ride and dump the queue on a very busy ride with a 2 hour wait.
15. Welcome to the Jungle
I was a Jungle Cruise skipper during my time at Disneyland, and lots of crazy things happen in the jungle. I wasn't actually in the boat for this one, but I was working the attraction that day. They loaded a boat and sent it out into the jungle, as normal. The skipper got about halfway through the trip—and then disaster struck.
Outof nowhere, this Korean lady started screaming at the poor guy sitting in front of her. The skipper tried to calm the lady down, but she kept screaming and yelling at him in Korean. Then, she full-on attacks him. She lunged at him with claw hands and started scratching at his face and kicking. He was doing his best to fend her off, but she was on him.
When things like this happen, it's what we called a "four shot." The skipper loads 4 rounds into the pistol, fires them all to alert the other boats in the jungle, and hopefully the people on the dock, then radios into the dock that they are having a medical/security issue. Then they just book it as fast as that boat can go back into the dock.
The dock stops loading and just sends everyone ahead of the boat into the jungle so that the emergency boat can come right in. So skipper gets the boat into the dock, and when she rounded the corner, basically half the people on her boat were trying to hold this lady down while the guy she attacked was cowering in the back bleeding.
Luckily, security had arrived and medical shortly after. It took 3 security officers to eventually subdue the lady, while medical services strapped her down to a gurney. After they had her secured, they escorted her backstage behind Tomorrowland to an ambulance. Eventually, they got a translator and tried to talk to her and her family. Their response was utterly disturbing.
It turns out that the lady was schizophrenic and had decided that she wasn't taking her medication that day so she could try to better enjoy the park. She just happened to have an episode in the middle of the jungle, and the poor dude sitting in front of her got all the wrath. I don't remember what the compensation was for everyone on the boat, but I know it was definitely more than a re-do.
16. Game Over, Man
I used to be a cast member at the Disney store in my local mall. We were required to greet everyone within 10 seconds of them entering the store.There used to be a game online that kids would play about getting to the back of the store, grabbing a stuffed animal from the" plush mountain" and getting back up front before getting greeted.
I saw this one teenager run across the store and dive head first into the mountain of stuffed animals...only to quickly find out that they were on risers. He was taken away on a stretcher but ended up being fine. And yes, I greeted him while he was in mid air, so he lost the game.
17. Oh, Bother
I was at Disney with my kids once, and the guy playing Winnie the Pooh must have been drunk or something. He definitely wasn't sober. Security guards were escorting Pooh out, and he kept messing with guests on his way whenever he could. I was looking at my map, just standing there, and Pooh slapped it right out of my hands.
18. Not the Appropriate Response
This just happened on Monday. Every year, Splash Mountain goes down for a major refurbishment. This particular year, the entire complex is down. As the Splash restrooms are the only restrooms near two of the three mountains in the park and are literally at the northwest-most point in the park, telling people they are closed is often cause for confrontation.
During the day, we direct guests to Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn for restrooms. At night, however, during the parades, the closest accessible restroom is the Tangled restrooms by Haunted Mansion. Monday night, during the parade, a mom and her kid come running up to Splash looking for the restrooms. We tell the woman the restrooms are closed and direct her to the Tangled restrooms. Then she freaks out completely.
She starts screaming that her kid isn't going to make it that far and that we need to open the Splash restrooms for her. As the restrooms are currently gutted, this was not happening. She then screams, "Well he's just gonna pee HERE," and leads her kid behind a sign in front of the ride. One of the coordinators threatens to call security and the mom screams "DO IT!" as she's holding her kid's willy in her hand.
Coordinator immediately whips out a radio and calls for security. You could tell the mom didn't think she'd actually go through with her threat; as soon as the kid was finished, the mom picked him up under one arm and literally booked it out of Frontierland towards Liberty Square. All we could do was laugh.
19. Knock Yourself out
A friend of mine told me about a time an acrobat fell off a float, face planted into the ground, and knocked herself out cold. The other characters had to surround her in a circle and dance in sync as they dragged her body away, screening her from the crowds. Somehow, they played it off so well that apparently no one noticed!
20. Eeyore Finds a Valentine
My family went to Disneyworld a few times when I was a kid. My dad was abusive, physically and verbally, and we eventually left him when I was 12. He was awful on vacations by just being miserable in general. It was Valentine's Day and my Mom, Dad, older sister and I were at one of the parks. All of the characters had big red hearts on a string around their necks.
My sister was around 8 and I would have been 6. We had just gotten ice cream and my sister and I were excitedly looking around for our favorite characters. My sister spotted Eeyore (her all-time favorite character), so she turned around excitedly and my Dad, not paying attention, ran right into my sister holding her ice cream cone, and got it on his shirt. His reaction was chilling.
He hauled off and smacked her in the side of the face, knocking off her glasses and making her drop her ice cream cone. She started crying as my Mom started yelling at him, while he defended his actions, saying my sister should have watched where she was going. The next thing we knew, my sobbing sister was being hugged by Eeyore.
It shocked her out of crying, and she was suddenly so incredibly happy because of EEYORE! Eeyore just kept hugging her, while my Mom started taking pictures. Eeyore stopped hugging my sister only to point to his paper heart, then to her. Then he hugged her again. There is a picture somewhere in my Mom’s basement of my sister and I standing with Eeyore, my sister beaming, but also clearly looking like she has been crying.
I still think about that Eeyore to this day and wonder what they were thinking. It was the early 90s when people were largely still expected to mind their business when it came to things like that, and I realize he may not have been able to do anything else anyway, but I appreciate his gesture nonetheless. Thanks, Eeyore.
21. Magical Tragedy
A guy in one of my classes works on the monorail. Today, a father brought his 9-yo daughter to the Magical Kingdom and had a complete heart failure on the way into the park.
22. Magic Can’t Comb Everything
When I first started working at WDW I was in the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Cinderella Castle. I was a Fairy Godmother in Training and helped do little girls’ hair, "make-up" and nails. It was easily one of the most fun jobs—plus we got tips! One thing that sticks out is I had a little girl come in and I found two strange lumps in her scalp.
I thought maybe they might be moles, but on further inspection they were two ticks. We have a code for lice ("Pumba"), but I wasn't sure what to call this one. I called a manager over and she pulled the parent aside and explained the situation and that we would be unable to do her daughters hair because of the ticks. The mother's response stunned me.
The mother grabbed her daughter out of the chair, took a Kleenex, and ripped the ticks out of her daughter’s head. Then she handed them to the manager in the Kleenex. We were all kind of in shock, but she got her done.
23. Child's Play
Back in the day, I used to work Space Mountain in Magic Kingdom. You would have your typical stuff to deal with: vomit, food, shoes falling off, etc. One day, we put on a group of kids. One of them was admittedly too small to be on the ride, but we let him on because his bigger sister said she'd hold onto him. We let them go and get back to chatting.
When they finally come back, the boy and his sister are missing. I felt my stomach drop out. Naturally, we just completely lose our minds. We all let a kid too small get on the ride. We could lose our jobs for that. We could go to prison for that. We shut down the ride, tell everyone someone vomited all over the seats, and go looking for this kid and his sister.
We literally had to climb around Space Mountain looking for these two, using the carts as something to hold onto. A huge, huge pain in the butt, by the way. When we finally see them, it's really bad. The boy is facedown on the tracks, dead as far as we could tell. His sister is leaning on a pole connecting to the tracks, looking completely dejected.
Me and two other employees literally just broke down and started crying for a solid 15 seconds or so before the girl bursts out laughing and her apparently-not-dead little brother follows suit. One of the most unbelievable experiences of my life. Worst part was, we couldn't really tell anyone about it because we let a kid on who was too short.
So they basically just messed around, climbed around on a roller coaster, and got away with it. So incredibly dangerous. We were so lucky. To this day, none of us know how those kids got off the coaster. I mean, clearly something malfunctioned; they shouldn't have been able to get out in the first place. But somehow those brats managed to do it without injuring themselves. Mind-blowing and utterly horrifying.
24. Code Pooh
I worked at Club Disney for the brief time it was open. We had secret codes we used on the radio headsets that were coordinated with character names. For instance, Code Baloo meant there was blood that needed to be cleaned up immediately. One day, I was taking a stroll around the club to check on things when I spotted a small boy, about two years old, taking a massive dump right in the middle of the play area.
He saw me, started to cry, and ran away with no clothing on the lower half of his body. I got on the radio and couldn’t think of what to say, as we hadn't discussed a code for "human poop in the play area and a naked kid running around." So I just called, "I have a Code Pooh situation in the play area and Piglet's on the loose."
25. Foot in Mouth
More than ten years ago, my friend was a Face Character at Disneyland and told me about her friend who played Goofy. One day, Goofy’s shift was over, and he was trying to walk to the back area to cool off when a very angry mom started yelling at him because he “ignored her son.” In reality, he couldn’t see them past his costume as he was turning to walk away.
The lady then called him racist and said that Goofy was ignoring them because they were black. Goofy turned around to greet the child and signed his autograph book. He then turned to the mom and gave her the perfect response. He slipped up his sleeve to quickly point at his own black skin underneath the costume before pulling his sleeve down and walking away.
26. Mistaken Identity
Every year in June, there's a week of gay-friendly activities in Orlando that culminates in "Gay Day," where a bunch of gay people go to the Magic Kingdom wearing red. One year, there was a very unfortunate coincidence. Gay Day in the park that year happened to coincide with a Marine corps reunion in the park. The marines were also wearing traditional Marine corps red that day. There were many awkward moments that day.
27. Working for the Mouse
Some college friends and I went to Disneyland right after graduation. We were at breakfast at the Disneyland Hotel, where characters come around and mingle during dining. We were all complaining about our jobs and industry when Cinderella came up and asked us, “How are you all doing this lovely morning?” One of my friends told her that we were complaining about our jobs and bosses.
Cinderella looked left, looked right, and then said quietly without moving her lips, “You should try working for the Mouse.” She somehow didn’t stop her wide Cinderella smile the whole time.
28. Wait Your Turn
There is a lot of "intimacy" in the Disney bathrooms. Had a friend working Custodial and cleaning a men's restroom when two men were obviously going at it in a very full bathroom during the middle of the afternoon. Disney cast members are not allowed to go in and stop them or otherwise cause a scene, so he had to wait until they were done. In walks a man with his son, who is very mad that he can't use that stall, screaming, "My son needs to go poopie!"
29. Fairy Tale
A co-worker of mine was the flying Tinkerbell during “Fantasmic,” one of the shows at the park. At the time, Tinkerbell as a character was never portrayed by anyone in a close-up fashion; it was only portrayed through the show, and therefore always a long-distance portrayal. One day, my co-worker was walking around Downtown Disney, in regular clothes, just burning time before she had to go backstage to get harnessed up.
A family was nearby, and my co-worker overheard the daughter say that she had collected nearly every character’s autograph except a couple. The one she really wanted but didn’t have was Tinkerbell’s, but because no one at the time portrayed Tinkerbell in a meet-able fashion, it would be impossible for the little girl to get it. So my friend came up with the most ingenious plan.
Now, every cast member who becomes a character goes through autograph school, no matter what role they have, or how often they have to face guests in a close manner. This rule includes Tinkerbell. So, my friend explained who she was to the parents, and asked them to distract the little girl for a few seconds. When the little girl looked away, she signed the autograph book without the little girl seeing and gave it back.
The parents then exclaimed, “Wow!!! Tinkerbell heard you wanted her autograph! She came and gave you this, and then just flew away!!!” The little girl was so star-struck.
30. One of Us
One of the traditions for our college sorority back in the 80s was that the day after initiation, all the new members and their “big sisters” would go to Disneyland, sporting their brand new letters. One of the costumed characters in the parade kept throwing weird hand motions to us. We thought they were gang signs or something, and we were so confused. When we found out the truth, we were delighted.
It turns out it was one of our sisters who had to work that day! She was trying to do our sorority’s hand symbol, but with her hands in oversized furry gloves, it didn’t show up so well.
31. Flawed Logic
I once saw a kid purposely barf all over Pluto's paws, much to the laughter of his friends, and then tell Pluto to "lick it up.” Pluto walked over to a nearby security guard and pointedly started cursing out the kid. Of course, the kid and his friends were thrown out of the park, but the kicker was what the kid said when security was escorting them out.
The guard asked what he hoped to accomplish with something so disgusting. The boy explained, "Pluto's a dog and dogs eat vomit! Figured he'd lick it clean."
32. Full of Hot Air
Once, my boyfriend and I went to a haunted house and there was a creepy character following us every time we turned around. Eventually, my boyfriend said, "I farted there." The guy stared and us and, still in character, replied: "I like farts."
33. I'm Trapped in a Closet
My sister used to work at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Tom Cruise brought his daughter there like the day after he and Katie Holmes got divorced. It was totally a sorry-your-parents-are-getting-divorced trip to Disney World. The thing is, though, that since he's a mega-celebrity, he obviously can't be hanging around in public, especially a small area like that store. Their solution was hilarious.
So they ushered him, the daughter, and my sister into a closet and she did the makeover in there. My sister was trapped in the closet with Tom Cruise. I love saying that!
34. It’s Tough Being Tink
When I lived in Orlando, I knew a woman that played Tinkerbell. She described the audition to me once, and it's pretty intense. First, you have to be incredibly tiny and light because your job involves you riding a zip line each evening from the top of Cinderella's Castle to the top of a restaurant in Tomorrowland, and if you're heavy, things could get...messy.
The final part of the audition involves being suspended from a hundred-foot crane for like 2 hours to ensure that you aren't afraid of heights. The girls that get this far tend to drop like flies at that stage, many of them sobbing after about 20 minutes. I had a lot of friends who worked there, many of them characters, and it was apparently a really tough job.
35. Wardrobe Malfunction
My best friend is a very popular face character and she’s told me some hilarious stories. One time, she nearly broke character was when she was doing a meet and greet, a young boy came in who got very overexcited and yanked her wig off. They put hundreds of bobby pins in her hair to keep the wigs on, so you can imagine the pain of having it torn off.
She had to restrain herself SO hard to not scream out, but she did it! Unfortunately, the wig was hanging off her head, making her character look terrifying, and everyone in the room just froze. The little boy started crying and had to be rushed from the room. They ended up closing her room up so she could get fixed, but she said it was a pretty crazy moment.
Apparently, the parents were so embarrassed that they didn’t even say anything to her and just bolted from the room with the boy.
36. You’re Pulling My Limb
My dad worked at Disneyland and one of his jobs was a diver on Jungle Cruise. Basically, they'd swim along the boat path and clear debris/check for any issues. He told me that one time, among the many strange objects they would find in the water, he found someone's leg. Not a real leg mind you, a prosthetic. It was never claimed either. How someone could lose their fake leg AND not report it is beyond me.
37. The Ol’ Apple Juice
I once saw Jack Sparrow talking to a kid when, all of a sudden, the kid started puking everywhere. Without missing a beat, Jack Sparrow said, "Too much of the ol' apple juice eh? Been there myself! Even ran out once!" All the while, the kid was just projectile vomiting everywhere. I have no idea how he kept his cool.
38. Up Close and Personal
I heard of one performer who had to escape and get a restraining order after one of her fans got a full back tattoo of her, and came to show her—but that wasn’t even the worst part. The tattoo was not of her in costume.
39. Splitting Hairs
When I worked there at a restaurant. I was totally aware of the Disney Look policy. I tried to grow out my moustache there anyway. After two weeks, a manager saw my half-grown moustache and brought me offstage and back into their office, reminded me about the Disney Look, pulled a razor out of the cabinet, and told me to go to the bathroom backstage and shave it off.
My neighbor worked at Disney for years. One day, while he was stocking shelves in a gift shop, he came around the corner and nearly ran into none other than Paul and Linda McCartney. Before he could stop himself, he loudly exclaimed, "OH MY GOD! It's the McCartneys!" He immediately realized how big of a breach of Disney "cast member" etiquette he had committed and turned 12 shades of red.
But before anything bad could happen, Paul and Linda just smiled and laughed and introduced themselves. Apparently they were wonderfully laid back about such things and quite used to surprised reactions when people recognized them in public. He didn't get into any trouble—his boss saw the whole episode and thought it was hilarious.
41. Lovely Baby You Have There...Oh
My friend used to play Peter Pan. They were doing a character breakfast and a couple had a baby wrapped up in a blanket. They ask if they can pose with the baby and Peter Pan. My friend goes to take the photo and makes a shocking discovery. THE BABY IS A DOLL. They brought a doll to Disney and were those whack-job kind of people who treated it like a human. My friend just had to play along as if it were a real kid.
42. Stopped by the Stars
Shaq took a dump backstage and clogged the toilet. It was all we talked about for a week.
43. Unwanted Parting Gifts
I started working at the Little Mermaid ride in The Magic Kingdom about a couple weeks after it opened. I worked there for 7 months as part of the college internship thing. It was a ton of fun and I'll never need to go to Disney World again because I've been there so many times. Anyway, the Little Mermaid ride actually broke multiple park records on attendance and speed of getting people through the line.
That did not stop huge lines from appearing if people came in big enough crowds. Seriously, if you see a Brazilian tour group at Disneyworld, just go a different direction. You can look at any cast member's face and see the rancor they harbor. One particularly hot and crowded day, I went on break and was walking to the secret underground Subway.
On my way there, I walk through the backstage side of all of the Little Mermaid ride. There are actually a few passages to the back, but they are pretty boring, and you'll typically be seen pretty quickly. The problem is that those passages are still easily accessible and a large amount of guests actually think they are bathrooms.
As I walked past one of those doorways, I noticed a bit of a weird stain on the wall. I'm got closer and discovered a giant poop stain on the wall that lead to the ground with a huge pile of human poop. Like an adult had to have done this because of both the height of the stain and the sheer size of it. Either way, y'all guests can be nasty.
44. Well, That Was Unexpected
I once had a lady who was waiting in line ask me if it was okay if her son went to the bathroom. I said sure, thinking she was going to take him. NOPE. This boy, who had to be close to 10 years old, pulled down his pants and started peeing in line. I did not know how to react. I just stood there and watched astonished.
45. Crocodile Tears
On our family trip to Disney World. I was leaning over a railing looking down into some water. A few unreachable feet below I spot a tiny (1.5ft to 2ft) alligator. Being from Africa and relatively unfazed with a slightly sharp swimming lizard, I thought nothing of it. I called my mother over and said "look an alligator! How cool." This was a huge mistake.
Not two seconds later (ears everywhere man) a staff member was looking over the railing whispering on the radio. All heck broke loose in the most hushed, professional way ever. We were escorted away on a golf cart and a huge section of the park was cordoned off. We were taken to a room where they were very apologetic for our negative experience and offered us a free day, VIP, the works.
So we said very a big thank you and took what was offered. In the future, I will be smuggling other small harmless creatures in for free stuff. I also got stuck on the Big Thunder Mountain ride in Paris... that was handled in a much more French way: "Je suis désolé," as they blow smoke in my face. I mean, seriously.
46. Winnie the Potty Mouth
I wasn't a character, but I was a cast member. I was walking from backstage into the park. The transitional areas are S-shaped, to keep people from peeking in. I was pushing a dolly/hand-cart that had two long supports sticking out of the end. As I was going through, Winnie the Pooh was walking in from the other side, invisible behind the curve—but it was too late.
I accidentally hit him square in the leg with the cart! Hearing Winnie the Pooh drop the F-word was priceless.
47. Waiting for Her Pumpkin
My sister was an intern there, and she said the most disenchanting thing for her was standing there watching Cinderella smoke a cigarette in her underwear.
48. Captain Jack’s Playlist
One time my brother and I got stuck inside the Pirates of the Caribbean water ride for about 20 minutes. Imagine being stuck there we are listening to "Yohoyoho the pirate's life for me" on repeat. Was about 15 minutes in that my brother and I inside the ride angrily screamed at the top of our lungs, "At least turn off the music!!" They did.
49. Baloo’s Blunder
While not a character myself, I did have to work the parade route from time to time, making sure kids didn't dart out in front of floats and such. "Friends of characters," as we were called, would often be playful with the characters along the parade route by winking, making silly faces, etc. One day, Baloo came up to me mid-dance and proceeded to bow to me.
Baloo also happened to be wearing some sort of crown/hat thing with a star on the top. Baloo evidently wasn't aware of how tall that actually made him, because he managed to smack me right in the mouth with that star, cutting it open and giving me a fat lip. I’m fairly certain I heard Baloo audibly gasp when they stood upright again, and he had his paws to his mouth.
We both immediately stopped dancing, and he just stared at me as I bled. He tried to grab my hands and pull me to him, but his handler came and ushered him along. Oops.
50. A Good Reason?
Many years ago, a friend of a friend worked as one of the characters at one of the Disney Hotels. One day, he accidentally fell into the pool, and in desperation took his head off to save himself. His boss's reaction was ice cold. He was fired immediately for going out of character. Apparently, they expect the workers’ instinct for survival to be less important than the order to stay in character.
51. VERY NICE
It must have been in 2008, and I went to Disneyland with my friend. Borat was the hottest movie ever at the time, and I had happened to stumble on a shirt that had the outline of Kazakhstan and the words "Spring Break Kazakhstan! It's nice!" I wore the shirt in the park. We ended up at some photo opportunity with Pluto, and he made a big fuss about my shirt, without saying anything, of course, just acting excited.
When the photographer said, "Say cheese!" the guy in the Pluto costume yelled, "VERY NICE!!" That was a funny and unexpected moment of broken character.
52. In Space, No One Can Hear You Eat
I used to work in Epcot in Future World and if I had a street shift, I would get Hub 2 aka Spaceship Earth. During 7-hour shift, I would have at least three or two Code V or "popcorn spills." Which is when people would throw up on the ride. I used to hate cleaning up Code V's on Mission Space. Why do people vomit so much?
53. That Never Would Have Happened to Ripley
These things either happened directly in front of me, or to one of my co-workers. So, at the Alien scene, there's a point where the alien comes down from the ceiling and strikes at the guests. It's about 6 feet above their heads, strikes two or three times, then creeps back into the darkness above. One day, everything went horribly wrong.
The alien comes OFF of its track and flies directly into the lap of one of the guests. He gets a good smack on the face, and everyone around him is freaking terrified. As was policy, before they could run around screaming about Disney rides, the guests were ushered into a room full of guest services people, who showered with gifts and refunds and free tickets and all sorts.
The best part was, the man who was directly hit by the alien—all he asked for was the alien. He wanted it for his collection. According to rumor, he was given the alien, and sent happily on his way while they installed the spare one.
54. We Interrupt Your Fantasy for This Important Message
If you hear an announcement over the park wide sound system looking for a specific person, it is something very important. Announcements like that have a chain of approval before Disney will allow the "magic" illusion to be broken. But it's not always bad news like informing families of a death. I've done several park announcements to find someone to inform them an organ donation was matched, a medical courier was on their way to Orlando, and they needed to get to the hospital ASAP.
55. It's Probably for a Creepy Shrine
A friend of mine used to work at Disneyland and she told me this lady with a serious obsession with Alice would pretty much go everyday to Disneyland dressed up like her. It was super creepy, but it was about to get so much worse. Apparently one day she decided she needed a piece of Alice for herself and actually cut off a piece of hair from the actress at the park.
56. The Mile-Long Club
Monorail pilot here. People bump uglies on the Epcot monorail at night a lot and act like we don't know. We always know.
57. Stop, Chomp, and Run
I briefly trained for Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney World. At one point on the ride, you go over a bridge with crocodiles underneath. As I was riding with no one in the truck other than my trainer, she felt free to tell me that if anyone were to stand up and fall into the crocodile pit, I was to drive away immediately. Her reason was chilling.
Apparently, this was so others wouldn't have to see the carnage or try to rescue the person. The person who fell in was a total goner. The crocodiles are apparently fed from that bridge, and anything that drops from there is food to them, and they are surprisingly fast. I spent the rest of my time there praying that would never happen to me.
58. An Honorable Response
The first time I met Mulan, I walked right up to her and said, “You know, I once had to cross-dress to join the military too.” Without skipping a beat, she replied, “You must have brought honor to your family.”
59. Three’s a Crowd
When I was a kid, my Dad convinced me to tell the Evil Queen from Snow White that I thought she was the fairest one of them all. She was delighted, and I got to go on a "date" with her the next day. As it turns out, Captain Hook was her boyfriend. At a character breakfast, he leaned in with the huge mask practically swallowing my head and whispered, "We'll share her." I thought it was the coolest thing ever at the time.
60. Dark Plans
I went to a Disney Park with a friend, and we were getting photos with/interacting with Kylo Ren. Everything went great, and at the end of the visit, I told him I was going to work for the dark side. As he menacingly stared at me while I told him this—he was not allowed to make any noise—I shared my idea of doing something evil: I would go spill someone's drink.
This caused him to let out a barely-audible, breathy chuckle. To this day, I consider that one of my greatest accomplishments. I have not accomplished much.
61. What a Final Resting Place
While I was riding Pirates of the Caribbean a few years ago, a lady in our boat pulled out a bag and dumped the contents into the water. She was crying and sort of laughing at the same time, and everyone around her was really freaked out. Then we found out what she was actually doing. She had dumped her husband's ashes in the water as his final resting place. She was caught on camera and got in trouble, but it couldn't be undone.
62. Everybody Pukes
My husband threw up on the back of some people's heads on the Star Wars ride. Even they didn't seem to mind. Just walked to the water fountain outside and started washing off. I was apologizing for my husband (who was still barfing somewhere) and they just said "it's really not a big deal, happens all the time."
63. Call Me by My Stage Name
Everyone in the call centers is given a "stage name," so no two agents have the same name to the guests. Most, er, unique stage names I can remember: Cotton, Casper, Arizona, Lucinda...When you're in training they give you a selection of like 20 names to choose from, so you better hope you're one of the first ones to pick so you can get a normal name and not get stuck with "Cotton."
64. That's a Good Workout
Not a worker, but I saw a fella fall off the balcony in the Animal Kingdom hotel with the giraffes and run from wildlife for a good hour while they slowly got all the animals out of his way and got him out. No one got hurt and it was pretty funny to watch.
65. A Jedi Is Always Game for Selfies
Saw Mark Hamill backstage put on the guy who played Darth Vader's helmet. I wish we were allowed to take pictures. It was awesome.
I chaperoned a gentleman with special needs to Disneyland as part of a group tour. When our group of special needs individuals met the characters, they were all absolutely incredible with our people. Minnie flirted with the friend I took, and Merida flirted with me, but the best of all was Cruella de Vil. Normally, she is supposed to insult whoever she takes pictures with.
With us, she managed to technically stay in character, but not say anything actually mean. She said to one guy with a cane, “Ah, I like your cane. You can use it to beat little ones out of your way.”
67. Work for the Whole Family
Person I went to school with has/had a job with security there. She eventually got married and had children. WDW hired her husband and the kids. They walk/patrol around as a family. As far as I know, they still work there.
68. What Else Happens Behind the Scenes?
Disney World college program former cast member here. I suppose the most bizarre things were what the guests didn't see. A man is found dead, apparently by his own hand, in his hotel room. The room's windows and entrance are immediately concealed by those, "pardon our dust" renovation ply boards as costume characters/cast members have an impromptu meet and greet diverting attention away from the room as the authorities arrive to process the scene.
69. No Go
You cannot and WILL NOT say under any circumstances that you have seen a cockroach, pest, or other nuisance in the park. You also can't say "died" over the radio. An example would be "My radio battery died." I got chewed out pretty hard about that one from my managers. It's ridiculous what a tight ship they run over there.
70. If Goofy Acts Goofy, Is It Really Breaking Character?
In high school, we had a trip to Disneyland with the choir. We were having a pre-park opening photo op with Goofy. We said we were from Springfield, Oregon, and Goofy said very quietly, "Heh, the Simpsons." It was very strange, and nobody else broke character the whole time, so we didn't say anything about it.
71. What Doesn’t Disney World Have?
I used to work as a candy maker at Disneyland, and I know all the secrets they keep. For one, the candy store was on Main Street, and there's a little pot of vanilla scent with a fan behind it to waft vanilla scent out onto the street where people are walking by. That's what gets a lot of people to wander in. But it doesn't end there.
Once I saw a huge rat by the trash compactor when I was taking out some cardboard. Another time I was written up by my manager for accidentally dropping like $1000 worth of caramel apples because a feral cat came up and scared the heck out of me. To sum up, there's a cat and mouse rivalry backstage and they lure you into the candy store with a pot of vanilla.
72. The Word of the Mouse
I worked on The Great Movie Ride in Hollywood Studios for a while and I can tell you all 22 minutes of your friendly tour guide's speech is scripted to the very last letter. You get three days to learn your whole monologue (AND all of the speeds/controls/stops/gos of the actual ride) before going "live" as a tour guide.
Most of those three days is spent in a room with your trainer reciting your script until you get every word right. If you accidentally say the word "okay" instead of "alright," you start over from the beginning. Most tedious 3 days of my life. There's also one button on every car that, despite being really close to buttons you have to touch all the time, if pushed gets you fired immediately.
73. A Brave New Disney World
Here's something interesting. During a security threat, cast members head to the back of the park, link arms, and slowly head to the front. Normally the Magic Kingdom takes like 2 hours to clear out, but it takes them only 15 minutes to do it in an emergency.
74. Behind the Big Ears
I worked at Disneyland in college. It's oddly weird seeing a mouse character without a head. Even worse when the mouse character is the boy mouse but the person inside is a very...aged female. If I remember correctly she was smoking too. Backstage at Disney can ruin all the normal fun of the park. It was a great experience though.
75. Happily Ever After
A family friend played Aladdin at Disney world (very gorgeous Italian guy) and actually married a girl who played Jasmine. It was an amazing wedding as her family was filthy rich. Wedding at the biggest Catholic church in Seattle, reception was the top 2 floors of the Columbia Tower, which is the tallest building in all of Seattle.
Here I was in awe that I was in these amazing places, and they had a room at reception that was just chocolates. Yes, a freaking chocolate ROOM. But the truly cool thing was seeing my 5-year-old cousin in awe as Aladdin and Jasmine were dancing their first dance. It was magic. The bride even went out if her way to talk to her as Jasmine. Her own wedding and she played the part. So special.
76. The Smell of Secrets
I went on a "keys to the kingdom" tour once and got to go down into the utilidors. It smells like rotten ketchup down there in a lot of places.
77. Glass Slipper Means Glass Ego
My dad worked at Disney in college, driving the ferry boats in the Magic Kingdom. One day, he was walking around the park and saw some woman angrily kicking the Cinderella castle. He took her aside to reprimand her, and she told him a brick had come loose and she was just replacing it. There was just one problem...
He informed her that the bricks are painted on to the castle. After that, she grew absolutely INCENSED, changed tactics, and threatened to sue Disney for injury to her foot. Disney people are weird people.
78. Flashing the Splash
I worked at Splash Mountain. Sometimes we had guests decide it was a great idea to hop out of the log because they didn't want to ride anymore. Well, we know about that, every time. The ride is littered with motion sensors, pressure pads, the like. I have a photographic memory of the ride layout and even I wouldn't be able to avoid being detected out of the log.
The flashers don't happen very often, actually, it's usually men with their shirts off. In this case, their ride photo is blanked out and they can't purchase it. We always had parents trying to sneak in kids who didn't meet the height requirement. I do remember we had one family who kept trying for hours, thinking that the cast don't talk to each other about problematic parents.
Ride evacuations were always interesting. But as long as you were strong and confident with the guests, they always listened. It's really important to walk them through what's going to happen and let them know you've done this more than enough times. I also teased them that they were going to get a backstage tour, but it was gonna be real brief.
79. The Seven Seas of Professionalism
I have an autistic cousin and once and while we were riding the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, it broke down. My cousin flipped out and Disney security literally appeared out of the walls. They took us into the back tunnels and into a freight elevator. Before we knew it, we were back outside. They were awesome in helping calm him as well.
80. Dirty Little Secret
As a character, you are supposed to throw up in your mask if you are sick. Taking it off is not an option. You cover one eye with your hand and raise the other arm in the air to alert maintenance that you are not well. Also, if there is another character (same as you) you cannot, under ANY circumstances, be seen with them. You also must take a course to match signature style for autographs.
81. Not a Fun Comparison
A friend of mine told me that the rules for workers at the European Disneyland were so strict that they took to calling it Mouseshwitz. When management got wind of this, they were told that anyone found using that name again would be fired. Apparently, it was only a couple of hours before they were calling it Duckau.
82. Princess and Pixie Dust
My cousin worked at Disney in the '90s. I haven't heard a lot of his experience, but I have been told that the cable that Tinkerbell "flies" down to the castle on once snapped and she got a massive settlement. And that Snow White gave him crabs.
83. Darth-Vader First Aid
I work for a company that does Disney-Themed kids birthday parties. One weekend, I was Darth Vader in Malibu. It was only one kid, which was rare, but we had fun. We played lightsaber hide and seek, which is normal hide and seek with a duel at the end. I had him practice the force on me, helping him focus and toss me to the wall.
In the middle of all the fun, the kid started coughing. It was subtle at first, but then it got worse. It got to the point where it sounded like he couldn’t breathe at all—and then it got worse. He stopped moving. I frantically called for help and took off my helmet and was about to perform CPR when the mother finally came in with his inhaler.
She told me he couldn’t play anymore because he had bad asthma, and it got worse the more active he was. I put the helmet back on played things off once he recovered. We opened presents together, and I left. To this day, I can’t understand why that mother watched me play with her kid, knowing his condition and didn’t say a word about it until the poor kid nearly suffocated.
I called my boss and told her that I needed to know all medical conditions before the party right away from then on. I hope that kid had fun.
84. The Sweet Life of Being in Character
Ex Character performer. I'm a 6-foot-tall girl, so I did all of the tall characters like Goofy, Tigger, Captain Hook and like 10 other characters. I did a lot of the breakfast meet and greets as Tigger. My head had a small hole where the mouth was, so I would go from table to table drinking orange juice from the kids.
The kids were amazed, and it helped me get over my hangovers from the night before. I was stuck in an elevator for 45 minutes backstage as Tigger. Doing this job was awesome because I used to do a lot of partying and would get home at 6 am and have to be at work around 8 am, so because I didn't have to show face or do much work, it was perfect.
As Goofy I snuck on rides. One day I went on one of the kiddie roller coasters and almost lost my head. I was eventually disapproved to play Goofy because he was starting to get a "Ghetto Booty" exact words from my supervisors. When you play the characters, you're 30 minutes on (set) 30 minutes off. So in an 8 hour day you really worked 4 hours but you got paid for 8.
85. It’s a High-Tech World After All
I went there with my dad, who was working for a radio station at the time. Disney was opening a new ride and doing the press roll out, and invited the radio station there, so I guess you could think of him as a temporary employee. One of the crew spilled soda on a mic and asked the Disney guy helping the crew where he could look for a replacement locally.
He assumed Disney would have spare mics, but he was worried about getting the random, special microphone the DJ insisted on. The Disney guy just laughed and took him to the underworld. They had rooms full of TV/radio equipment new in the box. They have spares from every brand conceivable, by the dozen. Millions and millions of dollars’ worth of it, just sitting there collecting dust most of the time, just in case.
When Disney wants to be prepared, they don't mess around.
86. I'm on Fire
I have a close friend who played Woody for a while at Disneyland. He said that one time, a float caught on fire during a show, and the actors managed to play it off completely in character. They danced around it and got it backstage quickly to deal with the problem. He said they played it off well enough that no one seemed to notice since there wasn’t any panic in the crowd!
87. The Mouse Is Prepared for Anything
I remember once I was leaving the park. You know how it gets ridiculously crowded at the exits when the park is shutting down. I got elbowed in the nose and got a bloody nose. All of a sudden, the staff swooped in and took me to the underground tunnels then to a golf cart that brought us to our car...definitely a quick exit.
88. Big Mickey Is Watching You
I worked at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. Once, I found an unattended lunch pail that was almost certainly harmless. Knowing how much of a stickler that Disney is with security concerns, I decided to call it in. Within 2 minutes, they had three security cars blocking off the area I was in like I was James Bond or something.
The "Pluto" (Sniffing Dogs that assist Security) teams deployed to sniff the bag. My supervisor's supervisor questioned me for 30 minutes about the situation, told me there was a commendation on my record, and then let me go home early for the day. After that, I figured out the secret to ID hidden security people in the park, as they were the first to approach me after the radio call: if they have a Bluetooth headset in, they're undercover security.
89. Disney After Dark
Just moved back from doing a Disney college program. If you see someone working at Disney who has a name tag with their college on it, they are doing it also. I was an international rep, as are about one third of the people living there, adding to the party context. The things that go on in the housing complexes are astonishing.
So. Much. Adult. Content. Heck, every Monday night us internationals have a happy Monday's event, where we get in our country's teams and go to bars to play other countries' teams in drinking games. It's like a typical college campus, except four complexes of people who all work for Disney. It's incredible, but it's definitely not family-friendly.
90. The Haunted High Seas
My ex-friend used to work there and would tell us about the ghost in Pirates of the Caribbean, "Jeffery." Basically, at night when the whole place was empty there would be shadow figures that would haunt this one part of the ride. It was creepy.
91. Wrecked With Opportunity
Not a cast member, but I was aboard the Gully Whumper that went around Tom Sawyer's island at Disneyland. It was the last ride of the day and they got it up to or possibly past its capacity. Around the first corner some water came up over the side of the boat. The cast member that was operating the boat commented on it and said we should try and even it out on the other side.
You see where this is going. On the third try, everyone shifted and the boat capsized. There was an enclosed inner section where my brother, sister, and I were sitting and being trapped for a few seconds in the water was the scariest part. It didn't take long to realize the water was a little over 5 ft deep. We just focused on getting everyone out.
Cast members were coming from every direction from places that seemed improbable. They were throwing inflatable life vests into the water and getting people on dry land ASAP. It was amazing how quickly they responded and how well coordinated they were. They put us on a bus behind the scenes and took us to a medical facility.
They asked us if we were okay, if we had any conditions that should be monitored, what we lost or was ruined. We all were honest and told them we were fine and had some ruined clothing and lost glasses. I will never forget watching people who were fine as we all checked on each other and watching the thought dawn on them of what they might be able to milk Disney for.
I will also never forget the look of the cast member who was piloting the boat with his head in his hands crying his eyes out. It was obvious this guy liked his job. We were compensated for our lost/damaged items and they comped us dinner at the Blue Bayou restaurant. We also got fistfuls of front of the line passes to last us our trip. I was just impressed with how well they handled it.
92. It’s Hard to Please the Mouse
I was an intern once for Disney. Three times a year, the housing department does a "purge." In other words, they will over accept people into the intern program, knowing that they will terminate/purge "bad kids." The term "bad kids" is very vague. It can be anything between a kid whose roommate doesn't like them to an actual bad kid. They really just look at the numbers and terminate interns where they please.
93. Umm, Gross
I worked as a custodian there for about a year when I was 18. Once while sweeping the line for the Finding Nemo subs, I noticed this Asian family secretly taking pictures of me and recording me on video. When I confronted them about it, I gathered from their broken English that their daughter thought I was attractive...so they started taking pictures?
Another time, I was sweeping the area for New Orleans Square and was behind the haunted mansion in an area where guests can't go. Suddenly, I see this woman with her daughter. The daughter was squatting and urinating all over the place. When I stumbled across them, I just left and came back with a mop. Luckily I don't think they understood English. Being a custodian wasn't exactly glamorous but it was the best job I ever had.
94. Harmless Fun
I have a lot of stories; My favorite is: While I was working on Dumbo, these drunk people removed their infant from the seat belt and held the baby like Simba outside of the carriage while the ride was up 18 feet in the air so their other drunk friends could take pictures of them doing it, we had to emergency stop the ride; they were escorted away. It was very scary to witness.
95. Nearly Tail-less Nick
A couple of years ago, a friend of mine had to dress up as Nick from Zootopia for his shift. The tail is a massive metal spring to help give the illusion that it can move on its own. One day, he was doing his rounds with his partner and they had a bit of a troublemaker, an 11-year-old boy who was being a little rough and pulling on his tail.
Keep in mind, this tail is fairly heavy, at around 40 lbs., and is attached to his back pretty firmly. With no real proper field of vision other than the tunnel vision they get, no breaking of character allowed, and no security nearby, he was in a bit of a pickle. Fortunately for Nick, the father of said troublemaker told him to stop and apologize.
The boy did so with a sour disposition that gave the impression he really didn't care. After the apology, a young girl behind my friend called out, "Hey Nick!" Without missing a beat, my friend did a complete 180, attempting to hit the troublemaker with his tail. He got purchase, smacked the kid with a good thud, and knocked the kid down.
While my friend was giving attention to the little girl, he was terrified that he was going to get fired for his little stunt. Luckily for him, the dad pulled through again by laughing at his kid's misfortune, and saying something along of the lines of "you know you deserved that, right?"
96. Not Worth the Price of Admission
I worked a cash register in Tomorrowland. A guy had a heart attack and died about 10 feet from me. I called it in as soon as I saw, but they already knew about it. I went on break shortly afterward and saw the family, literally "behind the scenes," crying their eyes out. That never happens. Guests are never allowed behind the scenes, except when somebody dies, I guess.
Really kind of heartbreaking. On a positive note, they all got lifetime passes.
97. Heart of Gold
A face performer broke character for my husband and I. I won’t say which park, but we took a trip to Disney about two months after our infant son died. He was our first. Our entire nursery was Peter Pan-themed, and we had always wanted to take him to Disney to have him meet Peter. I got a memorial tattoo, an exact replica of my son’s hospital ink handprint, and we wanted a picture of Peter Pan with the tattoo, to symbolically bring him there.
We were alone with Peter Pan and his handler, and I tearfully explained the situation before asking him to pose with my arm. He took lots of photos with my tattoo and us. Afterward, he hugged me tight, told me he was proud of me, and that he was so, so sorry for our loss. It was amazing, emotional, and I’ll never forget that Peter Pan was proud of me for finding the strength to keep on living.
It honestly meant the world. I’m so glad he broke character. I’ll always treasure those photos and that memory.
98. Exit Through the Gift Shop
Not an employee, but I have an interesting story about Disney. When I was 7, I went to Disney World. The third night we were there, I rolled out of my bed and cut my forehead on the nightstand. My mom came over to comfort me, not knowing I was bleeding quite profusely. She turned the light on when I wouldn't stop crying and she said it "looked like an attack had taken place."
Paramedics were called, and the room was swarming with what I can only assume were Disney employees. After I was evaluated and patched up, I was taken to the gift shop around 2 AM with my mom and an employee. I got to choose 3 toys at no cost to my family. It was pretty incredible to be in the completely abandoned gift shop and being told I could have anything.
When we returned back to the room 25 minutes later, all the blood was cleaned up, guard rails were put on my bed, and a large basket of candy and other sweets were left on a table. Disney doesn't play around with customer service.
99. How Not to Deal With Family Problems
I worked at the front desk of one of the Disneyland Resort Hotels. One day, a lady, followed by another lady with like an 11 year old kid, walks up and asks if there is a place that people leave messages for their family if they are separated. I said, "not really" and inquired more into the situation. What I heard chilled me to the bone.
Apparently the first lady was helping the other lady, who didn't speak good English, and her kid. The lady and her kid were in line for Indiana Jones when the father said he was going to the restroom, but never returned. They later went to the car, and the car was gone. They were hoping he left a message for them somewhere.
While talking, me and the lady realized he left them, probably for good. The father was probably thinking that at least he left them at Disneyland. I spoke to my manager later about it, and apparently this happens every so often, a father decides to leave his family, and thinks if it's at Disneyland it softens the blow. Ruins Disneyland for the family if you ask me.
100. Stay Purr-fectly Still
Disney security listens to ALL Disney Radio channels at ALL times for any distress call or other issue that is relevant to Security. My friend Daniel worked for Disney World in Florida once. He worked in one of the resorts. I'm not quite sure what his job actually was, but his radio call sign was designated "Movie Runner."
He was walking between resorts one night, and near a pool, he was cornered by a momma bobcat. Usually not a huge deal because the bobcat will eventually realize the person is not a threat, but he radioed the resort to let them know that he was being cornered by a bobcat. The way they reacted is a testament to how organized they are.
Next radio transmission, without missing a beat: "Movie Runner, this is Disney Security Base, we understand you are being cornered by a bobcat. Please remain calm, we have two units approaching your location, ETA two minutes, please acknowledge, over." They were so calm and collected. Disney simply doesn't mess around with any Bobcats.
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