When most of us think about Disney we think about fun, magical experiences, and sunny days spending money like we don’t care.
People who have worked there have slightly different opinions on the matter, though, because like every place in the world, Disney has its secrets – and these 14 are dark enough that they just might surprise you.
14. Not so magical.
“At Disneyland, on the Peter Pan ride, I was always in awe of the floating stars that you zoom by in the ride.
Turns out, they are just LEDs on the end of wire hangers (attached to the walls, mostly) that are wrapped in electrical tape.”
13. There might be some creepy-crawlies.
“Not a cast member, but I’m married to someone who was. The guest-inaccessible parts of the Haunted Mansion are gross.
Think asbestos, dust, grease, cobwebs, and all kinds of other crap that has accumulated over decades.
Every time wifey had to work there, she came home and bolted for the shower.”
12. I would just feel awful.
“I used to work at one of the outdoor carts in front of the castle at Disneyland. There’s water in various areas of the park, so we got lots of ducks, and in the springtime, the babies would hatch and walk around with their mothers.
People didn’t always pay attention to where they were going and would sometimes step on one of them, usually killing them.
If I was able, I would step away from my cart to escort a family of ducks to safety.”
11. Trauma is not so magical.
“I was on the [Transportation and Ticket Center] resort platform working the night of the monorail crash.
It will be 12 years this July, and I still wake up screaming from time to time.
There is no amount of therapy that will or can erase that memory from my mind.”
10. It’s all about the illusion.
“My mom was working in the nurses’ station and got a call for a costume character who had heat exhaustion (the costumes get extremely warm, especially in summer).
He was advised to remove the costume and walk to the nurse building to recover, but wasn’t allowed to.
They were so busy trying to make sure that nobody saw him out of costume that they literally risked his health.”
9. Interesting for sure!
“You have to be in specific height ranges to play the different characters.
Because Mickey’s height range is so short, he’s usually played by a woman.
Likewise for Donald, although the most successful and best-known Donald that I knew while I worked there was a little person.”
8. You can’t hide anything.
“Former Disneyland employee here. We see everything in the rides.
There are cameras everywhere, and we have night vision.
Yes, I saw you cop a feel on your girl when you thought no one was watching.”
7. What is the matter with people?
“People sexually harass the characters super frequently.
I was working with Ariel, and cast members would always count down before they took a photo so people had time to get into position.
I counted down, and this teen boy decided to try to rip off one of Ariel’s shells.”
6. It’s not for everyone.
“I was friends with a woman who played Snow White.
She said she wanted to quit on her very first day because she had so many screaming, vomiting, angry, hungry, drooling children handed to her for photos.
She said it was the absolute worst. I’m not sure how long she stuck it out for, but I know it wasn’t long.”
5. A terrible tale.
“I think the worst part about character harassment is that Disney does not prosecute the guests, at least when I was there.
When I was working in the 2000s, there was someone whose wrist was broken by a drunk guest who grabbed and twisted it really badly.
They refused to prosecute, and I think she may have ended up with permanent nerve damage in her wrist, which really sucked because she was also a gymnast.”
4. Look like you belong there.
“I continued to use the backstage passages and the tunnels long after I quit.
Nobody ever challenged me. As long as you met the grooming standards and looked like you knew where you were going, it was easy.
I don’t recommend trying this unless you are looking for a lifetime ban.”
3. No one needs to know your real name.
“I worked in reservations.
They give you a name that is not your own, and you better use it.
My name is not Robyn Leigh, but in Disney reservations, it was.”
2. There are eyes in the sky.
“You are being watched everywhere.”
1. We’re all probably underestimating.
“Former cast member from the early ’90s here.
There was a central ‘bank’ near the Magic Kingdom tunnel entrance where all the park gift shops, restaurants, etc., would deposit the day’s cash.
Each day an armored truck would drive into the tunnel to haul away the loot.
I can only imagine how much cash they took outta there!”
If anything surprised me these days I would be shocked…but I’m not.
Have you worked at a theme park that wasn’t quite right behind the scenes? Tell us your own