30 Spicy Secrets Shared By Former Disney Theme Park Workers

This is not a secret, more just an observation of the culture. It really kind of makes me sick and disappointed with humanity.

As a cast member at Disney World in 1979 I learned quickly that putting people in uniforms brings out the worst in the instinct to “other” people. Certain cast members in specific uniforms were very high in status, and other cast members were very low. Since you wore your uniforms all the time your status was immediately spotted and people tended to treat you better or worse based on your status.

So here’s the pecking order that I observed. Many cast members told me of this pecking order. Low status to high.

The street sweepers who emptied the trash cans.

The folks in the yellow jumpsuits who sold the popcorn.

The folks in turn-of-the-century garb who worked in the stores of Main Street.

The retail workers in the other lands with costumes that matched the themes.

The ride operators whose costumes were themed to match the land such as tomorrowland, frontierland etc.

The ride operators of space mountain, who were near the top of all the ride operators.

The monorail operators. They were the absolute pinnacle of ride operators who did not have some kind of performing role.

The ride operators of the jungle Cruise. They were close to the status of the people in the entertainment division because they had lines and really had to be entertaining.

Anyone in the entertainment division, like the kids of the kingdom, the performers, singers, and musicians. And they weren’t just a little bit above everyone else, they were stratospherically above everyone else.

The tour guides, all females, in the English riding (horse) outfits with jodhpurs, complete with a riding crop and a fetching little cap on their heads. These girls basically were the top employees who wore uniforms. They met all the VIPs including hollywood stars, politicians, billionaires etc. They could get to the front of any line. They were unstoppable, and they certainly acted like they knew it.

Now everyone I tell this to always asks, “weren’t the characters the most important people and have the highest status?” Sadly—and this is really where it gets sick—they were kind of treated like freaks. All the Goofy‘s had to be really tall thin men, all the Mickeys and Minnies had to be either short women or little people. They worked very odd shifts, a half an hour on a half an hour off, and they always had people around them to help, which also made them seem weird.

So all in all my summer at Walt Disney World demonstrated to me the power of clothing in establishing a hierarchy of status. It is a sad commentary on humanity, but a fact nonetheless.

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