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I spent my summer working at Disney World — here are 21 things you didn't know about the parks

I spent my summer working at Disney World — here are 21 things you didn't know about the parks

disney trolley showThe INSIDER Summary:

  • A lot of work goes into making sure Disney World remains the “Happiest Place on Earth.”
  • No matter how many times you’ve been to the parks, there is probably some detail you haven’t noticed or secret you’re not aware of.
  • As someone who has worked at Disney World, I’ve had an inside look at those secrets.
  • Here are 21 things you probably didn’t know about the Disney parks and their cast members.

There’s no denying that the magic of Disney is infectious. Guests spend years saving up and travel from places all over the world just for a couple days of excitement and no matter how old you are, you can’t ignore that giddy feeling you get when you step foot on Main Street and set your eyes on Cinderella’s castle for the first time. Disney is a place where adults can act like kids and kids can go to live out their fantasies. It’s also a place where you can wear mouse ears and eat turkey legs the size of your head without receiving judgmental looks.

Growing up in Orlando I spent a lot of my time walking the streets of Disney World, but it’s not until I spent my summer working there that I truly realized how much goes into making the magic happen. From all of the effort cast members put into making guests feel special to the inner working of the locations themselves, these are 21 things you probably didn’t know about the Disney parks.

Disney is just one big never-ending show

When guests step foot in any Disney park, they are really stepping into a live show where everything from the costumes to the trash cans play a part. Disney even has their own lingo, which is why you may realize that visitors are called “guests” and workers are “cast members.” When you walk through the streets of a park you are “onstage,” and for the most part, “backstage” remains hidden.

Nothing should compromise the feeling that Disney guests are a part of the show. If a cast member is dressed in their work clothing, they are not even allowed to cross a certain the line from their section of the park into the next because it would make no sense to see someone from the future (Tomorrowland) walking around the Old West (Frontierland). 

Magic Kingdom sits on top of a set of tunnels

Many people don’t realize that when they are standing on Main Street, they are actually on the second level of Magic Kindgom and working their way up to the third when they head for Cinderella’s castle. This is because the park sits on top of a set of tunnels known as the utilidors where cast members can walk around freely without ruining the “show.” 

If you’re really itching to get a look at these not-so-secret tunnels you can sign up to take a backstage tour for a pretty penny, but prepare to be rather unimpressed. The utilidors aren’t exactly what you would call magical, but you can get a look at all they have to offer for cast members from the cafeteria to a barber shop.

There’s a strict “Disney Look”

Reputation is important to Disney. This is why cast members are expected to maintain a specific appearance known as the “Disney Look.” Extreme hairstyles, over-the-top makeup, visible tattoos and body piercings beyond the earlobes are strictly prohibited. If you’re a male with facial hair prior to starting at Disney, you can keep it as long as it is neatly trimmed, but if you were clean shaven when you got hired then say goodbye to switching up your look with a moustache because that’s not allowed.

If you’re hoping to get casted as a character, you must meet strict requirements when it comes to looks. People interested in playing Mickey Mouse should be no taller than 5’2″. Given this height requirement, chances are the person behind the Mickey Mouse costume is actually a girl.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider