I used to work at Disneyland and these are the secrets that customers never notice

IT is known as “the most magical place on earth”, so it’s no surprise that there is always an air of mystery and excitement around Disneyland..

Around the world there are five Disneyland resorts, attracting 16 million visitors each year, and of course, an operation of this size cannot rely on magic alone to work properly.

AFP

Disneyland is the most magical place in the world, and it takes a lot of work to make it happen

But what goes behind the scenes to make sure the world’s greatest theme parks run like clockwork and guests have the most amazing time?

Here, two former employees unveil what it really is like behind the scenes at the magical theme park …

A secret underground city

Danny Hayes-Lissack, 31, of Cardiff, worked on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at the Magic Kingdom in Florida in 2009 and discovered that Disneyland had a whole other hidden world that guests never see, underground.

Speaking to Fabulous, he said, “People may already know this, but Magic Kingdom has tunnels under the park – known as ‘utilidors’.


No expense is spared to ensure the actors look exactly like their character, with Disney even providing colored contact lenses when needed.

Alamy

No expense is spared to ensure the actors look exactly like their character, with Disney even providing colored contact lenses if needed.

“If anyone is lucky enough to go to Magic Kingdom in the future, remember that when you walk around the park you’re actually on the first floor – with the cast members who aren’t. “On stage” below you.

“The users are there to keep every area of ​​the park authentic – for example, you would never see someone working as a pirate in Adventureland mingling with the Princesses of Fantasyland!”

“It’s like an underground city, with vehicles going around, a lot of people coming and going from their shifts – there’s even a subway below in the cafeteria.”

Prohibition of sunbathing and always “maintain the magic”

To ensure guests have the most authentic Disney experience possible, staff members must ensure that their appearance and behavior conform to the strict rules of the park.

Dorothy and Theodore founder Sally Hall, 45, of Stratford upon Avon, was previously a Disney artist at MGM studios in Orlando and Paris.

Speaking to Fabulous, Sally said, “There were a lot of rules if you were working as a performer.

“Only approved makeup, nail polish colors, no tans, and still maintain the magic – which I kind of like… a smile was mandatory.”

No beard – but Walt Disney mustaches accepted

Every little detail is taken into consideration at the park.

Sally says: “Disney even paid for me to have colored contact lenses to make my eyes the color they wanted them to be.

“I was once invited out while I was on set by a guy who, when he saw me at a club that night, didn’t even recognize me!”

“I looked so different in makeup and wigs that reality didn’t match – he clearly wanted a blue eyed blonde and not the brown eyed brunette that I am!”

Danny acknowledges that appearances matter, saying, “The rules have loosened in recent years, but when I was working there you had to adhere to the strict ‘Disney Look’ standards.

“This meant that men had to have certain well-groomed hairstyles, that you had to be clean-shaven, even if a mustache was acceptable – because Walt Disney had one, and you weren’t allowed to wear tattoos. visible.

“Even your shoes and sunglasses had to be Disney-look approved. For example, guests always needed to be able to see your eyes so you could maintain eye contact and deliver the level of guest experience expected at Disney.

“Obviously, the strangest thing to understand is to see well-known Disney characters outside of their usual attire.

“Take the princesses, for example, they would be made from the neck and look like Snow White or Ariel – but could snack on lunch in their tracksuits in the cafeteria!” “

Military operation

The meticulous planning that goes on every day to ensure guests have the best experience is unfathomable unless you are a staff member.

Sally says, “Every moment of the day is scheduled and checked, every detail is thought of.

“In Florida, they have walk-in mist showers so performers can walk through them at the end of a parade to cool them off after performing in that heat.

“Plus, they have rehearsals in the spotlight after the park closes, which can be pretty magical.

“In some parks they use golf carts to get everyone to where they need to be and even the driving routes and speed have been planned so that there is no chance of people or characters being. in the wrong place at the wrong time. ”

Ddisney diploma & free entry

Before the cast and crew go wild on the audience, they must first receive a proper education – at Disney University.

Danny says, “When you first arrive, you don’t know exactly where you will be working the first few days – only in which park you will be working.

“You go through ‘Disney Traditions’ first, which is run at Disney University – yes, Disney has its own university on the property.

“This is your chance to learn all about the company, to get your Disney ID, which gives you free access to the parks, and your badge.

Only after this will you undergo an orientation in the park you will be in (a first chance to go behind the scenes and even skip the line on some rides as you go. learn more about it. ”

Live clean

Cleanliness is also extremely important in all areas.

Danny says, “You never have to wash your own uniforms, even if they are called costumes, whatever your role.

“You can go and see the fresh, clean produce, however often you need it – as long as you’ve returned the dirty products to the laundry. “

You also won’t see piles of trash bags backstage at Disney.

Danny adds, “Obviously they’re very critical in keeping the parks spotless.

“The janitors take the garbage to one of the many collection points behind the scenes.

“There’s a system of underground vacuum tubes that then suck it into a compactor where it can be squeezed and taken away.

“As you walked in the utilidors, you would often hear the garbage hissing above your head.”

For some employees, it seems that the magical memories of working there really last a lifetime.

Sally adds, “I have made lifelong friendships.

“There is a wonderful spirit among the coworkers – people really care about doing magic.”

Still want to know more? Here are the secret signals that Disney actors use to communicate with each other while remaining in their character.

The parks offer guests a bit of Disney magic

EPA

The parks offer guests a bit of Disney magic

All staff attend Disney University before being assigned their roles

Corbis – Getty

All staff attend Disney University before being assigned their roles

Some parks have underground tunnels to ensure dressed staff members are not spotted in the wrong area

Alamy

Some parks have underground tunnels to ensure dressed staff members are not spotted in the wrong area

Disney fan has traveled 500 miles to be near Disneyland and spends £ 2,000 five days a week

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