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Disney to allow cast members to wear beards

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Published: January 23, 2012 at 8:50 AM
The Orlando Sentinel's Jason Garcia's setting the Disney blogpsphere on fire this morning by breaking the news via Twitter that Disney's going to allow beards on cast members.

Several years ago Disney started to undo its traditional no-facial-hair policy by allowing mustaches, prompting many to note that Walt now could work in the theme parks. (Imagineers and those in other divisions of the company haven't been held to the "Disney Look" facial-hair rules for parks employees.)

That change helped Disney to recruit many more Latino males, who'd previously not seriously considered at Disney due to its facial-hair rules.

The new change will help expand the labor market further for Disney, too. But don't expect to see Santa working the Jungle Cruise. Beard or goatee length is limited to just a quarter-inch under the new rules, quoted by Garcia.

What do you think?

Readers' Opinions

From 174.59.166.6 on January 23, 2012 at 9:01 AM
I don't see a problem with that. I'm a person that during the the year, I change up my look. Meaning i wear a goatee most of the time and then have no facial hair some other times. When doing my job, whether having facial hair or not, does not affect my job performance. Mind you when I have facial hair it is well groomed. Let people be comfortable in their own skin. You just might get a better worker out of it.
From Skipper Adam on January 23, 2012 at 9:05 AM
As long as it is regulated. Uniform facial hair can look just as good as clean shaven faces as long as guidelines are made and enforced. However, considering the population of males I work with, very few would indeed grow beards. Plus there is that awkward bad looking phase of growing the beard in.
From Tom Rigg on January 23, 2012 at 9:13 AM
I understand that at the inception of this rule in the 60's and 70's facial hair still held some negative connotations. However, now facial hair is a completely acceptable part of the professional look, many CEOs sport goatees, beards, and mustaches. I think this is a fantastic change, mainly because it means I can work at Disney without sacrificing the facial hair I have had constantly for over 6 years.
From 205.204.23.40 on January 23, 2012 at 10:03 AM
I feel like Disney originally instituted this rule because they wanted to project a clean cut all American YOUTHFUL image... as the parks grew the need for more and more cast members also grew and they couldn't be as selective with whom they hired. I feel like a majority of the cast members I see now are retirees and older people - people who certainly don't project that youthful image. Disney is simply changing with the times - I DO feel it needs to be regulated though - keep them short and clean. I have a beard and am a former cast member who considered returning to WDW when I moved back to the Orlando area - BUT I simply was not willing to let a job that pays me $8 an hour dictate how I look when I'm not on the clock.
From 209.208.1.4 on January 23, 2012 at 10:06 AM
"Several years ago Disney started to undo its traditional no-facial-hair policy by allowing mustaches" --Robert Niles

It actually wasn't that simple. While they did begin to allow cast members to HAVE mustaches. They did not allow cast members to GROW mustaches. So unless the cast member was able to have one of acceptable length and thickness magically appear on his face during the 2 days per week he’s given off, he was, in effect, not really allowed to have one.

In this way, as I think you were suggesting, Disney was able to fill their need for more workers without having to pay them any more money by expanding in to a previously untapped portion of the workforce, and while still in effect controlling how most of their employees look.

Yay Disney!

From Jack Curley on January 23, 2012 at 10:10 AM
If I were to apply for a job with a new company, and they told me I could have the job, but only if I shaved; that would be discrimination. Seriously, it's not like I have gang signs on my face. It's hair, and I keep it trimmed nicely. I voted for "no restrictions on facial hair" but there should always be some restrictions about looking neat. Little kids don't want one of the guys from ZZ Top helping them onto the boats on "It's A Small World."

On second thought, let's get a guy with huge beard doing that. Then maybe kids will stop dragging their parents on it and getting that song wedged in their heads for days.

From 209.208.1.4 on January 23, 2012 at 10:23 AM
"If I were to apply for a job with a new company, and they told me I could have the job, but only if I shaved; that would be discrimination. "

Jack, When I started at Disney in 1995. The "casting" agent sent me out to the site to be fitted for my new costume. They asked my size. I told them I am 5'11", size 48 vest. They said, our vests only go up to size 46. The costuming worker said no problem, we'll just order you another one. Shortly thereafter, a manager ever so gently and discreetly, took me in to a side office to explain to me that certain on stage roles have certain expectations in terms of size, and that he could / would not order me a size 48 vest, and that he was sorry but I couldn’t work in that role in a size 48. He said he was terribly sorry, but since I was so close, he would hold the rec open for me if I wanted to try to get out and get a little exercise and see if I could fit in to the size 46, or they also had back stage roles he could put me in.

From Dominick D on January 23, 2012 at 10:41 AM
Nothing new, just look at Jack Sparrow.
From Skipper Adam on January 23, 2012 at 10:58 AM
Back when the "Cast Member" idea was coined, people were hired to fill a functional role in a play, essentially. Certain roles were certain genders and sizes. For example, only attractive smaller women were allowed in Guest Relations because it was harder to get mad at them then men. Only men (and some with beards and peircings) were allowed to work on the Jungle Cruise. Only men were allows at Tower of Terror. While in most places of work this would be horrible discrimination, but the fact is it was a play in the beginning. Times have changed, and Castmembers play less of a character role and more of a plain and simple worker. I guess I find it understandable more than offensive.
From Brandon Mendoza on January 23, 2012 at 11:36 AM
As long as it's groomed, I'm all for it. And I think it fits perfectly fine in Frontierland as well as on the Canoes!

And even New Orleans Square could have some guys with trimmed facial hair that matches the area. Or even on Main Street... Bully times!

From Robert Niles on January 23, 2012 at 12:04 PM
Actually, the goatees will become a required part of Disney Look for the cast members working at the new 'Evil' Dueling Dumbo.
From Tyler Stover on January 23, 2012 at 1:32 PM
And so the transformation from "Cast Members" to theme park employees is complete.
From N B on January 23, 2012 at 2:31 PM
I say old-timey handlebar mustaches only.....
From Albino Pygmy on January 23, 2012 at 5:00 PM
Heck yeah, I would have loved to be rockin' a goat while navigating the rivers of adventure! Actually, I think a little scruff adds more to the theme of explorers who don't happen to have a razor and shaving cream handy out in the middle of the jungle, just sayin'.
From 98.21.195.236 on January 23, 2012 at 6:06 PM
A short beard actually looks better than just a mustache to me. Who wears just a mustache? Tom selleck?
From 98.14.59.201 on January 23, 2012 at 8:15 PM
Go to any carnival or traveling show all the guys have facial hair does it bug me no do I think it should be banned no I dont see anythign wrong with it
From 68.205.195.97 on January 23, 2012 at 9:42 PM
The way I loook at it, seeing an employee with a goatee isnt going to ruin my day, and seeing that no one has one isnt going to enhance my experience. Let them do it.
From Mike Seary on January 24, 2012 at 4:21 AM
I don't see why it's a problem, allowing for a caveat requiring some set standard of grooming and hygiene. Let Disney set the length/state of the facial hair (no longer than x, stache doesn't hang over lip, no eclectic styles) and I don't see how it would negatively affect the experience at all. Plenty of real-world professionals sport neatly-groomed facial hair... no big deal.
From Tyler Stover on January 24, 2012 at 9:38 AM
"Go to any carnival or traveling show all the guys have facial hair"

I'm not sure if that was completely serious or sarcastic (tone is hard to convey over the internet) but either way it exactly proves my point. Walt built Disneyland as it is because he didn't want it to be like any carnival or traveling show. Holding cast members to a higher standard than your typical theme park employee was part of that.

From Anon Mouse on January 24, 2012 at 11:00 AM
I would barely notice since so many guests have terrible facial hair and tattoos galore. The Disneyland look may not matter as much these days.
From Ray Schroeder on January 24, 2012 at 11:46 AM
Does this apply to both men and women? ;)
From 206.74.245.126 on January 24, 2012 at 5:13 PM
I think that when looking at the results you have to remember that although no facial hair is "winning", the votes or facial hair are split between people with differing opinions on how much facial hair should be allowed (or what types). So since the no facial hair is not more than 50% you might say that most people on this site think some sort of facial hair would not be a big deal; we just may have various ideas about how much facial hair would be preferred, etc.

Having said that..... I think a nicely trimmed beard is actually nice looking on some guys.

From 206.74.245.126 on January 24, 2012 at 5:15 PM
I also think a nicely trimmed beard looks better than just a mustache.... unless you are trying to portray Yosamitte Sam.... in which case.... handlebar mustache does the job.... lol.
From Anthony Murphy on January 24, 2012 at 9:53 PM
I am still a tradionalist- No beards!

Still, who would want one in that HOT weather?

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