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Disneyland

Costumed Characters

Cast members who perform as costumed characters throughout Disneyland have a much more difficult job than most guests realize. Consider, for instance:

  • "Non-face" characters (meaning characters in masks) aren't allowed to talk for any reason. In a life or death situation, they are instructed to choose the former rather than call for help.
  • At noon in the summer, it can get hot enough in a Baloo suit to melt lead.
  • Many of the delightful kids who visit Disneyland think it's great fun to kick Goofy, pull Pluto's tail, or slap Snow White around.
  • There's no way to get out of a full-body suit and fiberglass head quickly -- particularly if you're one of the seven dwarfs and don't have working hands. For this reason, you have to be careful to remember your mother's advice to "remember to do that before you leave home."

Fortunately, most of the characters' costumes have been redesigned and improved over time. The most unwieldy characters have hidden cameras that let them see out of the back of their heads and beep audibly when backing up, greatly reducing the possibility of trodding on a toddler. A cooling system has been tested in some suits, although it is noisy enough to make conversation difficult within a few yards. Large character shoes are now made out of soft, light fabric instead of more durable iron plate.

Cast members have a number of tricks to fend off the boredom of shaking hands and signing autographs. Some of them just act goofy, playing around with guests or making body noises and pointing at Pluto. Others fasten a book inside their gigantic head to read during slow times. Larger characters have enough room in them for two cast members who love each other very much.

In addition to their "meet and greet" duties, Disneyland costumed characters also perform in shows and parades, have storytelling sessions at various places in the park, entertain during character meals at resort restaurants (such as the character breakfast at Goofy's Kitchen, Mary Poppins' Practically Perfect Tea, and The Lion King's Wild Barbecue), and perform duties for the Disneyland Character Escort Service.

Disneyland Character Escort Service


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