The role as a costume character in a Disney theme park is anything but magical. From draconian body rules to the fact that you are never allowed to break character (not even with a divorced father’s hand slipping towards your Tinkerbell), these employees sacrifice all of their individuality for $ 11 an hour.
And if that sounds a bit dramatic, keep in mind that until recently, those Magic Kingdom contract employees weren’t even allowed to decide which magical panties to wear.
Official Disney costumes are expensive and tight fitting. They also don’t sync well with off-the-shelf clothing – as medieval fantasy ball gowns usually do. To prevent the uncomfortable balling or bulging of underwear, indicative of the humanity trapped in a Goofy mascot, performers must wear “Disney-issued jockstraps, tights, or cycling shorts.” And like all the other pieces of her costume, this Disney-released underwear does not belong to the cast. Instead, they were given a random pair of panties at the beginning of their shift.
Surprisingly, many costumed workers were not wearing the jockstraps that one of their coworkers was wearing when he was dancing under the California / Florida sun the day before. Especially since their communal underwear was often dirty and stained. This is in spite of promises from Disney representatives that they will be washed regularly with “hot water” – which is undoubtedly all it takes to keep an eight-hour ball sweat from a man in a 40-pound chip ‘n’ dale- Get rid of costume.
By 2001 and after several pubic outbreaks, Disney performers had their public panties in such a heap that unions had to get involved. It took the Teamsters Union two months of intense negotiations before the company agreed to the demand that each employee get their own pair of underpants – a great victory for workers’ rights in the 21st century.
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Top picture: Beehive, Wikimedia Commons /. Loren Javier, Flickr