Edit 6/16: Welp, apparently Mental_Floss found this AMA. http://mentalfloss.com/article/65048/behind-magic-15-secrets-disney-park-characters

I worked for Walt Disney World (WDW) seasonally, starting as a College Program participant, for nearly 12 years. I recently resigned, due to other, more significant commitments. In the years, I've had a lot of interesting experiences, including a few that can hit you right in the feels. Go ahead, AMA. I couldn't have done this before I quit, but now that I don't work for them anymore, I don't mind!

I just want to thank everyone who's looked at this r/IAmA. I've been able to share some fun stories, and I've been table to touch some hearts. Thank you to everyone who has upvoted those few stories (if you've read the entire thread, you know which ones I mean), and thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to everyone who's done anything for me as a result of being touched by the "Last Day" story. I really didn't expect the story to touch so many of you the way it't touched me. I have a lump in my throat because of you guys, and my vision's getting foggy (I will not cry, I will not cry...)

So let's make this happy again, cool? Keep AMA'ing for fun stories, crazy stories, etc. I still have some that will make your head spin!

Comments: 382 • Responses: 77  • Date: 

honeydot37 karma

Are there any memories from your job which really stood out for you? Be them good, bad, gross, cute, funny or whatever

MinnieMantle57 karma

Oh, so, so many. I've had guests kicked out because they punched me, Brazilian tour groups that terrified me, a 60 year old woman who started crying because she'd never met Mickey, and some sweet stories of kids. Those sweet stories outweigh the horrors, by far. Would you rather hear details of a sweet, sad, funny, or horror story?

honeydot44 karma

Any stories you'd like to share, I'm willing to hear! Something that doesn't end in death and destruction might be better, although that does make things more exciting... :P

MinnieMantle506 karma

Oh man, one of my favorites (that doesn't end in death...I have one of those too) was when I was White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. A family came up to me, and the daughter, who was maybe 8, was blind. She had a cane, and I could see her well enough to know that she was born with some severe eye deformities, so seeing anything was unlikely.

So I gently took her hands in mine, and placed her hands on my cheeks, ears, nose, mouth, to let her feel my face. She got to the glasses, and her face lit up. Her dad said "what is it, honey?" And she replied, "Dad! The rabbit wears glasses! He can't see good, just like me! Rabbit, can you see without your glasses?"

I shook my head no. She was just beaming, and said "You're like me! This is the best!" The attendant went over to the parents and told the parents which other bespeckled characters the family could meet, and where.

So yeah, pretty awesome, huh?

onekrazykat48 karma

What about the one that ends in death???

MinnieMantle983 karma

Tl;dr- girl's wish was to meet Minnie. She met her at breakfast, died that afternoon.

So during my first CP, I was working at Chef Mickey's one morning. I'm doing the rotation, see a family with a girl who was really sick. Like, family was feeding her using a g-tube, she was in a wheelchair, didn't respond to much. She was fussy, so I indicated to the family that I'll pass their table, then come back to them ("how do you do that?" You point in the direction you're going to go, make a circle motion around the section, then gesture that you'll come back here).

About 10 minutes later, my attendant comes up to me, and says "Princess (name) would like to see you now." So I go over to the family. The mom told me that Minnie Mouse was the girl's favorite character, can I take some pictures with her? Of course! So the older brother (teenager) is filming all of this, and I'm interacting with the girl, and the girl smiles. The mom starts bawling, the dad starts crying.

Once I take a few pictures with the girl, I go to hug the mom, who hugged me back tight and said "the doctors said she couldn't smile anymore. Thank you." Then when I went to hug the dad, he hugged me back tight and said "thank you. So much. You have no idea what this means to us." Folks, there's a difference when a person is talking to the character, talking to the person in the costume, and talking to YOU. The dad was talking to ME.

So I go back on rotation, cursing that I can't wipe the tears out of my eyes.

The next day, I go into work, and the check in person says "do you know where the manager's office is? They want to talk to you." My first thought was oh shit. What did I do?

I go to the manager's office, and he closes the door behind me. "You were Minnie at Chef Mickey's yesterday for breakfast, right?" Yes. "Did you meet a Give Kids The World family?" Yes. "Give Kids called us yesterday afternoon. They wanted to make sure you were personally thanked, with a note on your record." Why? "The girl had an inoperable brain tumor. It was affecting a lot of her motor function. Her family's wish was for her to meet Minnie Mouse. Yesterday afternoon, while they were in the park, they noticed she was getting sleepy, so they went back to their room so she could take a nap. I'm sorry, (me), but she never woke up. She held on long enough to meet Minnie, and you made that happen." (Fuck, guys, I'm starting to choke up. 11.5, almost 12 years later, and I still cry).

I was offered to speak to a grief counselor, but I declined. It's really heavy, to know that a child was so close to death, that they hung on just to meet their favorite character. And to know that you were the reason they felt they could depart.

So yeah. Whenever I was having a bad day at work, I would think about this girl, and this family, and say to myself, "this is why you do this. Because of people like her."

The_Not_Chosen_One646 karma

The feels on the bus go sad sad sad.

Espiritu13136 karma

I totally welled up with tears and then almost began to laugh cry in an open office. You are dangerous.

MinnieMantle41 karma

...I have more stories...none quite this sad, but still makes you go "d'awww"

13steinj21 karma

You may not know your feelings, but I know mine

MinnieMantle29 karma

Somehow, you two already knew I'm a Cumberbitch and Whovian.

basec0m42 karma

Really touching story, thanks. I'm not a big Disney fan (my wife and kids are nuts for it) but that story goes a long way to explain the magic.

MinnieMantle99 karma

I also once had a little boy in a wheelchair zoom up to me, stop short, look up at me, and say "Mickey, Mom and Dad asked me what I wanted before I go meet Jesus, and I said I wanted to meet you!"

Again, when I questioned why I was sweating my ass off, eyes burning because a drop of sweat hit my contact, I thought of kids like this.

danielestrela4 karma

Wow. You sir are an incredible human being.

Your story made me shed a tear.. I mean, there's some sweating going on around my eyes.

MinnieMantle15 karma

cough if I'm male, then a serious miracle has occurred by my going full on Junior (without the Austrian accent).

IcreyEvryTiem4 karma

I was just wondering that. Do they let males in female character costumes? Or vice versa?

MinnieMantle29 karma

Would you like to know the most common thing done when a performer is wearing Queen of Hearts for the first time? He grabs the boobs and squishes them. Often, the comment is "I have boobs! Yay!" But sometimes you'll hear "...I've felt many a boob in my life, and these do not feel real."

In other words, yeah. As long as you fit the costume, you wear it. It's like Maru- if he fits, he sits.

Zomg_A_Chicken17 karma

Apparently Brazilian tour groups are the worst

Can you confirm/deny this?

MinnieMantle32 karma

CONFIRM. I have extra special horror stories of Brazilian tour groups. There's one that's so awful, that if you use a translator to read what part of their (expensive) non refundable deposit is for, it's for room damages and bail.

Zomg_A_Chicken7 karma

Is it a cultural thing?

MinnieMantle29 karma

I have no idea. But imagine a group of 50-60 teenagers. Left to run around a theme park with minimal supervision.

I've had to tell a group off once (Minnie got sassy) because the group started off as 8, then when hey got to me, it was 18. I picked who I wanted to take pictures with, and shooed the rest away, indicating "no, bitch, you go to the BACK of the line. This is not cool." They got mad at me, the other guests laughed.

LsWee_D7 karma

shit i dont even work in disney but i go yearly for family vacation... the second i see those green or red flags with all them matching yellow shirts... the day goes from awesome im in disney! to shiiiiit there goes the park :(

MinnieMantle12 karma


The blue shirts and teal shirts are some of the nicest ones. They're actually respectful.

im_always_fapping9 karma


MinnieMantle27 karma

People have tried. It can't come off because of how we wear it. We just need to get away from the person ASAP. Then call an athletic trainer to be evaluated for a head or neck injury.

thehonestyfish27 karma

How much of a restriction does Disney place on gender/body type for cast members playing the characters? Obviously some like Tigger can only be played by tall people, but for others, is anything fair game as far as fat/skinny/tall/short/male/female?

MinnieMantle70 karma

That's a good question. When I started, the main limitation was based on height. Characters have height ranges. Because I was listed at 5'0", I was a cusp height. I could do mouse height (4'8-5'0) and Pooh height (5'0-5'4) characters, with a few exceptions. You would be disapproved in costumes as you try them on. Some costumes, you'd be scheduled a longer shift than normal if it was new for you, because you'd be fitted before they'd let you do it. That's how I was disapproved in Jiminy Cricket. For Jiminy, you have to be thin and short legged. I'm thin, but my legs were about 1.5" too long, so my ankles could be seen. Male/female, the main thing they look at is whether the character appears to have boobs. For Minnie, that's not a problem. Mickey...yeah, there's a problem. in terms of fat/thin, they'd look at you in the costume. If you couldn't get it zipped up, you're disapproved. If parts fell off your shoulder, you're disapproved.

Now, they schedule you to put on a body suit and get scanned by a computer, which automatically filters which characters you'd fit into. I never got the scan, otherwise I'd have been able to be newer Disney Junior characters.

Zerod0wn26 karma

First off, Thank you! I took my 3 year old to Disney World for the first time and meeting the characters was a blast for her. I was touched with how all the characters really focused on the children and it didn't really feel like anything was being "phoned in."

Question - What is your biggest take away/life lesson from being a Disney Character?

MinnieMantle30 karma

If you love what you do, work won't feel like work. My life goal is to enjoy everything as it comes, because you never know what absurdity you may encounter. Nothing is ever as insane as working in WDW during a holiday.

MinnieMantle25 karma

I'm online and available, so feel free to ask your questions!

doomyboomy23 karma

Is it true if you shout 'Andy is coming' to toy story characters they fall on the floor and not move?

MinnieMantle45 karma

Nope. Now the attendant will say back "he's in college." Falling like that can damage the costumes, or worse, the cast member.

postiegirl8423 karma

Did you ever pee in the suit? I can't be the only person wondering this.

MinnieMantle64 karma

Nope. If it's under 94 (heat index), then we're out on set for 30 minutes, back in for 30, of we're in an outdoor location. 94+, then it's 20 minutes outside, 40 in air conditioning. This is all OSHA rules, btw, not Disney's.

Indoors, it varies, but it's 30-45 minutes on set, 30-45 off. And when i was pregnant (yes, I worked while pregnant), I always made sure to go to the restroom as soon as I was out of costume.

TheDemko18 karma

When you're 'off' for 30-45 minutes at a time, what exactly are you doing? Just sitting in the air and cooling off? Hanging out with other cast members? Playing games on your phone?

MinnieMantle41 karma

All of the above, and then some. We have TVs in the break area with full access to the channels guests on property have. One time, we watched a marathon of Extreme Couponing. Another time, it was My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding. Or movies that we bring with us. Some break rooms have puzzles we can work on.

Personally? I would read or knit.

TheDemko17 karma

And are you paid continuously for a full shift? Or for just the time you spend in CP?

MinnieMantle38 karma

Paid the entire time. I'll actually work about 3 hours, but get paid for 8.

Btw, CP is College Program.

crgair22 karma

If you had to live for a year non-stop in one of the suits, which character would it be and why?

MinnieMantle46 karma

Minnie. It's a lightweight costume, really comfortable to move in, and you can dress yourself. Many costumes I wore, you can't dress yourself.

ryuujinusa6 karma

What about Mickey? Can you dress yourself with that?

MinnieMantle11 karma

You can, but the movements are more restricted because of the tails he wears. The shoes are also more difficult to walk around in (I have literally run in Minnie's shoes).

Sicipio18 karma

You said you stayed for twelve years, I imagine the pay was good enough to keep you there that long. Was the compensation worth the work?

I wont ask for specifics, but a round-about figure?

MinnieMantle30 karma

The pay wasn't that great. I stayed for so long because it was a goal of mine to work there full time. Once my husband and I realized it wouldn't be feasible because of his occupation, I decided to quit.

The perks were good though. 50% off hotel, free park tickets, discounts on merchandise...but the cost of going down to work was more than what I was paid. Not worth it.

bsievers17 karma

You mention in both of your 'teaser trailers' for this AMA about getting felt up. Was it really that common, or just traumatizing?

How often when someone was overly rough/physical like that did they end up getting in trouble for it?

MinnieMantle12 karma

Most people didn't get in trouble for it, because we learned how to stop them. It was primarily people trying to see if the character had boobs. And it happens with ALL characters, from mice to Goofy (btw, there are a few male mice and a few female Goofys).

I have gotten crotch grabbed a couple of times. But most of the time, it's the boob grab.

I_Ate_Ur_Mom17 karma

Did you ever faced a situation where a family/member (mostly kids I guess) wanted to communicate but did not speak english? I guess for a non-speaking character it's not that bad, but what would happened to the speaking-characters? Does Disney offer some sort of translator?

MinnieMantle23 karma

I have no idea what the face characters do. I just nod and indicate, "look! Camera! Smile!"

crossdogz16 karma

Hey so, why couldnt you talk about it while you worked there. Are the work conditions trash? Were you a slave? Brainwashed?

Also did you listen to the Serial podcast everyone is raving about?

MinnieMantle42 karma

It's in the contract that we couldn't discuss it in a public forum like this. Work conditions aren't awful, but they could be better. At least we get all the Powerade you want/need (to answer the most common question, no, there's no fans, cold vests, etc. it's you, the polyester costume, the cotton clothes you wear under the costume, and the fiberglass head.) a slave? As a CP, yeah, it's more like indentured servitude. And brainwashed, definitely. The first day of anyone's job at WDW is called Traditions. When I did it, it was a 4 hour course about the history of the company and WDW, in a freezing room with no windows.

I'm on episode 10, so don't not spoil anything for me! (Jay definitely knows more than he lets on, ever. I'm not sure he did it, but he was more than an accessory after the fact, IMO)

crossdogz10 karma

Thank you for your response. I hope you are not permanently scarred from the WWF or whatever. LOL.

MinnieMantle18 karma

Nah. I sometimes still have vivid dreams of getting hurt, but most of the time, I'm ok. My hand doesn't even hurt anymore from the teenager who nearly broke three bones in it!

crossdogz9 karma


please go on.

MinnieMantle38 karma

Some douche teenager wanted to see how tight he could squeeze Sorceror Mickey's hand while shaking it. When he squeezed it, I squeezed back. He squeezed a little harder, I tightened, then loosened my grip. It was like a little dance, but one of us was doing the salsa, the other the waltz. I was trying to tell him to let go. Eventually, he was squeezing my hand so tight that my fingers were curled together and if you looked at my hand from the tip of my fingers, my fingers could make the five points of a star. It hurt so bad, I literally fell to the ground, and the guy walked off.

It was bad enough that I couldn't do any autographs, and had to go to health services. Did you know that bones could bruise? Neither did I! That day, I also learned that bruised bones are a step away from a break. And this guy had bruised my three middle metacarpal bones.

There's also the dad that got mad enough at Donald Duck that he punched me in my head...and got kicked out of the park.

sarasti28 karma

What made him so angry that he lost his ducking mind?

MinnieMantle29 karma

It was the end of my set, I had to walk in a line with other characters from the bust garden to behind Star Tours. The dad wanted me to stop to take a picture with his daughter. I would have to walk around her. Donald has awful visibility, so I had to be careful. When the dad pushed his daughter in one of my blind spots, I tripped over her, she fell, and started crying.

Dad yelled at me. "What did you do that for, Donald?!" And punched me in the head. Hard. (Total aside, why can't the interrobang be a standard punctuation mark on keyboards?) anyway. So that's when I learned that Disney has undercover cops. That walk with characters if they have a long walk back to their break area.

Zomg_A_Chicken6 karma

Powerade or Gatorade?

Which one do you prefer?

MinnieMantle11 karma

Powerade. But I don't drink too much straight unless I need to. My favorite way to drink it is the lemon Powerade, mixed as a 1:1 ratio with water. It tastes like lemonade. Straight up, I prefer fruit punch Powerade.

pheonixignition14 karma

My friend used to be Cinderella when she worked at Disneyland. She said the characters frequently used drugs like ecstasy to stay happy and cheery. Confirm/deny?

MinnieMantle24 karma

I can't speak for DL, but afaik, deny.

It's a lot more fun to be able to make faces at the camera, knowing the annoying guests can't see your expression. It's one of the ways I coped. Also knitting. Knitting is a zen like activity.

fullautophx15 karma

A funny experience we had was getting pictures with Stitch. It's a short character, so I'm sure it was a girl, but she was making all sorts of noises inside the costume, so we were laughing our heads off in the picture. If you ever played Stitch, did you have a lot more leeway with him over other characters?

MinnieMantle21 karma

Oh hell yes. One of my favorite things to do as Stitch (that technically, I shouldn't have done, but I would read the guests before doing it) is picking my nose and rubbing it on one of the kids. Or picking my nose, examining the booger, and flicking it.

I also really enjoyed doing the hunched back, finger rolling "hiiiii" that he does in the movie.

namingspades3 karma

My new life goal is to meet Stitch at Disney World. He's my favorite and I was there last when I was 18 (2006) and didn't know they had a Stitch character to meet!

MinnieMantle17 karma

Do a character breakfast at Ohana. Stitches love Ohana.

fireant0214 karma

What is exactly behind those large gates that the characters go behind for breaks? I know you mentioned bathrooms and unlimited powerade, but are there any other interesting things back there? I've always been curious about those areas of the park.

Also...have you ever been seen out of character by a guest while changing or doing something else?

MinnieMantle38 karma

Ever seen the back of a shopping center? It looks kind of like that. Behind Tony's of Town Square, there's a mini cafeteria. If you're REALLY interested, there's a tour called Keys to the Kingdom. You might find it fascinating, but to me, it's just another work area.

Speaking of Murder the Magic- I mean, Keys to the Kingdom, it's a 16+ tour, because you have a high likelihood of seeing partially dressed characters. I've been wearing Piglet's legs and feet and directed Blue Fairy where to go when seen, I've even been in almost full costume (I was carrying Minnie's head by the chin) when guests have stopped to look at me.

goodnightspoon13 karma

Hehe, "murder the magic"

MinnieMantle17 karma

Can someone ps this to have a Disney-font saying "magic"?


annul6 karma

it's a 16+ tour, because you have a high likelihood of seeing partially dressed characters.

wait so there's a chance to see some topless disney cosplayers with this thing?

MinnieMantle21 karma

...keep dreaming. When I say partially dressed, I mean you'll see people partially in costume. Like, the guests saw me wearing padded, furry hot pink legs, a surgical cap on my head, and a grey cotton t-shirt.

bagboyrebel9 karma

That might still be a turn-on for some people.

MinnieMantle6 karma

Damn it, how'd I forget about rule 34?

TheDemko14 karma

I live in Florida, and have always wanted a job like you've described. Yes, I know to some, it sounds awful at times... but it's always been a dream of mine. I would guess I'm out of the age range (I'm about to turn 40) of people who are likely to get a job like this, but in case I'm not... how exactly would you recommend going about trying to attain a job like this? Is it something you can just walk in and apply/audition for, or is there a lot more prep work involved in just GETTING to the audition step?

MinnieMantle28 karma

Before you go "fuck yeah!" Let me warn you- it's hard on the body. I've had knee surgery because of the costumes. I wore costumes that easily weighed 30-35 lbs, and I'm 105. I had to have physical therapy for my shoulder, and go to a chiropractor. And this was with minimal guest abuse.

Do you still want to do it? Go to disneyauditions.com.

TheDemko9 karma

I've felt the Magic of Disney since I was very little. I've had many friends who were cast members, but never knew any CPs. I love kids, but will likely never have any of my own, and would love to be able to share that Magic with other kids, and be able to help them to pass it on as well. I definitely understand the physical demands of such a thing.

Thanks for the website and info. Was there anything special you did to prep for your first audition as a CP?

MinnieMantle9 karma

Booked flights and hotel room. Dad booked the rental car (I was 17 when I auditioned).

HelloWuWu13 karma

Any inside tips on when would be the best time of year to go? Best way to get the most bang for your buck?

MinnieMantle22 karma

Probably the weeks between US Thanksgiving and mid-December, and January through mid-February.

xplodinpenguin13 karma

What character was your favorite to portray? any you didn't like?

MinnieMantle62 karma

I liked being any character where I could do whatever I wanted. Mushu was awesome, so was Meeko. Surprisingly, I didn't love being Mickey. He's The Man, so you HAVE to behave a certain way. In terms of costume, Piglet is one of the worst. The visibility is awful. Guys, take pity on the Winnie the Pooh characters. It's really hard.

WelchCLAN15 karma

Wouldn't have guessed about the Winnie the Pooh characters. I was at a character breakfast a couple of years ago and Pooh took my camera off the table and managed to get a selfie.

pistachiopaul15 karma

I didn't know my goal in life was to have Pooh take a selfie with my camera until this moment

MinnieMantle4 karma

says to self ...inner 12 year old, get your head out of the gutter...

MinnieMantle15 karma

Pure luck, I promise you.

napking243 karma

What kind of directions are you provided with on how to behave in-character?

MinnieMantle7 karma

It depends on the character. As Mickey, we're taught to walk with a wider, more exaggerated stance, with a bounce in our step. That's pretty much the rule with all male characters.

There's actually fact sheets, with birthday, background, character behavior, and autograph on any character you could meet. If it's a new character, we go into the binder to find it, read it, and do it.

The biggest piece of bullshit I read is that Thumper wasn't allowed to thump. IT'S IN HIS FUCKING NAME. But noooo, we might scare guests if we thumped.

Opheltes12 karma

  • Which characters did you do?
  • Which characters can you sign as?
  • Night of joy - worst night to work there, or worst night of your life?

(Source: Married to a cast member)

MinnieMantle15 karma

Do you want the entire list? I've been 25 characters. I can sign as more than just the 25 (haha, "just"). But mostly the ones Ive been. Never worked Night of Joy.

TheDemko11 karma

That brings up an interesting question - how much practice does it take to perfect each of the autographs? Is that something they just stick you in a room with a sample of the autograph and tell you to practice for an hour or two? Or is it something you have to develop over days/weeks?

MinnieMantle26 karma

One of the days of training was almost exclusively how to walk like the main character in your height range and doing autographs. You're given a big binder of autographs for your height range, and you practice. They're not too hard. But it can creep into your real life. My middle initial on my marriage license uses a Mickey style M.

brueapilsner6 karma

Did you ever accidentally sign as the wrong character?

MinnieMantle25 karma

Maaaaaybe. To be fair, I was on my third day in a row of the same 16 hour shift (8am-12am, started as piglet in one park, went to another to do Mickey to finish off the shift). So I may have signed "Piglet" instead of "Mickey".

Daiikun12 karma

Have you ever cursed in costume?

MinnieMantle81 karma

Allll the time. Those obnoxious guests who won't go away? You curse at them under your breath. I've flipped off the camera before, too (as Pooh or Piglet). There was one time that the guest heard me, but it was deliberate. My brother came up to me to take a picture, and asked me how I'm doing. I whispered back "it's so fucking hot in here, you have no idea." There's a picture in our parents' house somewhere where you can see my brother's expression. It's pretty funny. He apparently went back to our parents and said "Mickey just cursed at me. And he sounded like my sister."

argole15 karma

He didn't know it was you?

MinnieMantle37 karma

Oh, he knew. It was just jarring, I guess.

im_always_fapping9 karma


MinnieMantle12 karma

I don't even know where that picture is. Womp womp.

I flip off the camera when people are being obnoxious. I would only ever do it when the character's hands don't have fingers. One of the times I flipped off the camera was right after a family's kid partially dislocated my shoulder (I pulled a Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon to pop it back into place. Surprisingly, it didn't hurt).

gofordrew12 karma

I just went to Disney World a couple weeks ago for the first time since I was a kid. It was just my g/f and I, mid 20's. I was a little hesitant at meeting characters at first, but ended up enjoying it and the pictures. Is it weird when adults meet the characters with no kids?

MinnieMantle33 karma

Sometimes. Mostly not, though. My favorite guest interaction was with an adult when I was Robin Hood. He came up to me, super excited, because Robin Hood was his all time favorite Disney movie. We had a good time, and as he left, he turned back, waved, and said "O de lally, Robin!"

Adults like that make up for like, the dad who thought it would be funny to put Mickey Mouse in a choke hold (by the way, it's mostly people who know better who beat up characters)

ajmostek9 karma

Would you ever go to Disney in your free-time for enjoyment?? Or do you not see any "magic" in the park because of working there.

MinnieMantle34 karma

Not going to lie- I still love the company. My daughter's nursery is Minnie Mouse themed, we have at least one thing Disney in every room in our house (except the bathrooms- those rooms are sacred). Some of the magic is gone for me, but it'll be fun to go with my daughter, since she's only 1.

And the food and wine festival. OMFG i want to go there every year.

ajmostek15 karma

Thanks for the response!! This honestly is one of my favorite AMA's just because of my still childlike-fascination with disney and their parks. What were some of the benefits that came with working at Disney?

MinnieMantle23 karma

Discounts. 50% off on hotel, 35% on merchandise, 20% on food. And free park tickets for my family.

ClarityEye3 karma

Do you still get those perks even though you've stopped working for them??

MinnieMantle7 karma

Nope. Once you've been unshackled by the company (either yourself or forcefully), you lose those benefits.

sniff I'm going to miss those benefits...I couldn't understand how people could spend so much to go to WDW (there are stories out there of people putting second mortgages on their homes because they wanted the EPICALLY AWESOME Disney trip)

Reaper19899 karma

Hey. Thank you for doing this post. Very interesting to read. I've been to WDW twice a and DLP about 6 times. (live in UK) and I love Disney 25/m. Do you think that for the "happiest place on earth" there are so many kids that cry or are upset? Also (sorry for 2 questions) what was the worst moment you remember apart from the Donald punch or broken hand incidents. Thanks again for this ama

MinnieMantle13 karma

I think the reason for upset/crying kids is overstimulation. It's so loud, there's so much to see, and it's go-go-go. Kids need quiet time, IMO, and Disney doesn't give you that. Unless you go in one of the theater animatronic attractions (like Hall of Presidents- protip: If you need a nap, go watch the Hall of Presidents if you're in the Magic Kingdom. PERFECT napping environment).

Luntch8 karma

What were some of the differences in training for "fur" vs. "face" characters? Did they train you certain voice, postures, laughs, etc.? Also, what made you decide to be a fur character instead of face?

MinnieMantle13 karma

I don't know the differences in training, and I didn't choose. I'm too short to be a princess, and don't look enough like the other Wendy's, Alice's and Tinkerbell's to have been cast as a face.

jjrichy298 karma

My cousin works as Sully and The Beast at Disney World! I wonder if you know him. Anyways, what is your weirdest Disney story?

MinnieMantle4 karma

I'd have to see a pic of him. Unless we worked together all the time, chances are I don't know his name. Unless he was a mascot at his college. Then I miiiiiight know him.

tiggerteen6 karma

Hi! I'm 17 and have wanted to do the DCP in either Orlando or Anaheim since I was 7. I have so many questions but firstly, I'm 5'9" (actually 5'8" and 3/4). What fur characters can I play? I've been told I'm too tall for Pluto and too short for Tigger. Can you verify? Also, do Mickey and Minnie see from their eyes? Are they like sunglass lenses? Thanks for the AMA!

MinnieMantle7 karma

If I said where we see out of, I'm worried that some jackass would try to block our vision, so I'm not going to mention that (because people are assholes. Not you, necessarily, but some people can be).

Disney tends to measure you at whatever height they need you. I'm actually 4'11, but when they measured me, I was 5'0. At 5'9ish, you'd be Eeyore height, so yes, too tall for Pluto, too short for Tigger (by 1" either direction).

DownvoteMeansAgree6 karma

Did you find it weird when adults would hug you or pose for pictures with you?

(There were a couple of characters I just couldn't help but get pictures with, I hope I didn't creep them out :( )

MinnieMantle9 karma

Nah. Sometimes, they're the most fun. If I'm Minnie, and I get a group of girls, I have ideas for great poses and stuff. The biggest thing is that the adult has to be willing to play around.

dipdipdoodoo6 karma

Thanks for the AMA. I really enjoy it. I have a Mickey lamp on my desk that my son has outgrown. So my question is, what kind of tips did they give you to deal with little ones that were scared of the characters? The first time we went, my boy was 3 or so and petrified of the characters up close, but loved to see them from 15+ feet away.

MinnieMantle5 karma

They didn't give us tips- that was something we learned on the job. Personally, I give kids the opportunity to pet my ear or hand, so they can see how soft I am. If they're resistant, then I just back away. I don't want to take pictures with a screaming kid, so I want to traumatize them as little as possible.

Which made it a bit heart breaking when we recently went on a Disney trip with my daughter. She's 1, and was like your son- cool from 5+ feet away, but up close, no way. So we took it easy, walked up to the characters slowly, and if she seemed terrified, I'd hold her from 5' away, and told the character "(daughter) is a little afraid, so I'm just going to keep her back here to wave to you."

MysteryRedhead6 karma

I know this is super late, but can the villian characters be mean to you? Are they instructed to at all? The first character I met as a 10 or 11 year old was Jafar and he was a total dick to me. Should my parents have complained?

MinnieMantle19 karma

Villains are given a bit more leeway, because they're villains. I've had Cruella grab onto the hood of my sweatshirt and yell at me about wearing a tshirt with that "stupid fairy" (Tinkerbell) on it. She only got that physical with me because she was a friend of mine.

Damn, I wish I could have been a villain...I would have loved to be a dick to some guests.

d4m4s745 karma

How are fur characters treated compared to face characters by other "cast members"? Better or worse?

MinnieMantle10 karma

It depends on which fur you are. If it's obvious you're mickey, they're more helpful than if you're, say, Marie.

But cast members tend to be really helpful when you're carrying a huge bag, you're obviously struggling with it, and you're tiny.

Skybounds3 karma


MinnieMantle9 karma

The number of times I've been called Hello Kitty is ridiculous. I've also been called the Nesquik Bunny when I was Br'er Rabbit.

Fetch_as_fuck5 karma

What park was your favorite to work in, and why?

Also, was it a pain to have to switch to multiple parks in the same day?

Great AMA!

MinnieMantle16 karma

Epcot. Epcot is so laid back, and the characters are kind of "pop up"- you may not expect them where they're located. Plus, in Epcot, if you're a spare (they schedule people to be on standby, in case someone calls out sick) and no one calls out sick, they'll put you in a random character in your height range to do pop up sets. I've photobombed people as Max before, and it was a ton of fun.

Albatross_905 karma

-So was it all worth it in the end?

-You said you did the college program. Could working in the park eventually earn you a more reputable position within the company that is more tailored to your degree?

-Would you recommend it to a guy who plans to graduate and then do the CP just because of the potential awesome-ness?

MinnieMantle7 karma

To me, it was completely worth it. I went in with zero expectations, just to take it as it comes and make the most of it. I think that's the biggest mistake for the people who complain about their CP's- they go in, expecting it'll be fun, but it's still work.

Disney loves hiring people who have done the CP, so yup, doing the CP could benefit you.

And I always recommend that if you're going to do the CP, to do it the second semester of freshman year, or the semester immediately after you graduate.

MeoowDude5 karma

Can you please elaborate on the terrifying touring Brazillians?

MinnieMantle12 karma

Oh shit, the stories...

So one day during the summer, I was working at the sorcerer's hat as Mickey with Pluto. Pluto and I start going out to our location, and I see Rafiki hauling his furry blue ass away, as fast as he can. I wonder what's going on, then I see it. This sea of yellow shirts. (The yellow shirt group, FWIW, is the one that when security sees them enter the park, they radio to all other security that they're coming in, so even the undercovers can keep an eye on them. They're THAT bad).

They start coming to Pluto and me. Pluto's visibility is shit, so I have to help him. Soon, all I see is these teenagers speaking Portuguese. I can't even see my attendants or photographer. Eventually, I had to do some things that I'm not proud of (swing my head back and forth to hit kids with my ears), and it took 5-6 cast and other guests to get all these kids off of us.

MeoowDude5 karma

Thanks for the reply. So Brazillian kids have a death wish for all things Disney? That's intense, and should be made into a Bruce Willis movie. I'm now picturing a particular episode of The Simpsons. How many times did you have to fend for yourself in these situations?

MinnieMantle9 karma

Not many. I quickly learned to demand an attendant to walk with me out to my location if I'd be exposed with no assistance.

There was the one time I was hauling ass as Chicken Little. My friend/attendant (a big, 6'8" teddy bear of a guy) saw me start hauling, and caught up to me to keep the guests away.

mak14055 karma

Do you know how much the average costume costs?

do you know who makes them for Disney?

MinnieMantle7 karma

Depends on the costume. Mickey is roughly $5000, while the old Belle costume (ballgown) was about $30K.

Disney makes them in-house. The heads are made on one coast, the costumes on the other, but I can't remember which is made where.

Snowconeman4 karma

How tall do you have to be to work the taller characters?

MinnieMantle7 karma

Depends on who you're talking about.

Snowconeman3 karma

Well who's the tallest?

MinnieMantle14 karma

Goofy is 6'-6'4. The tallest is Chewbacca, who starts at 6'6.

MinnieMantle1 karma


ktthomas1 karma

Id like to hear about it.

MinnieMantle7 karma

Just posted it. Bring tissues.

sandeep18194-12 karma

Have you ever met Walt disney?

MinnieMantle17 karma

I was born about 15 years after he died, so no. I've never met Tom Hanks either, but I have met some famous people.