Starting Today, Disney Cast Members Can Get a Little Furrier—But Will They?
by, 02-03-2012 at 08:25 AM (3833 Views)
Breaking 57 years of clean-shaven tradition, effective today, cast members at Disneyland and Walt Disney World will be permitted to sport facial hair.
Quoting last week’s Employee Memo:
“The Disney Look is an important part of the history and heritage of the Walt Disney Company. As the company continues to evolve, the Disney Look appearance guidelines must also be prepared to be re-evaluated with awareness to industry standards.
“Effective Friday, Feb. 3, facial hair, specifically beards and goatees are now an approved option for U.S. based Walt Disney Theme Parks and Resorts costumed and non-costumed male Cast Members, unless otherwise restricted by regulatory codes and standards. As with mustaches, all facial hair (beards, goatees, mustaches) must create an overall neat, polished and professional look and must be fully grown in, neatly groomed and well-maintained at no longer than a quarter of an inch in length.”
The memo also announced “Casual Friday” attire for non-guest contact employees and included three pages of FAQs, such as the definition of a well-groomed beard:
“A traditional beard covers all the components of a beard, including front, sides, sideburns, and mustache. A well groomed beard has a defined cheek line and neckline, which is neatly trimmed. It is important to regularly maintain the facial hair to a ¼ inch so that it does not look unkempt.”
My own informal survey of cast members (all male) did not reveal any costumed cast members with plans to suddenly start growing whiskers. In fact, several expressed disappointment, others disbelief over their newfound freedom. (“Our standards just dropped one step lower.” “We’re one step closer to being a carnival.”)
Another common refrain was wondering how managers were “going to police this when they can’t enforce the current guidelines?” To be sure, it was a lot easier to regulate grooming when the policy was more cut and dried, and pretty much everything was forbidden. Fifty years ago, supervisors could easily spot an unshaven face or hair approaching the collar. Now, everything’s a judgment call. Although employees can’t begin growing their beards on duty (they are supposed to arrive at work with their beards or goatee fully grown in), consider that facial hair grows in at different rates for different men. One man’s full beard is another man’s scruffy. And, what’s considered “neatly groomed”? And how will they ensure beards don’t exceed 1/4 inch?
I don’t expect to see toothless hillbillies working Storybook, but I do anticipate the occasional instance of cast members who “forget” to shave and try to pass their stubble off as a follically challenged beard. The slope just got a little slipperier.