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Amid Snow White Firing, Cast Members Speak Out

cast members disneyland snow white firing
Credit: Disney, Edited on Canva

The recent Snow White firing has once again highlighted the issues with the treatment of cast members at the parks, with articles demonstrating in no uncertain terms the difficulties these Disney employees face.

For years now, fans and guests alike have been speaking out about how the Walt Disney Company treats its employees. (Spoiler alert: not well.) In addition to this, over the last two years, there have been many headlines about the protests that cast member unions organized, be it at the Walt Disney World Resort or at the Disneyland Resort.

Now, with the recent suspension of one Snow White’s presence in the parks, the subject of how Disney cast members are treated by the Mouse House is back under question.

disneyland california sleeping beauty castle

Sleeping Beauty Castle, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort / Credit: Disney Parks

Related: Disney Suspends Snow White’s Presence in Theme Parks Indefinitely Amid Ongoing Investigation

It is well-known now that Disney recently let go of a cast member who was part of the Disney College Program (Sophia Dottir). Devoted fans of the Disney Parks (Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and the global Disney Parks included) would know that the Walt Disney Company takes character integrity very seriously.

The company has been known to fire cast members who don’t adhere to Disney’s (arguably pedantic) rules of how they are to conduct themselves.

Dottir explains this and more in response to her firing from Walt Disney World. She even details an instance where she was reprimanded by the House of Mouse for being sick despite needing to go to urgent care, and having a doctor’s note.

This isn’t all. A recent article from the Wall Street Journal shared anecdotes from various cast members and explained that “Disney publishes ‘Look Books’ that dictate parks performers’ appearance, down to the length of their facial hair and nail polish colors. Mixing the worlds of reality and fantasy is forbidden: Cast members can be fired for revealing publicly which princesses or cartoon characters they portray during work hours.” 

In Dottir’s case, while she certainly never explicitly stated who she played at the parks (the Disney Princess Snow White), she is known to have alluded to it, which Disney took issue with during their investigation prior to her firing.

Despite the fact that Disney cast members are the true heart and soul of the Disney experience, per all accounts of how they’re treated by the world’s biggest entertainment conglomerate, they leave a lot to be desired.

Cars Land Disney California Adventure

Cars Land, Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Resort / Credit: Disney

Being fired for revealing one’s character isn’t all. Similar to Dottir’s explanation of how Disney World handled her health issue, Disneyland cast members also worry about their health and safety working at the Disney Park.

The WSJ explained that Disney Princess performers have to take their breaks in a moldy basement room beneath the Disneyland castle, commonly known as “the dungeon.”

The difficulty with being a character performer, in particular, is it’s not just Disney that can make a cast member’s life hard. Guests have been known to injure performers as well.

Twenty-four-year-old Alexis Velasco explained that she was attacked by a guest in 2018 while dressed as a classic Disney character. Velasco shared that “a doctor later told her that she had whiplash so severe it looked like she had been in a serious car accident.” 

Disney Cast Members

Disneyland cast members / Credit: Disney

It is, in fact, Disney’s responsibility to protect its cast members from these types of incidents, though, of course, the company did insist that they do not tolerate bad behavior from guests.

Still, one can’t help but wonder when news of Sophia Dottir’s firing goes viral: what exactly is the company doing for those it has a responsibility toward?

Stay tuned to Disney Dining for the latest news about all things Disney!

About Priyanka Kumar

Priyanka is a writer, artist, avid reader, and travel enthusiast based in Chicago. In her free time, she is probably walking by the lake, catching up on the latest releases on TV, or spending inordinate amounts of time rewatching Moana, Encanto, and her Disney Channel life-long favorites Zack and Cody wreak havoc on the Tipton.

2 comments

  1. Give me a break! This girl went online and talked about how miserable she was as a DCP cast member and totally blamed the company for not giving her realistic expectations for what the job would be like. She acted all hush-hush like she wasn’t sharing secrets that she obviously was, and now she wants us to feel sorry for her because she got fired. It’s an entertainment company, for crying out loud! They have a “magical image” they need to portray consistently, and if performers go around revealing that “Snow White isn’t real” or things like that, it really can ruin the magic for kids who hear people talking about that. Yes, they have a “look” that you must conform to, but even that has been drastically relaxed in recent years. If you don’t want to play a “role” and agree to the terms of that job, go work in food services or as a ride operator. And if you totally and deliberately disrespect your employer on social media, don’t act like some shocked innocent person when they fire you for it.

  2. It’s not hard to follow company policy. Just because you don’t agree with it doesn’t mean you don’t have to follow it. Everyone knows how Disney is, if you agree to work there, then follow the policies and nothing will happen to you. She clearly said the wrong things on her post and Disney heard it, end of story.

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