cinderella castle underwear on clothesline
Credit: Canva Creation

After months of negotiations, Disney Cast Members get Clean Underwear

Lately, The Walt Disney Company has been at the center of controversy resulting from a clash of cultures, ideologies, beliefs, and personal values. But the most recent topics of controversy surrounding Disney aren’t the strangest topics by far.

Once upon a time, The Walt Disney Company was at the center of a controversy over nderwear.

underwear on a line


According to a post in the Los Angeles Times, Disney Cast Members were once charged with sharing undergarments. The scenario usually applied to those Cast Members who played the roles of Disney characters in the parks, such as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy, and other characters for whom Cast Members wore full costumes including a bodysuit and a headpiece.

“Things have been passed around,” said Gary Steverson, a stilt walker at Animal Kingdom. “I know I don’t want to share my tights and I don’t want to share my underwear.”

Disney characters inappropriately touched at theme parks - BBC News

Credit: BBC

Not only did the sharing of undergarments such as jockstraps, tights, and bike shorts worn underneath the character costumes make many Cast Members feel uncomfortable, but the practice also led to multiple Cast Members reporting that they had contracted pubic lice and scabies from doing so.

RELATED: Disney Parks has quietly upgraded the look of its PIXAR Characters 

Regular underwear was not routinely worn with the costumes because it can bunch up under the costumes and become noticeable to Guests. For this reason, the practice at the time involved the use of other types of undergarments, such as jockstraps and the like.

Each night, Cast Members were to turn in their worn undergarments along with their costumes before heading to their cars to drive home for the evening. The next day, they were instructed to pick up a different set of undergarments and costuming.

When Cast Members began to share their concern with Disney Parks management, Disney officials explained that they use hot water when laundering the undergarments. But Steverson, who worked at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and was also a shop steward with the Teamsters who represented costumed character-playing Cast Members at Disney, said at the time that hot water was not being used.

magic kingdom costuming

Magic Kingdom Costuming/Credit: Two Disney Sisters

Some Cast Members reported that when they picked up undergarments and costuming before their shifts began, the underwear was often stained and odorous. Steverson said there were even cases of Cast Members getting scabies or pubic lice at Magic Kingdom.

Eventually, the Teamsters union sat down with Disney officials to discuss the issue of shared, sometimes unclean undergarments in the parks to draw up a new contract that would make the possibility of being handed stained, smelly undergarments a thing of the past.

Under a new contract drawn up between the two parties, Cast Members would be assigned individual undergarments. Each night, instead of turning them in to Disney launderers, Cast Members would be tasked with taking them home and laundering them.

The contract was drawn up and agreed upon over a period of two long months at the negotiating table.

About Becky Burkett

I'm an enthusiastic writer who finds joy in random things like cold weather, snow, "I Love Lucy," "The Andy Griffith Show," journals full of blank paper, countdowns to Christmas, the month of December, "Toy Story," "Sleeping Beauty," my 4 kids, my 4 shih tsus, Disney Parks history, Imagineering and visiting the parks. I think Walt Disney is the standard against which genius should be measured. I love to write about Disney Parks, Disney history, all things Imagineering and PIXAR. I adore the colors, story and art direction of Disney's "Sleeping Beauty" (Team Make it Blue!), and "Toy Story" is life (minus "Toy Story 4"). I believe Walt Disney was so much more than an entertainment and theme park tycoon; I believe he was a savant with a vision for life and how it could be if happiness and kindness are strived for. I love Biergarten at EPCOT and 1900 Park Fare at Disney's Grand Floridian. You can find me croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room, chillin' on the PeopleMover or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. I'm always looking for Imagineers in the parks, and I'd rather meet Joe Rohde and Tony Baxter than anyone in Hollywood! Hey, if you dream it, you really can do it!