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What It’s Really Like Inside a Disney Character Costume Head

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Credit: Disney

Asking a Disney Parks character performer, especially one of the mascot characters – AKA anyone whose actual face you CANNOT see – if they’re hot inside their costume is the number one stupidest and unoriginal question you can ask. First of all, yes, of course, it’s hot inside a Disney character costume head. Chances are they’re jumping around in the Florida or California heat in layers of fabric for the sake of your magical experience. So please, restrain yourself from asking this.

walt disney world disneyland theme park disney character costume head inside hot visibility mickey mouse stitch pluto donald duck mr. smee mrs. incredible

Credit: Disney

Of course, you’re still curious about what it’s like inside one of those heads…but you don’t want to tick off the character performer or ruin the magic for your kids. So, here’s what it’s really like to be inside some of the Disney character costume heads from anonymous Entertainment Cast Member sources who have really done it.

Disney Character Costume Head Types

First of all, there are a few different types of heads to consider. Based on the Disney character, the costume head will have a certain shape. The three general-ish shapes, in my own simple terms, are round (like Mickey Mouse), elongated (think Pluto), and magnet (like Mrs. Incredible). There is also an articulated version of character heads, meaning the eyes can blink and the mouths can move because of controls the performers have attached to their hands. Let’s leave that out because those are generally used for special events and stage shows rather than run-of-the-mill meet-and-greets.

1 – Round

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Credit: Disney

Friends with “round” heads include Disney characters like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Chip and Dale, Stitch, Winnie the Pooh, and more. Basically, any character who’s costume head shape sits pretty equally balanced above their body and shoulders. Generally, the performers inside use the character’s actual eye area to see out of. The visibility is not wonderful in any head. The visibility areas are blended into the visual appearance of the character’s eyes. It’s either tinted plastic or one way mesh that the performers can see out of, but Guests can’t see into.

This head type is relatively straight forward to put on and take off. Performers tuck their hair into hoods or skull caps, place their own head into the head’s innner setting, and secure a chin strap.

2 – Elongated

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Credit: Disney

An “elongated” head reaches a good amount farther out in front of the performer’s body than a round one does. Characters like Mickey’s dog Pluto and Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh are prime examples. It’s important that performers in these roles have the right height and proportions to be able to support the lopsided weight of the head safely. Often times characters with heads like this are animals and will have a line of sight through a mesh nose, tinted eye plastic, or maybe even a mesh mouth depending which part of the head aligns with the performer’s eye level.

These heads are a bit more awkward to maneuver and get on, as the shape is cumbersome. Performers again wear hoods or skull caps, and fasten their heads in the inner settings and straps.

3 – Magnet

walt disney world disneyland theme park disney character costume head inside hot visibility mickey mouse stitch pluto donald duck mr. smee mrs. incredible

Credit: Loren Javier/ Flickr

By far the easiest head to put on and take off is what I’ll refer to as the “magnet face.” It sounds just as it is. The performer straps on the back half of a character’s head (with their hair still tucked into a skull cap), and the actual character face part is simply placed over the performer’s face like a mask. It connects and stays put by strong magnets along the connecting halves of the head. Usually these are for human characters like Mr. Smee from Peter Pan and Helen Parr AKA Mrs. Incredible, who see out of mesh or tinted eyes as well.

The good news about this head is that it is not as much trouble to put on/ remove as the others, but the bad news is that the plastic/ fabric is significantly closer to the performers face. Unfortunately there was at least one incident at Walt Disney World where Mrs. Incredible‘s magnet face flung off from the force of the performer tripping on stage. So they’re also not as secure as the traditional character heads.

But…Still…How Hot IS it in There? Do the Heads Have Fans?

walt disney world disneyland theme park disney character costume head inside hot visibility mickey mouse stitch pluto donald duck mr. smee mrs. incredible

Credit: Disney

It’s really hot guys. Performers often taken as many changes of “basics” – under costume t-shirts and shorts provided by costuming – as the number of meet-and-greet sets they will be doing that day. Imagine, if you’re hot walking around in a tank top, than the multi-layered fur suit guy is sweating under there too.

But NO. There are NO fans inside of the character heads. First of all, even a tiny fan would barely fit inside there. Second, this would make the heads wildly more expensive, delicate, and hazardous – just not worth it. Third, even if there were fans in there, they would just be blowing hot, trapped air back in the performer’s face. Also while the performers are very warm in there, many of them get used to the job and are more than properly hydrated, so the heat isn’t as big a bother as you may think!

walt disney world disneyland theme park disney character costume head inside hot visibility mickey mouse stitch pluto donald duck mr. smee mrs. incredible joy sadness

Credit: Disney

One thing to know about the heat and humidity inside of Disney character costume heads is that they actually do fog up. The heads that utilize the tinted plastic for line of sight can get pretty foggy like swim goggles. This is from the performer’s breath and overall humidity. Disney performers combat this by treating the tinted plastic with a safe anti-fog liquid before putting the head on and going out to make magic!

Hopefully this answered some of your burning questions about what really goes on inside a Disney character’s head and you can enjoy their performance with wondering about them cooking in there.

About Lana Porter

Lana has never lost a Disney Trivia night. Maybe it’s the hundreds of times she’s been to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, her love for Disney’s ’90’s era hand-animated musicals, or the fact that she’s often likened to cartoon characters, but Disney and its magic have a special place in her heart. Her favorite Disney experiences include the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival, eating Mickey Bars on the PeopleMover, and crying during the Magic Kingdom fireworks show. One day she hopes to be chosen as the rebel spy on Star Tours. When Lana isn’t Park Hopping, she’s at home reading books of all topics, watching her favs on Disney+, or snuggling her two cats, which she swears are not named after Disney characters. She loves surprising people with her knowledge of the Marvel Cinematic Universe but admits she is still catching up with Star Wars. She is happy to combine her excitement for writing with her love for Disney-style storytelling and share what she can with the world!