Beards and goatees now allowed in ‘Disney Look’ for theme park cast members, Casual Fridays added

in Disney, Disneyland Resort, Disneyland Resort Paris, Entertainment, Hong Kong Disneyland, Theme Parks, Tokyo Disneyland, Walt Disney World

For decades, Disney has ensured its theme park Cast Members are all “neat and pretty” by enforcing what they called the “Disney Look,” a set of guidelines by which all “on stage” employees must groom themselves. But with an upcoming change to Disney’s required look, it seems Dopey is no longer the only of the seven dwarfs who meets Disney’s strict standards for appearance.

Today Disney has announced it will begin allowing Cast Members to grow beards and goatees. Cast members received notice of the change in a memo from Walt Disney Parks and Resorts:

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.

(So no Cast Members will actually be sporting dwarf-length beards…)

In addition, Disney has added a “Casual Friday” option for those Cast Members who are not “on stage”:

Also effective Friday, Feb. 3, non-costumed Cast Members in non-Guest facing locations can wear casual attire on Fridays for all U.S. based Theme Parks and Resorts. The “Casual Friday” dress parameters are outlined and additional resources are available on the Disney Look module of The Hub. Although we are a seven day a week operation, Friday is the only acceptable day for this option.


The Disney Look guidebook as been updated as follows:

For all male Cast Members, a fully grown in, well-maintained mustache, beard, or goatee is permitted, unless otherwise restricted by regulatory codes and standards. Facial hair must be neatly trimmed and may not present an unkempt appearance. Extreme styles are prohibited.

All facial hair (beards, goatees and mustaches) must create an overall neat, polished and professional look.

All facial hair must be fully grown in, neatly groomed and well maintained at no longer than a quarter of an inch in length.

Mustaches may extend below the corners of the mouth to meet with the facial beard.
Shaping the mustache or beard to a particular style is not permitted.

Mustaches (without lower facial hair) must not extend onto or over the upper lip and must extend to the corners of the mouth, but not beyond or below the corners.

Cast Members without a mustache, beard, or goatee are expected to be clean-shaven every day.

For clarification on whether a mustache, beard or goatee is acceptable, please consult your area leader or contact the Cast Image and Appearance team.

Other aspects of the on-stage Disney Look include nametags being worn and visible at all times, no visible tattoos, one earring in each ear for females, no other jewelry or body piercings aside from wedding rings, and appropriate and natural hair color.

The last major change to the Disney Look came in 2000 when Disney began allowing mustaches, a move that some felt was decades too late, as Walt Disney himself wore a mustache when he was alive.

Somewhere, the Dream Finder is smiling.

32 Comments

  1. Duncan

    I don’t like idea, I can see mustaches because of Walt, but beards and goatees is a bit much, if you don’t like the Disney Look rules then work some place else. Disney has always been different than any other theme park and they need to keep it that way.

  2. As one who sports a goatee and always wanted to work at a Disney park, I guess it’s good to know that I’m safe to go without having to sacrifice my facial hair!

    Still, I think it’s going to be a bit awkward to see this in action. I mean, I’m sure many of us won’t be used to it at first to see a non-character cast member having a beard or goatee.

    Overall, I’m OK with seeing cast members with beards and goatees. Even Mr. Lincoln himself has one! Although, seeing a more contemporary goatee (like Flynn Rider’s) may be a bit jarring to see from a cast member. That style feels a bit more ‘edgy’ for Disney.

  3. Nancy

    This is a change for the worse and certainly opens the door for other changes to the looks and dress codes of it’s cast members and crews. The Magic Kingdom won’t be that special when the cast members and crews don’t have that clean-cut look!!!

    1. Hank Addams

      What next Disney will allow cast members to be openly gay ?

      1. ashley

        They do allow people to be openly gay. As a cast member I think it is a good idea. There is nothing at all wrong with facial hair.

  4. lol

    With these dresscodes changes (and others that will follow) Disney will just become another carnival/circus attraction.

  5. Bill

    “…one earring in each ear for females, no other jewelry or body piercings…”

    Actually, rings on fingers, such as wedding bands, are permitted. I think no more than one per hand.

    1. Alice

      Correct 1 ring per hand or a wedding set for females and a wedding band for males. Necklaces are acceptable for non-costumed cast as well.

      1. Colin

        One per hand except where it’s a wedding set intended to be worn together which they permit and count as one.

        1. ashley

          True, unless you work in food.. Then you are not allowed to wear any jewlery. Only earings and only one per ear and in the lobe only.But no rings even wedding and no necklesses

  6. Nate

    Disney is constantly letting up on their standards for cast members. They used to be stringent on appearance guidelines, and now the quality of their workers has never been lower. When they started allowing mustaches, their guidelines stated that only clean and fully grown mustaches were allowed. This is not enforced, however. Now you see half-grown and untrimmed facial hair. This problem will get worse with beards. I guess that’s why they refer to the Disney Look as “guidelines” because it allows Disney room to not enforce something considered a “requirement”. Before you know it, the company will start allowing “clean and appropriate” tattoos.

    1. Asia

      As a Magic Kingdom cast member I cannot recall in recent times seeing half grown or untrimmed facial hair. Heck you barely see anyone with mustaches at all.

  7. Terry

    Sorry to see another Disney standard thrown out the door. Walk must be spinning in his grave. 🙁

    1. Idiot

      Yeah, Im sure “Walk” is really spinning now….or is he walking?? lol

    2. Joe

      I dont think Walt would really care about WELL MAINTAINED facial hair, that is what everyone is missing…well maintained. Disney isnt letting their cast members grow some kind of robinson caruso or santa claus beard. I think Walt was more worried about the guest service aspect of things since he himself wore a mustache! Guest Service has been going downhill long before any facial hair and I dont remember going to universal (where they do allow facial hair) and having a question and not asking the employee because he has a beard. I have, however, passed by cast member/team members at both universal and disney who were leaning on trash cans, talking to their coworker WITH BLATENT DISREGARD FOR GUESTS, and ones who were giving the “FML” look. I put blaten disregard for guests in caps because I dont mind them talking to a coworker but you can tell if they will immediately stop the convo as a guest walks up. I am a former cast member, so I see it from two perspectives, the guest AND cast member

    3. FS

      Why would Walt be against “well-maintained” facial hair??

  8. Angel

    Awesome to think we can maintain Walt’s mentality in the 21st Century but in order to compete with the future one has to let go of the past. Most Cast Members pride themselves on their appearance and this change will not affect them one way or the other. All that needs to be done is “Lead by Example”

  9. Ashley

    I don’t see much of an issue with it. Yes, Disney maintains a higher standard and that is what sets them apart…but this is not a change that would start Magic Kingdom down a slippery slope. The change won’t be nearly as jarring as what first reaction would seem. Ten years from now, when you look back at your vacation memories, will you really care whether the ride operator running the jungle cruise ship had a goatee or not? No, you’ll remember how funny he was when he shot the hippos and saved you all from a terrible fate, then told you not to step over the boxes before you got off the ride.

    As someone who worked at the Magic Kingdom for over two years before moving on and finishing up two internships with the company, I know how the standards are enforced and kept up. Different parks follow the ‘Disney Look’ to a different letter. The Magic Kingdom park is the strictest from what I can remember of working there, but I just don’t see how a cast member with a mustache or beard (neatly kept and maintained) is going to ruin your overall guest experience…especially when that cast member is quite possibly the one who can help you find your lost party member, look high and low and find that very specific souvenir gift you want for your grandmother, get you a no strings card when you dropped your hat on space mountain, or creates that magical moment that will last for the rest of your life because they made your vacation memorable.

    1. Joe

      Totally agree with this, Ashley! I am also a former cast member, spent 4 years with the company and worked at all four parks and 3 resorts before moving on, although I miss it like crazy. You hit the nail on the head, everywhere I had worked enforced the look differently, but that is beside the point. You are right that people arent going to worry about the cast member’s beard, but more their personna and how they treated the guest, however with rides like jungle cruise and safaris (one of my attractions), realistically the cast member wouldn’t be shaved AT ALL and be disheveled would they not? you’re spending two weeks or so in a jungle or savannah you’re not gonna shave. But anyway I think the bottom line is this got blown out of proportion because too many people see beards as looking like robinson Caruso, Zach Galifinakis or Santa Claus and they dont read the new guidelines, they hear facial hair and that stuff pops into their head, they still have strict guidelines for the facial hair like not passing the lip and max of a 1/4″ in length which people are overlooking. I see no problem with one myself having worked at Universal and SeaWorld and both of which I grew a beard and all the guest came up to me the same as if I was clean shaven at Disney, so I think people are overreacting about this and not other things like guest service and cast members today always having the “FML” look and talking to eachother with Blatent Disregard for the guests, and the stuff that in my eyes as a guest really does matter!

      1. Julian

        I also worked for Disney, specifically as an Attractions Host at Disneyland.
        I don’t dig this change at all.
        But then again, I started working there 30 years ago, and I think there will often times be a different attitude among present day CMs (or those who have worked there over the last 10-15 years) than there might have been with those of us who worked there a long time ago.
        And most of the old timers I talk to don’t like it either, even though some of them, now in retirement, have those mustaches and beards they couldn’t have when they were CMs.
        When you hired in at Disneyland, you knew there was that Disney “look” regardless of what was going on outside the berm. You conformed to it.
        But then again, that’s what Disney represented. A world of imagination and fantasy that allowed you to escape the reality of the world outside.
        Was the park completely accurate when it came to history, or look?
        No, it was a sanitized look at history to a degree.
        And the “look” didn’t necessarily represent the reality of what it would have been in the real world outside either.
        But in the end, this was just one of the things that made Disneyland unique. People accepted it, and liked it.
        I still look back on it and see it as perhaps the best job I ever had.
        And it was a company that, I felt, was run quite well when it came to what they expected of you.
        The “look” was part of what was expected.
        Now, would a jungle boat operator in the real world be well-groomed? No. Obviously.
        But I’m sure Walt was very aware of this as well.
        For whatever reason he didn’t want that part of reality in the park.
        Would a cowboy on the real frontier expect to be well-groomed at all times like a present day cowboy who operates Thunder?
        No. Of course not.
        So what’s the alternative?
        Just allow these guys who work these attractions to get as scruffy as they want, since that IS reality?
        If one’s take is that reality wouldn’t see a clean-shaven cowboy or jungle boat operator anyway, then why even stop at that point that requires Disney CMs to be “well-groomed” with their facial hair? Let ’em go as scruffy as they want.
        That’s what you would do if you’re arguing on the side of reality.
        Guidelines were set in place for a reason though. Some agreed with them, and I’m sure some didn’t. Even from the early beginnings of the park.
        For those who didn’t agree, they just didn’t work there. And that was their right.
        Those of us who were okay with conforming to the fantasy world that was created behind that berm did so, and did so gladly.
        Clearly, no one will ever convincingly defend that facial hair impacts a guy’s ability to do a job and do it well. That would be ridiculous. There are plenty of guys with facial hair who would make better CMs than many clean-shaven guys.
        Heck, there are plenty of people with visible tats and piercings who would make fine CMs.
        But facial hair is not the “look” that Disney wanted in his parks.
        And personally I don’t think there was any harm in keeping that tradition.
        It’s one of the things that made the park unique, and people expected to see it….and liked it.
        Again, no one will ever be able to successfully argue that a guy with a beard can’t do a job just as well, or just as politely. Again, that’s silly.
        But that’s not what we’re talking about.
        The fact that it is Disney, means that there’s something bigger here. Disneyland is special, and there are a lot of things that have made Disney unique, and this is just one of them. I think some of that uniqueness should have been left alone.

  10. Connor

    So what if you currently don’t have a beard but you want to grow one? How is that possible if beards must always be, “fully grown in”?

    1. J.D.

      Grow it on vacation.

  11. Alex

    Guess you’ll have to take a week or 2 off to “fully grow”
    how retarded, personally i dont agree with the facial hair
    it would be a great day when tattoos are allowed, but that will NEVER happen haha

  12. Brian Peri

    As one who grew a beard many decades ago, and has never been without it, I appreciate the move by Disney. I’d love to work their part time. I never applied out of respect for their policy. I always keep mine short, and very neat. I’ve never had anyone think it is unprofessional or unclean. Consider that many people may have facial/skin issues that are not too appealing, but are nicely concealed by a nice beard. For some of us it also is a part of who we are and others wouldn’t recognize us without one. Finally, is it OK to be severely obese, but not to have a well maintained beard ? So far, the policy would say Yes …

  13. J.D.

    I’m with those who think it’s a good idea. I understand that some people don’t like facial hair of any kind, but Disney is insisting that all beards be neat and orderly, just like they’ve always insisted that cast member appearances be neat and orderly. I honestly don’t understand why this is such a big deal. I think that beards and mustaches are even appropriate in some areas, such as Frontierland. A big wavy mustache could even be just right for certain Main Street cast members.

  14. J.P.

    I find this disheartening, and this is coming from a man that has worn a beard for the past 10 years. Disney provides an escape from the outside world, where things are a little brighter, a little more colorful and more clean-cut than the real world. Allowing male cast members to wear beards, no matter how neat and trimmed they are kept, is a step away from the clean-cut fantasy world that Disney strives to create.

    I find it odd that Disney didn’t bow to the grooming habits of the 60s and 70s (beards and mustaches were the norm back then) but is suddenly allowing beards in the 21st century. It’s a symptom of the sad direction of the company as a whole.

    1. Julian

      A great (and honest) posting, J.P.
      I’ve never had facial hair because I just couldn’t get used to the scratchiness of it. I tried a goatee after I left Disneyland, but it just didn’t work. I know some of my friends who have (or had) them say that goes away, but I just didn’t dig it.
      IMO though, beards on guys can be very attractive. Mustaches too.
      Heck, I know he’s a common example…but Burt Reynolds back in the 70s?
      Yikes….talk about a handsome guy.
      But in the end that’s not what this is about.
      For whatever reason, Walt decided on a grooming policy that he felt worked for his park. And I respect that, even to this day.
      As a former Attractions CM, I had no problem conforming to that “look” because I knew that’s what Disney was about.
      My bros? No way. It was the 70s, and they liked their long hair too much.
      And like you pointed out, it’s not like all of a sudden beards are acceptable (as if they never were before). They’ve always been around, and accepted. Even during the time periods that Disneyland represents.
      But again, for whatever reason, Disney didn’t want that reality in the park. He wanted a clean-cut, all-around consistent look for his CMs.
      And now, as you pointed out, I just think it’s a part of a change at Disneyland that represents something greater too. And as a Disney purist and traditionalist, I don’t see some of these changes as a good thing.
      Allowing costumes outside the park was one of the first steps they took that I didn’t like.
      But that’s another subject.

  15. Austin

    J.P. I think you are comparing apples to oranges. First of all even in the 70s there was still a negative image of men with beards and facial hair, there is no negative image in today’s society. Also, add in the fact that Disney is pretty much the last major company in the world that doesn’t allow facial hair and that the outdated policy keeps many amazing people from working for Disney should be more than enough to change the policy.

    I am at CM (backstage) at Disney and I love this decision. I actually am going on vacation for a week in mid-February and by the time I return to work I will be sporting a nice beard. 🙂

    1. Julian

      I don’t agree. Mustaches were very common back in the 70s, and they weren’t looked down on. In fact, some of the more famous actors had them. And they were represented in society as well. My dad had one, and he was an attorney.
      As far as Disney limiting its choices of “amazing” CMs by continuing with an “outdated” policy? First of all, it isn’t outdated. Mustaches and beards have been around forever, and clean-shaven doesn’t automatically mean outdated.
      It’s a policy, pure and simple. And Disney should have the right to maintain any policy they want.
      Second of all, Disney was always different from other companies (unless it’s changed over the years since I worked there). When you worked for Disney decades ago it was a badge of honor to have that on your resume. And part of it had to do with the structure of the company and the image it upheld.
      They knew you were a team player if you were successful as a CM at Disney. And they knew it was hard to get a job there, so there had to be something you possessed that qualified you for such a sought out position.
      When I hired in during the early 80s, the outside world was full of looks and images that were a part of pop culture. Did they jibe with the “look” Disney expected? No. But the 60s and 70s saw the same societal looks of self-expression that didn’t necessarily jibe with Disney’s expectations either.
      You either conformed to it, or you didn’t.
      And I still had guests coming up to me (in the 80s) and applauding the fact that Disney still stood by these expectations when it came to looks.
      The one thing I will ask of those who question how many great employees Disney has lost out on over the years because of their facial hair policy….what about tats and multiple piercings? Plenty of awesome people with those too.
      So where do you draw the line?
      Or do you?
      And why shouldn’t a company be allowed to assert its expectations on its employees?

  16. joe

    I think its a great idea, as a mechanic, or electrician that works behind the scenes, we ensure the safety of the guests. I worked with many top notch mechanics that would not give up there beards to work for a place with a policy of no beards. That is not a sacrifice Disney should make. Safety & quality should be # 1.

    1. Julian

      I’m sure there are plenty of top notch mechanics who are willing to comply with the company’s expectations too.

      If a beard is more important to a person than working at Disneyland, so be it. There are plenty of other places who will hire that person. If they want to work at Disneyland, they will comply.

      Safety and quality are #1 at Disneyland. As they should be.
      But having a beard or mustache doesn’t automatically lead to superior talent as a mechanic. Nor does NOT having a beard lead to better abilities in said job.

      What it comes down to is a policy. It has nothing to do with one’s ability to do a job because they have, or don’t have, facial hair. It just so happens that Disney has (or had) a policy and has been able to find plenty of people who were talented enough in their jobs to do them safely and effectively, but still showed a willingness to comply with said policy.

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