Former Cast Member Talks Costume Issues at Disney

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Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Plaza de la Familia at the Disney California Adventure Park is a special seasonal event that centers on the beloved Pixar film Coco. At this celebration, which is currently running until November 2, Guests can experience storytelling, which includes fan-favorite songs from the film, and take photos with Miguel, the main character.

Mickey and Friends
Credit: Disney

Visitors can also write messages on the Memory Wall near the Mexican Árbol de la Vida (Tree of Life) and enjoy some tasty Mexican cuisine while listening to Mariachi concerts.

However, one former Cast Member shared his previous experience with working at this event, explaining concerns with casting and costuming choices for this event in previous years.

plaza de la familia
Credit: Inside the Magic

Related: Disney Teases Largest Magic Kingdom Expansion EVER Featuring ‘Coco’ and ‘Encanto’

Former Cast Member Ryan Kelly (also known as @youthpastorryan) posted a TikTok discussing how Disney rotates Cast Members for various shows at the Disneyland Resort and potentially recycles costumes.


Fun times. #disney #disneyland #magical #coco #disneyparks

♬ original sound – Ryan Kelly

In this TikTok, Ryan explains how while he was a Cast Member at Disney California Adventure, he worked as an entertainment host, where he would go around and help with the characters. Because this was random selection, he was assigned to work at the Coco event, which he was not inclined to do at first because he felt uncomfortable as a white person dressing up in Mariachi-themed costumes.

He says that while onstage, someone approached him and asked why he was wearing that costume. As the person pointed out, he was actually wearing a Turkish vest.

Ryan also states that this was reportedly reused from a previous Aladdin show. However, he was hesitant to bring this up to his higher-ups at Disney, as he felt they wouldn’t care, since he described his past position as “the lowest rung of society.”

miguel in plaza de la familia
Credit: Inside the Magic

The comments section was ablaze, with many surprised that Disney would do something like this. Some other Cast Members joined in, saying that this was “the most Cast Member story I’ve ever heard” or that they felt offensive wearing the outfit as well.

However, there were many Hispanic commenters who mentioned that they weren’t necessarily offended by Ryan or other white people wearing Mariachi outfits, as Latinx or Hispanic people can be different skin tones, but they were still put off by his pronunciation of the word “mariachi.”

Other commenters expressed that while they were glad that Disney was being more inclusive with their storytelling, they should do more research and make better choices to accurately portray the cultures they are representing.

rare characters for disneyland miguel
Credit: ITM

Related: Woman Who Inspired Pixar’s “Mama Coco” Dies at 109

Disney has not confirmed whether this example of recycling costumes is true or not, and it is unknown whether this previous costume in question is still being used in the current Coco celebration. As Ryan pointed out, he does not speak on behalf of the Disney company or brand. He is just providing perspective from his past experience working at the Disneyland Resort.

What do you think of Ryan’s story? Do you have any similar experience to this? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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