Guests Overwhelmingly Support Gender Diversity at Disney Parks, Report Finds

in Disneyland Resort

Five Disney Cast Members show off the new Disney Look rules, wearing costumes that don't necessarily correlate to their gender.

Credit: Disney

Despite the recent public outcry about gender non-conforming and transgender Disney Cast Members, most Disney Parks guests are pleased to see more self-expression among Disney workers. This follows a 2021 update to Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort’s “Disney Look” employee requirements, which removed gender-based costumes.

Disney Look Updates

Walt Disney created the Disney Look for Disneyland Resort. He wanted Cast Members to look neat and uniform as they put on a “show” for guests.

The guidelines loosened throughout the years, but the 2021 update brought the most significant changes. Not only did it allow Disney Cast Members of any gender to wear any costume they liked, but it also permitted more body modifications than ever.

Cast Members cheer on Main Street, U.S.A. in Disneyland Paris
Credit: Disney

Whereas visible tattoos were previously forbidden, the updated Disney Cast Member handbook allows tattoos “no larger than the Cast Member’s hand when fully extended with the fingers held together.” Tattoos are not permitted on the face, head, or neck. They must not “depict nudity, offensive or inappropriate language or images, or violate Company policies (including policies prohibiting discrimination and harassment based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ancestry, age, disability or any other protected category).”

Colored nail polish is now allowed, whereas the company previously only permitted nude tones.

Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort also removed gender-based hairstyle requirements, allowing all Disney Cast Members to have long hair. Unnatural hair colors are still forbidden, but Disney Cast Members are now allowed natural-colored highlights. Portions of the head can be shaved, and facial hair is permitted.

What Do Guests Think?

Disneyland Paris Cast Members gather on Main Street, U.S.A.
Credit: Disney

This was a sudden change for many Disney Resort guests, who were used to a squeaky-clean image. But despite pushback, a recent Reddit poll found that most families appreciate the updated Disney Look rules.

Of 559 Disneyland Resort guests, 156 (27.9%) stated that they noticed a change among Disney Cast Members and “liked it.” The majority (30.5%) of voters indicated that they hadn’t seen a difference.

“I always thought it was so weird Disney policed them that far,” said u/gem1n-eye. “Especially when you’re not even making a livable wage. I’m very glad they’re loosening the reins.”

Guests, Cast Members, and characters dancing in the lobby of Wilderness lodge.
Credit: Disney

“I’m all for people being allowed to express themselves, so as long as their facial hair is not interfering in their job and their tattoos aren’t inappropriate I think relaxing those outdated rules is the way to go,” u/tora76 agreed. “I also have noticed several instances of people with beards and otherwise ‘masculine’ presentation wearing CM uniforms with skirts and dresses, which I think is great.”

Conversely, only 10.7% of Disneyland Resort guests stated that they noticed and “don’t love” self-expression among Disney Cast Members. 10.9% indicated that they noticed but had no opinion on the matter.

Have you noticed the new Disney Look guidelines in practice? Share your thoughts with Inside the Magic in the comments!

Please note that the story outlined in this article is based on personal Disney Parks Guest experiences. No two Guest experiences are alike, and this article does not necessarily align with Inside the Magic’s personal views on Disney Park operations.

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