I say everywhere: What is Tom Sawyer Island if not a moat-ringed cruising park? Think about all the sick adult subcultures surfaced by Craigslist. There is probably now a class of people who can only achieve arousal in the confines of the Magic Kingdom. Tonight the entire park looks like Tom Sawyer Island. Since my responsibilities as chaperone include halting public fornication, I make it my job to avoid the shadows. G - God As I mill through the endless throng of year olds—bezitted, emotionally transparent, enslaved to ugly fashions—I look skyward and offer a brief thanks to the creator of the universe for making me a creepy, celibate weirdo back in Not a single kid here is mine.
H - Honda Honda sponsors the festivities. At five strategic chokepoints, a Honda Vehicle Photo Location invites young adults to ignore various Honda display cars. The economy has imploded; why not a kiosk handing out sticks and leaves? This seems a mockery of the first class to graduate into the Great Recession. I - Innoventions The adults have a secondary exclusive pit stop at the Innoventions site. Tonight this spot offers free back massages and empty tables with Monopoly and Clue and rows of gleaming unmanned Xboxes. J - Jail Another mystery lingers from my last time here with Antonio.
At 17, he was detained by Disney security for being under the influence of pot, speed, and many tabs of acid. But where is the Disney jail? No employee will give him a straight answer. There are no public meltdowns, but there is also no public joy. I stand at the head of Main Street looking south, facing back into the endless tide of grads, and I am startled to see not one smile. Is it hormones?
Love Time Out?
Poor nutrition? The only happy people in the entire park seem to be the chaperones, who exit their privileged compound at the Plaza Inn with huge sloppy grins. L - Lord of the Flies It dawns on our small group that teens outnumber us a thousand to one.
I suggest that we may have to resort to prison tactics, i. Mister Toad gets behind the wheel of an old-timey motorcar, and by the end of the ride he you has careened through intersections, walls, pedestrians, and the English criminal court system. The ride ends in hell. Accordingly, teens shun the place. This was probably the only chance I will ever have to ride this ride over and over again for six hours straight, and I blew it.
N - Narcs Yet another mystery.
Cruising Isn't Dead—If You Know Where to Look
Antonio has heard that, at any given moment, one out of every 15 guests in Disneyland is plainclothes security. What seems plausible in daytime I have noticed a lot of suspiciously muscular lone males on the Indiana Jones ride looks impossible on Grad Nite. Stopping at the Plaza Inn at 1: O - Orifice At 2: Gigerish hole in the plaster wall. I nod solemnly. Four more hours to go. P - Plaza Inn My little group cashes in our meal ticket for a high-carb prison breakfast. Chaperones have commandeered every table, reading or doing crosswords. When one of the costumed characters damages their fake head, they grab a new one out of one of these secret store rooms that looks more-or-less like the place where the government stashed the Ark of the Covenant.
Backstage Magic. Backstage at Disneyland is like its own ecosystem. There are so many stray cats. We have no idea where they all came from. The popular rumor is that a bunch of cats were brought in back in the 70s to kill mice, and now we have five generations of cat families running around because nobody ever bothered to bring the cats out of deep cover, sort of like Donnie Brasco. David Koenig via Mouse Planet. Then there are the ducks and the geese!
At any given moment, we are swarmed with waterfowl, and like the cats, nobody has any idea how they all got here. We have entire family lines of ducks that have never known life outside of Disneyland. The guests just assume they're part of some show or are otherwise here on purpose, and happily feed them scraps of food like they're part of the Magic Kingdom experience.
Disneyland After Dark - VICE
If a cat gets onstage, we've got to keep them from getting close to the guests for obvious reasons -- getting clawed by a stray cat at Disneyland is a good way to get some kind of terrible infection and a great way to get Disney in a shitload of trouble. But believe it or not, the geese are the real threats. If you've never been around geese, they're kind of dangerous. They're extremely territorial, they hiss, they bite, and they will chase you while hissing at you and biting you.
But like I said, most guests just assume the geese are supposed to be there, and by extension, they must be totally safe as far as wild animals go. So they'll let their kids run around with the geese and try to pet them, completely oblivious to the fact that these birds which are the same size as some of the kids trying to pet them will totally bite the shit out of a person for absolutely no reason. It's our job to keep the geese away from the guests while maintaining a friendly smile so nobody knows how much danger they're in.
I'll usually say something like, "Listen folks, these are dangerous creatures, please give them some space! The guests think it's a joke, even though I'm absolutely not kidding. Geese are fucking terrible. Cast members at the park spend all day working together in close, sweaty proximity, which, like any other job, leads to a whole lot of naked peer reviewing. However, employee relationships at Disney are actually way more common and problematic than the standard intercubicle sex at, say, GEICO. It's actually more like high school, only here nobody gets beat up for wearing a Donald Duck T-shirt.
A huge chunk of cast members are entertainers of some sort, meaning they were hired because they happen to have the faces and bodies of gorgeous cartoon royalty. They don't wear any masks; they just stroll around the park dressed up like Aladdin or Ariel or whoever and let their perfectly sculpted faces complete the illusion. These "face" characters are essentially like the popular kids in high school.
Right below them are the characters in full mascot-head costumes -- Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, etc. Basically, the people not quite attractive enough to be at the very top, but still popular enough that everyone knows who they are you can read a former Jack Sparrow going into more detail about the whole hierarchy here. At the bottom of the ladder you have everyone else -- all the ride operators, popcorn vendors, and ticket takers. Like every other hierarchy on Earth, the folks at the bottom are kind of pissed to be there.
- gay man dating a transman;
- 6 Hidden Sides of Disneyland Only Employees Get to See.
- gay male hookup apps.
And it's not just unusually entertaining gossip -- the managers have to be aware of it, because maybe there's a Jasmine and an Aladdin who can't be scheduled to work together because they have serious beef. These people are difficult to replace, too -- how many actual human beings do you know that look like Pocahontas or Prince Charming? So instead of firing anyone, they'll swap in Pocahontas for a few hours if Jasmine has a meltdown, while Aladdin makes up some excuse for the kids to explain where Jasmine went. Then tomorrow it's a different Aladdin and a different Jasmine, most likely with an entirely different set of personality conflicts.
Meanwhile, most of the normal workers have to take their breaks in an incredibly crowded break room that is so small, it routinely fills up to the point of forcing some of us to stand around outside in a filthy alley with all of the smokers. It's literally right next to a dumpster. The costumed cast members, however, get a palatial break room teeming with multiple televisions and snacks. As it turns out, the bosses had let Goofy take his break five minutes before Chip and his ever-present associate Dale.
This story of "suffering" didn't do much to endear Chip to us, because he delivered his tale of woe to a group of shivering people crowded around a bunch of shitty benches, one of whom was inevitably going to be tasked with delivering him a new cartoon head to replace the one he'd just thrown into the wet pavement. The company takes a lot of abuse in popular culture.
Between the Simpsons joking about animatronics taking out the entire park, the constant assertion that Walt Disney is an eternal Nazi frozen in cryostasis beneath Cinderella's castle, or comments on the undeniable racism of the It's a Small World ride, it's understandable that I started my Disney career with a pretty negative attitude towards the company's ethics. But as far as I can tell, they really try to do right by their employees.
As a reward for fending off vicious geese and being stabbed in the groin by children, they throw us impromptu parties and celebrations pretty regularly, just to keep our morale up. They'll have cast appreciation days, where they bring in huge food trucks to serve us all free meals they even provide a Thanksgiving Feast for everyone who has to work on the holiday. And while most theme park employees don't get any kind of retirement plan, Disney announced they were providing us with a K out of the blue.
There's a reason turnover is low at these parks, even if the job means the occasional tantrum from a man dressed as a giant chipmunk. It's filled with guides to recreating ancient drug-fueled debauchery! Don't make me do this again. Don't have an account? Continue as Guest. Please enter a Username.
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