|by Brad Tuttle||Amusement and Theme Parks, Disney||0|
For nearly 60 years, Disney employees haven't been allowed to grow beards or goatees. Soon, though, "Cast Members" won't have to be clean-shaven.
Since the company began, Disney has prided itself on being extraordinary. As in: not ordinary. Its movies are not the typical animated fare. Its theme parks, resorts, and rides are far more magical (not to mention expensive) than the competition.
Also, its employees aren't mere workers, staffers, or, well, employees. Instead, they're all referred to as "Cast Members."
To bring the customer experience to the next magical level, all Cast Members have been expected to play their roles as clean-cut, exemplary, all-American hosts and hostesses. For about six decades, there was a ban on facial hair so that all Cast Members could play the part and maintain the "Disney Look."
But times, and what's acceptable in terms of the Disney Look, are changing. A new policy, taking effect on February 3, removes the facial hair ban.
Guests shouldn't expect a flood of Cast Members with scruffy faces or ZZ Top beards on their next visit to a Disney park, though. The Orlando Sentinel clarifies what's OK and not OK:
Disney's new policy restricts any facial hair to no more than a quarter of an inch in length. And the company says any chin whiskers "must create an overall neat, polished and professional look" and must be fully grown in and well-groomed.
Even so, for the pro-hair faction, Disney's change means progress. It follows another policy adjustment in 2000, when mustaches for Cast Members were given the OK. While beards, goatees, and mustaches are allowed, there are still plenty of rules and restrictions, such as:
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.
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.
The Disney Look guidebook also advises:
For clarification on whether a mustache, beard or goatee is acceptable, please consult your area leader or contact the Cast Image and Appearance team.
To which many employees must respond: Oh, forget it! I'll just shave.
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