One of the most charming and magical parts of visiting Disney World is being able to meet your favorite characters.
While kids may not realize there is a person in the costume, many adults have probably wondered how hot those suits must be.
In the hot and humid weather of Florida, how do character actors stay cool inside their suits?
For the most part, they don’t stay cool. Characters at Disney World don’t have air conditioners in their suits. The most common way they stay cool is the frequent breaks where they get to take their suits off. For the longest appearances, they will sometimes wear an ice vest under the costume to help with the heat.
Disney World Characters and Their Costumes
Summer temperatures in Orlando can exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
With over 90 percent humidity and factoring in the heavy costumes a lot of character actors wear, it’s no wonder those cast members get hot very quickly.
Characters that have their face showing like Disney princesses don’t have too many issues staying cool, but others like Mickey, Pooh, and Donald sweat it out in their costumes.
No matter what, those costumes are hot. None of the suits at Disney World have built-in air conditioning units.
There are no fans inside to help keep them cool, so Disney has had to work out other ways to combat the heat and keep actors cool.
Generally, character actors get frequent breaks. Disney is full of hidden tunnels and staff areas where actors are allowed to remove their costumes.
It’s common practice to limit characters to twenty or thirty-minute shifts in guest areas.
Backstage, characters have access to cool water, cold and wet towels, air conditioning, and fans to cool them off as quickly as possible.
Shift lengths depend on the costumes, time of year, and weather. It isn’t uncommon for those cast members to only work twenty minutes out of an hour.
Disney will also have multiple actors play the same character and work in short shifts. This way the actors can trade places to let one cool off while the other is greeting guests.
You’ll also notice that other cast members are always around.
Character actors have handlers that may or may not be in costume to keep an eye on them and get them out of the heat if it becomes unsafe.
Staying hydrated is important, so cast members will drink a lot of water when not in view of guests.
Parades are typically the longest appearances characters make. For these, characters with heavy costumes can wear an ice vest under their suit to help keep them cool.
In recent years, Disney World has moved a lot of character meets indoors. This lets the cast members work longer since they’ll be in an air-conditioned area.
At the very least, most character encounters are hosted in shaded areas as an additional precaution.
How does Disney keep YOU cool in the heat?
The oppressive Florida sun doesn’t just beat down on cast members, it can get to guests as well.
There are plenty of ways to keep cool at Disney World and in the warmer months, it’s important to keep these tips in mind.
What you wear to the parks matters. Lightweight, breathable, and quick-dry clothing is imperative.
Try to wear lighter colors that won’t soak up as much heat and don’t wear anything that won’t let your skin breathe.
Portable misting fans can be a lifesaver in a heatwave. Just turning it onto your face will help cool you down and get you back to enjoying the park.
While you’re at Disney World, stay hydrated and take a lot of breaks. You’re going to sweat and the heat will drain your energy, no matter what kind of shape you’re in.
If you get hot, step inside a shop where the air conditioning will cool you off and take a break.
Almost all of the shows and indoor rides are also air-conditioned and a good way to take a break without stopping your activities.
Visit the parks in the morning or the evening to beat the worst of the heat during the day.
Cool snacks like ice cream and water rides like Splash Mountain are other great ways to cool off. You can also visit one of the water parks or take a break and hit the pool at your hotel.
Why can’t adults wear costumes at Disney?
Outside of specific events like Halloween, adults (over the age of 14) are not allowed to wear masks or costumes inside Disney theme parks.
This is partially a safety policy that Disney has put in place, but it’s mostly to protect their image. Disney wants kids to see the character actors instead of adults in the park.
It could be confusing for a child to see two Cinderellas at the same time and it would break the carefully crafted illusion Disney tries to create.
Disney is very strict when it comes to images and keeping the magic alive in the parks.
Guests who attempt to wear a costume can be denied entry to the parks or escorted out of the parks because wearing them can detract from other guests’ experiences.
Do Disney cast members get free tickets?
Cast members at Disney World have access to quite a few perks. This includes discounts on merchandise, food, hotel stays, and of course, free park tickets.
Free entry to the parks is a major perk for anyone who works at Disney World, but employees also get to bring their friends.
Depending on how long you’ve worked at Disney World, if you’re part-time or full-time, and your position, each employee gets a certain number of guest passes each year.
This lets them bring up to three friends or family members into the parks on a given day.
Blackout dates do apply to these passes, so they can’t be used any day of the year.
Disney World character actors get incredibly hot when they’re wearing their costumes.
To combat the heat, they take frequent breaks, work in shifts, or wear cool clothing underneath their suits.
The heat is also why many character encounters have been moved to indoor areas in recent years.
Working for Disney World isn’t an easy job, but employees have access to quite a few dreamy perks thanks to their hard work.