How to succeed at your job by really trying - the point system and Disney Look


One thing that scares new CPs more than anything is by worrying about how their new workplace will be - especially since Disney is known for its strict rules both in personal appearance and behavior.  Aside from housing and roommate selection, people ask about what work will be like for them the most often.  Today I'll try my best to explain how things such as the point system and the Disney Look work.

Note: Since every role is different (and even every location is different as they are headed by different managers), these are only general guidelines.  My word is not to be taken as official advice on your particular role or job location.

The Point System

From what I've heard a lot of large companies have some sort of disciplinary point system in place - if you've dealt with one before, you know something about how Disney's will work.  Though I don't want to get into the particulars of the system as I don't remember how everything works right off hand (and you can find it both on the Hub once you gain access and on certain blogs such as here), I can give a general overview of how everything works.

Essentially, there are about three categories you can get points in - attendance, Disney Look and safety.  Attendance will probably be your biggest trouble unless you work in attractions and have more of a focus on safety.  You can receive points on your record in attendance for clocking in or out late, showing up to work late, calling in sick, being absent without calling in (commonly referred to as "no-call no-show") or getting an ROS (release of shift - you're getting off work early by your own request though your managers may not be able to spare you).  You can receive points on your record in Disney Look for showing up to work with your costume worn wrong, incompletely dressed, with visible and uncovered tattoos or banned piercings or with unkempt/brightly dyed hair.  Lastly, you can receive points on your record in safety for behaving in a way that is seen to endanger yourself of those around you (or failing to perform required tasks on an attraction if that's your role).

Depending on the nature of the offense, you'll receive anywhere from half a point to a full reprimand.  (Some particularly bad violations can get you fired on the spot as well.)  Three points on any particular category in three months also equal a reprimand, as do six points in six months.  If you get three reprimands, then upon getting your fourth reprimand you will be terminated from the program and sent home immediately.  You will also be kicked out of your apartment if you live in CP housing.  In my experience, getting to this point would require a lot of either outright disregard for the rules on your part or a lack of self-control so don't let this whole thing worry you.  Just follow the rules, and if you have a question over something speak to your managers.  They're there to help.

Here are a few tips I've come up with from my last program, though again these should be taken with a grain of salt as all work locations are different:
  1. Never stay home from work without calling in.  You get a point either way, but your record card reflects whether you bothered to call in or not.  If you are somehow unable to speak, get someone to call Deployment for you (though you should really call yourself).  If you "no-call no-show" often enough you may get even bigger penalties on your record card, so be wary.
  2. Even if you feel a little under the weather, try to go to work anyway.  We like to fool ourselves into feeling sicker than we are if we know that we can stay home when we're sick.  Don't psych yourself out like that - if you're only feeling a bit sick you should be fine at work.  Just don't push yourself too hard.  That being said...
  3. If you feel that you can't possibly make it through an entire shift, call in - don't go and then ROS.  Even if you don't get points on your record, think of this - if you call in your managers can find someone to cover your entire shift a few hours ahead of time, but if you come to work and then abruptly leave early they have to scramble to find someone to cover what's left of your shift within minutes.  This isn't so much of a problem for larger roles like merchandise, but if you're in a small role (ex. anything in Entertainment) you could really cause problems.
  4. You agreed to the Disney Look guidelines during the interview process - don't blame management if you violate them.  Yes, some managers are much stricter than others - but all follow the same Disney Look guidelines and have to enforce it in the people they oversee.  If you're told to change something or are penalized for violating it, it's nothing personal.
  5. Always be conscious of your behavior while on stage.  Avoid swearing, slouching, talking excessively to your coworkers (though little conversations when you're not busy are fine - cast members are social after all), yawning (if you can help it), being irritable with guests, being rude or unhelpful or engaging in unsafe behavior.  You'll be given clear instruction on what your managers find unacceptable behavior - and if you have a question, ask!
  6. Be wary on social media.  Whether you agree that businesses should be able to monitor social media sites and punish workers accordingly, that's reality and though you may not realize it you are speaking on a public level - everything you say can be seen by anyone, even if you think it's "private".  Avoid trash talking guests or coworkers, complaining about work or discussing private company information.  Of course, no one expects you to be a robot but you represent something much greater than yourself now - act like it.

The Disney Look

When you read "Disney Look", you probably either shuddered or laughed that I would even think that someone would shudder at it.  I've heard these appearance guidelines described as anything from "fair" to "overly restrictive" to "making everyone into little clones" (hmm).  Let's be real here - Disney's not the only company to have such a vocal say in how you can and cannot look.  In fact, many corporate offices and other large chains require workers to dress and look a certain way as well.  However, people like to pick on Disney because, well... it's Disney!  I suppose it's fun to try and expose some sort of ugly underbelly to the whole company or something, and the greatest way to do that is point out how they treat their workers.

In my experience, the Disney Look is reasonable and I never felt that I was being oppressed into maintaining some ideal that I couldn't meet.  I missed being able to paint my fingernails wacky colors, but then again I was too busy to maintain well-painted nails anyway.  In a more general sense, I also felt that I was valued and respected by my coworkers and managers and never felt like a slave or drone (as people like to describe CMs, especially CPs).

So what do the guidelines mean for you?  Well, you can find the exact rules on the Onboarding site so I won't post them all here, but here are a few things I wanted to highlight:
  1. If you have visible tattoos, prepare to cover them up every day.  No exceptions.  Some cultures view tattoos as gang-related or offensive and that is why Disney doesn't allow you to have them out.
  2. You're going to have to let your body piercings grow back in, unless you can keep them while not being able to wear spacers at work.
  3. If you feel your hair color isn't natural, dye it NOW.  Don't wait until you're barred from training or work.
  4. If you have an extreme or unusual hairstyle, figure out how to make it more conservative before you arrive in Orlando.
  5. Prepare to shave, men.  Only certain facial hair is allowed and only if you can grow it fully without patchiness.
  6. If you usually wear heavy or brightly colored makeup, change it to something more natural.  Even wearing a little bit of colored eyeshadow can get you in trouble depending on your managers.
  7. Shower. Shower. Shower.  You don't have to do it every day, but if you smell or your hair gets greasy you've waited too long.
  8. Performers and lifeguards: you have stricter rules than most roles.  Remember to look them over if you haven't already.
  9. Assume that you won't be able to wear any jewelry and leave it all in your apartment.  This doesn't usually include wedding/engagement rings or watches, but there are rules for those too.  Look them over.
  10. You can't clock in for work until you are fully dressed in costume.  Some managers will even require you to be fully dressed before you even set foot on Disney property.
  11. Never, never EVER wear your costume (or any part of it) anywhere if you're not working!  This includes off-property places like Walmart, fast-food places, etc.  If a manager catches you, or if someone reports you, you're in trouble.
So there we are for work-related stuff!  I'll do a follow-up post for those of you looking for more of a "day in the life" description of work (where I'll also explain the Hub), but until then have a great day!

1 comment:

  1. Minor correction here:

    3 points in 30 days = 1 reprimand
    6 points in 90 days = 1 reprimand
    9 points in 180 days = 1 reprimand
    12 points in 1 full year = 1 reprimand (or termination, I'm not 100% sure)