Though the various Disney parks are often thought of as the Happiest Places on Earth, sometimes the facade is broken, especially when rowdy and unruly guests decide to cross the line. A new report from both The AP and The Orlando Sentinel sheds new light on some recent incidents in the parks and specifically how it effects the costumed cast members of the parks. According to the pair of reports, Walt Disney World cast members that dress as both Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and a cast member who portrays Donald Duck, filed police reports in December after incidents where they claimed to have been "inappropriately touched by tourists."
The most egregious of these incidents appears to have been the cast member that portrays Mickey Mouse, whose safety was compromised after a guest "patted the head of her costume five times, causing it to slide down and strain her neck." The cast member went to the hospital after sustaining injuries to her neck during the incident, and the family involved said that it happened when a young child's grandma touched the character to show her grandson not to be afraid. The family maintains that the contact was minimal and not intentionally meant to inflict harm, they were reportedly interviewed by Disney security afterwards. The Orange County Sheriff's Office ruled the incident a civil, and not criminal, one.
On the same day that this Cast Member dressed as Mickey was subjected to one incident, another cast member who appears as Minnie Mouse in the parks was reportedly groped by a man three times. The cast member identified the man later, who was also involved in a similar incident at another park the day before. As a result, despite being a member of the "Disney Vacation Club," the person was reportedly banned from all Walt Disney World properties due to their actions.
Finally, another cast member dressed as Donald Duck in Disney's Animal Kingdom was subject to another unpleasant encounter. The report reveals that "a woman in her 60s asked if she could kiss Donald Duck," the character agreed but the situation intensified after the woman began "touching and grabbing the character’s arms, chest, belly, and face." Eventually this lead to the woman forcing their hands inside of the costume worn by the Cast Member and touching the chest of the 18-year-old employee inside. The family was able to stop the woman as cast members lead the character away from the situation. As The Sentinel reports, the cast member chose not to press charges against the woman "telling authorities she believed the woman...may have dementia."
“Everyone should feel safe at work, and we encourage Cast Members to come forward in any uncomfortable situation,” Disney spokeswoman Andrea Finger said in a statement to the papers. “We provide multiple resources to protect our Cast Members’ well-being, including on-site law enforcement officers who respond, and are available to them, if needed.”