Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Sleazy Disney



This morning on the radio, I heard about the sleazy underbelly of working at Disney World as an intern. The guys on the radio were talking about what it's like to work there and a girl who used to be an intern there actually called in too to give her perspective. During the day it's some perverse puppet show with the mouse pulling all the strings and I'm sure feeding all of the workers there some speed or something in order to keep them going with the script. Disney works on a point system for their workers. Curse out a toddler and swat his ice cream to the ground? You lose points. Suffocate inside a hot Pluto costume head and fall over and die? You lose points. Didn't smile when you were handing out disney pens on that weird paddle boat thing to little kids? Well you probably made the mouse cry. The mouse apparently suffers from OCD, and if one worker isn't perfect, he cries. And if you make Mickey cry, well, you're screwd.

So on your first day of the internship, they bring in some guy who rambles on and on about Walt Disney and his vision and the rewards of the internship program. I suppose they make it heartwarming enough for you to really believe that all there really is behind the Disney corporate behemoth is a lovable friendly mouse bouncing around all happy and smiling like Santa Claus on Prozac.

After a day's work, the world of the Disney interns becomes a weird version of Studio 54. Think about your favorite Disney characters like Donald and Pooh, smoking, doing drugs and drinking. Then think about your beloved characters participating in debauchery like a Snow White and seven dwarves orgy, a Cinderella strip tease, a Chip & Dale gay romp in the celebrated jacuzzi of the intern apartment building.

Whoa. This is like Da-Vinci Code worthy insider information. My mouth was agape. I stood there frozen in front of my bathroom mirror in my boxers and toothbrush thinking about the dark side of Disney. Now I don't have any particularly warm & fuzzy memories of Disney World. But, oh my god.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

From Jayne: I have had great times visiting Disney, so that may color my perspective a bit. So working for the Mouse is not perfect: what job is? Well, there are some, but most jobs are work and most have expectations for behavior on-the-job. At least with points you know where you stand and likely know how to get them and how to lose them. Some jobs also have requirements for how you behave off-the-job, too (think school teachers). Disney is an easy target for many because it is the epitomy of a place that wants its guests to be happy. I suspect it does somethings right with respect to its employees (I think it offers health insurance to partners of employees, not just married partners) and it likely does some things wrong, too (the difference between what the CEO makes and what the people who provided the experience to the Disney guests is out-of-line, as it is in many companies these days between executives and staff). I suspect the Mouse lacks a *requirement* for what their interns do after hour but leaves it to the interns to choose with the expectation that they know they are working for Disney and if they do something that reflects badly on Disney, it could cost them their jobs. Disney is known to provide good training in customer service. Having Disney on your resume tends to help instead of being neutral or hurting. Of course, I have never worked there, so perhaps we should wait to see if someone who has can provide a better prespective. The person of whom I am thinking has an ailing computer, though (hinges broken on the laptop), so I am not certain we will hear from her ...

EM said...

Jayne, I spoke with "someone" yesterday and told her about this post, so hopefully she will be giving us the inside scoop soon. :)

Kristy said...

Oh, LORD. Yes, being an "intern" at Disney is half like being a slave (no pay, or almost no pay), and half like being at college but with no classes (everyone in dorm-style apartments, binge drinking every night, crazy parties). But most people like it enough to stay the whole internship rather than drop out, and many like it so much they actually drop out of school to stay and work at Disney full-time. Looking back at my time there (qualification: I was never an intern, but instead a full-time employee), I was happy for a while, then miserable. I wasn't miserable because of anything Disney did, per se, just because I was WAY overqualified for the job I was doing and it wasn't challenging me enough to like it anymore. But I only look back with fondness, for all that I learned, and it was a *great* transition job - that "not sure what I want to do with my life/young enough to get paid crap money while I figure it out" phase. Also, it's FANTASTIC resume fodder and I'll never take it off for that reason, no matter how many accomplishments I have in my profession of choice, and here's why: 1. Disney has an amazing reputation for customer service, and all employers know this, and it steps up their estimation of you if you have had training in their "ways." 2. EVERYONE wants to know what it's like to work at DisneyWorld, and so they always ask at interviews, and it's a great way to put me at ease and form an easygoing, casual conversation flow to the interview when they ask. So, there you have it. "Someone" has spoken. =)