People visit the many Disney theme parks of the world because they want to escape reality. They want to get away from mind-numbing jobs and overwhelming bills, and venture into a world of ridiculously overpriced food (#NoShame), the obligatory mouse ears, and meeting their favorite characters. Aside from making all your childhood (... and adulthood) dreams come true, you can count on them for one more thing: always having the answer. This is because, according to Travel & Leisure, Disney theme park characters aren't allowed to say, "I don't know" when a guest asks them a question. Any question.
It's easy to understand why. Although the parks are huge and difficult to navigate, people don't pay all that money to wander around looking for the bathroom after one too many iced teas. This means that characters are assigned with making sure they always know the answer, even if that means communicating with other park employees to figure it out. It doesn't matter how clueless they may be or how silly the question is — they can never answer you with, "I don't know." Hey, it's tough being Disney royalty.
The rules and guidelines for being a Disney character are probably pretty intense, but it's largely thanks to these folks that the experience at their theme parks is always beyond magical. They don't call Disneyland the happiest place on earth for nothing.
Speaking of rules and guidelines, there are some other interesting ones in the Disney employee handbook. For example, employees aren't allowed to point at things with just their index finger. Instead, they have to use both the index and middle fingers — something coined the "Disney point." Supposedly, this is in honor of the man himself, Walt Disney, who (according to stories) would walk through the park and point at things with two fingers outstretched, cigarette clutched in between. Another possible explanation is that in some cultures, pointing with one finger is considered impolite. A Disney character must take care not to offend anyone!
That's not all. Supposedly, cast members have to learn to sign an autograph for their character so it looks exactly the same as all the other actors'. That way, no matter who is playing the character, people always get the same awesome experience. Nails must be well-maintained — short with no polish — you can't have any visible tattoos, and chewing gum is strictly off-limits. And this one probably goes without saying, but you can never, ever, ever break character. That's pretty much the cardinal rule of being a Disney icon. Break character, and you basically destroy the dreams of children everywhere. Seriously, just don't do it.
It's hard to believe that all of this started in 1923, when a broke Walt Disney left Kansas City and moved to Hollywood to start a tiny cartoon studio. Who knew the no-name artist would one day become one of the most well known names in the entire world, and be the reason so many of us believe in magic and fairytales?
Walt Disney's legacy surely continues. These days, there are over 10 Disney theme parks, hundreds of stores, hundreds of thousands of employees, and billions of dollars spent making sure every person who has any kind of Disney experience has the experience of a lifetime. It's widely considered one of the most powerful and valuable brands in the world, and it generates tens of billions of dollars in revenue every single year. Children and adults alike get lost in the beauty that is Disney, because you're never too old for it. Just ask the couples who have Disney-inspired weddings. Every age is a good age for Disney.