Fun Facts About Disney Characters

Steamboat Willie

  1. Mickey Mouse's girlfriend also made her debut in Steamboat Willie on November 18, 1928. She did not have her own cartoon series, but appeared in 73 cartoons with Mickey Mouse and Pluto. She has been a popular character at the Disney parks, where in 1986 was declared Minnie's year, giving her much deserved recognition. The first voice of Minnie Mouse was Marcellite Garner, from the Ink and Paint Deptartment at the Disney Studio. She was succeeded by several others from that department, and currently the voice is supplied by Russi Taylor. Minnie Mouse has two nieces, Melody and Millicent, who appeared in a few comic book stories."
    REPORTED: Disney A to Z
  2. Goofy's first name was Dippy Dog.
    REPORTED: Christina Aiken 24 NOV 96
    According to Disney A to Z, Goofy's original name was "Dippy Dawg" then became "Dippy the Goof" and finally "Goofy." "...Goofy was part of the gang that included Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Clarabelle Cow, and Horace Horsecollar. In the newspaper comic strips, this new character was first given the name Dippy Dawg. A 1938 book indicated the first change to Dippy's name, The Story of Dippy the Goof and by 1939 the final change was made with the release of the cartoon Goofy and Wilbur. Goofy was created as a human character, as opposed to Pluto, so he walked upright and had a speaking voice..."
    CONFIRMED: Melanie Emmons 30 NOV 96
    CONFIRMED: Josh C. 10 JAN 97
  3. Have you ever tried to find a ceramic Timon figure at Disneyland or your local Disney Store? Go ahead, try and find one. Not a plush doll, not a plastic toy, not a ceramic mug, and not one where Timon is with Pumbaa, I'm talking about a solemn figure of Timon. You won't find one, why you ask? Because they don't exist, these figures are not being made due to quality control problems with Timons tail, it kept breaking off because it was so thin. Disney is trying to redesign a mold so that these problems won't persist, but until then - No Timon.
    REPORTED: Chad Wilcox 09 APR 97
    We purchased a Timon sculpture through the Disney Collectors Society. It is the 1998 special promotional sculpture. I have to admit, I am fearful that his tail could easily break off.
    UPDATE: Kendallcat 27 MAY 98
  4. The Disney characters usually work short shifts. If you wonder why you always see them. It's because they switch out constantly. Do you know when it's time to switch? An Cast Member will walk up to the character and say something like "Mickey! Minnie has been looking all over for you! (Mickey has an embarrassed look) you better go to the...and find her! Mickey takes off and gets a break.
    REPORTED: Steve Guzman 14 OCT 96
    Ask any cast member and he will tell you he does not work short shifts. 10 and 12 hour shifts are routine, especially in summer and at Christmas. Yes, there are some short shifts, but by no means all. Due to the union pay structure, cast members want to work long shifts, as pay increases after 8 hours.
    UPDATE: John Langas 09 MAR 98
  5. The new way of seeing the characters is safer for the characters and for little children who want to see them. There was too much pushing with the old way. It is also cooler for everbody! I heard from a Cast Member that they started the new method because some of the characters had been hurt and/or threatened by people visiting the parks.
    REPORTED: Lisa Degrenia 11 JAN 97
  6. In order to play the role of the beloved mouse you must be between the heights of 4'6" to 5'2". No exceptions. The WD Co. believes strongly in the idea of consistency, thus the tough appearance policy (no facial hair, 1 ring per hand, no visible tattoos, hair must off the ear for men and one natural color....I could go on forever) They also have specific height requirement for all their characters, because there is "only one " of each of them when they go off stage and come back on in a few minutes, they must be the same height. Hot shots just walk the park like any other Cast Member and are expected to act just like any Cast Member would.
    REPORTED: Frank Reposh 10 SEP 96
    Someone sure thinks Mickey can be tall. 5'2" A 5'0" Mickey is considered MONSTROUS, and 5'2" is almost too tall for the next size category (which is chipmunks, pooh, etc.) There are no characters in the park between the height 5'3"-5'6". Also, look at the people hosting the characters. Don't they seem to be either really short or really tall? Guess what they do when they're not hosting?
    UPDATED: Kelly Ann 10 AUG 97
    All the poeple employed as Mickey Mouse have to be exactly 5ft 2in tall. Men can play Minnie Mouse and women can play Mickey Mouse.
    UPDATED: Thomas Worship 05 FEB 99
    As a former cast member in that department...the "Chipmunk size" is 5'0"-5'5" and "Pluto" starts at 5'6". The ranges can overlap (a "Mouse size" (4'6"-5'2", with 5'2" being the ABSOLUTE maximum) can do a "Duck size" (under 4'8") costume or a "Chipmunk") if management feels the person looks right in it.
    UPDATE: Anthony Ross (cast member, 1988-1991) 18 JUL 99
    Alright, as far as the height that the people hired to play Mickey goes, it is not just 5'2". My friend's sister just got inducted into the Disney Hall of Fame for playing Mickey, and she's only 4'11".
    UPDATED: Josh C. 30 JUN 00
    whoever said there are no characters in the 5'3-5'6 range has obviously never hears of Chip, Dale, Mr. Smee, Buzz Lightyear, or Pluto.
    UPDATE: anon 05 APR 01
    Mickey Mouse is 4'8-5'0. A 5'2 CM is a medium height chipmunk.
    UPDATE: anon 17 AUG 01
  7. Just something I found amusing. I worked for Disney for about 6 months back in '97, and while was there I struck up a conversation with a couple of the women who portrayed Pocahontas. One was about 5'8, the other hovering around 6 foot. Seems that since Pocahontas is such a striking character and it's so hard to find anyone that can play the princess, Disney had to drop their height requirement for her.
    REPORTED: Daniel Gill 10 FEB 02
  8. Character "Cast Members" are not allowed to speak when in costume, they have a distress signal: crossing both arms in front of the body, like Barbara Eden used to do on "I Dream Of Jeannie." There are always security personnel within line of sight, and they will come running at this signal.
    REPORTED: anon 19 APR 97
    At Disney MGM, my family and I chatted at length with Cruella DeVille (a marvelous Glenn Close look-alike.) Perhaps the "no speak" rule applies only to those characters whose heads are obliterated by the costumes.
    CLARIFICATION: Vicki Gray 31 MAY 98
    The "no speak" rule is for costumes with heads. The only sound one can make is a kiss (or a slurp for Pluto of course). By the way...we didn't have a formal "distress signal" but we could communicate (in a very limited way) with gestures.
    UPDATE: Anthony Ross (cast member, 1988-1991) 18 JUL 99
  9. Character "Cast Members" can't take off their suits even if they are in distress.
    REPORTED: Jacob York 18 JUL 97
    Character actors at Disneyland aren't part of the truckers union. They are one of the few non-union jobs inside the park.
    UPDATE: Blackadder 14 AUG 99
    This only applies while ONSTAGE...once backstage and out of the viewing public is a different story. And while it is true that the characters' union is the Teamsters (considered a trade service) Florida is a "right to work" state and cast member do not have to join the union if they wish not to at Disney World.
    UPDATE: Anthony Ross (cast member, 1988-1991) 18 JUL 99
    The costumes in Disney World are owned by Disney -- the workers don't even get to keep the costumes. I asked several people about buying them -- they aren't for sale either. :( The people in the character suits (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, ect....) cannot take their heads off even if they throw up. They must report to a behind the scenes area to get better and throw up without the mask.
    CONFIRMED: Jane 09 JUN 00
    I'm not to sure if this is true, but I've been told this. The in-character actors are not allowed to go off-character while they are in view of the public. This means that the Little Mermaid can not take off her "fins", and most important, that the actors inside the characters, such as Mickey, Donald (he stole my name!!!) and Goofy CAN NOT take off thier "Heads". You don't want your child, or yourself, being afraid of seeing a mouse, thinking it will just take off its head and go human. MOMMY!!! ITS A...ITS A...ITS A MOUSE...MOUSE MAN!!!
    CONFIRMED: Donald 23 JUN 00
    It was listed that face characters and other characters were Union actors... not true in Disneyland... and it is only true of the characters at Disney World Florida and Tokyo Disney. The characters at Disneyland get paid almost the same as any other cast member and do not always have an escort. Unfortunately their injury rate is higher than any other employed group at Disneyland AND often it is due to guests taking advantage of these characters... so be nice :)
    CONFIRMED: anon 23 JAN 02
  10. Character Cast Members at Walt Disney World have to be members of the truckers union!
    REPORTED: TR Shaw 04 JAN 98
    While it is true that the characters' union is the Teamsters (considered a trade service) Florida is a "right to work" state and cast member do not have to join the union if they wish not to at Disney World.
    UPDATE: Anthony Ross (cast member, 1988-1991) 18 JUL 99
  11. Not work long shifts? During rehearsals for the Christmas show and parade at Walt Disney World, in addition to my regular 8 hour shift...I went in on the morning of Dec 6th and finally punched out the afternoon of Dec 8th...lots of overtime and doubletime!
    REPORTED: Anthony Ross (cast member, 1988-1991) 18 JUL 99
  12. Theres a website posting pictures of Disney Character Costumes without and body in them the website shows in clear veiw Woody charcter head, Beast head and costume, Pinnoccio head, the cat from Pinnoccio head, Mickey head, Pooh head, Pluto head, Dale head, 2 different Goofy heads, Tigger head and body suit, Maxx (Goofy's son) head, Donald's body suit, Chip and Dale body suit, Pooh suit and a rack of more and the inside and out of one of the monkey's head.
    REPORTED: anon 13 MAY 02
  13. While working at the Disney Burbank Studios, I noticed on many of the executive's walls pictures that had many of the Disney characters lined up, both with heads on and off. When I asked about these pictures, I was told of the program called The Disney Way. It seems that select personnel of Disney are chosen to participate in this program designed to infuse the selected employee with the spirit of Disney. The subjects are chosen to portray a minor (Pluto, Chip and Dale, etc.) character at Disneyland for a period of two weeks. The major characters (Mickey, Minnie, etc.) are casted for the job, but all the others can be actual Disney executives and important employees!
    REPORTED: Timothy Rodda 26 OCT 98
  14. I would like to know about three Disney characters that have simply disappeared. I am talking about Daisy's nieces: April, May, and June who were part of the chickidees.
    REPORTED: brian 05 AUG 00
    It's true, Donalds nieces don't appear in the parks. The reason is pretty simple, Donald height characters are hard to come by (most are midgets or incredibly short people) and it's hard enough to fill the few donalds and occasional dasies you'll find in the parks.
    CONFIRMED: anon 29 NOV 01
  15. You may know most characters look out of things other than their eyes, (eg. Brer Bear looks out the neck) Well, Goofy looks out of his mouth, but to make it appear that Goofy's eyes are looking at your kid or camera or whatever, the CM inside goofy must have their neck bent all the way down. Try this, stand straight up (Remember, Goofy is tall), slouch just slightly, and the moving only your neck, stare at a point about a 1.5 ft from the front of your shoe. Ouch, right? Now run around in circles like you've seen Goofy do.... The end result is Goofy has to make large 'laugh' movements when walking to not smack into a kid or sidewalk or whatever. (You never get to look straight ahead)
    REPORTED: anon 29 NOV 01

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