A Disney mascot is an employee of the Disney theme parks that dresses up in a costume of a classic Disney character for the amusement of park patrons. Disney mascots are especially entertaining for children who believe them to be the actual characters come to life. The requirements for one to become a Disney mascot include a friendly personality, a love of children and a lot of good energy. However, potential mascots must also successfully pass background checks and drug tests.
A Disney mascot arrives to work early in the morning before the park officially opens for business, which is usually at 8 in the morning. Upon arrival the mascot must get settled in for hair and makeup if playing the part of a Disney princess or get fitted into their costume if playing a character like Mickey Mouse or Goofy. Once the park opens the mascots are stationed at different locations. The entire workday, which is typically eight hours, is spent entertaining park patrons. Duties include meeting and greeting visitors, posing for photographs with patrons, signing autographs for the children, re-creating scenes from popular Disney films and amusing patrons with impressions of the characters.
Additional workday duties for a Disney mascot include participating in daily parades and performing in shows, which necessitate waving to the crowd and some light dancing. It is essential that the mascots stay in character throughout the entire workday. In fact breaking character is a serious offense that may lead to being fired from the job. The standards for becoming a Disney mascot are high with employees not allowed to have any outrageous piercings, highly visible tattoos or unnaturally colored hair. The look must be wholesome and appealing to families with small children. On days off, employees can attend the park free of charge, but they are forbidden from revealing their identity as mascots.