Disney claims it’s the happiest place on Earth. However, for the people who work there, it can be the most miserable.
A former Disney face actor took to TikTok to share her worst experiences on the job. But beware: you’re never going to look at Disney the same after hearing this ex-princess’s horror stories.
Magical Moments Aren’t Always That Magical
Sarah Daniels worked at Disney World and on Disney Cruise Lines for about 12 years. She started her “dark side of Disney” TikTok series with a story about her manager.
This experience, Daniels says, was on a Disney cruise. A special needs adult came up to visit Daniels while she was Ariel. He had sunglasses to show her. “Of course, he knew Ariel’s storyline about loving human stuff,” she explains.
Daniels then put on the sunglasses and pretended not to know what they were. The park guest was “giddy and excited.” But after her manager saw photos of her in costume with sunglasses on, the magical moment stopped.
Afterward, her manager yelled at Daniels for ‘breaking character’ by wearing the guest’s glasses.
This same manager, Daniels would later explain in a follow-up video, would go back on his logic a few weeks later. Yikes.
A Place For Family That Doesn’t Care About Yours
Continuing her saga of the Manager From Hell, Daniels shares another incident with the same supervisor. “I was on Disney Cruise Line as Ariel, and my family was on board the ship for Christmas,” she begins.
“My manager had scheduled me 90 hours. He scheduled another girl 60 [hours], who was also a face character. I said, ‘wow, that’s a lot of hours for the week my parents are here. That sucks.’ Let me ask if there’s a possibility I could switch shifts with another girl.”
Daniels says that when she called her manager and asked, “he said to me, ‘I scheduled it that way on purpose.’ Great experience.”
But the supervisors didn’t expect Daniels to work just through family time. They also expected her to work while sick.
The Show Must Go On (No Matter What)
“I was really sick when I worked on DCL,” Daniels starts in another video. “A lot of people said it was because there was mold on the shop. And there might have been extra mold in my room.”
“I lost my voice, and I was so sick for at least a month,” Daniels says. “There was a point where I couldn’t go out because I didn’t have a voice. My manager was like, ‘well, Ariel didn’t have a voice in part of the movie, so we’re just going to send you out anyway.”
“I don’t know how they got away with any of the things they did on DCL,” Daniels says.
And unfortunately, guests also got away with a lot.
The Bad Guys Aren’t In Character
As Daniels continues, her stories get progressively worse. She recalled several instances of pervy dads giving her room keys. And in one particularly cringey TikTok, she explains that a man groped her while she was in costume.
Nope, not a princess costume—Minnie Mouse. “A dude came up to me to take a photo, and straight-up put his hand on my tiddy,” she says. Daniels walked the man over to the character attendant. The attendant then called security, and the man was kicked out of the park.
Moreover, Disney characters aren’t supposed to say no. “As a face character, ‘no’ is not in your vocabulary,” Daniels explains. “You have to find ways around no. Usually, [we] divert the attention to the character attendant, and they will take care of the creepy dads.”
Unrealistic Body Standards
All of these stories are terrible. But this TikTok definitely takes the cake.
“What ruined my view of the company wasn’t being a face character. What ruined my impression of Disney was when I weighed 115 pounds and was told my silhouette didn’t match Ariel’s.”
Daniels says this launched her into a nine-year eating disorder “that cost me thousands in therapy. I did a five-page exposé because I decided I was tired of keeping that to myself.”
“There was some leadership in Florida that really ruined my adult life. I’m just turning 32 this year, and I finally have an okay relationship with food and my body. I’m saying okay. Not great.”
It’s Not The End All, Be All
Mind-boggling horror stories aside, Daniels says she’s not trying to dissuade people from working there.
“Even though I was not being treated very well, I was having a good time. I was young. It taught me a lot about life and people. I’m definitely not saying it’s not worth it. But people obsess over it like it’s their life dream.”
“They cry about it at night when they don’t get the job,” she continues. “I just don’t want people to think a $15 an hour job is the be-all, end-all. It’s not. It’s a job about how you look.”
As for any backlash from Walt himself? Daniels isn’t worried about it. “Oh, I’d love to see them try after their abusive practices with giving girls eating disorders and mental health issues and treating them like garbage and paying them no money.”
“And then expecting us to keep our mouths shut for the rest of our lives? Ha, try me,” Daniels says. Bippity, boppity, boom.