You have heard stories of the strict guidelines and requirements for to playing a Disney character – most of them surround appearance and grooming, and some are very specific like how they must never point with one finger, but two fingers or an open palm. What is the history behind this? We dug up some old footage of character training that has hardly been seen. Notice anything derivative from the characters you are familiar with?
This character training tape explains how to act out the character of Mickey mouse, the face of the company the way Walt Disney imagined. The video was designed to “better understand the responsibility of your job as well as the problems you might encounter. As well has personality and movements within the limitations of the costume.”
Some of the straight forward language is kind of hilarious and also a little creepy in a corporate faceless sort of way.
The first rule: Do not talk.
Some other rules:
It is wise to not handle items of value. Keep the costume clean. Never reveal that there is a person in the costume.
Around children Mickey is a “mischievous, fun-loving boy” but not a silly clown. Around dignitaries, he is extremely humble and shakes hands.
Mickey Mouse character training video circa 1976:
Here is Winnie the Pooh and Pals form 1976:
The video focuses on the personality traits and physical movements of the character.
“Eeyore is the world’s saddest donkey, he’s very lovable, but extremely shy. Because he never gets enough love an attention, he chews on his little hoof or wipes the tears from his sorrowful eyes. Poor Eeyore!”
The height requirements are really specific. If you are playing Pooh you have to be between 5’9” – 5’10”. For Tigger it is 6’0” – 6’2” Eeyore is57” – 5’9”. The instructions for how to physically put on the costume are pretty funny. They say you may only sit down while in costume when you are putting on the costume.
If you fit the dimensions, are you going to go work for Disney now?