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‘Disney Look’ updated to allow cast member tattoos, gender inclusive self-expression

by Brittani Tuttle

Disney has announced changes are coming to the “Disney Look” that will allow cast members to find more flexibility in how they express themselves at work through their appearance, with an emphasis on gender inclusivity.

Cast members will now be able to explore greater freedoms in their self-expression at the domestic Disney Parks; the resorts at Hilton Head, Vero Beach, and Aulani in Hawaii; and Disney Cruise Line, with respect to hair, facial hair, fingernails (i.e. painted fingernails), jewelry, visible tattoos, and costume choices.

Specifically, small, visible tattoos will now permitted — with the exception of tattoos located on the face, head, and neck. For hair and nails, cast members, no matter their gender, can wear gender-inclusive hairstyles in naturally-occurring colors and well-maintained nail polish in a single color or French manicure style. However, the rules are more strict when it comes to facial piercings: cast members are only allowed to wear two earrings in each ear, but they can be located anywhere on the ear.

“To be relevant is more than just being creative, we must also be inclusive, making sure that our stories and products reflect the diversity of the world that we live in. And it starts with developing diverse talent and encouraging diversity of thought,” said Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. “This focus on diverse voices is important throughout every area of our organization. It also means using our resources to strengthen the communities where we operate, providing better futures for the generation of Disney cast and guests.”

For employee costumes, Disney is working toward gender inclusivity. Cast members will be able to choose the costume that best suits them individually and how they choose to express themselves.

“As part of our ongoing process at Imagineering, we look at the authentic representation of people and cultures in our stories,” said Carmen Smith, executive of Creative Development and Inclusive Strategies for Walt Disney Imagineering. “This is an important part of creating a more inclusive environment for guests from all over the world.”

Some areas and lines of business at the parks will still have certain guidelines for acceptable Disney Look in order to keep with the theme of their area. Costumes will still be themed to support the overall story of the area they are seen in, but will be gender inclusive.

This update to the Disney Look doesn’t apply to costumed characters. For example, since Cinderella doesn’t have any tattoos, the cast member portraying her won’t be able to show any either.

This isn’t the first time Disney Look has undergone major changes; in 2019, guidelines were adjusted to allow for greater variety in visible jewelry and facial hair growth. As stated in a press release shared by Disney, the company believes that cast “can provide the best of Disney’s legendary guest service when they have more options for personal expression.”

We always look to see companies translate their principles into practice. Disney’s move is a powerful example of a company that is walking the walk on inclusion and belonging. With these changes, cast members can bring their full, authentic selves to their work. More Disney guests will be able to see themselves reflected in the diversity of people across all levels of the company. We are proud to partner with Disney on this effort and many more.

Changes like these are strategic: we see in study after study that the next generation of Disney fans and guests rejects gender stereotypes and craves values alignment with brands. Simply put, they want the companies they patronize to be as inclusive and forward-looking as they are. This is a great moment for people everywhere to see Disney — an iconic company — signal that everyone is welcome there.

Erin Uritus, Out & Equal president

As part of the recent addition of “Inclusion” as a new “Key” — the tenets that guide cast members as they work and create magic at the Disney Parks — these policy updates will “allow for more personal expression and foster greater inclusivity at work.” The Five Keys are:

  • Safety
  • Courtesy
  • Inclusion
  • Show
  • Efficiency

Inclusion, which sits at the heart of the Five Keys, was added after Disney solicited input from cast members from around the world in 2019 on how the company could cultivate a greater focus on inclusivity for cast. In addition to the changes to Disney Look, the Inclusion key is being implemented even now across Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, with Disney giving examples like the planned retheming of Splash Mountain, scenic and story updates to Jungle Cruise, inclusive products like adaptive Halloween costumes, the Disney Rainbow merchandise collections for pride, and Disney’s mentorship work with programs like the Disney Dreamers Academy.

This focus on inclusivity has also been seen at the international parks, as Tokyo Disney Resort recently changed its park announcement greeting from “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls” to “Hello everyone.” There’s no word just yet on if this change will make its way to the domestic parks.

Walt Disney famously said during the opening of Disneyland, “To all who come to this happy place, welcome.” With these new changes, the emphasis on the idea that “all” are welcome is loud and clear.


What do you think of these changes to Disney Look? Are you excited for cast members to have greater freedoms for self-expression? Or do you prefer the clean-cut, classic Disney Look? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

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36 comments

S April 13, 2021 - 3:20 pm

I AM SO HAPPY I CAN GO TO WORK WITHOUT LONG SLEEVES!!! 😭😭so happy I am crying!!!

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Kaylin O'Conner April 13, 2021 - 5:16 pm

I have a very small tat of a gecko small enough to cover with watch. I love the idea of not having to cover. Now if they could allow the women a choice if they wear pants or skirts and or do away with nylons (truly torture devices) that would be icing on the cake.

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Priscilla April 13, 2021 - 9:23 pm

In Animal Kingdom, I know at least on Discovery Island, we have the choice between pants, shorts, and skirts. I am not sure about costumes for certain cultures though. Epcot’s world showcase, Africa and Asia in AK come to mind. In most locations including Disney Springs, the hotels, transportation, gift shops, and restaurants, men and women wear the same costumes.

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Nic April 13, 2021 - 11:49 pm

I think it says you can wear whatever costume is more comfortable for you 🤔

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Ana Tavares April 13, 2021 - 3:44 pm

Yes, Yes and Yes.
Inclusion as a key YaY.

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Jessie April 13, 2021 - 3:51 pm

I love this so much! I understand uniforms, but I’m happy that Disney is updating to be inclusive and more in line with modern styles. Not only will you have happier employees, but little kids can see people working at Disney who are more reflective of people in the “real world.”

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Randy April 13, 2021 - 4:25 pm

I was a Cast Member about 40 years ago, we were Specially Selected Hand Picked, the finest and the best…

We were the admiration of the world, and we held up to high standards.

It is much the same to put on your Disney Area Costume, as it is to wear the Uniform of your Countries Services.

When a Green Beret is chosen as the BEST to meet the highest of standards, he wears his Uniform with PRIDE, for he is part of something quite special, and everyone knows that just by seeing him.

What if no one today could pass the tests to become a Green Barry?

Do the standards get lowered far enough until there are those who can wear that Uniform?

What does that say to those who wore that Uniform before?

Those who stood for the meaning and values to be part of that special group, and now it means nothing but to bend to society and it’s deviance…

As Dickens once wrote, when one of his Characters understood the world was changing and his values we soon to be more; “I must remain loyal to the old ways, and die out with them if needs must.”

There is no hope for a society that bends it’s values to the degrading trends of the masses…

Without those who stand tall for the purity that once was, the future generations will have nothing to aspire to.

This is true of Countries, the World, and Companies as well.

When those in power to make decesions do not understand, then all is already lost.

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Roxane Dehoyos April 13, 2021 - 6:53 pm

Well said

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Erick April 13, 2021 - 8:53 pm

exactly…

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Ashley April 13, 2021 - 7:07 pm

They are absolutely still choosing the best of the best. They just realized that the lenses that they were using was causing them to miss out on some of the best. Growth and change is a positive thing. I’m so happy that children will be able to see a wider variety of amazing role models.

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Kaleigh April 13, 2021 - 7:36 pm

I’m so glad you said this! With all of the drastic changes this company is making right now in order to be “mainstream” and “relevant” I fear it is only going to hurt them in the long run. They preach “inclusion” and then continue to involve themselves in realms such as politics where they don’t belong, going so far as to fire actors/employees that have certain political views. As a former CM and someone that was raised on Disney, of course I’ve always dreamt of taking my kids there one day. Now I just am not sure if it will even be worth it once that time comes…

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Muriel April 13, 2021 - 11:01 pm

Well said. Public Companies do not belong in politics and religion. They fired those that was for President Trump and hire a communist Kaepecknie. Kneeling and disrespecting our flag. They had no business getting involved with B LM. Disney you are an amusement park.

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Robyn April 13, 2021 - 11:28 pm

Kaleigh, I sadly completely agree. Politics has no place at the happiest place on earth.
If I see one man wearing nail polish who works at Disney, that will be the last time I visit a Disney park. Mr. Chairman of the Disney parks, for shame on you!

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Annie April 23, 2021 - 5:48 pm

Have fun during your last visit! 😘

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SB April 13, 2021 - 9:34 pm

I’m sorry but if someone doesn’t feel comfortable wearing a dress they should be offered the opportunity to wear pants and this wasn’t something they offered before the inclusion. We evolve as humans by making these changes and accepting everyone for who they are. I’m all for making cast members feel comfortable in their costumes and work with pride because they know they’re accepted by their company.

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Rosemarie April 13, 2021 - 11:02 pm

Are you seriously comparing a Disney Cast Member to the Green Beret’s?! 😂 These changes are not about Disney “bending” to society, it’s about “inclusion” and not making people feel left out or uncomfortable. It’s about including all people and allowing people to express their individuality to an extent.

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Robyn April 13, 2021 - 11:24 pm

God bless you Randy, spot on sir!! Stay strong and keep staying true to your beliefs as they are 1 million percent right!

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Jennifer April 13, 2021 - 11:36 pm

AMEN! Perfectly said!

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Leigh Sanchez April 14, 2021 - 12:22 pm

Yes! It’s about Disney, not the individual. They are welcome to do whatever they want, ON THEIR TIME! Not on my dime! I do not want my children thinking about your individual issues while they are at Disney.

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Little munk 82 April 15, 2021 - 2:17 pm

Hi Randy. I’m sorry that you think the service and personality of Disney’s Cast Members are made by their looks alone.

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Jiminy April 25, 2021 - 11:36 pm

Disney is a Theater Show, not the military. That’s why we are called Cast Members and not privates or sergeants. That is why we wear costumes, not uniforms. Disney has always been inclusive of who they hire and self expression is very much an artistic state of being which is what Disney is and has always been about.

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Terri April 13, 2021 - 6:03 pm

It’s a start, now they need to update the costumes so they don’t all look like sister-wives

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Pa April 13, 2021 - 6:52 pm

If I feel feminine can I use the, ahhhh, ladies room?
Or do next just have all gender and all sex feeling bathrooms?

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charles April 13, 2021 - 7:42 pm

Inclusion is a great key. We are all from different races, religious backgrounds . We live in modern times. Everybody have their own styles and people also follow trends. It’s very important that everyone feel comfortable in what they wear and their appearances . It’s super cool to wear the costumes and hairstyles of your choice.

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Tee April 14, 2021 - 9:37 am

Haven’t been a cast member in 15 years, but this still makes me so happy, I could cry tears of joy for those that still are. The old look policies were borderline dehumanizing — not to mention tailored specifically to fair-skinned, thin-haired white people — and I hated spending the first part of each day watching my fellow CMs turn themselves into cyborgs. If y’all can’t go to Disney because the person helping you into Space Mountain has — GASP — a BEARD or — BE STILL MY HEART — PAINT on their fingernails, that is absolutely your loss.

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KKat April 13, 2021 - 9:11 pm

This is just Disney (large corporation) pandering again. They have done it before, and will continue to do it. Plus, if the pandering helps boost their social credit score, all the better for them!

It’s too bad the changes are disingenuous!

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Barbara April 13, 2021 - 10:54 pm

Could not have been said better! Bravo!

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Robyn April 13, 2021 - 11:36 pm

SB, no I’m sorry, you should be oozing pride that you were skilled and talented enough to work in the happiest place on earth. And your costume is exactly that, your COSTUME. BECAUSE YOU ARE A CAST MEMBER, PLAYING A ROLE. You are not Annie, a regular girl who doesn’t like poofy dresses and prefers pants. You are Annie from Colonial America, or Annie from the Old West, or Annie from Hollywood, or wherever you are placed in the THEME park you work in.
GOLLY GOSH, the Disney parks are not supposed to appear inclusive because every single person working in them is not portraying themselves, they are portraying a ROLE, because they are CAST MEMBERS!!!

You want inclusivity at your job? Sling burgers at McDonald’s. At a Disney THEME park, you are a CAST MEMBER playing a role!

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maddy April 14, 2021 - 1:29 am

that doesn’t change at all… there’s just slightly more lax rules regarding appearance. does it break your immersion if a female cast member is wearing pants or has two ear piercings? it’s a theme park. it’s not that deep.

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Rodrigo April 15, 2021 - 9:04 am

If I see someone in Frontierland with piercings or tattoos, yeah, it breaks immersion.
It’s a fine line between trying to keep up with the times and maintaining the illusion. They are cast members putting on a show. It is called “being on stage” for a reason. Everyone is playing a role. Since Show is still a key, I think the company will still try to maintain some level of illusion going on and we won’t see, I don’t know, a Haunted Mansion butler wearing a maid’s costume or Cinderella with a piercing on her nose.

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Robyn April 13, 2021 - 11:41 pm

Oh my gosh, these Disney execs have totally lost it and gone to the dark side!
Last time I checked, the Disney parks are THEME PARKS!!! Meaning you are a CAST MEMBER PLAYING A ROLE!! You are not playing yourself, you are playing a version of yourself!
If I see a man wearing nail polish anywhere in the Magic Kingdom, I will raise holy hell and then never come back. All i can say is WTF DISNEY, SERIOUSLY?!?

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Caroline April 14, 2021 - 8:53 am

Aren’t the cast members playing a role? I don’t know all of the ins and outs of the execution, but I don’t agree that the Disney image should bend and include tattoos , fingernail polish, excessive makeup… it’s ok to have standards – the Uber-clean Disney image is why the brand is appealing to fans (at least to this one).

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Taylor April 14, 2021 - 9:24 am

First of all extreme make up isnt allowed. So wherever you got that delusion from is ridiculous. Also- if it is allowed and you don’t like it- then mind your own business or just don’t go. Let the rest of us enjoy our time in peace while you’re stuck in the 1800s

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Jazz April 15, 2021 - 5:15 pm

Does this mean that male Castmembers can have the same length hair as female Castmembers? When I last looked at the uniform/grooming policy male Castmembers are not aloud long hair but female Castmembers are aloud.

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Brittani Tuttle April 15, 2021 - 5:22 pm

All Disney Look guidelines are now the same across the board for cast members no matter their gender. In short, yes.

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Jokyth April 23, 2021 - 10:50 pm

Completely disgusting. I’ve seen Thomson of the VMs sporting their tattoos and it awful. They have a very different concept of “small”

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