The old costume department at Disneyland was one of the first backstage areas I was able to tour back in the 90s. At the time it was all encompassed in one small building just inside the berm. Everything had to be in perfect order for things to run smoothly each day. Costumes were picked up a window and checked out to a cast member. Cast Members still had lockers and weren’t allowed to wear their costumes outside the park. And the variety of costumes pieces was greater than it is today.
With California Adventure on the horizon, Disneyland knew they had to change up their costuming department in order to meet the needs of a greatly expanded cast. Cast members were now allowed to wear costumes to and from work, lockers were mostly eliminated, and costumes were simplified so that more pieces could be used across lands. This helped the park save money, but cheapened the guest experience in the views of many. Over the years Disney costuming has gotten a lot better in creating the experience of diversity even while using similar costume pieces across the parks.
Maintaining, cataloging, issuing, and designing these costumes is not an easy job and it’s one of the few jobs that maintains a close tie to the movie industry with some Disney park costumers doing part work for Disney studios projects.
So it is with just cause that Disneyland celebrates the costume department in the latest edition of “Every Role a Starring Role” backstage videos:
Let’s give them a hand!