As I’m falling asleep last night this story comes on the local ABC channel news. Apparently, some Disney cast members are complaining to the media that the costumes they’re issued aren’t warm enough for some of the low temperatures Central Florida has experienced this winter.
To understand the issue you have to remember that most themed costumes are very thin to deal with the summer heat. Only approved costume pieces can be visible while you’re working. You also have to understand that Disney Cast Members are responsible for getting their costumes before checking in at their work location. But that might be 20-30 minutes of walk and change time depending on where you work. As a cast member you’re allowed to check out multiple days worth of costumes. You could check out cold weather wear for a Tuesday shift even if you’re not working Wednesday and Thursday. So you don’t return that jacket until Friday or later. That means that piece is effectively out of circulation for those who need it on other cold nights.
This understandably can limit what the costuming department has available to check out. If the costuming department tells you they’re out of the piece you need in your size, you’re pretty much stuck with what they give you. A light jacket is better than no jacket at all. It’s a numbers game that Disney could solve any number of ways (more costume pieces, changing the way costumes are issued, special cold weather rules for costume changes, better training for local managers to be aware of cast members who need weather upgrades, etc). Something to add to the negotiations next time the union contract is negotiated.
So are cast members getting stuck without proper costumes for cold weather. Sure. I have no reason to doubt the facts of this story. But it must have been a really slow news night for WFTV to even think about covering it (with a live remote truck, no less). All I can figure out is that WFTV has some sort of anti-Disney story quota so they don’t come off as a corporate mouth piece. Where were the quotes from cast members of other local theme parks talking about their costuming problems. (read)