- Earlier this month, three Walt Disney World Cast Members who bring to life costumed characters Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck, filed reports claiming injury and inappropriate touching from guests.
- According to the Orlando Sentinel, one Cast Member went to the hospital and two others reported being groped.
- A 36-year-old female Cast Member who performs as the main mouse had to visit the hospital for a neck injury. The cast member filed a report with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office claiming the injury was a result of a guest patting Mickey on the head about five times.
- This action resulted in the costume head sliding down and straining her neck.
- The Cast Member said she did not believe that the grandmother who patted her head did it with malicious intent.
- Following the December 4 report, the Sheriff’s Office deemed the matter to be a civil and not criminal case. No lawsuits appear to have been filed.
- The Sentinel reached out to the family who was unaware that the Cast Member had been taken to the hospital. According to Boone Scheer, the woman’s son-in-law, she was trying to prove to her 2-year-old grandson that there was nothing scary about Mickey Mickey. Scheer said his mother-in-law would never hurt Mickey, “She barely touched him. It was very minimal.”
- Scheer went on to say that no one in the park said anything to them about the incident. It wasn’t until later when they checked into their hotel that they were informed there was an issue.
- Scheer said Disney interviewed his wife and, “they definitely tried to insinuate it was on purpose.”
- Another 36-year-old female employee who portrays Minnie Mouse at Magic Kingdom reported being groped by a male guest on December 6.
- Things started out just fine with the out of state guest and his wife posing for pictures with Minnie at a circus themed meet and greet.
- At the end of the session, as the Cast Member gave the man a hug, he groped her chest three times.
- She informed her supervisors of the incident and identified pictures of the 61-year-old Minnesota man. She did not press charges.
- However this wasn’t an isolated incident. The man acted indecently at other times during that Disney World trip.
- According to reports, on December 5, the man had “an inappropriate interaction with a cast member” at the Magic Kingdom. Disney did not elaborate on any details.
- The Sheriff's report points out: “It should be noted that (the man) is a Disney Vacation Club member. As a result, he was trespassed from all of Walt Disney World property, to exclude the Saratoga Springs resort.”
- On December 3, another incident of guest misbehavior was reported at an Animal Kingdom restaurant.
- According to the report, a 60-year-old female guest asked if she could kiss Donald Duck to which he agreed.
- The 18-year-old Cast Member inside the costume said the situation escalated as the woman “began touching and grabbing the character’s arms, chest, belly, and face.”
- The Cast Member turned to a fellow employee for help but the guest kept following the character even putting her hands inside the costume and touching the characters chest.
- The woman’s family yelled for her to stop and a character attendant led the Cast Member to a break room.
- The employee opted not to press charges and told authorities they believe the woman might have dementia.
The Sentinel reached out to the Cast Member, however all three declined to comment on the situation.
What they’re saying:
- Disney spokeswoman Andrea Finger: “Everyone should feel safe at work, and we encourage Cast Members to come forward in any uncomfortable situation. We provide multiple resources to protect our Cast Members’ well-being, including on-site law enforcement officers who respond, and are available to them, if needed.”
- David Ballard, a senior director at the American Psychological Association: “In an environment like that where often the customer is seen as always right — and let’s face it, the customer is not always right — there’s sometimes an expectation … that their wish is your command.”