A former Disney character actor took to TikTok to warn folks to stop posting public videos of park employees on social media as the character performers could get in serious trouble.
Jill Beignet (@disney_beignet), who is now a travel agent specializing in Disney parks, posted a video citing past examples of character actors who’ve gone viral and what happened to them as a result. She added her perceived reasoning behind Disney’s willingness to fire employees based on social media posts of their workforce.
She begins her viral clip by answering a question from another TikTok user who wanted to know why an “amazing” character actor got in trouble at Disney World.
“It’s true. Character performers at Disney World have been fired because they went viral for doing an amazing job,” Beignet begins. “First of all, @tremainetok and a bunch of other creators who worked in Disney Entertainment for a lot longer than I did have already addressed this so be sure to check out their content as well.”
She continues, “the short version is if you post a video on social media of a Disney character doing just about anything and you don’t put it under a privacy setting, it might get them fired or at least in a lot of trouble.”
Beignet says part of the reason for that is even though Disney characters are unionized, Disney still sees them as “pretty expendable.”
“I mean there are a million other people who would love to be doing that job,” she says. “So if you’re causing problems in any way for the company, you’re just not worth it.”
The TikToker says character performers have been terminated because they did something really cute or fun but a manager saw the video and thought it broke some rule or it wasn’t in character. She references the famous Peter Pan debacle from a few years ago.
“There was this fantastic Peter Pan performer and he went viral. As he got more and more internet famous guests would come to the park and only want to see him as Peter Pan so if someone else was Peter Pan that day, they would get upset and complain,” she says. “It became enough of an operational problem that he was either fired or Disney insisted that he quit or be fired it’s not entirely clear.”
She advises that if your family had an amazing meet-and-greet with a character and wants to post it on social media, make sure to set the video’s settings to “friends only.”
“Because at the end of the day all Disney cast members are people they have lives and families and these jobs are how they provide for them,” she says. “I loved my time as a Disney character performer in my college program. I would do it again in a heartbeat. But I did have constant anxiety and fear that I was gonna lose my job because of one interaction.”
Beignet claims that Disney guest behavior has worsened since the end of the COVID-19 pandemic and there are several reports and social media posts that appear to corroborate this claim. In July of 2022, a mass brawl broke out at Magic Kingdom. Disney blog Inside the Magic also published a post about a Disney guest who claimed that “the pandemic has changed people” for the worse, which was originally posted on Reddit.
“Magic Kingdom was the worst it has ever been today,” the post read. “Every ride we went on and show we saw, the people were extremely rude and talked out loud through the whole thing. Jungle Cruise was so bad I couldn’t even hear the skipper. People were throwing their trash on the ground and overall disrespectful.”
Some cast members have even claimed that Disney guests have “spit on them” post-pandemic, and one Florida Man has faced a battery charge after he hocked a loogie at a Disney World security guard when he was asked to put a mask on.
TikTokers who responded to Beignet’s post shared their own Disney character stories that ranged from humorous to tragic. Some people wondered why families feel the need to “post everything online,” while others couldn’t help but comment on the “brutality” displayed by Disney’s corporate offices, which seems like a harsh contrast to the “magical” time they want guests to experience.
“I remember the (many) Peter Pan fan blogs on Tumblr when I was a teenager omg – he married someone who would sometimes be Tinkerbell/Alice,” one wrote.
“Back in my day, we used camera with film and those photos were only shared within our family. Why do people post everything online?” another wrote.
“That also reminds me of Loki in Disneyland. SO many people loved one specific Loki because they thought he was hot. Idk what the outcome of that was,” a viewer shared.
“Sounds like the Disney performers union needs to step up for their members better,” another stated.
“That sounds like Disney’s fault, you can’t expect no one to take videos of them,” one viewer said.