Several Disney Cast Members Fired for Refusing to Wear Dirty Costumes

Three cast members of the Festival of the Lion King at Disney's Animal Kingdom were recently fired for refusing to wear tainted unitards.

Festival of The Lion King at Disney's Animal KingdomFestival of The Lion King at Disney's Animal Kingdom

The cast members refused to wear the unitards after they claimed other cast members' dirty and sweaty costumes touched the previously clean clothing items. According to the fired cast members the dirty costumes were on a rack that was pushed into the clean clothes.

The performance of the Festival of the Lion King had to be cancelled due to the cast members' refusal to wear the costumes and they were subsequently fired by Walt Disney World.

The cast members are now fighting to get their jobs back and the Teamsters are bringing the issue to a federal arbitrator before the end of the year. The union says Disney violated its contract when it provided dirty clothing.

Walt Disney World disagrees with the argument that the clothing was soiled. The fired cast members say they were worried the dirty clothes would give them a rash or skin infection.

Cast members are supposed to be given clean unitards for each performance of the Festival of the Lion King but they reuse the headpieces, collars, and skirts. These were the sweaty items that reportedly touched the clean unitards after being brought inside during a rainstorm. The costume pieces had been drying in the sun outside.

Currently two of the three fired cast members are working elsewhere, but they would like to return to Walt Disney World.


Kristen K. wrote on Wed, 11/05/2014 - 13:33:

Kristen K.'s picture

Very interesting. I'll be interested in hearing what the outcome of this is.

Brandi wrote on Wed, 11/05/2014 - 14:54:

Brandi's picture

Honestly. The rack was pushed into the other.
Let's not be divaesque. The items were clean. I
Think the cast members were looking for a reason
To be upset. Seems kind of trivial if you ask me.
It's not as if one show ended the unitards were taken
off and then the cast members for the next show had
to put the used unwashed unitards on. Geesh.

Pam M wrote on Wed, 11/05/2014 - 15:29:

Pam M's picture

Send them to the unemployment line...hope they don't brush up against any sweaty people there. There's no Teamsters to help them out.

Brian Jones wrote on Wed, 11/05/2014 - 16:21:

Brian Jones's picture

They 'Touched' the dirty costumes? I'd fire them too.

Elaine wrote on Wed, 11/05/2014 - 18:45:

Elaine's picture

I'm not sure how to even react to this. It's not like they were given dirty unitards to wear. And these items aren't touching any "special" places. And wouldn't they touch the clean unitards when you put them on? Isn't that about the same thing?

james tebby wrote on Wed, 11/05/2014 - 18:56:

james tebby's picture

When was this supposed to have happened?

Wynnster wrote on Wed, 11/05/2014 - 19:42:

Wynnster's picture

actually, those unitards do touch "special" places

Cindy1928 wrote on Wed, 11/05/2014 - 22:29:

Cindy1928's picture

Exactly, the clothing items on the rack were the items that are reused show to show, and will touch the unitards as soon as they are worn anyway. I'm not sure what type of infection they were worried about getting from a head dress or skirt brushing up against a clean unitard. I seriously doubt those costume pieces harbor any bacteria one wouldnt be expsed to by sharing the stage, or a chair, or a theme park ride with that dancer. Shame the shows had to be cancelled.

Kristen K. wrote on Wed, 11/05/2014 - 23:08:

Kristen K.'s picture

James - The source article says that this happened in June, however this is the first we had heard about it.

Connie wrote on Thu, 11/06/2014 - 02:10:

Connie's picture

The show must go on....people paid a lot of money to be there, give them what they paid for. My guess is they've worn their own clothes more than twice!

Amy wrote on Thu, 11/06/2014 - 04:10:

Amy's picture

I agree with everybody. They need to get over it. So what if they "touched" their clean unitards? They were going to touch them anyway. You can't tell me they have never reworn something without washing it. They need to quit being babies.

Allie C wrote on Fri, 11/07/2014 - 13:42:

Allie C's picture

I work in theme park entertainment management, and if this did truly violate their contract, and the costumers made this mistake, it is viable. I have been in show down situations over someone not willing to put on a shirt someone else has tried on. It happens, and I respect their decision. Sickness quickly spreads in theme park entertainment, and going to a doctor is normally not an option. Another situation that should be available is a reblocking plan for this show. It sounds as if this was just the ensemble cast. If so, they should be able to run that show with 3 cast members down. So really this comes back to management and show directors not being prepared for life's hiccups.

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