Disney has been infamous for adhering to the same conservative dress code established in the 1950's, but it seems the Mouse has finally loosened his tie and started sending some of his decades-old rules to never-never land. Female employees, once unable to wear sleeveless tops or open-toed shoes, may now be so bold as to bare their arms and even stop wearing pantyhose if they so choose. Men can untuck their shirts.
The end of the pantyhose rule will be a relief for Disney's female work force, who were forced to don nylons even on hot summer days. Costumed characters, however, have to stick to the program.
The dress code changes were made after the company compared their rules to similar guidelines at other theme parks and Fortune 500 corporations, a process that can "consume as many executive-level meetings as a multimillion-dollar attraction".
The strict appearance rules date back to the opening of Disneyland in 1955, when Walt Disney wanted to ensure that "theme-park workers would appear friendly and approachable to guests and not distract from the fantasy world depicted inside the park. Disney wanted to distinguish his new theme parks from "sleazy" carnivals running at the time.
The decision affects the lives of 20,000 workers at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. and 58,000 employees at Disneyworld in Orlando, Fla. It's the biggest change to appearance rules since 2000, when Disney finally lifted its longstanding ban on mustaches.