There's nothing like Reddit AskMeAnything session to destroy some much loved childhood memories.
Reddit user Ihaveanotheridentity hosted an AskMeAnything (AMA) session in which he set out to answer questions related to over 25 years working as Goofy at Disney World Orlando.
His responses shattered a few illusions:
First thing's first: why did he leave?
Well, Goofy got into a fight with Donald Duck, so he was fired.
Donald Duck was, as usual, being a jerk and wouldn't leave my area because I had signed 'Luv, Goofy' right over the bill of a Donald Duck hat.
He threw a temper tantrum and as I was dragging him across the floor to get him back to his position a little kid ran out from behind the curtain at Pete's Silly Sideshow and we knocked her on her butt.
The kid was fine and no one complained but Disney didn't really appreciate me dragging the costume on the carpeted floor so they terminated me.
Are the Princesses cliquey?
In short, some of them.
Some of the break rooms are like the high school cafeteria where the 'cool' princesses (Elsa and Anna) sit on one side and make eyes at the 'old' characters (snow and Poppins).
It's really childish.
He assures people, however, that instances of animosity between princesses are rare, and some of them are “the sweetest people I’ve ever met in my life”.
What was his worst customer experience?
There are two stories which stick in his mind: the first is when he had his life threatened during a grad night party (customers are allowed to stay in the Disney attraction overnight).
In an especially awkward situation, he was forced to tell a guest that their son was in jail for stealing from one of the stores.
He was also witness to an adult “beat the living s—t out of a pre-teen boy on the set as the Queen of Hearts”.
There were extreme tales of co-workers getting fired.
One of the ‘greeters’ at the park - now called attendants - was a trans woman who was picked up by police because she was the father of a missing child.
As it turned out, she had been hiding at Disney.
There was also the case of the Tigger man who had been arrested for sexually assaulting one of the guests.
He got his job back (there was a totally bizarre court case.
His lawyer actually dressed up as Tigger to give the closing arguments) but he was fired a few years later for allegedly doing the same thing to one of the photographers.
Guests could be really weird, too...
I've had kids pee on my leg a few times and I've been knocked over by some over enthusiastic guests.
Some guests actually visit Disney World in order to spread the ashes of a loved one in the park, according to him it “happens all the time, especially in the dark rides”.
But then, there are the moments that stayed with him - and for all the right reasons:
One memory that stood out was at 'Give Kids the World', which is where children who are part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation stay.
There was a child who had been born with a birth defect that meant he had no neck muscle.
The kid's wish was to be held by Goofy.
That's it. Just to be held. The mother told me that because of his 'life problems' everyone is afraid to even touch him.
She laid him very carefully in my arms (sitting on the ground) and let go.
We rocked back and forth on that floor for what seemed forever.
It was one of the times where I forgot I had the costume on and I just cried and cried.
He was such a special kid. I’ll never forget that.
The 46-year-old is looking for new career avenues, and the people of Reddit surged up in response, offering a number of alternatives:
- Help out veterans with PTSD and depression
- Travel Destination Experience Consultant
- Tour guide
- Working with special needs children and adults
- Substitute teacher