In the course of reporting what goes on behind the scenes at Disney’s theme parks for Radar’s debut issue, I heard about underground employee videos from a woman who, because she still works as a character at Disney World, was reluctant to offer specifics. After a few more inquiries an anonymous source agreed to share a copy of some clips, a compilation bearing the simple title “Cast Member Films.” Although this source wouldn’t reveal where he’d gotten the DVD, I learned more about the videos in subsequent conversations with current and former characters. Many of the videos, I found out, were created for unofficial annual character banquets, where screening funny skits is part of a tradition of subtle acts of subversion among the members of Disney’s undercompensated and overregulated workforce. Managers and supervisors who show up at such banquets tend to look the other way, I was told, even though some skits boldly mock the squeaky-clean atmosphere of the magic kingdom. The skits boost morale. From more than an hour’s worth of material collected on the DVD, Radar has chosen a few of the juiciest bits, brief segments revealing a side of Disney’s costumed underclass that few parkgoers ever see.
• Operation: Beyond Your Wildest Imagination In this short segment from a mock expose about the “shocking” acts perpetrated by Epcot characters, Tweedledee and Tweedledum of Alice in Wonderland are caught on film as they beat and capture animals for Disney’s Animal Kingdom park. At the time this was filmed, Disney was taking heat from animal rights activists for the zoolike conditions at the park, which features live animals in captivity. Though no real animals were hurt during the making of this film, be forewarned: The action turns bloody.
• Pocahontas What gets the mojo workin’ for John Smith, the legendary pioneer lover in Pocahontas? In this excerpt we see Smith’s eye wander to a well-built young brave in a loincloth, an inside joke about the high ratio of homosexual actors employed by Disney’s character department. One reliable source claims that one in four characters actors is gay.
• Showcasegirls In Beauty and the Beast leading lady Belle aspires to be more than a wife to a handsome lug. But in this steamy clip she (and Snow White and others seen on the full-length DVD) are working for a little green on the scene, if you know what we mean. Anyone have change for a $20 — ones, mostly?