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Even Disney Princesses have HR problems

Work enemies are the same anywhere, even if you work at the happiest place on earth

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By Caroline O'Donoghue on

In every workplace, there are tensions. Every office is an interweaving tapestry of hierarchies, cliques, and unspoken rules of behaviour so unbelievably complex that it usually takes two months of careful study to understand who stands where, and misunderstanding those relationships can prove potentially disastrous. No one wants to be the newbie who says “let’s just ask Mary!” while their new colleague looks at them coldly and asks “why should we ask Mary? I’m in charge, here.” 

Everywhere, even, it turns out, Disneyland, operates like this. In a Reddit AMA, a former Goofy for the Magic Kingdom spilled the beans on what it's really like to work inside Walt's mind palace. Said Goofy was fired due to an incident with Donald Duck (who "was, as usual, being a jerk") but made a few canny observations on the princesses while he was there.

"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."

Pocahontas freezes in buckskin, negotiating with children who aren't old enough to know the words to Colours Of The Wind while giving stink eye to Brave's Princess Merida

Oh, Christ, you can just picture it, can't you? Snow White's been working the park since 1995 and trying to send her kid to Stanford on an actor's salary, meanwhile Elsa waltzes in with her fishtail plait and sparkly dress thinking she's absolutely IT. Imagine Cinderella being just a *bit* cheesed off because she has to wear clear heels to work, whereas Anna is basically allowed wear Topshop lederhosen. Pocahontas freezes in buckskin, negotiating with children who aren't old enough to know the words to Colours Of The Wind while giving stink eye to Brave's Princess Merida, who is probably more than a little anxious that Ariel is the only red-headed princess anyone wants to see. 

It's hilarious to picture these figments of our childhood making passive aggressive lunchroom chat, because at the end of the day, I have yet to hear of any workplace that doesn't suffer from some form of hierarchy problem. The temptation, of course, is to blame women and how they work with one another: how jealousy, bitchiness, and "there's only room for one at the top" mindset pits women against each other. I have worked in all-female or female-dominated workplaces for years, and have spent almost all of that time reassuring outsiders that, no, it's not a superbitch breeding ground for heartless femmebots.

But once, I remember putting feminism aside and complaining to a friend that whatever workplace squabble I was engaged in "wouldn't happen in an all-male office." 

"Are you joking?" she said, raising an eyebrow. "My boyfriend works for a wrestling website, on an all male team. All they do is make passive aggressive digs at each other over Slack."

With that in mind, I'm curious to know how the Disney princes get along: clearly there's some animosity between Donald "clearly a jerk" Duck and Goofy, but what about everyone else? The princes of Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty are basically the same person, and that must bring some workplace awkwardness.

"I'm Philip," says Philip, through gritted teeth to a non-plussed nine-year-old. "THAT'S Charming. That hack over there who can't even ride a horse. I'm in Sleeping Beauty." 

"I DON'T EVEN WANT TO RIDE A HORSE," calls Charming from his post. "Horse riding is for poshos.”


Cue infighting, bitchy Whatsapp groups, and Aladdin conspicuously not inviting Philip to his stag do. Because work enemies are the same anywhere, even if you work at the happiest place on earth. 


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