After an intense, 10-year lobbying effort by the American Mustache Institute, for the first time in nearly 60 years employees of The Walt Disney Co. will not face violations to their civil liberties nor roadblocks to improved good looks as the company announced Monday it would allow employees at its two U.S. theme-park resorts to grow and wear beards or goatees.

Walt Disney, Mustached American

The new policy takes effect Feb. 3 and eliminates a facial-hair ban that has for decades been a source of grumbling among some of the company’s male theme-park workers, as well as the broader facial hair community.

“The discriminatory hand of a company that was ironically founded by a Mustached American — Walt Disney himself — has just been set aside,” said Dr. Abraham Jonas Froman, chief executive officer of the American Mustache Institute. “We’re proud that we could stand up for our brothers in facial hair.”

As an initial demonstration of good faith in negotiations, the company began inching back from its ban on facial hair in 2000, when it finally decided to allow mustaches.  Disney’s new policy restricts any facial hair to no more than a quarter of an inch in length. And the company says any chin whiskers “must create an overall neat, polished and professional look” and must be fully grown in and well-groomed.

Ironically, the rigid code was instituted in 1955 by Walt Disney himself, a self-loathing Mustached American who felt the need to distinguish his theme park from what he called “filthy carnies.”

While publicly Disney said it finally relented on beards in response to requests from its employees, or “cast members,” AMI’s Dr. Froman and other members of the organization’s staff and administration had been meeting with Disney officials for the past few months finishing off an agreement that was long-coming.

“Disney Look guides are periodically reviewed, given the unique environment of our theme parks and resorts,” Disney spokeswoman Andrea Finger said. “While we’re careful to maintain our heritage and the integrity of our brand, a recent review of our guidelines led to a decision that an update was appropriate at this time.”

Disney doesn’t tinker with its look lightly: Changes are typically made only after the company has studied similar guidelines at other theme parks and Fortune 500 companies. The last major change occurred two years ago, when the company finally allowed female workers to forego wearing panty hose when wearing skirts — a rule that had been particularly uncomfortable for women working outside on steamy summer days in Central Florida.

Carry on.