Living as a Disney PrincessLiving as a Disney princess looks like easy enough: Throw on a ballgown, be home by midnight, lose a shoe, meet a prince. But for the real-life Cinderellas — i.e. those who work as characters in Disney theme parks — work isn’t quite as easy as simply throwing on a costume and giggling a few times. There’s actually a pretty precise method to the madness — perhaps unsurprising, considering Disney’s reputation for being obsessive when it comes to the “magic” of a perfect guest experience.
The world of the Disney “Face Character” is kept pretty well under wraps and is rife with company lingo: A face character, for one, just means an actor who wears makeup rather than a mask. Ask around and you’ll find that most who work or have worked at Disney (i.e. “cast members”) don’t want to comment on their jobs; more than once in the interview process, I was told by current and former cast members that they preferred to “keep the magic” rather than speak with a reporter.
So, how do the Tinker Bells and Cinderellas of Disney theme parks land their jobs? Let’s start at the beginning. Those wishing to work as a character at Disney must first undergo several rounds of auditions, and many of those trying out come via the Disney College Program. Katie McBroom was an undergraduate at the University of North Florida when she applied. While she had taken jazz and tap classes growing up and acted in a high school play, she wasn’t interested in pursuing an acting career and initially intended to complete a communications internship at Disney. Eventually, though, she decided to audition for an entertainment role — aka playing one of the famed Disney characters children around the globe wait hours to meet.
Because all characters at Disney wear some sort of costume — fur characters wear large, fuzzy costumes complete with a removable head, while face characters wear an outfit and a full face of makeup — height is a determining factor in who can play which role. Unlike a role in a play or a film — where costumes are made for the actors who can best play the role — the actors at Disney have to be able to fit into costumes that already exist. Tinker Bell, for instance, is played by a petite woman, as are Chip and Dale.
That being said, someone’s “look” doesn’t always determine which character they might get. It really boils down to what Disney needs. On Reddit, a former Disney worker said he first auditioned for a role after several people told him he looked like Prince Phillip [from Sleeping Beauty]. Ultimately, he wasn’t selected — he said he found out after the audition that “they were really only looking for Kim possible and Ron stoppable. And since you can only attend one face audition a year I never tried again.”
The first audition includes a simple miming exercise; once cuts are made, those who come back are asked to take on more advanced choreography. McBroom was asked to come back after the dance portion of the audition and was then immediately fitted as a princess. Since that, being a Disney prince or princess is not easy as we have thought.
They have spent their time and effort to be trained and they behavior like a real prince and princess to attract their kids who come to visit Disneyland and try to make them happy. Their jobs should be rewarded as a talented people to fulfill their mission.