For so many young girls, the idea of growing up to actually become a Disney Princess one day is the ultimate pipe dream. Yet, for a select few, such dreams do, in fact, come true. We are, of course, talking about those talented character performers that we see at Disney Parks around the world, who are working under the guise of some of the most beloved Disney Princesses that we’ve all come to admire throughout the ages.
As beacons of beauty (both externally and internally) and symbols of hope and inspiration to visitors of all ages, perhaps you’re thinking that these lucky ladies must certainly have a gravy life. Not only are they working at one of the best places in the world, but their primary task is to go around playing dress-up, imitating a favored character from Walt Disney Entertainment.
What you don’t realize, though, is that the long road they took to land in such a position, along with all of the continued standards for strictness that they must endure in the day-to-day, can hardly be counted as easy work. From a brutal selection process to staying on par with princess-like expectations at all times, we’re highlighting for you the nearly impossible requirements for being a Disney Princess in the Parks.
In order to fulfill your wildest dreams of becoming a Disney Princess, you must first undergo a rigorous auditioning process. To get started, you will first need to visit the official Disney Careers Website and search for “Character Look-a-likes” for whichever Disney Park or destination you are hoping to work at.
Each job posting will list everything that you need to know about the time and place where an upcoming audition is to be held, as well as all the individual requirements for the specific role that you’re hoping to take on.
Even if you do score an audition, that’s only the beginning. As many online sources from former Disney Princesses have pointed out, when you attend an audition, you are in the running for a highly coveted opportunity — and hundreds of other potential candidates are also competing for the same position.
And only one of you will be chosen. What’s more, Disney auditions are more about scrutinizing candidates to see whether they have the character “look” that Disney’s casting team members are going for, with the right features to match the standards for bringing the animated character into real-life human form.
They do not care if you went to acting school and can sing and dance, because they will train you. In fact, as shallow as it may sound, it’s more about looks than anything else when initially choosing who can best fit into a role.
Size and Height
While having the right facial features is essential in fulfilling a role as a Disney Princess, looking the part also entails having the necessary body requirements.
To start, prospective Disney Princesses must fall within the determined 5 feet four-inch to five feet seven-inch standard. They also must not exceed a size 10 in dress size. Disney has remarked that there are no exact weight qualifications that character actors and actresses must adhere to.
However, these specs for height and dress size are in place to maintain close resemblance in character portrayal as well as to keep a unified in-Park portrayal across the board when transitioning from one actress to another. You don’t want a clearly obvious callout, like Snow White having shrunk nearly half a foot since your last Disney vacation!
Just as Disney does not directly state a specific weight target, they do not directly call out an actual number in regards to an auditionee’s age. All the same, there are unwritten, understandable rules. For instance, you must, of course, be at least 18 years of age and clearly not over the age of 30. Disney Princesses commonly tend to be between the ages of 18 and 23, with few ever even remaining in position into their late 20s.
As we briefly touched on earlier, once you are selected to fulfill the role of a Disney Princess, you must then undergo a five-day training session that will school you in all of the essentials. Training will entail examining the Disney film that your assigned character leads in thoroughly, and sometimes you may even be given quizzes and worksheets.
By the conclusion of your training, you will know your character’s lines, mannerisms, movements, and voice, and be able to accurately mimic everything about her perfectly.
As part of the character experience when working in Parks, you will also receive training as a fur character (such as Daisy Duck, shown below) in addition to your primary role as a Disney Princess.
In going back to the method of retaining a constant, indiscernible, and unified portrayal between yourself and other former/overlapping players in a key role, face characters are also instructed on how to do make-up (which you will be applying yourself). You will also be shown other methods in maintaining a character’s exclusive style in hair (which will be a wig) and dress as well as how she applies her distinct signature when signing autographs.
Keeping Up Appearances
Once you are hired to be a Disney Princess, you are expected to live up to the Disney Princess standards on both a physical and moral or personal level for as long as you are under contract. Note: in general, playing a Disney Princess requires at least a one-year commitment unless the unthinkable happens and you are let go prior to that.
We already covered the training in hair and makeup, which must always be accurate and spot-on. It also goes without saying that you need to take care of yourself in maintaining those looks that earned you the role. That means no getting out of shape, getting facial piercings, visible tattoos, etc.
Just as important as physical maintenance is to the role, so is your commitment to live up to Disney Princess standards in the day-to-day. Even when you are out of your character’s role, the Walt Disney Company does not take kindly to having their ambassadors of the magic act up when off duty. That means no vulgar language, getting drunk at bars, or publicly doing anything else that your Disney alter ego wouldn’t do.
While the aforementioned are all obvious red flags, it’s also important to retain in-Park standards on a flawlessly intricate level while on the job. You must very literally become your character while performing. And your world within the realm of Disney Entertainment is the only world that exists for you. That means never referencing anything that is not of Disney—no references to characters, programs, or movies from Nickelodeon, Universal, etc.
Being able to improvise on the spot with a bit of fast thinking is crucial for fulfilling the role of a Disney Princess. For starters, you are coming in contact with scores of Park Guests of all different ages on any given day, at any given moment, who are unintentionally grilling you with sudden and unexpected questions about your character or other characters in the production that you represent.
This means that you not only have to be the ultimate content expert, but you also have to be able to deliver your answers in a witty way that leaves no question in anybody’s mind that you are the very character you are portraying. Saying “I don’t know” is never an option.
Then you have those sometimes-uncooperative children that you must know how to handle along with equally uncooperative and sometimes rowdy or rude adults. You may even find yourself thrown into an uncomfortable situation that requires your tending Cast Member, who is with you by your side, to step in. But the important thing is that you always play it cool and remain respectful, keeping to your character role at all times.
Patience is a Virtue
We mentioned the uncooperative nature of some children a moment ago, but the truth is that all young children have the tendency to be unpredictable. There also tends to be a lot of urinating, pulling, talking, not talking, etc. But you, serving as the center of attention, must always be patient in letting all of the monotonous antics play out while being aware of more to come, with the long line of others coming to see you. That requires extreme patience, to say the least — the understatement of the year, given all that you will be dealing with.
Patience also entails being able to go with the flow, including those intolerant times when the weather plays an impactful role on a day in the Parks. From stifling hot days to dreary rainy ones, you have to be able to keep a temperate interior about you even when the external conditions around you are unbearable.
Mums the Word
Going back to living up to the epitomizing standards of a Disney Princess even when not performing duties onsite at the Parks: the adherence to the Walt Disney Company’s strict secrecy policy prohibits you from disclosing the role that you carry out while at work. You may not go around blabbing and blurting out which character you play to all your friends, and you must never post about it on social media accounts.
You are working at a top-secret job, after all, fulfilling a magical role that inspires hope and encouragement and that brings to life a beloved fairytale classic. It is your crucial duty to guard your secret well for the entire duration in which you fill such a role.
There is just so much more to portraying a Princess at Disney Parks than you may have ever realized. While it remains a dream come true for some, it does come with a strict rule book of standards to abide by all the same. But if it is your ultimate dream, then you know that every minute of it will be an enchanting endeavor.