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Disney Recasts ‘Aging’ Princesses as Mary Poppins and the Fairy Godmother

In a recent Bloomberg article, a writer revealed that he had learned plenty of surprising or amusing factoids while trying out various Walt Disney World Resort jobs for a week at the Disney Resort — and one thing that the writer revealed involved Disney princess performers’ mandatory shifts into other Disney characters after they become too ‘old’!

It is already common knowledge among Disney fans that being a Cast Member who plays (or is “friends with”) Disney princesses is a hard job. The pay rate is reportedly very low, the casting process is very superficial by design, and the casting process is also much harder for women of color (just ask this former Cast Member who played Elena of Avalor)!

Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins Photo Credit: Under Cover Tourist

Apparently, however, the challenges that Disney princess actresses face are even more complex than previously thought — and the Walt Disney Company has specific rules set in place to handle female performers’ aging. When a Cast Member who is playing a Disney princess enters her late 20s, which is considered to be on the older side for a Disney princess, Disney apparently starts the process of shifting the female performer into a new role — and that new role is often Mary Poppins.

The enigmatic British nanny played by Dame Julie Andrews decades ago seems like a predictable choice, since Mary Poppins is still relatively young but more conservative in dress and more ‘motherly’ than Disney princesses are. According to the writer who tried out Disney jobs recently for Bloomberg, “Mary Poppins has become a go-to transitional role when a Snow White begins to go a little Snow Gray.”

Snow White waving

Snow White Credit: POPSUGAR

In addition, once a Disney performer has become older than her Mary Poppins role, she will be moved to yet another role as a character performer…but not for decades! “Most of the time,” the writer Brandon Presser explained, “Cast Members move to another department for a decade or two”.

Then, they come back as performs in the role of Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother. So when you are looking at a Fairy Godmother, you are possibly looking at a Disney performer who once played multiple Disney princesses, then Snow White, and then some kind of non-face character job for years before her current role!

Fairy Godmother Disney World

Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother Credit: Disney

Presser also revealed that if a Disney princess has gained some weight, gone through a growth spurt, or struggles to fit into the costume that she shares with other Disney princess performers for some other reason, then she might get “demoted from…princess to princess handler, at least temporarily”. A performer who is injured might also become a handler instead of a performer for a while.

Did you know that the Walt Disney Company had a system in place to transfer its face character performers to different roles in relation to their age — and did you know that Disney princesses might have to take 20 years off in between their face character roles until they can play the Fairy Godmother?

About Sharon

Sharon is a writer and animal lover from New England. Sharon's two main focuses in her work are Disney's correlations with pop culture and the significance of Disney princesses (which was the basis for her college thesis). When she's not writing about Disney, Sharon spends her time singing, dancing, and cavorting with woodland creatures!