I’ve been battling with myself a lot on whether or not to write this article. Almost everyone I meet always asks me about working at Disney and I still get messages on Facebook asking me advice for auditioning, so I thought this would be very helpful and interesting to a lot of people. However, while working at Disney, they drill into your brain how important it is to not “ruin the magic” or to not talk about Disney secrets, especially online. So I’m going to try my best to not really give away anything too big. I know that there are going to be some people I worked with who will think I’m a total sell out, but whatever. Everyone who even remotely knows who I am knows that I was a face character at Disney. I do not work at Disney anymore, so I don’t contractually have to keep anything a secret anymore, well I think so… If you’re reading this I’m going to make a pretty educated guess that you are not a child and I am not ruining any magic for you by telling you Tinker Bell is not a living, breathing character. Also, that was my job that I got paid to do for a year of my life! I should be able to talk about it! This isn’t the CIA!! Just to let everyone know, it has been about three-years since I’ve wore the wings, so a lot could have changed! I remember when I was getting ready to audition and was googling articles and videos about the audition process and what it’s like to work there, and it was VERY different from what I experienced. So with that being said, I’m going to talk about what my audition experience was like and hopefully no one will get too mad about it or sue me, please don’t sue me.
I have been going to Disney World since I was basically born, so I always wanted to be a princess. I googled about how to get a job at Disney as a princess and found disneyauditions.com. If you go to this site you can find out where and when to audition for many different roles. I found an audition for “Female and Male Face Characters”. I was kind of surprised how easy it was to find out about the auditions and how many they had every month. I remember looking up how to prepare for for the audition, like the dance they made you do, or what types of clothes or make-up to wear. I found a lot of different information online so in the end I kind of just winged it.
For my first audition, I wore a navy-blue sundress, curled my hair, and did my make-up normally. I figured if they needed to see me without make up on I could just take it off and I wanted to make a good first impression. I decided to wear a sundress because from my research, I found that the dance they required you to do was just twirling, and a dress seemed the most comfortable. When I got to the audition I noticed a lot of people in dance clothes, sweatpants, no-make up, or people that were dressed as Disney characters. Personally I do not believe these are the best decisions when auditioning for Disney, especially dressing up as a Disney character (really, don’t do that.)
I arrived to the audition about an hour before which I thought was really early, but to my surprise there was already a good amount of people there. I’ve found that as long as you get there about 30-minutes before the audition, you’ll be good. You do not need to camp out to be the first person to audition, it really doesn’t matter. When I arrived and checked in, they gave me a number to put on my shirt, and I believe my number was in the 200s. They then called our numbers in groups of fifty and lined us up in five rows of ten in a separate room. Before we went into the room they made everyone turn off their phones. They then went through a speech to tell us that they were looking for specific qualities of specific characters, and if we were not called to stay, it did not mean that we were not good-looking enough. They then played some upbeat pop music, and looked at each person in each row. After about ten-minutes they called about two numbers from the entire group of fifty, thanked the rest of the group and told them they could leave. For my first audition I did not make it past this round. I was a little discouraged and kind of thought it wasn’t ever going to happen for me.
I decided that I would try to audition one last time. I didn’t really expect to make it through, so I brought my boyfriend to wait with me and told him it would probably only be ten-minutes. I did everything the same that I did for the first audition, I even wore the same outfit. This audition was a little bigger, I believe there was about 400 people there. During the first round after they played the song and looked at everyone, they called my number! We were then moved into a waiting room while we waited for all the other people that were picked to come join us. I believe there were about 10 or so people out of the 400 that were called to stay.
For the second round, they taught us a simple dance that did not require much skill. I am probably the worst dancer on the planet and I was able to learn it easily. They really don’t care if you can dance, they just want to see how you move. They then had us animate different scenes without using any words as a group. I think my scene was a day at the beach. This was kind of awkward and did feel silly, but I just tried to be as animated as possible. After this round no one was told to leave. They then had us fill out basic application information like previous employment, when we would be able to start, if we had any visible tattoos, etc.
For the third round, they gave us each a card that had a picture of the character that they wanted us to “be friends with.” I got Tinker Bell, which I never thought of me portraying because Rapunzel had always been my dream. This is when I learned that “fairy and Alice” height, which is 4’8″-5’2″ and “princess height”, which is 5’3″- 5’8″, and me being 5’2″ put me in the fairy category. You never know who they might cast you for. They really are experts at looking at people and figuring what character they look like, it may be someone you would never think of. They then brought us into costuming and had us get into our characters costumes. We went into the cosmetology room where they had someone put our wigs and make-up on. This was my favorite part of the process because it made me feel like a movie star. After you are totally transformed into your character, they give you lines that you are going to say as your character. After practicing them for a few minutes, I went back in front of the people that previously judged me. They had me say my lines as my character a few times while they videotaped me. Afterwards, they said that they would be in-touch to let me know if I was approved as the character or not. The total audition ended up taking four hours, so I felt really bad for my boyfriend that had to wait for me the whole time.
It took casting about two-months to call me back and tell me that I had been approved for the part, and it was the most nerve racking two months of my life. If you’re ever waiting for a call from casting, don’t worry because they definitely will call you to tell you if you got the role or not. Once they let you know you’re approved, you still have to wait until there is job opening available. This took about another two months and I actually called them and told them I was ready to work whenever they needed me. I think this got the ball rolling because the next day I had a phone interview and was scheduling my orientation.
If you’re someone who REALLY wants to be a Disney face character and audition, I hope this article gave some insight in what to expect. If you audition and don’t get through I would encourage you to try again. However, there comes a point (maybe your 4th or 5th audition) when you need to come to a realization that maybe you just don’t look like any of the face characters. With that being said I do know of someone who auditioned ten times before they were approved, so maybe that can be hope for some people. I’ll be writing another article about what it was like working at Disney, so if you’re interested, stay tuned!