What auditioning to become a Disney Princess is actually like
A little fun, a little dream-crushing
After this past weekend I have officially attended two whole auditions for the Disney Parks, which basically makes me an expert on the topic. For anyone who has ever dreamed of becoming a Disney princess, even with 16 years of ballet experience and four in beauty pageants under my belt, auditioning to be a Disney princess was crazier than anything I could imagine. However, the Disney company somehow makes it so enjoyable that you don’t even realize that they are crushing your dreams right in front of you.At this point in my life, my only goal was to work for Disney.
The whole auditioning process begins on a website called Disney Auditions which lists every audition for “cast members” — basically anyone who works at a Disney park — that the company is having all over the world. You already know it’s going to be an interesting process when specific heights are called out in the announcement, you’re told to prepare to learn some “choreographed movement” (whatever that means), and you are encouraged to wear form-fitting clothing to “show your silhouette.”
Arriving at the audition
So, you fit into the height range requirements (5’2-5’7 for ladies and 5’8-6’2 for gents), you’ve got your leggings on, and you have your freshly printed headshot and resume in hand — it’s time to go to the audition. No matter how early you arrive, it will never be early enough. Cars are lined up two blocks back to turn into the elusive “Cast Member Parking Structure” at least an hour before the call-time for check-in.
Once you park your car on the highest level, you make your way outside where hundreds of hopefuls are lined up outside of the offices. Even though the audition doesn’t start for at least 45 minutes — and that’s if you’re at the front of the line — people are on the ground stretching, presumably preparing for that “choreographed movement”.
Waiting in line
This is probably the most interesting part of the entire audition. It’s in this massive, snaking line where you’ll meet the strangest range of human beings gathered in one place. You probably consider yourself a hardcore Disney fan, and that’s why you’re here in the first place. However, once you start hearing people casually throwing around the most obscure Disney Parks trivia, you’ll know you’re in over your head. Sorry that I don’t know the minute-by-minute breakdown of some show that’s been closed since I was in kindergarten. No, I also didn’t know that cast members used to have to wear communal underwear.
Also, it’s highly likely that you will get hungry in this line or have to pee. You can’t leave to get food or find a restroom, so this is really the part you have to be the most prepared for. Some girl in line at my most recent audition said, “You ever get to that point where you’re just ready for a churro?” and everyone got so mad because they were hungry AF. Bring snacks.
Eventually you’ll somehow find yourself becoming ‘friends’ with the people in front of and behind you, all of whom likely have attended more than three of these things in the past six months. Most of them, you’ll hear, have never even made it past the first cut.
It’s when the first person in line admits to this fact that the frenzy begins. Everyone starts wondering about what even happens in that room past the dreaded first cut.
The first cutThey stared at me and I smiled back and then they sent me home.
The first thing the audition directors make you do for the actual audition really depends on what the audition is for. I’ve been to one parade audition and one live show audition and each time the first round was different.
For my parade audition, I was so fortunate as to be able to learn some of that “choreographed movement” we’ve heard so much about. It involved a lot of animated marching and waving to an imaginary audience. I whipped out my old competition dance faces, sold that movement as if my life depended on it and ended up being one of ten kept for the next phase of the audition out of the 100 girls brought in with my group.
For the live show audition, it was 100% less skills based. They lined us up in ten rows of ten and examined our smiling faces one at a time. From that first look-over alone they cut 80% of us, me included, so after about two hours of waiting around and two minutes of actually “auditioning” I was sent home.
The elusive subsequent roundsThey took this awkward headshot of everyone with a blatant disregard for our preferred angles.
As I said earlier, I was lucky enough to be kept past the first round at my parade audition. Most people never get to make it that far, and yet they still come back time after time for their shot to be a Disney character.
Being kept was a huge ordeal. There was digital paperwork to fill out, heights to be measured, pictures to be taken and more dances to be learned. While it was possible to be cut along the way, I was chosen to stay for the whole thing, which ended up lasting around eight hours.
The biggest factor in Disney auditions is personality. Keeping up a Disney-level smile all day should have been rough, especially when there were around ten panelists scrutinizing your every move. Even when we were just waiting around, ladies were circulating the dance studio watching us interact with each other. You have to be consistently ‘on.’ Surprisingly, keeping it up was a manageable task.
Everyone at Disney Parks auditions is so passionate about Disney. There are songs from the movies playing all day long, people are sharing their favorite Disney memories, and you get to learn choreography that you’ve seen the characters doing your whole life. I think that’s why people come back three, four, even ten times.
SelectionWatch out, Emma Watson.
Even though I made it all the way to the end of the parade audition, Disney ultimately did not cast me.
Once the formal audition ends, they send everyone home and invite them to either come back in a few hours to receive their results, or they can wait for a phone call. No phone call = no job, and I didn’t want to wait around all week wondering if I got it or not, so I went back to the offices at the designated time.
Well, they weren’t ready for us when we all came back. 60 of us waited around for over an hour to hear their decision — 60 of an initial 500+ hopefuls. We still didn’t even know how many people would cast in the end.
Eventually one of the casting directors came in and read about 30 numbers off a yellow legal pad — mine was not called. Strangely, I was okay with that.
At the end of the audition, the directors always seem to say, “If you didn’t have a terrible time here today, we’d love to have you back,” and the truth is, despite having my dream of being a princess ended right there, the experience was no where near terrible. In fact, I’ll more than likely end up going back a third time.
Still definitely a princess, no matter what they say.
Disney auditions are long. They are definitely prejudiced towards looks. They make you dance around like a complete fool for a third of your day. Still, they’re legitimately fun.
If you’ve ever mildly entertained the idea of being a Disney princess, or any kind of character for that matter, live your truest life and just go to an audition. Walt himself once said, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
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