- Insider spoke with current and former Disney parks performers about their audition experiences.
- A former face character said casting directors look for a “forgettable pretty face” at auditions.
- She said it’s more important for them to hire performers who look like each other.
When it comes to landing a job as a Disney character at the theme parks, some former employees say it’s more about looks and luck than talent.
One former Disneyland performer told Insider the company is looking for “the most forgettable pretty face” when casting its princess roles.
A former performer said Disney hires performers who look like each other in the parks
Melanie auditioned 13 times before landing a role as one of Cinderella’s stepsisters at Disneyland. Her last name has been withheld for privacy reasons — Insider has verified her identity as well as her employment at the Disney parks.
She told Insider that landing a role is more about keeping physical consistency with the performers who’ve already been cast at the parks rather than resembling a cartoon character.
“The standard that you’re trying to attain when you’re trying to get hired as a princess essentially is what is the most forgettable pretty face you can have,” she told Insider.
At her auditions, she said, the first round of cuts was made after the casting directors lined everyone up and examined their faces.
“You can’t prove anything, it’s just what some strangers think your face looks like,” she said. “You can’t earn it really, which is hard. It’s hard to accept.”
Sarah Daniels, who started working as Mickey Mouse when she was 16 and went on to play face characters like Alice and Ariel, told Insider it’s the worst part of the audition process.
“That’s just kind of a frustrating part of Disney,” she said. “And it’s not about being pretty, it’s not about anything other than like: How do you look in the wig? How many girls do they currently have? How many girls do they need?”
Auditionees usually don’t even know which roles they’re gunning for
Open auditions are held several times a year for the Disney parks and cruise lines around the world. But the audition listings on the Disney Careers site don’t usually include specific roles — sometimes they only list a height range.
“That’s why I went to so many because they would say, like, ‘Oh, you could show up and be the perfect Ariel, but today we’re actually only hiring for Tinker Bells,'” Melanie said.
She said that landing a role at the parks really comes down to luck.
“It wasn’t just about how badly I wanted it or how many times I was willing to show up. All of that could have been true and I still could have never gotten the job,” Melanie told Insider.
She added, “I mostly got this job because I was lucky.”
Representatives for Disney did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.