For some, the biggest attraction at Disney theme parks is meeting the real-life princesses.
Known as “face characters,” the princesses not only have to look the part, but they need to know quotes from their movies, stay in character at all times, and know how to sing and dance.
Reddit user doublenn held an AMA a year ago about her time as Snow White at Disneyland — she even posted a picture to prove it — and broke down what it’s really like to work at the park as a princess.
NOTE: Answers have been edited for grammar and punctuation. While the woman’s identity was verified by Reddit moderators, it can’t be verified by Business Insider.
Audition process is LONG. The first is a 'type out' where they look to see if you have similar features, second is usually a dance, then a 'read' to have you act as the character, and an interview.
Tink has a specified height requirement, as do all the other princesses. Princesses are usually 5'4''-5'7'', Fairies and Alice or Wendy are all 4'11''-5'2''.
Most girls are between 18 and 23, and a few of the girls who have been there a while are 25-27. Rarely is a girl over 27 who does princesses or fairies.
Training takes five days -- mostly they just want you to study the film intensely. I can quote the movie from start to finish from memory.
Putting the entire thing together took about an hour. Putting the dress itself on took 5-10 minutes.
Our make-up was made to match the colours in the films which was neat, I still have tons of red lipstick. We started with make-up, then wig, then costuming. Pretty standard. All day long you have to make adjustments and do touch ups, especially after lunch.
When I first started I was at $13.50 and the top out was $16. Though I think it might be different now.
Disney does not do large raises, only about 15 cents a year. It's a good part time job for sure because of the pay, but when you are still making the same thing at year three it doesn't exactly motivate you to work harder.
I've done improv for most of my life so I always had an answer for something.
Though one time a little girl gave me a hug then got super embarrassed and asked, 'Are those your boobs?' To that I kind of laughed and re-focused her attention on the picture we were taking.
For several weeks, a very old man would come to the park on Saturdays and see me. He would always bring me pictures of his Snow White memorabilia and try to kiss me. He quickly realised that at the time I was the only girl with brown eyes and that must mean that I was the true Snow White.
So one day I had Saturday off and he met Snow White, but she happened to have blue eyes. Well, the next time I showed up for work he was pissed. He told me that he was going to kill all the girls with blue eyes and that when he died we'd be together. I totally freaked out and had to report him to security. He had his annual pass revoked.
I was really young at the time so management had to get involved. The whole thing was a mess.
An adorable little girl named Jane with three months to live came to visit for Make A Wish. I got to ride two rides with her, and while we were on the Storybook boats she looked at me as sincere as a little girl can and said, 'Snow White, this has been my mum's best day ever.'
Her mother was in tears the whole time.
There's lots of rules. It's why people get so frustrated working there -- you're always worried about getting in trouble.
Social media is a big problem there, we weren't allowed to post or talk about the things we did as a character, or even to tell people what character we were. If I was still employed with them an AMA would be a no-no.
When we were performing in the park there were lots of rules about how we were to carry ourselves, not sitting, always smiling, always doing the voice, etc. We also weren't supposed to refer to things outside the Disney realm. Snow White does not know Thomas the Tank Engine.
It's kind of like being in high school. Most of the princesses were viewed like 'Mean Girls.' It creates a bit of a stigma which I fought loads of times. In fact I met two of my best friends while working there.
Being a princess is a lot like being in a sorority: We still get together and see each other. They are by far the most beautiful friends I have.
45 minutes on, 15 minute breaks, and our shifts were 8.5 since half hour of lunch was taken out.
When the weather reached 90, 95, or 100 they would adjust our sets and let us take some time off so we could recoup.
It's a lot deeper than Snow White. I definitely strained a bit, but I was trained well.
Because of the repetition over time though I developed inoperable vocal nodes.
Finding a solution to guest problems is a number one priority. I couldn't flat out refuse autographs or pictures or answering questions.
Some days are not fun (Christmas, Mid-Summer, etc.). But you learn to take a deep breath and deal with it. It took three years before I really started to get over it and I wanted to get out.
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