How to get a character gig at Disney parks?

What does it take to be a character actor at the Disney parks? Credentials, time served, a good audition? Inquiring minds must know...

From Scott Seal
Posted October 6, 2005 at 4:24 PM
I recently returned from my second Disney vacation in as many years (last summer I went to Disney World, this summer I traveled all the way across-country from VA for the 50th Anniversary at Disneyland), and was, of course, blown away by the experiences. Going back to my day-to-day job has been a total drag, especially as an aspiring family entertainment producer. So, since I had already planned on moving out to Cali anyway to push my stories and what not, I've been toying with the idea of trying to get on at Disneyland as a performer.

Since people in these forums seem to know EVERYTHING, I figured I'd ask you guys for info on the jobs. What does it take to get hired on? How hard is it to get the good stuff, like being Aladdin, or Mickey, or Prince Charming in the Snow White play, etc? Aside from fitting the casting types, of course. Are there open auditions, do you have to be a CM forever and a day, do you have to have acting creds? What's the pay like?

Any information would help out.

Oh yeah, and, just out of curiosity, how does a girl get to be Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty or whatever? The dude's jobs are probably a little less in demand, but to be one of the Princesses...that's got to require something more than being goos looking and personable.

It would be most appreciated...

From Anthony Murphy
Posted October 6, 2005 at 8:16 PM
Though I do not know exactly what the whole thing is, but a Cast Member told be in line for an attraction (he was off duty)and he said there is a really competitive audition, even for the costumes with the heads covered. It is even harder for ones that have to talk and interact with the guests. Also, most of the classic Disney Characters (Mickey especailly) are played by women!

From rick stevens
Posted October 6, 2005 at 11:23 PM
I don't have intimate knowledge of the process. I did meet someone that tried out for Snow White. She said that the first step was to just look the part. If you did not look like you were the character, you did not get a call back. I don't know about the characters that are fully covered, but I could imagine that the majority of them are women because of there size. Goofy and the taller characters might be opportunities for males.

From Adriel Tjokrosaputro
Posted October 7, 2005 at 2:47 AM
Well, first Disney held an audition. Usually the audition has more than 1,000 participants. Then Disney took the participants that they think are the best from all of them. Then they will be rehearsed for 9 weeks and all they can do is training, training and training. It takes so much time to get there, but after that we can call it as a great show.

From Scott Seal
Posted October 7, 2005 at 4:18 AM
So you just have to audition then? I'm there.

From Adriel Tjokrosaputro
Posted October 7, 2005 at 4:40 AM
No, I am 13 years old! There's no way I am in the audition. I saw the process at Disney Channel On Assignment. The producer and the director for Festival Of The Lion King said that.

From Robert Niles
Posted October 7, 2005 at 3:28 PM
First, you should probably go to the casting center and ask when the next round of auditions will be held. They can provide you the information you need.

If you can't get a character gig right away, go for a job in Attractions. Character supervisors have been known to walk the park looking for cast members in other departments who "look the part," whom they then encourage to try out. A co-worker of mine got into the try-outs for Cinderella this way (and was picked!), and I was, um, encouraged to try out for (I can't believe I'm fessing up to this) Prince Charming. Going for that gig would have required going full time, though, and I wasn't about to drop out of Northwestern to do that, so I passed.

Be in good physical shape (this is demanding work), smile a lot and exude honest friendliness. That's the best way to get a good gig with Disney.

From Noel G
Posted October 8, 2005 at 5:28 AM
Like Robert has said, speaking on when I used to work for WB here in Australia, need to fit the character, suited character need to be fit, be able to withstand a moderate amount of heat being inside of costume and this may seem corny but need to be animated with your personality very outgoing and have a loud personality / body language. As personal space and space awareness becomes a major part of this process.

Cheers Noel

From Scott Seal
Posted October 8, 2005 at 6:55 AM
Alright, all that's no problem. It sounds great...I was just afraid there'd be all this red tape and what not, seeing as how, from what I could gather at the parks, being a CM is really a labor of love. I figured there might be some sort of seniority program in place, as there seemed to be with a few people I asked while at Disneyland.

I'll check that career center out man, thanks.

From Dan Babbitt
Posted October 8, 2005 at 8:19 AM
My brother has the pleasure of being "special Friends" with a couple of characters at Disney World. Hes been Pluto, Eyore, Deedle Dee and Deedle Dum and many others. He said what you do is you first dress down to your unmetionables and stand on this wall. This wall has all the characters heights and all the specific reguirements for each character. Then manegers from around the parks and look at the participants auditioning if they need a specific character they will go over to that character and select who they need. After you do through that you then need to go to a huge auditorium where given a specific task like you are driving on the road and tire blew what do you do? And you mime out the motions in fornt of hundreds of people mind you. Then from their you go through physical training where you where a costume and walk around outside in a circle for a couple of hours and then you go inside and want to see how you can grasp a certain character. My brother was Friar Tuck and he just knelt in the corner and occasionnally did the sign of the cross to everyone that wanted to be around him. Then after you get accepted you learn the "Disney ABC's" and then from their on after you can be any character in his height range like hes been Doug, Parade Mickey Mouse, Rafiki, one of the fairy Godmothers and the Allegator from Typhoon Lagoon. So hes been around, I hope this was helpful and Im sure he didnt tell me all the steps but this should helpful for you anyways. Dan

From C. Lavigne
Posted October 8, 2005 at 4:56 PM
There is a Disneyland Resort audition hotline. The number is: 714-781-0111

Also, there's a corporate web site with info on auditions. The site is -
http://corporate.disney.go.com/careers/auditions.html

Hope that helps you out.

From Ella Palardi
Posted October 23, 2005 at 1:36 PM
I just returned from character auditions, and although I thought I nailed it I did not pass the audition. I have done theatre almost all my life and I dance and I have worked with children for the past 6 years. I am usually hard on myself but this time I really can't figure out what I did wrong. Anyway, my question is would it help or hurt me to take another job in the park until I can audition again? My heart is set on being a character. I know I would be great at it. In fact I was walking through the park last week and some little boy told me I look like Cinderella. I was offered a job in attractions but I am afraid if I take it they will not want to transfer me to the character department. So any ideas? Would working there help or hurt my ultimate quest to be a character? Thank you!

From Mar Schlage
Posted October 26, 2005 at 3:11 PM
Well, my cousin is Alice at Disneyworld Toyko and she was stationed at Disneyworld for a while being Snow White or Cinderella. From what I've heard, you just have to be a really good dancer! But I haven't talked to her in a while, but she is the star of the show in Toyko! And my I add that her husband is the Mad-Hatter in the same show! Fasinating stories... I have 1 or so pictures of her... she is beauiful... So I'm positive you just need to be a really good dancer. She said it was her dream job.

From Ella Palardi
Posted October 26, 2005 at 5:07 PM
Thank you for your response. I am a dancer though and I found the routine they taught us very easy. In fact they didn't even call it dancing. I guess I'll just keep trying. I just wondered if it would help or hurt me to take another job in a different dept. in the meantime.

From Goofy Guy
Posted November 8, 2005 at 10:04 PM
I just auditioned for a character part for my second college program at WDW. The audition was pretty easy and if you are lookin for more info on it the best place would be on the collge program website. I would download and watch the video they have on the audition process since I believe its the same audition for everyone and not just college program people.
http://www.wdwcollegeprogram.com/sap/its/mimes/zh_wdwcp/students/role_descr/entertainment.html

From L Crum
Posted November 19, 2005 at 4:41 PM
Universal pays more for characters and its an easy audition, but if your heart is set on Disney...go to regular character auditions first. It's really tough to get a Disney princess position!

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