When you think of a standard 9 - 5 job, you usually think of something...normal; desk jobs, retail, restaurant work, etc. Most people punch in the clock and don't think twice - it doesn't usually matter what the job entails, as long as it pays the bills and doesn't suck. It's all most people can ask for, right?
Some people are lucky enough to turn their childhood passions into their jobs. Many of those individuals go on to be video game developers, makeup artists, or musicians. These lucky contributing members of society get to wake up every day and do what they love for a living, and as the saying goes, that means they never work a day in their life, right? Right.
Then there are those that get to live the dream of little girls everywhere. These beyond lucky women wake up every morning and drive to the fantasy job that every little girl had at one point growing up. They get to don the familiar dresses that have been etched into our brains and become the people that we've loved our entire lives.
That's right - being a Disney princess is an actual job, and these women do this every day for a living. As in, they get paid to dress up like Cinderella, Mulan, Jasmine, and others and act in the same mannerisms as the lovely leading ladies onscreen. It's crazy to think that one of the pivotal moments of many young girls' lives, meeting Disney princesses at Disneyland or Disney World, is someone's day job - the same kind of day job that has stresses, complaints, and annoyances like all others.
Crazy, right? And even though we've thought about it, maybe we haven't like, thought thought about it. So here's a list of things you didn't know about what it takes to be a Disney princess.
Disneyland prides itself in making magic happen. It's the happiest place on Earth, right? The same goes for Disney World and all the other parks across the globe. So part of that magic means that they have to hire people that portray their characters perfectly to keep that dream alive. While this usually refers to being the right height, build, and having similar facial features, the requirements are a bit more strict than just "look the part". Most of the costumes only go up to a size 10, and most princesses aren't allowed to be taller than 5'7" (with some cases like Tinkerbell and Alice having much, much shorter requirements). Bonus points if you can look like more than one Disney princess - some young women end up playing two or even three characters by the end of their magical career!
According to several previous cast members (as Disney employees are called) during interviews and Reddit AMAs, Disney princess auditions can be a bit scary. They'll gather a lot of young women, usually around the age of 18, who have expressed interest in the position. They'll line them up in one room, and hiring managers (sorry...hiring cast members?) will walk down the line and look at each young woman very closely. They'll be looking at their faces to see if they can envision them in any of the parts or if they look similar enough to the other princesses they have at the park. They'll ask some to leave (brutal), and the rest that stay will be invited to the next step of the interview process (or, should we say, audition process). The tension in that room must have been absolutely insane!
If you survive the lineup, you'll then be asked to do just about everything that a Disney princess would do. Not just in the movie she's from, but things that might come up as part of the job. So for Snow White, she will be asked to dance and then might have to move her hands in certain ways or pretend to call birds to her side, but she's also going to be asked to do really random things, like bake a zillion cakes a la I Love Lucy or play a musical instrument. This is so they can gauge your acting skills, as a Disney princess is legitimately playing a part! The more Disney princesses you can play, the better your chances of getting the part, meaning that you'll probably be asked to do a lot of things if you look like you can pass for a lot of princesses.
If you survive the interview process and you land the role(s), congrats! Do a happy dance because you literally have the dream job of many little girls everywhere. But now here comes the hard part - studying! It's not enough to just watch the Disney movies and fall in love with the quirky characters...oh no, there's so much more than just knowing your Disney movies. New princess recruits have to watch the movies of the parts they're playing for five days to learn mannerisms and lines. They'll be tested on their speaking voice, singing voice, any memorable lines they'll need to know word for word and inflection for inflection, dance moves, relationships with other characters in the movie...literally everything that the new cast member would have to know about the role they're playing. It sounds like a lot, but it's required to be the princesses!
So now that you've been hired on as the newest royal recruit, you've studied up and learned all the important mannerisms that you'll need to know to play your part(s). Awesome! Now you'll have to look the part more than ever, which means hair and makeup. You'll be joining the ranks of several other cast members playing your exact same part, so you'll have to sync your makeup to look exactly alike. That means training to apply the correct amount of blush, the right color eye shadow, and the proper eyeliner style. And this is a very exact science - one past cast member has a lifetime supply of a specific color of red lipstick after her days in the magic kingdom. And the hair? Wigs! Each wig is washed and styled each day so the hair looks as clean and true to form as possible.
Kids just say the darndest things! And they ask a lot of questions - especially when they're meeting their idols for the first time. They might ask Rapunzel where Pascal is, or they might want to know if Cinderella is wearing her glass slippers at the moment. Not only do the people posing as princesses need to have an answer at the ready, they need to answer in a way that is specific to the character that they are playing. So while Mulan might be a little more discombobulated when it comes to her responses (as exemplified in her movie), Belle might keep her cool and keep it together. Pocahontas might seem really curious about some of the devices people are using to take photos of her, while Merida might get a little fired up if you even think about asking for her phone number.
A newly anointed princess must be a crowd pleaser, because she's going to be seeing a lot of people during her hourly meet and greets - 172 of them each hour, to be exact. The other cast members keep a clicker and a timer to ensure that the devoted fans move along in a timely fashion after getting a photo and an autograph and maybe even a cute interaction if they're lucky. So if you're an extrovert who has met all the above criteria, this might not be such a bad gig for you! But if you lean towards the introverted side, you might want to think about if you can speak to almost 200 people each and every hour for your day job. And that's not an option - if you don't move the line along and speak to the minimum amount of people, you'll get written up. Four warnings, and your royal rump will be kicked to the curb.
Again, Disneyland is the happiest place on Earth. You're smiling, kids are smiling, cast members are smiling, we're smiling, everyone's smiling - especially the Disney princesses. That means a few things; one, their teeth have to be pearly white, so that could mean getting those whitening strips out and using them often, not drinking things like coffee, soda, or tea, or some combination of the two (or more). After all, Belle, Aurora, and the rest didn't have yellow teeth or plaque! But more importantly than that, smiling all day usually means pain. Like weird pain. Remember the end of Toy Story 2 where the Barbie Doll was so excited for people to be gone after the credits because she could "go unscrew her smile"? That's the exact feeling Disney princesses have at the end of the day. Their face hurts so bad for the first few weeks, but after a while their face muscles build a tolerance and it doesn't hurt as much anymore (but still, yowch!).
As a visitor of Disneyland, you tend to know a lot, if not all, of the characters that cross your path. Alice, Tiana, and Cinderella are all classic characters from classic movies, and you love them in their own special way because they've become a part of you. But Tiana's universe is very different than Cinderella's universe, and they truthfully have no way of knowing about each other's existence. They also wouldn't know a thing about cell phones, Instagram, or memes. So if you approach a Disney princess and ask if she can dab with you, she should naturally react confused and offer an answer that basically says "I don't understand" in a way that best conveys her personality. It might seem silly, but knowing the boundaries and limitations that each princess has makes the character all that more believable, adding to the magic of the parks.
The Disney princesses are beautiful, no doubt about it. They've been chosen based on their looks and acting abilities, and they're acting the part of beautifully drawn characters. So perhaps it should come as no surprise that the princesses get hit on a lot by park guests. “I was hit on as Pocahontas more than Mulan or Silvermist, and it definitely has to do with the amount of clothing she’s wearing,” a former Disney princess told Mashable. “I’ve never been touched inappropriately, but there’s always the family that makes the grandpa or the dad get a picture alone and they’d whisper how pretty I was or ask when I got off of work. I’d get slipped the occasional phone number on a napkin, but nothing ridiculous has ever happened.” Luckily most of them can answer in perplexed mannerisms and question what a phone number is, but still - not cool that they have to deal with that!
Come rain or sun, sleet or hail, the Disney princesses will prevail. Or something. Well, maybe not just the princess, but the princess costume - whatever you're supposed to wear is what you're going to wear, and there are no exceptions to that rule. “I had to stand in a doorway welcoming guests into a restaurant at Epcot in a sleeveless formal dress that was supposed to have a coat that came with it,” a former Belle told Cosmo about a chilly work day in Orlando. “I was freezing and my eyes were watering, but the location managers wouldn’t let me go get my coat. When I went on my break to go pull the coat from the costume department, it was gone. I guess they’d hidden it. I started bawling. I had to take pictures with kids in the freezing cold, crying. Later, I was talking to the photographers, and they told me that that restaurant sold the photos of Belle and the guests for, like, $35 — and when Belle was wearing the coat, they sell 30 percent less pictures.” So sad!
There's a stereotype that pretty people are rude, and the Disney princesses were no exception to the rule. One former Disney princess told Mashable: “When I worked there, I would go to the cafeteria & people would stare at me and not talk to me. Those people then would tell their friends I didn’t say hi to them & that I wasn’t friendly, but those people didn’t make an effort to talk to me either. That’s how I think the whole “all of the princesses are bitches” thing gets around.” What a shame that a little bit of miscommunication leads to these kinds of hurt feelings and misconceptions! It's too bad that people can't just be friends with each other, as some of the princesses are known for being some of the friendliest people around. Oh well, maybe they're just jealous?
When you have a long, hard day at work, it's sometimes nice to call a friend, grab some drinks, and talk about the day. It's therapeutic, and talking out our stresses make us feel better, if even for a moment. Unfortunately for all the Disney princesses, they don't have that kind of luxury, as they aren't allowed to talk about their day to people on the outside. What happens in Disneyland, stays in Disneyland, right? According to Disney Fanatic, “While working for the Disney parks, you are not allowed to discuss what character you are portraying. You can’t post about it on social media and you can’t even tell people which character you are. Disney is very strict about that. Very. Princesses also cannot reference anything outside the Disney realm. Ariel cannot say she is friends with SpongeBob, for example." Shame, what a missed opportunity!
It seems like it'd be a natural thing to expect that the Disney princesses would pair up with their Disney prince counterparts. And while they pretty much have to make nice for the camera and pair off for certain events, there's no way that continues on behind screens - if anything it's the princes that are finding their happily ever after...with each other! One Belle told Cosmo, “We weren’t finding romance at work, because most of the guys were gay. I don’t remember any specific gay romances, but I’m sure there were. Prince Charming might have been hooking up with Prince Eric.” This makes some sense - if you put a bunch of dreamy men in the same room and they see they have similar tastes, habits, and hobbies...well, it's a match made in Disneyland, so why not pursue it?
There's a lot of hard work that goes into being a Disney princess. The hair, the makeup, the lines, the smiling, the walking...that's a lot for someone who's barely making above minimum wage! But there's at least a sweet, endearing silver lining that shines through in all of this, and that's making some of the most precious moments with children from around the world. Some of these kids clam up and don't know what to say, and the conversations may be completely one-sided, but you are the heroes and idols of children everywhere, and for them to meet someone they see onscreen sometimes once or even twice a day is practically the highlight of their young lives. You as a Disney princess suffer through a lot, and it won't be a long-term, permanent job, but those memories are the memories that will carry you through the hard days as you touch the lives of small, impressionable, and sweet children.