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5 Ways To Become A Disney Character Without Using Magic

Why just dream of living a Disney fantasy when you could make it your job?

Do you have what it takes to be a Disney character? (Photo: Theme Park Tourist/CC BY 2.0)

Welcome back to AO Jobs, the weekly column where we spotlight jobs and career opportunities that you can apply for right now, to bring some wonder and adventure into your working life. See any listings? Get in touch!

For anyone who grew up admiring Disney characters, wishing upon a star that they could live like a princess, or be a singing animal, why just dream about being one when you could go out and try to make it a career? 

Disney parks and cruises all around the globe are constantly looking for performers to inhabit the costumed characters at their parks. If you’re looking for a job change, maybe you’ve got what it takes to step into the glass slippers of a Disney icon. Just know that it’s not all zip-a-dee-doo-dah at the Magic Kingdom.

The types of characters that Disney looks for include the cartoonier figures like Mickey Mouse or Baloo the Bear which require full body suits and heads, as well as the more human “face” characters like Cinderella, Ariel, or Gaston, which need the performers to fit a specific look. The decision of which character a hired performer gets to portray is often determined by their height, since many of the costumes need specific body sizes. (The Seven Dwarves, for example, need to be much shorter than Captain Hook.) No matter what character a performer gets, the job is to bring it to life as accurately as possible, meeting with park visitors and cruise guests and using movement to communicate the character’s personality.

Working as a Disney character comes with all the stringent rules and regulations one might expect from a multinational corporation with rigid branding guidelines. According to multiple testimonials that have popped up online over the years, working as a Disney character involves navigating a number of strict rules of conduct to protect the integrity of their characters. The rulebook says you cannot break character while out in costume, and there are even policies about not allowing certain characters to be seen together, keeping Disney’s universes from getting confused.

The rules and restrictions might seem like they’d strip the job of its magic, but for the right person, bringing Disney cartoons to life can be the perfect fantasy job. The Disney Auditions website lists dozens of available auditions for characters in all their parks around the world, and on their cruise ships. Here are five upcoming auditions that could land you in the role of your favorite Disney character.

1. Job: Disney Character Look-alikes
Where: Disney World

Being a Disney character involves a lot of waving. (Photo: Jennie Park mydisneyadventures/CC BY 2.0)

Disney World is holding auditions for face characters including Aladdin, Elsa, Rapunzel, and Ariel. If you’re often compared to the Little Mermaid (and are between 5’4” and 5’7”) or a diamond in the rough (and are between 5’10” and 6’) this might be the opportunity for you. As performance positions, all the jobs require outgoing personalities, but really, the height is pretty important.

2. Job: Female Disney Character Look-alikes (who can Act)
Where: Hong Kong Disneyland

There are a lot of princesses shoes that need filling. (Photo: Jennie Park mydisneyadventures/CC BY 2.0)

Some character jobs require more acting chops than others, especially if it’s for a face character that is going to need to perform without a mask on. Disneyland in Hong Kong is looking for female performers to play its various princesses and heroines. Among the characters they are looking for are figures from Beauty and The Beast and Sleeping Beauty, among others. In addition to having a resemblance to the character and some movement exercises, this audition also requires short line readings—oh and also that you be between 4’11” and 5’7”. 

3. Job: Male Vocalists for “The Dapper Dans”
Where: Disney World

Just look at these smart-dressed young men. (Photo: HarshLight/CC BY 2.0)

Not all of the characters that perform at Disney parks are based on cartoon characters. For instance, the roving barbershop singers, The Dapper Dans, are a quartet of crooners that have been a performance fixture at Disney parks since 1959. If you’re more of a singer than an actor (and you are a male in your 20s to 30s), you could audition to wear the bright stripes of one of the Dans.

4. Job: Female Character Look-alikes to portray Elena of Avalor
Where: Disney World

Elena is so new she hasn’t started showing up in the parks just yet. (Photo: iO Trendz/YouTube)

Want to help establish an almost brand-new Disney character? The role of Disney’s new Latina princess, Elena, is up for grabs. She is described as “a bold, caring, funny and clever 16-year-old who is ascendant to the throne in the fairytale kingdom of Avalor.” This live-character position lets you literally be the new face of a Disney Princess, since she’s never been portrayed live before. She is also a mezzo-soprano, so being able to sing is a plus.

5. Job: Disney Character, Parade, and Character Look-alike Performers
Where: Disneyland Paris

Being of a certain height is one of the bare necessities of portraying Baloo. (Photo: Theme Park Tourist/CC BY 2.0)

If you’re not sure exactly which type of character you’d like to be, come to a broad casting call like this one in Dublin, Ireland (for Disneyland Paris) which accepts all heights, genders, and performance ranges. Maybe you’ll end up as Winnie the Pooh or Princess Tiana. If you get cast, Disney will decide for you.

There is a wide world of jobs for performers in the Disney parks, and if you’re an outgoing Disney fanatic, maybe you can turn your passion into a career.