What It's Like To Work As A Disney Princess

Working as a Disney princess for a Disney theme park can sound like a job straight out of a fairytale. You would probably assume that the job entails dressing up as the Disney princess you've always associated yourself with since you were a child, getting to hang out in the super fun Disney parks every day, meeting lots of people all over the world, and generally feeling like the coolest person out there when kids fawn all over you. And, in general, this is sort of what happens when your job title is, say, Cinderella or Snow White. But there's a lot more to the position than you would think. 

While Disney doesn't officially comment on their princess character's jobs, as they like to "keep the magic" alive, sometimes employees open up about their experiences online, and it's always interesting. Take a look at what some workers have revealed about what it's really like to play a Disney princess.

The audition process is tough

Normally, auditioning for a role means you plan exactly how to act and what to say around a specific character. But when you're auditioning to be a Disney princess, you are actually auditioning for any character, not the one of your choice — if you're chosen, you can be picked to play anyone, from a princess to a masked character. A former Disney princess explained in a Reddit AMA, "You do not have any say in what character they fit you in." 

The process overall can be pretty brutal as well. Brianna Smith, who played Rapunzel at Disney World, spoke about her experience to Insider, saying she successfully auditioned to be a character after she got accepted into the Disney College Program. The woman, who did not go by her real name for the article, explained that in the actual audition, "There were about 500 of us, and they divide you into rooms of 50. Then they line you up in rows of 10 and study your features. It was pretty unnerving. Then, after all of that they said 'we just need Brianna Smith, thank you.' And just like that all 49 other girls were eliminated."

You have to be a specific height to get the job

It's probably not shocking to hear that women have to look a certain way in order to become a Disney princess. But many may not have realized that these women also have to be a specific height. Former Disney princess Brianna Smith told Insider that "one of the most important aspects of being a princess is uniform height." Apparently, you need to be between 5'4" and 5'7" in order to be a princess. If you want to play Tinkerbell, you have to be on the shorter side, between 4'11 and 5'1, which makes sense given the character's tiny size. 

Katie McBroom, who used to play Snow White and Princess Leia, told BuzzFeed that the height requirement is because actors at Disney have to be able to fit into costumes that already exist. Basically, they don't make a costume or uniform specifically for each new actor. So, if you aren't within the correct height requirements, a costume is not going to fit you, and Disney staff won't alter it.

You have to look perfect all the time

Aside from height, your physical appearance is extremely important when you're a Disney princess. Becca (whose name has been changed), a Disney princess, told Refinery29 that Disney has a certain style that they expect their employees to follow. Some of the guidelines of this "Disney look" include that your hair has to be a natural color (no crazy dye jobs) and your nails have to be short and a natural shade (like nude or pink). Becca said that management keeps an eye on their look and can tell them if they need to "fix" something. She added, "You can't help but be judgmental about your looks when it comes to this job — honestly, it's pretty sad. We all constantly compare ourselves and try to copy each other." 

A Disney princess speaking anonymously told Real Simple that they also have to watch how they look when they aren't on the job, saying, "We have to be almost brand ambassadors undercover to promote a positive, healthy lifestyle and look to fit the Disney brand, because the Disney brand is so specific." 

Guests tell you their biggest secrets

Playing a Disney princess means attracting a ton of attention from guests, and sometimes things can get really personal. Apparently people feel like you're the actual character, not a real person, and that can cause them to open up. Brianna Smith told Insider that, when she was playing Rapunzel, one woman told her that she had recently had a miscarriage. Smith said, "She gave me a big hug and told me how excited she was to see me. I mean, she knows I'm not really Rapunzel and yet she felt comfortable telling me this because of an emotional connection to the movie."

Disney princess Becca told Refinery29 that she's had similar experiences, saying you see all sorts of guests throughout your time in the parks. She added that, aside from over-excited kids, "There are also guests that share stories about why they've come to see you and they break down in front of you. That really just makes me feel like what I'm doing is truly something special and keeps me going." 

They do their own makeup each and every day

You might think that being a princess means getting your makeup done each day by professionals, just like many Hollywood actresses, but that's not the case. Instead, princesses are taught how to do their own makeup during training, and then they're expected to do it perfectly by themselves every day. Katie McBroom told BuzzFeed, "Each character is their own prescribed look." They're given stage makeup, but their makeup looks are supposed to appear pretty natural. McBroom described the looks as "generally very clean beauty makeup versus an Instagram face." 

One Disney princess speaking anonymously to Cosmopolitan shared that managers and cosmetic teams are always making sure that actors' makeup is exactly right. She said that the teams check their makeup "and sign off on you before you go out 'on set,' which is what we called the different locations at the parks." 

Gaining weight is frowned upon

For actresses playing princesses at Disney parks, there is a lot of pressure for their makeup, hair, and general appearance to look perfect, and that also extends to weight. The focus on maintaining weight is something that has reportedly made a lot of the princesses feel pressured. An anonymous princess speaking to Cosmopolitan said that many of the girls tried to stay as fit as possible by doing cleanses, going to the gym after work, or even exercising during breaks. She added, "The refrigerator in our break room was literally Lean Cuisines and those sugar-free Jell-Os with 10 calories."

To Refinery29Disney princess Becca opened up about the weight pressure as well, saying, "I have a gym membership because I feel like I'm supposed to maintain the look I was hired in with." Susan Banks (not her real name), who plays Tinkerbell, told BuzzFeed that they are reevaluated in costume once a month. She explained that, while gaining weight wouldn't get you fired, it could get you reassigned to a character who doesn't wear revealing clothing like Mary Poppins.

You have to go to "princess school" for training

Once you're hired as a Disney princess, there's a lot of training, not unlike most other jobs. But this training is often referred to as "princess school," according to what Emily Cook Harris, a former Disney princess, told Reader's Digest. It's where actors go to learn everything about the character they'll be playing: their background, their official signature, their accent, their favorite phrases, and more. 

Brianna Smith told Insider that you have to know your assigned character "inside and out," and that she used to rewatch the movies all the time to get a better idea of who they were. She explained, "I had a whole day of character training. My instructor was a former Fairy Godmother," adding, "I watched scenes over and over again, and she'd quiz me and ask me to mimic the character." Princess school is also where they learn how to apply their makeup.

There are a lot of great perks

Disney princesses reportedly don't get paid very well (one Redditor said the salary was "not much more than minimum wage"), but they do get some other benefits. An anonymous princess who played Belle told Cosmopolitan they get "40 percent off at Disney stores, 50 percent off the cruises, 40 percent off food in all the parks and free passes for your friends and family," adding, "A lot of people stay for the perks." 

But it's not just about the money — she said she also loved getting to see the joy on kids' faces when they saw her, she made a lot of very good friends while working there, and she got to feel like "a literal princess." And in a Reddit AMA, one former princess said, "The best benefit was just getting to be at Disneyland all the time, and be able to call it my job!" She also added that she loved that she was able to meet so many people.

There are some weird rules they have to follow

There might be a lot of great perks that come with working for the Disney family, but there are some strange rules as well. An anonymous princess who played Belle told Cosmopolitan that princesses have to smile for "an hour straight" and can't drop that smile "until you go on break and are behind closed doors." She added, "The first few weeks, my face literally hurt." 

She also said that her time spent really interacting with the guests was limited because they were told they have to greet 172 guests every hour, saying, "Disney decided that was the magic number." She explained that there was an employee who had a clicker to keep track of the number of people princesses met, and they could get reprimanded if they went under 172 — and four reprimands could get you fired. Disney princess Emily Cook Harris also told Reader's Digest that it's not as easy as it seems, saying, "It required a lot of energy, thinking on your feet, and being present with each guest."

There's a lot of improv involved

For many, another grueling part of being a princess was all of the improv that was involved. Katie McBroom told BuzzFeed, "It was kind of like performing improv, because you never knew what you were gonna get." She explained that a lot of people try to get the princesses to break character by bringing up random things like Nintendo (which characters like Snow White couldn't possibly know about), and so she would just say things like, "Oh, I don't know what you mean." 

An anonymous princess told Real Simple something similar, saying, "If people are talking to you or yelling things, you have to come up with a response right away. It just takes a lot of practice outside so that you're comfortable." She explained that part of being prepared for that is knowing the movies inside and out so that you can know exactly what they're talking about or have the appropriate response. 

Sometimes creepy dads hit on them

The guests who want the princesses to break character are harmless, but not everyone is. The princesses sometimes have to deal with fathers who take flirting a little too far, making the actresses feel uncomfortable. An anonymous princess who played Belle told Cosmopolitan one uncomfortable thing to deal with was "the creepy dads who would whisper in my ear when their kids were taking pictures with me." She added, "They'd say, 'When the Beast goes to bed, I'll be waiting for you in the library.'" She explained that she couldn't break character and would have to think of something to say. She noted that a friend who played Sleeping Beauty's Aurora had a dad stick his hand in the zipper of her skirt to feel her behind.

In a Reddit thread, one former Disney princess said that, while she had never been touched inappropriately, she did experience dads or grandfathers who wanted a picture alone so they can "whisper how pretty I was or ask when I got off work." She added, "I'd get slipped the occasional phone number on a napkin, but nothing ridiculous has ever happened." 

You have to train as a fur character first

While being a Disney princess may seem like a great job, not every gig is regarded so highly. One position a lot of employees don't want is the role of a furry character, but every princess has to play them for a bit before moving on to the likes of Snow White and Cinderella. Fur characters are anyone who wears a full face costume and doesn't talk. One former princess told Insider that they can make you play any fur character, saying, "It's basically like a giant game of charades."

An anonymous princess told Cosmopolitan that being the fur character is "exhausting," saying, "The costumes have no ventilation and you sweat out a ton of water in the Florida sun. There are certain heat indexes that allow for shorter 'sets' out in the parks, but some people pass out because it's so hot inside the costumes." Playing a fur character is reportedly a requirement, though — in a Reddit thread, a former princess said you aren't allowed to train as a "face" role (like a princess) unless you complete the fur training.

Do princesses think they're better than everyone else?

Like any other job, Disney employees deal with a certain social hierarchy, and the princesses don't always have the best reputation. Speaking to Insider, one Disney princess insinuated that the princesses are the "queen bees" of the Disney employees. She explained there is an "unwritten social hierarchy" behind the scenes, saying, "There was a weird attitude on both sides, and people would talk about the princesses like 'they're such b****es,' like there was a weird stigma that we think we're better than everyone else." 

Similarly, in a Reddit thread, a former princess said, "When I worked there, I would go to the cafeteria and people would stare at me and not talk to me." She said that would cause rumors that she was the stuck-up, but she insisted the gossip wasn't true. Additionally, an anonymous princess shared with Real Simple that the princesses had a bad reputation for thinking they're "really pretty" and wanting to be "real-life princesses," though she noted that that was never the case.

You sometimes have to change roles last minute

Another way princesses are always kept on their toes is that they can be forced to play other characters at a moment's notice. Harris told Reader's Digest that it's not unheard of for a last-minute schedule change to happen, making a princess take on an entirely new role. She said it happened to her, and she had to go from playing Alice to playing Wendy. She added that it's challenging, saying, "You just have to go for it. Jump in before you feel ready and it will work out better than you think!" 

Similarly, the princesses have to make sure they look and act exactly right so that they can completely mimic the other employees playing the same princess costume in a different area of the park. Employees explained to BuzzFeed that there could be, for example, two Snow Whites wandering around the park, and they both have to look the same, talk the same, and have the same exact signature. 

You have to do a lot of voice training

Employees don't just have to look exactly like the Disney princesses they're playing — they also have to sound like them. That means saying things the princess they are portraying would say and nailing their mannerisms, as well as also changing their voice. An anonymous princess told Real Simple that they go through a ton of voice training with a dialect coach. She explained, "The thing for most of these characters is you're not just learning an accent — you're learning how the person that recorded the voice spoke. You have to learn the cadences of these specific human beings' voices. It's a cool, kind of tricky thing to do." This is part of where watching the movies on repeat comes in.

A Disney employee told BuzzFeed something similar, saying that the character voice is typically higher than the employee's actual voice. She added, "Actually it's so high that some girls will go on vocal rest because it strains their vocal chords — especially when they first start out."