I was 16 years old when I had my first and only (so far) Disney audition. Back then, I was working closely with my theatre director/dance teacher who had previously been in Disney entertainment; she was a big inspiration for me to audition. It has been more than a few years since my audition, but I do remember some key moments, so I’ll try as best as I can to walk you through my experience! I will say, it was a positive and uplifting experience and I would (and am planning on) attend many more in the future.
Disclaimer: I am discussing a face character look alike audition from more than a few years ago. Auditions may have changed, plus they are relative to the person attending. Please do not take every word I write as the certain truth-memory fades and becomes hazier over time. Also, I don’t give away too much insider detail, as a way to respect the company and as a way for you to find out some of the fun parts on your own! If you do want a fun recounting of an amazing audition experience I had, please, keep reading! 🙂
The Research & Preparation
Since I became obsessed with the idea of attending a Disney audition way before I was 16 (the minimum age of some auditions), it’s safe to say I did a thorough amount of research beforehand. I found a date on the audition calendar (found here) that worked with my vacation dates. I planned about a half day around this experience, but I didn’t make it the focal point of my trip. I was simply going on a WDW vacation, and decided I had to take a chance an audition. So, my family agreed and we dedicated a free day we had to it.
For psychological preparation, I told myself I would be judged on my face and face alone. That sounded slightly intimidating, however, I went in with a lot of confidence, which is key. I knew that I was a great performer with a good attitude and work ethic. Just because I didn’t resemble a character was not going to be the end of the world for me. Also, a lot of my confidence was rooted in the fact that I thought my acting and dancing abilities would somehow be seen at this audition. That was wishful thinking, which I’ll explain later.
I believe only a handful of character look-alikes were being sought after that day in the roles of friends of Snow White, Jasmine, and Aurora, and Aladdin. People tell me I look like Belle and Mary Poppins, who were unfortunately not being cast that day. I still decided I would go to this audition in the rare case that casting thought differently!
The fun part was planning my outfit and makeup for the occasion! I chose black athletic pants, lightweight white sneakers, and a lemon/lime color tank top. I’d recommend dressing for comfort-you potentially could be standing for a long time. They do want to see your figure though, so keep that in mind when choosing material. Form fitting, but not clingy, materials are best. I saw girls in everything from character shoes and dresses to sweatpants and t-shirts. Wear what makes you feel naturally beautiful. I also wore my pearl earrings (these are my signature), and my hair was tied back in a high, tight ponytail. I wanted casting to be able to see my face. For makeup, I did some concealer, bronzer, mascara, and a light pink lip. At this time, I was pretty well-versed in stage makeup from the amount of shows I was doing, so I knew which features to highlight, without going overboard. I noticed girls who got picked to go to the next round had either no makeup on, or had it heavily caked on (but they still looked good!). So, once again, do what makes you feel comfortable, but consider this piece of advice: enhance your best features, but don’t be too intense about it. You never know what casting could see in your face. 🙂
The Actual Audition
The audition I went to was held at the Animal Kingdom Rehearsal Facility. It is kind of out of the way behind some buildings, but luckily my ride knew the way very well. I would suggest getting directions in advance, as you want to be as early as possible.
When I got to the facility, I went down the hall to a large gym-type room and checked in with two casting directors. They were very friendly and I felt they already were staring at my face! I kept a smile on as they took my height measurements. It was pretty on par with what I get measured as at the doctor’s-maybe an inch shorter. Luckily, I am in “Princess Height” (5’3″-5’7″) so I didn’t get turned away. They do turn away girls who are not the height they’re looking for, just fyi. They gave me a big sticker to place on my shirt.
It was then time to wait for them to call our numbers in. There were probably 100+ girls and I was definitely the youngest one there. There were lots of closed off circles of older girls, but there were also some groups that looked welcoming. Of course, there were some judgmental stares and frantic looking around for comparisons (I’m a professional people watcher haha). These aren’t all “Disney people”-a large majority are girls (and some guys) looking to get a job. Maybe they don’t care about Disney as much as you do, or maybe they care more. Everyone is different and has their own, perfectly acceptable reasons for being there. Just try to keep that in mind, and you’ll be glad you did. I will say, I’ve never been to such a large audition, and it was really exciting and a bit scary at the same time! I was alone doing this (no friends with me, like many had!) so I told myself this was a great experience for me! This was courageous and a special moment no matter the outcome.
I chose a bench and said hi to the two girls who were also there. They were pretty friendly and seemed like genuine Disney people at first. However, they started asking a few too many questions for my liking. Also, they started showing off their Scottish accents they’d been practicing for a new princess (Merida!!) that they were convinced Disney would be casting for (hint: they weren’t casting for Merida at this audition…and even at 16, I knew this would not be happening, because I did my research). 😉
I decided to just listen and smile politely but not take anything they said to heart. They were obviously trying to show their Disney audition prowess, but I kept confident in my own knowledge and abilities. If you’re considering attending an audition, it’s nice to chat or try to make friends while you’re waiting, but choose your crowd wisely! 🙂 Still, I take every experience as a learning one, so meeting these girls was a funny time I’m able to laugh about now. (No matter how nervous they made me feel at the time).
Within a few minutes, my number, along with many others, were called in to a special room. We got in lines and had a wonderful pep talk given by the two casting directors. It was really encouraging. The main theme was how this audition is not about judging how beautiful you are. Disney, of course, makes everyone feel unique and special. I won’t give too much away, but they just do a great job about making sure we felt comfortable before we began the actual audition.
We then began to move quickly from there. A couple minutes of minutes were allotted to each line where the directors just looked at our faces. This was slightly nerve-wracking, I’m going to be honest. In the moment, I was telling myself how much I wanted this, when I should have been a lot more relaxed. I’m sure the look on my face gave away the fact that I was thinking too much! When they were finished looking at each of our faces, and making a few notes, they announced the numbers they’d be keeping. There were only 2 or 3 girls who stayed in my group of 50-75. And this was only the first round. Here, the rest of us were asked (nicely!) to leave the facility and we were thanked for our time.
Of course, the Disney casting directors encouraged us to come back out to more auditions. And, yes, I’m planning on doing just that! I left that day feeling confident and happy about what I had done. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself and your face out there for others to “judge.” One really amazing part of the day was simply seeing old relics from the parks in the facility that were displayed on the wall, and meeting the upbeat, fun, and positive casting directors. The energy in the room was unbeatable, and it was truly a unique experience.
I know some people who have been great friends with some characters, and they have told me that I’d make a wonderful friend of a few characters. That’s always nice to hear, but I know whatever is meant to happen, will! I never get 100% set on anything and I have a very relaxed, but determined attitude. That’s the best way to be about any audition!
When I was in high school, being friends with a Princess was a big dream for me, but now that I’m older, it’s changed. Within the next few years, I’d love to audition for a dance heavy audition, which is where I know my talents could shine more.
The best part about the experience is that it has given me a great talking point/fun fact at parties and get togethers. My friends and professors love hearing that I’ve been to an audition. And of course, I’ll give advice and encouragement to anyone who even remotely thinks about attending one. Please leave your questions in the comments section, and I will get back to you as soon as possible!