Queen of the DayEven Snow White Doesn't Always Love Her JobParry Ernsberger

Turns out the life of a full-time Disney princess isn’t all happy endings, fireworks and small birds singing by your side. An actress (formerly known as princess) from Disneyland recently revealed some scathing requirements on a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” thread, and it turns out it’s a lot more than just taking pictures with small children and looking pretty all the time.

1. The interview process is killer. You have to have similar features to the character you’re auditioning for, do a dance, read some lines and then be prepared for a sit-down interview.

2. There’s a height requirement and it’s pretty much the opposite of supermodels. Fairies, Alice (in Wonderland) and Wendy (from Peter Pan) can’t clock in any taller than 5’2″.

3. The unofficial age limit, however, is similar to that of a supermodel. Most princesses and fairies age out around 27.

4. You pretty  much have to be able to quote the movie from start to finish. Something that the people who actually voiced the characters never had to do.

5. Even princesses don’t get paid what they should these days. The princess who did the AMA says she started at $13.50 and left at $16.00 an hour. Apparently, Disney doesn’t do big raises — only about $.15 per year.

6. “When we were performing in the park there were lots of rules about how we were to carry ourselves,” she says. “Not sitting, always smiling, always doing the voice, etc. We also weren’t supposed to refer to things outside the Disney realm. Snow White does not know Thomas the Tank Engine.”

The good news? The princesses had 45 minute sets with a 15 minute break at the end of each set and when the temperature rises, that time gets reduced even more so that everyone can take a breather. So at least they realize these characters are actually three-dimensional humans.

This doesn’t sound NEARLY as much fun as being a real-life mermaid. Are you surprised to hear about the strict rules in the Magic Kingdom? Any other former princesses out there?

Featured image courtesy of Disney
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  1. I’m kind of confused which of these is so terrible. Try working a different form of customer service: front desk at a Wal Mart. You pretty much have to be able to quote the rule book, not just for your job but everyone else’s since you’re the face that deals with complaints and fixing them. You start at 7.90 and when I left three years after that (which included a promotion) I was at 8.50. Rule #6 pretty much applies to a T. I have a prosthetic leg and even I wasn’t allowed to sit when I got tired. If a customer heard you talking about anything not work related and they complained, youre out of a job. The bad news? You could work over two to three hours and 80% of the time you wouldn’t get your 15 minute break because there’s no one to cover you. Oh and navy blue and khaki is the most hideous uniform ever.

  2. my first job ever was dressing up as Tweety Bird at my local Six Flags… her job sounds like a dream compared to that!! I had to walk around sweating my balls off in a Tweety costume that weighed like, 50 lbs. If I remember correctly, I was paid about $8/hr… you could NEVER take off your head outside the dressing room, even if you were going to puke… our manager used to say, “if you have to puke, puke in the head…” Thankfully I never did… and people seem to think you’re a punching bag! They hit your hollow head routinely, and scream into your costume’s mouth.. we were required to walk with a chaperon for that very reason.. OMG it sucked soo much ass… I would’ve loved to be Disney Princess instead. BTW the audition process seems pretty doable also… I don’t know why she was complaining….

  3. I worked at Disney world, backstage, and it is defiantly a different level of working with your guest then any other experience you could imagine. Honestly I would like to hear about a Jasmine, since I had befriended one and she is on a very strict diet routine (two piece costume). Disney World is a bit different from Disneyland too, because Magic Kingdom is built on level 2, and the basement is where all of us characters work. If you work in Frontierland you cannot walk through Tomorrowland because you don’t belong there (you ‘pop’ up from the basement in your respected lands). Its, a different world to work for the company, where everyone can recite the monorail warning in English and Spanish. The wire is for the Prince to have ESPN, there is ONE Mickey, and a child is never lost, their parent is. Also you always have to know the time for the 3:00 parade, you get asked at least 20 times a day (its different for where you are sitting in the park)

  4. I am happy Disney is so strict! They have high standards and at the prices we pay to bring an entire family, I expect the best. This is why Disney is SO successful! They do everything perfect and pay attention to detail. The age thing is a little unnecessary, same with the height, but I know Disney has precise reasons behind each requirement.

  5. I’ll do it!

  6. This doesn’t sound that crazy to me. I’d love to get paid 16 dollars an hour to quote Disney movies all day. No problem.

  7. I can believe this. I’ve heard about the rigorous rules that Disney has for other parts of the park too. Like how they wont let anyone with cameras backstage with those who wear character suits because some kid could see it and ruin the magic.

  8. These demands really dont seem like that big of a deal. The pay is a little low though.

  9. This all sounds good and reasonable to me. It’s also pretty decent pay for what they are doing.

  10. Sounds reasonable to me :/

  11. A lot of these demands aren’t surprising to me. These princesses and other face characters need to be the real life versions of what children see in the movies. If something is too different or off, I think a small child would be quick to point it out and maybe get discouraged; some have high expectations when meeting their favorite Disney characters. And the pay doesn’t sound half bad to me, but I am from small-town Missouri so it’s a whole new world (pun intended). ;)

  12. Absolutely none of this surprises me, especially with Disney’s incredible branding. These women ARE the Disney princesses. And the kids who greet them do know every line of their movie, so they better be up to snuff!

  13. That girl is so beautiful!

  14. Not a former princess, but a former face-character costumer circa 2003-2004. I started out in the head room and advanced to face characters. These girls are incredible. The height thing is very true and they also have to maintain below a certain weight (obviously). I remember they made one exception for snow white’s eye color for a beautiful girl named LS, she had blue eyes where as snow white’s are brown. That’s how perfect she was for this role. The princess’ always “stay in character” or maintain that disney magic. People (especially kids) WILL actually quiz these girls and they’ve gotta be on their toes. Also, some are often approved to do other face characters as well. For example, a pair of twins was approved to do Cinderella, The Little Mermaid and Aurora. They just change wigs, makeup and costume. Along with the princess’ I’d do costumes for the dapper dans, marching band, villains (LOVE Cruella’s costume) and certain princes. They come back with the weirdest stains all over their costumes (kids heh). When I was working there everyone was pretty content- I LOVED my job at Disneyland. I always tell my husband that if it paid more I would’ve stayed there forever. Also, there IS a difference between parade (and Fantasmic) princess’ and face character princess’ and they don’t usually interchange between. It takes A LOT more to be a face character princess. While I was there the princess costumes only went to a size 8. No big moles, braces, nail polish, tattoos (obviously) etc. It’s a tough life but super fun from what I remember. <3

  15. Not at all surprised, I’d heard as much before. I am surprised at the pay scale. My last job (before we got bought out and our jobs shipped to Mexico) I was a skilled machine operator in charge of a crew of 3-6 people and I was topped out at $16.50/hr. And I was banking some serious savings.

  16. I was a Santa Elf for $7.50 per hour when I graduated from college just so I could buy my parents Christmas presents. Yea, it sucks for someone in their 20′s in the work world.. hopefully the economy picks up so everyone can get paid the way they should for the work they do… or just be able to get a better job without 6369 people applying for the same position.

  17. I worked at a theme park for years and for some part of it, had to be Hello Kitty. It’s just like any other job, just a different set of credentials and tasks to complete. I may or may not still be bitter that genetics thwart me ever being a disney princess. Curse you growth hormone!

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