Hey guys, so I’ve got a bit of a Disney Princess theme going on at the moment which is funny considering I’m not even a massive princess fan (though I’d love to dress up as them at some point). After I posted my ‘How come not all of the Disney Princesses…’ post, I stumbled across an article interviewing a girl who previously worked at Disney World as the princess Belle from Beauty and the Beast. I was already aware of some of the things I had read and a lot of other things I guessed too, but it was quite interesting to read them from someone who had actually been a princess and worked in the park – words straight from the horse’s mouth if you like. So I thought it would be fun to write a little post on it and highlight some of the things said in the article!
We’ll call her Belle because she remains anon, but the article begins with her telling us how she was in a difficult place and decided to drop out of school and audition for the role of a Disney princess. After hearing her voice they contracted her as Belle and stated straight away that they would order contact lenses for her and get her roots done (apparently that’s important even though she’d be wearing a wig). She was told she had to pack up and move to Orlando by the end of the month if she wanted the job.To begin with she was made to be a ‘fur character’ and she played Chip and Dale for two weeks which she found really exhausting due to the heat; the suits have no ventilation and in the Florida heat actors are sweating non-stop, some even pass out from the temperature even though they are only outside for 20-30 minutes a time. Apparently those playing ‘fur characters’ hated the ‘face characters’ because they didn’t have to wear an overheated costume and got paid more. She claimed that the pay wasn’t much more amazing than what you could earn in your local supermarket, so most people stay purely because they love Disney and for the perks which are pretty amazing with up to 40-50% off food, cruises and stores, and free passes for friends and family.She then began princess training over four days with a trainer, watching Beauty and the Beast, doing worksheets on the princess and observing children meeting the princess; she was then taught how to do Belle’s make-up as all face characters must be able to do their own make-up, and must be approved before they can go out ‘on set’. Apparently some girls were disproved because their arms got too ‘chubby’ and another for a very bad breakout all over her face. To keep fit and slim, many would undergo cleanses and exercise during their breaks whilst eating low-calorie foods.Apparently Belle, along with Cinderella, is one of the most popular princesses; taking photos or wearing ball gowns for the parade, she described it as a ‘prestigious thing’ to play the role of Belle. Despite being a lot of fun, she stated that it did take its toll as you had to smile for hours straight, unable to drop it until you were out of the public eye. You weren’t allowed to spend lots of time with the kids, having the ‘magic’ number being 172 customers that you had to greet per hour; there was even an attendant with a clicker and if you went below you’d get a reprimand! Four reprimands and you’d get fired, so even though children had waited hours to have a photo with their princess, they’d be pushed through quickly to meet the number required, often towards a store so that they can buy merchandise.Belle stated that at one point it was really cold in Florida and she was greeting guests as they went into a restaurant wearing a sleeveless dress; during her break she went to find the coat that went with the dress but couldn’t find it and assumed that the staff had hidden it because they would sell 30% less photos if Belle wore the coat; this reduced her to tears and she had to attempt to keep up a happy façade whilst she worked.Okay so this guy isn’t creepy, he just decided to propose to five of the princesses for memorable photos but apparently there are lots of creepy dads and male fans. Belle said that someone whispered into her ear whilst taking a photo saying something like “When the Beast goes to bed, I’ll be waiting for you in the library.” She would have to stay in character and answer the comment whilst still in character. There have been instances where the princesses have had their dress unzipped and been felt up!Despite all of the downfalls and hard work that goes into being a princess, Belle claims that one of her favourite times was meeting the Make-A-Wish foundation children who would be amazed and excited to meet her, where she would spend quality time with them and she could see the emotional turmoil the parents were experiencing behind their smiles. She still loved Disney herself even when she wasn’t working, she’d be listening to the music, watching the movies and visiting the park on days off.
Eventually the magic wore off and Belle auditioned elsewhere to further her career in acting whilst agreeing to work the five shifts a year required to keep the Disney perks; however when she returned for shift, they gave her poor excuses such as her mouth being ‘different from the other girls’ and sacked her so that they didn’t have to continue paying her since she wasn’t around all the time for the job. After returning to the park, she was disappointed as apparently the newer princesses have lost their charm and have become modernised with less integrity, saying things and using words that princesses wouldn’t say.
Wow what a story! Though it doesn’t surprise me in the slightest the pressure and judgement these girls go under in order to fit the ‘perfect’ princess image; although it is harsh, I’m really not shocked that they are disproved if something isn’t right. The bit about the fur suits doesn’t surprise me either, it must be really hot in those costumes and tbh these days people who make their own fur suits install fans into the mask, so I don’t understand why Disney hasn’t invested in ventilated suits! It’s not like they can’t afford it!
Belle’s point of view tells us that there is a lot of strict control with regards to the characters and that the park’s main aim is to reap as much money from the visitors as possible; I find this rather sad because it is considered the place on Earth that kids can go where dreams come true, and I would be absolutely gutted if my princess, who I had waited for hours to meet, just shunted me straight out the door after taking a photo.I did a little more reading and a lot of people actually have fond memories of being a princess, but still I was curious as to whether or not the thoughts were shared by others who had played ‘face characters’; a Snow White stepped forward to share details about what it was like as a princess and the necessary requirements needed to become one. She stated that you needed specific height requirements for certain characters and needed to look like the princess. Her pay was between $13.50-16.00 but Disney don’t do large raises which makes difficult for motivation when you’re still on the same pay grade as three years ago. There are strict rules about being in character all the time, and nothing beyond the realm of Disney is to be mentioned by the characters.A reddit column I came across had a girl doing an AMA (Ask Me Anything) regarding her time as the Disney Princesses Mulan, Pocahontas and Silvermist the fairy. I thought it was a cool read so I’ll link it here but I will share this awesomely bad joke that made me chuckle to myself when I finally got it and had my colleague’s think I was having a moment – Mulan: “Do you know what Mushu’s least favourite chore is? Mow Lawn.” Most of the stuff she shared was good memories except when she said that she wouldn’t go back to work there because it is such a negative workspace and there is so much drama. However her experiences might be more positive than Belle’s purely because Belle was one of the top princesses whereas Pocahontas and Mulan, despite being official, weren’t as popular so had fewer pressures to deal with.So from the sounds of it, being a Disney Princess comes with a lot of pressure; you need to be able to be in character ALL the time, so if you’re like me and can crack/get stressy/struggle with stress visually then this job isn’t for you! You have to be smiling all the time and you cannot drop that act until you are behind closed doors; one of the reasons I’m glad to be working in an office is because I’m only facing people over the phone 95% of the time and rarely face-to-face. You also need to be able to think on your feet to respond to any unusual questions or embarrassing/creepy mishaps which I would be sucky at lol. If you’re in love with Aurora and audition but end up being cast as Ariel who you hate, tough! You don’t get to pick and choose, the casting team will pick your character based on whether you look like the princess they need.Despite all that there are good things gained from working at Disney; obviously the perks you get, the feeling of being worshipped as a princess, making children extremely happy and being surrounded by the magic of Disney (especially if you are a major Disney fan). This is a job for those that love to be in the lime light and love to make others happy, you need to love it and not be in it for the money otherwise it won’t last you long.
If I was allowed to be a princess, I would be…Tinkerbell? I don’t particularly favour any of the princesses above another because I’m not a princess girl but I’m quite small and petite, and I kind of look like Tinkerbell? Plus I do pout a lot. I wouldn’t mind Snow White for some reason even though she’s my least favourite princess film, I just think she’s so pretty being pale white with dark hair and red lips.
Hope you enjoyed this little random post; I want more Disney on ma blog!!! What Disney Princess would you be given the chance? Until next time~♥