The beloved world of Disney is something that grows near and dear to our hearts from a ripe age, and never quite goes away. The magic behind some of our favorite movies and characters is something truly amazing, and even as adults we find ourselves in bewilderment over the fairy dust and enchantment that is Walt Disney. Ask any small child, one of their life’s dreams is to become a Disney Princess or Disney character. There’s something spell-binding about the magic that has been created by Walt Disney many moons ago, and the captivating brand has held on tight to the hearts of millions ever since. I had a very rare opportunity that would make any Disney fanatic faint: I attended an audition to become a Disney Princess (or Disney character…whichever deemed more appropriate for myself based on my audition).
Let me break it down for you.
Auditions are open to those who enroll into the Disney College Program; college students may enroll into either a Fall or Spring program while still enrolled at their school, receiving college credits for moving to Walt Disney World or Disneyland and working in the parks and/or resorts. They even offer classes to take while in the program, revolving around business or marketing, and many more in between. Incredible, right?!
Major cities host auditions, and hundreds (literally) travel from afar for a shot to become their childhood heroes and idols. Being already located in the Windy City, I had a slight advantage for the Chicago-based audition, since my traveling would be far less stressful than most hopeful candidates. The DCP emails you general auditioning info, along with dates and times, and their job is done. It’s your job to show up and own it.
I researched several blogs for advice, break-downs, spoilers…anything I could get my hands on to appropriately prepare and (hopefully) give me a competitive edge.
Blog after blog, it was all the same: auditions happen in two rounds, you get to ‘character freestyle’, and it’s SO much fun! That’s great, ladies and gents, but I’m still SO nervous!
And rightfully so. Auditioning with a couple hundred strangers in hopes to stand out enough to claim Disney royalty is a lotof pressure. But it was pressure I was ready for.
I breathed, I gave myself pep talks, I stretched, I imagined, I simply just waited. Alas, there wasn’t much more I could do to prepare. I was as ready as I could ever be to become a Disney princess.
The Morning Of
I woke up on audition morning, hair curled from the night before (all my long, thick haired ladies can relate), and put on an appropriate dusting of blush and was out the door. My nerves and I became good friends in our hour-long journey to the Chicago dance studio, as you could imagine.
Like any other seasoned vet, I arrived a substantial amount of time early. (Note: this was a crucial step in my audition process, and I highly recommend doing so). Luckily for me, the dance studio my auditions were held was conveniently placed right next to a Target. My heart palpitated with joy and relief. Not only could I caffeinate myself in hopes to increase my energy, which ended up increasing my heart rate while my energy remained in the basement of my soul, it also gave me a chance to breathe.Half of my battle was already fought, and now I’m here, and I can’t back out, and I’m sipping my coffee in hopes I don’t die. And then, my day came to a screeching halt (in the best way possible). I noticed a girl, around my age, sporting a similar outfit to mine, sort-of wandering around aimlessly, as if she was, oh I don’t know, perhaps killing time before an audition. I pulled up my big girl pants even higher and approached her with caution.
To my joyous surprise, she also a hopeful Disney princess to-be. Score! My first friend. In a fortunate turn of events, my one friend multiplied by not just one, not two, but ten! Ten frantic, eager, excited young adult girls waiting near the Target’s Starbucks in hopes of fulfilling their childhood dreams; the Target Team. Although the comradery was flowing, there still was a slight feeling of competitiveness in the air, which I assume is natural in an audition environment. We metaphorically linked arms in my head (imagine a badass movie scene of a female posy linking arms en route to destroy the world) and headed off to audition our hearts out.
After walking the few short minutes to the dance studio, the Target Team entered a nearly-full studio of eager participants. Friendly smiles were exchanged, dance shoes were slipped on, and the waiting game ensued even longer. Not long after our arrival, we were ushered out into a hallway, ordered to form a straight line to enter into another studio, which would then, unexpectedly, decided our fate for auditioning order. Upon entering the studio, I was giving a white rectangular sticker with a large 3 printed on the front. Out of hundreds of Disney loving hopefuls, I was number 3. Let’s do the damn thing! Disney princess, here I come.
The audition process was pretty simple. The group of about 30 people learned four eight-counts, which was set to Justin Timberlake’s feel-good song of the summer, “Can’t Stop The Feeling”. The energy was sky-high from the moment our casting members walked through the doors, and the smiles on everyone’s faces were impossible to remove.
The simple dance was learned in about a ten-minute time frame. Rows of five would audition at a time, in a parade-style fashion, meaning that the lines of people would continuously flow and dance as the music kept playing, similar to how a parade would work.
Before the dance ensued, the casting members asked for ten seconds worth of…let’s call it…Character Freestyle. Imagine your favorite Disney princess, or character, upon a float riding down Main Street during a parade at Disney World. The characters are interactive, often pointing, dancing, or making purposeful motions to add magic to the guests’ experience. This was our job, and what we were asked for come auditioning time. We had to become our character or princess, ultimately pretending we were in the parade, waving and moving about in a manner that embodies our character, and then our dance would begin, all while in front of the other participants, and two of the casting directors. They were simply looking for Disney magic, for lack of a better term.
All-in-all, my personal process took about one to maybeeetwo hours. After the entire group completed the auditioning process of Character Freestyling and dancing, the casting directors quickly listed off the numbers of who would move on to the second round of auditioning, and who was free to go. They meant business. They also had about a hundred other people to see, so who could even blame them for getting us in and out? Not me.
My not-so-lucky number of 3 failed me, for I was not called to wait around for the second heat. A lot of my Target Team was free to go, as well, which made for encouraging chatter was we exited the dance studio to the hundreds of participants waiting in the hallway for their own shot. I had many reasons to be sad, however, I felt okay. I felt good. Great, in fact!
My first ‘professional’ audition was under my belt. Although I did not walk away with my metaphorical Mickey ears, I walked away with a sense of accomplishment, pride, and some new friends! A win-win-win, in my book.
The audition is quite anti-climactic, in actuality. However, being a young adult thrown into a sea of Disney enchantment, all fighting for very slim chances at creating Disney magic is something extremely memorable. In case you’re wondering, about 10 individuals get invited as cast members (i.e. Disney princesses, characters) per every Fall and Spring season. That means out of the 200 or so hopeful participants, only about 10 or less are chosen to live out their wildest dream to become a Disney princess. Kudos to those special folks! I’m not as sad after hearing that many, many others would follow suit in driving home in magical defeat (sorry not sorry).
I think it’s a valuable life lesson to be told ‘no’. ‘No’ can often mean ‘not yet’, and although your heart may be set on something, it often times is not what you mentally or physically are ready for, or need, at that moment in time. Not landing a role or getting accepted into a program is a huge blessing in disguise, and I think more of us need to experience a non-romantic heart break in that way. It teaches us perseverance, and it allows our minds to re-evaluate what is important to us, and why. Something better might come along and the puzzle pieces that once didn’t fit, now all form into a perfect picture.
So, I’d like to say thank you. Thank you to those two casting directors who failed to say the number three on that chilly March day. I am doing just fine with watching my favorite Disney princesses blow me kisses and wave at me from the sidelines of Main Street.
No matter how old you get, and what opportunities come your way, I hope the magic of your favorite Disney Princess always lives in your heart.
Who’s your favorite Disney Princess? If you had the opportunity to become one, would you? Leave us some comments down below!
Featured image courtesy of Flickr.