Have you ever wanted to be a Disney Character? Ever wanted to be Cinderella or Peter Pan, who bring smiles to guests every day? Many children dream about seeing their favorite character when they go to Disney, but then there are some that wish to be the character. I can remember wishing to be a character and greeting guests when they come up to me for photos and autographs. That can be a huge dream and one that can be hard to come true if you want to be a face Character at Disney.
What is a face character? A face character is a character that you will show your face in public, like Sleeping Beauty or Captain Jack Sparrow. When these characters are on display in the parks, you see the faces on the people who play the roll. This is different than fur characters, who are the people behind the fur head, like Mickey Mouse and Goofy. They can remove their character heads when they go back stage.
When I was on my internship in 2003, at Walt Disney World, I had a few friends who became face characters. I had heard about the auditions, but had never been to one. When my close friend asked me to join her and go to an audition to be a face character, I was all for it! It was something I had always wanted to try out to be a face character, and become part of the magic. Being a face character at Disney is a huge deal. The people who play the parts always sit together at lunch and talk with each other. Think of it as seeing the “cool kids” at school, who know that they are special, because not everyone gets to be face characters. My favorite was seeing Aladdin and Jasmine eating lunch together in the café. They were always smiling, and would talk to Belle as she walked by with a water bottle in her hand, off to the makeup room to get ready to go back onstage. When I was living in Orlando it was like a dream to try to become a face character.
I remember how excited I was when I was getting ready to go to a face audition. My friend and I jumped on the bus and went to this huge warehouse looking place. It was on Disney property, but I am not sure where to be honest. I just remember seeing all the people waiting for the bus, as we got off. I was shocked! My friend told me that about 10,000 people will try out to be a face character every time there is a casting call!! Can you image that many people are trying out to become a character, or two, each time they have a call. I was very nervous. How can I compete with that many people for the job? Everyone wanted to be a face character, and it was like a mad house inside. There were so many people! I asked what characters they were looking for, but what I got for an answer was “You don’t know? It’s a mystery and you just have to keep coming back and hope that you fit the bill for what they want!”
I remember the form I had to fill out. It was about a page, and asked how long I’d worked for Disney, how long I was staying with Disney, and if I had any special talents. I knew right then that since my internship was ending in a month I wasn’t going to be able to be a face character, but I still wanted to go through the audition anyway.
After about 20 minutes they called five of us into a back room. They lined us up and told us to talk with each other. We had to look from side to side. There were four adults just staring at us as we looked at each other. This went on for about a minute and then they said, “OK”. They showed us to a different door for us to leave. I saw one girl outside the exit filling out a form. She said that there had been one other girl who had filled out a form. I was shocked. Out of around 10,000 people only about 20 or so make it to another round of auditions. Perhaps then maybe only 2or 3 will be picked to be a face character. They could be looking for one, or a few characters. No one really knows except the people who do the picking.
As I left the building, and went to the bus, another 20 students where getting off the bus to try out for the character audition. They say that in a day they can have about 1000 to 2000 people try for face character positions. I was glad to get back on the bus, knowing that I went through a very cool experience. I have an even higher appreciation for those that are chosen to become face characters. It is a huge deal!
When I left Florida, and went back to work for my other theme park, I got to audition for fun face characters like Dorothy, Spiderman, and Cinderella, but I will never forget what one would have to go through to be a face character at Walt Disney World. Face characters play a magical role in the parks, and live with us in our hearts. We look forward to seeing these wonderful faces when we visit Disney, and we want to REALLY see the character’s face. Disney goes through great length getting the right people for the job, and making sure that when you see Cinderella, you are SEEING Cinderella. You believe that this person is the one and only. Do you have what it takes to go through the process to become a face character, knowing that millions of guests will be seeing you when you are onstage in the parks? It takes special people …are you one of them?