How to pass a Disney audition: tips from a former cast member
It’s simply impossible to write a complete how-to article on Disney auditions that will 100% guarantee you to succeed. Let’s be real, even if you nail every single aspect of an audition – you could still not be the person they are looking for at that specific moment. Even though you obviously always have to try your best, just keep in mind that wether or not you’re going to make it also depends on pure dumb luck. I’m pretty sure that’s how I did it. I was just in the right place at the right time. It’ll always be a matter of what kind of bodies they need at the time.. And as I am typing this I realize that sounds weird lol. But you know what I mean right! It’s just that they look at your physical appearance. Your height. Your figure. Your face. Your size. I admit it’s completely messed up, but unfortunately I cannot deny that it’s the sad truth. And in a way I understand their choices.. but hey, that’s a topic for another day! So for now, I tried to think of some tips on how to pass a Disney audition. I have shared experiences and tips before, right after I passed my Disneyland Paris audition and just before I got my official contract offer. After having experienced the job for over a year, my view of the whole thing has changed a bit. I still agree with everything I said in my audition experience video, because those were things that helped me personally! But my knowledge and understanding of their way of casting people for certain roles has improved a lot by being in the middle of it for so long. I dug deep to think of some new tips I haven’t shared yet that might just help you pass your Disney audition!
1. Do your research
If you’re looking for tips on how to pass a Disney audition, I suggest you do some good research. This is something that I never would have thought of in the process of auditioning, but now that I understand their way of casting it seems so obvious! I am not talking about watching Disney audition experience videos on YouTube (make sure to do that too, though!) but what I mean is actual park entertainment research. Look up the future plans in terms of entertainment for the specific park you are auditioning for. You might be able to figure out what characters they’re looking for in preperation for those events.
For example, right now it’s ‘the Festival of Pirates and Princesses’ in Disneyland Paris. The season took off at the end of march so they probably started preparing for it (in terms of repetitions) in january or february. So I’m guessing that during the auditions last fall they were specifically looking for people to be friends with the princesses and characters on the Pirates team such as Peter Pan, Wendy Darling, Captain Hook and Mr. Smee. This summer will be ‘Summer of Super Heroes’, so the past few months they were specifically looking for people to be friends with super heroes.
I’m not saying that they won’t be looking for princesses, villains or Mouse friends during this period, all I’m saying is that it enhances the chances they’re looking for certain characters in preperations for big events or seasons. So if you know your height corresponds to a certain group of characters, do a little bit of research to see when they are most needed and try to audition at least half a year before the season kicks off! That way there will be enough time for them to send you a contract, train you for the regular job and eventually train you for event specific activities. Focused research is a vital part regarding how to pass a Disney audition.
2. Be polite and professional
You might think that the casting directors see thousands of eager faces (which they do, of course!) and therefore won’t remember you in the end. You are wrong, though! Their memory is perfectly fine and they really do remember you. Leaving a positive impression might help you on how to pass a Disney audition. It might feel like the casting directors are high above you, but they’re just regular people that are working for Disney! They like to get friendly with cast members and won’t say no to a drink or a fun night out when they’re not traveling around for auditions. Try to look at them that way – they’re just people who are looking for fun new colleagues. So try to be that colleague that they want on their team! Don’t be afraid to have a chat with them (if they’re not busy at least), just make sure it’s natural and out of genuine interest. You don’t want to come over pushy and desperate (if you feel like you’re too nervous to have a casual conversation, I’d definitely skip this step to avoid awkward situations!).
Whatever you do during your audition, be polite and professional, both to the casting directors and to your fellow auditionees. If you get cut, don’t cry or get mad. Don’t question the casting directors choices. Just accept their decision, thank them for their time and leave the room with a smile. Before you walk through the door, don’t forget to give your friends who are still in the audition a reassuring thumbs up to show them you’re okay and to send them good luck. Tiny gestures like these show you’re supportive and professional and the casting directors will remember this next time! I promise they will remember your face!
Even the cosmetology lady who was present during my last audition (that was the first time I saw her) remembered me. One day at work when she was styling my wig she brought up the topic. I was so impressed to hear that she remembered me from my audition and that she could recall the characters I initially became friends with during that specific day!
3. Know your potential character pack
Now, I want to be careful explaining my third tip, because it can go both ways. It’s good to know where your potential lies in terms of height (and in some cases face, I’ll get to that later).
If you’ve been reading into Disney auditions and entertainment, then I’m sure you’re familiar with the term ‘Disney height’. In case you’re new to this, I’ll give you a brief explanation. During and audition you get measured and they assign you your so-called ‘Disney height’. This height may differ from your actual height, so it could be a couple of centimeters or an inch off. Not too much though. This ‘Disney height’ corresponds to a pack of characters. If you pass your Disney audition and get offered a contract, the characters in this pack will be your newfound friends. For me, these were Pluto, Mr. Smee, King Louie, Emile and Mrs. Incredible. Later on Joy was added to my pack. If you know someone who has worked in a Disney park of if you do some research, you’ll be able to figure out what your character pack would be. Use this to your advantage during the animation round of your audition. The casting directors know the character packs and their corresponding heights by heart, so if you can show them that you’d be able to properly animate your characters, that could be a big advantage!
As for face characters, this is a bit trickier. Wether or not you’d be considered for face depends on many, many factors. But let’s forget about that for a minute for the sake of this article. Let’s say you are average princess height, like I am (164cm / 5’5″). By looking into the mirror and studying your own face, and that of the princesses at the parks, you might find that you look more like certain characters and less like others. Try not to be biased and look for ways to make yourself look like your favourite character. Just be true to yourself and look for genuine similarities. For example, if you have a very round face and a small nose, you might be capable of becoming friends with princesses like Snow White or Merida. Do you have a longer, more oval face and a tall nose? Then Aurora might be your girl. A youthful complexion with an upturned nose usually corresponds to Rapunzel and Anna. And a more mature look could be perfect for Mary Poppins. If you think you’ve found the ‘perfect match’ for yourself (again, be completely honest with yourself here), the casting directors might see it too. So during the animation round (and maybe even during the dance round) try to use this to your advantage. In every audition for Disneyland Paris, you will at one point be asked to move like a princess for eight counts. Try to pick the princess that you think you might look like for this part. So for Cinderella or Aurora, be graceful and poised. For Rapunzel or Anna, be energetic and bouncy. For Tiana or Jasmine be sassy and a tiny bit seductive.
But like I said, face characters are difficult to predict. Even though you’re convinced you look like Belle, the casting directors might think you look like Elsa. Or no one at all. You never know. So please, don’t act like a specific character (apart from that one princess part during the animation round) and definitely don’t dress up like a character. Stay professional and it’ll help you on how to pass a Disney audition!
Well, this was a long one! Hopefully it can help out at least one person on how to pass a Disney audition! If you have any questions regarding Disney auditions or working in a Disney park in the character and parade department, feel free to leave a comment down below. I’d love to answer your questions! Please keep in mind that Disney values character intergity. During my time as a Cast Member I was merely friends with the characters. Let me know if this ‘how to pass a Disney audition’ article was helpful, and if you’d want to see more posts like this in the future! Feedback is always appreciated!