Top Ten Thursday - Disney Character

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Welcome back to Top Ten Thursday!

Today let's imagine we're an actor who plays a Disney character at one of the theme parks, think Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck or the little Mermaid. In ten sentences (or paragraphs, by all means) I will tell you about a day in the life of my role.

First: how to decide who I want to be?

Not that a regular employee gets to pick. Obviously there is a pecking order:
  • Food Service Jobs
  • Facilities/Cleaning Jobs
  • In Park/Retail Staff
  • Ride Operators
  • Ride Staff that Interact with Guests
  • Characters 
Everybody who wants to be a character starts as a furry one before being promoted to a "face".

For the sake of this blog let's assume we are free to choose, and that there are no height restrictions. 

I tend to Sleeping Beauty: I arrive, I put on my costume, I make myself comfortable in my casket (or is it simply a bed? Even better!) and wait for the handsome Prince Charming to kiss me back to life.

Or I might be Cruella. Nobody wants to have their picture taken with the evil lady, they'll leave me alone.

Let's be real, though, I would not like those roles. The whole point in working a job like this is to interact with the visitors and contribute to their excitement. 

Even though I like pink and glitzy things, I don't consider myself being super girlie, so I would pass on all the pretty princesses, fairies, mermaids and whats-her-name from Frozen?

Where does that leave me?

I want to be Mickey Mouse. Plain, basic, a bit old fashioned but certainly cheerful and never out of style! 

  1. 6am, breakfast at home, home being Anaheim, CA for the sake of this post. I am enjoying my quiet time with some coffee, toast and Facebook. Before I leave, I check my email and find out the schedule for this month and beyond. Of course I have two shifts on Easter weekend. There's no such thing as a holiday off if you work as a Disney Character. 
  2. 7am, I'm on my way, traffic is OK considering it's the Los Angeles area. Blue sky, sunshine, just another gorgeous day in Southern California. How lucky am I? I make it to my parking lot. Cast Members, as employees are called here, park free of charge, which is a good thing, otherwise I'd have to work for three hours just to pay for my spot! I pick up my costume and go to my locker room to change. Must not forget to leave my cell phone behind. Mickey Mouse does not own a smart phone!
  3. 9am the park opens, the smelltizers, the lights and the music are turned on, we are ready! What are "smelltizers" you ask? They are devices that diffuse smells to make your experience more magical. Like vanilla at Plaza Ice Cream Parlor at Main Street, gasoline at Tomorrowland Speedway or a smokey, BBQ-like smell at "Spaceship Earth" at Epcot Center.
  4. 10am a bunch of kids is running towards me. They ask to take a picture. Sure, I give them a thumbs up and pose. Autographs, too? Let me try and hold that pen with my clumsy mouse hand. I spent a lot of hours practicing Mickey's handwriting. It is expected that every Mickey Mouse character is able to do autographs the exact same way. It would be disappointing if they'd totally look different upon every visit at a park, right? Makes sense. So focus. Write nicely! 
  5. 11am I don't want to complain, but it's getting hot in here. Why did I want to be a furry character again? Well, the good news is, I don't have to apply make-up. I hear the princesses spend a good hour of every shift to get dressed and prepped. I may have to sneak away for a couple of minutes to grab some water. Where are those character handlers when you need them? (They are the people in the light blue shirts using a walkie-talkie. They're helping us to get away.)
  6. 12pm Hello there, kids! *Waving* Sometimes I wish I was allowed to talk like in Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Children ask me so many questions, but as the real Mickey Mouse, I am, well, a mouse, and I can't speak, so I do a lot of nodding or shaking my head, clapping my hands and giving thumbs up. It has its advantages, though, I don't have to remember what I am allowed to say. Faced characters need to study hard for their role as their answers need to be consistent.
  7. 1pm I get my lunch break, yay! Now a regular person would just walk through the park to the food destination of their choice, right? Well, us Cast Members are not allowed to do that. Especially if you're let's say a cowboy, and you get spotted at Tomorrowland, it's considered disruptive to the magic. So we use a staircase positioned at various key areas throughout the park to access "utilidors", underground tunnels to go places! My destination is the Mousketeria where I hope to get some cheese. After all I am a mouse!
  8. 2pm WTF, who is pulling on my tail? What is wrong with people? Can't they be nice? You better behave or you'll have to go home before the fireworks start!
  9. 5pm The Wine, Beer and Spirits Tasting has begun at the Pacific Wharf, I want to make an appearance. I can't believe there is alcohol on the premises! Talk about a happy hour! Shaking hands with guests, doing toasting moves, waving...
  10. 6pm Phew, another shift under my belt. Now let's get out of that sweaty costume, drop it at the merchandise return area and get the hell out of there. Will I be back tomorrow? Of course :-)

Sounds like a fun, yet exhausting job, right? Do you think you'd like to do it for a while? Let me know in the comments down below. Also check out my fellow characters bloggers' contributions!

Thank you so much for visiting!

PS: In case you're wondering, here's a checklist on how to get a Job as a Character at Disney!

What's next?

Thursday, March 8, we'll put together the top ten curiosities / oddnesses / scurrilities we've come across lately: news, stories, items, people, signs... Sign up here.

March 15 let's do another music challenge. Post the top ten songs that no matter how much time has gone by, they will alway take you back to a very specific moment, place or person. Sign up here.