Former Disney Parks Character Performer Claims She Was Rejected at Audition Due to the Shape of Her Eyes
A woman who tried out for a role as a face character at one of Disney's theme parks claims that she received very specific feedback from a casting director after an unsuccessful audition. The criticism? Her eyes were apparently "too round" for the part.
Melanie — who finally landed a character performer role at Disneyland on her 13th audition — told Insider that she asked for feedback from a director after 12 failed attempts.
The director reportedly highlighted her eye shape as a disqualifying feature. "If you say, 'Oh, your eyes are too round.' I can't change that, right? That's just how my eyes are," Melanie said.
She added that she became "obsessed with trying to get this job" and alluded to how far she would have gone to make it possible. "If they'd been like, 'Oh, well it's your nose' or 'It's your teeth.' I mean, I was a 19-year-old girl. I probably would've gone out and done something about that, right?"
Helen Jane Planchet, who worked as a princess for Disney, seemingly questioned Melanie's experience. Chiefly, she claimed that directors are unlikely to give feedback to people who are unsuccessful in their auditions.
"Disney doesn't really like to waste time in any way. There are all these rumors that like, 'Oh, they told me I was too fat or that my eyes were too far apart,'" she told Insider. "They don't do that."
Although Disney does not appear to have an official policy on the matter, the company does address failed auditions in a FAQ section on their career site: "Didn’t hear anything after that last audition? Got cut in the first round? Let it go and consider attending the next one that interests you!"
Based on that, it does sound like you won't hear from the company if you fail to land a job.
Planchet also noted that it could take months to hear back, even if you are successful. She said she was "rejected a bajillion times" and "just didn't hear back" in those instances.
It's worth noting that Disney does appear to be very specific about certain features when holding auditions. For instance, a job posting for performers interested in joining the company lists specific height requirements for both male and female roles. It also notes that male character roles require "slender to athletic/muscular builds."
Inside the Magic also reports that Disney princesses are typically between 5 feet 3 inches and 5 feet 7 inches tall, which would limit the audition pool. However, the site points out that there are other roles available for people who want to perform at the Disney parks.
And it does seem like you can be successful at Disney, even if you have a rough start. After landing a job at Disneyland, Melanie also worked at Disney World. In a twist of fate, she told Insider that the director who gave her feedback about her eye shape was the same director who hired her in Florida.