Becoming a Disney cast member, especially a princess, can be quite a rigorous routine. This is Mongillo’s second time auditioning, but for many girls, it is their fifth or sixth.
“I want to be Belle,” said Mongillo to the women handing out the audition numbers and to a group she clicked with in the waiting area. “She is one of my favorites, and she has brown curly hair like me.” At Disney, looks is one of the key factors to bringing life to their characters.
“I feel like it is getting harder [to look like a princess],” said Kristan Legg, another Southeastern University students with dreams of working at Disney. “The newest princess Repunzel, for example, has huge eyes. Most girls do not have features like that.”
“Disney princesses are so pretty,” said Mongillo. “Everyone loves the movies; they have become classics. It is great to have an opportunity to bring them to life.”
Being pretty enough to be a princess is a concern for many hopefuls. Disney is so particular that they reserve each audition for certain height brackets. However, audition day is mainly about the talent portion. If hopefuls do not meet the full criteria to be a princess, they can still be called back for a role in the live shows and parade.
“Everyone has to learn a short dance routine and perform it,” said Mongillo. “The actual performance part is a little intimidating because it is in front of judges, but it is fun.”
While some audition for fun, others hope that getting in the door will open opportunities for a career. Kelsey Marie Markert form Bradenton, Florida, hopes to make it past the audition for the Disney college program, in which participants take part in the parades and assist in the production of live shows.
“I would like to gain more knowledge of theater and theme park entertainment,” said Markert. “It could open doors for other jobs in theater and will look good on a resume.”
Markert also pointed out that auditioning allows hopefuls to “put themselves out there” and warm up to the stage.
From food service to the envious role as princesses, many theater majors see an opportunity with Disney has a golden ticket.
“Every little girl wants to be a princess,” said Mongillo. “I grew up watching those movies.”
As the door opens, a hush goes across the holding room as the first group of 50 is called to the dance room. There are about 200 people at the audition, and no one is sure how many people Disney is even recruiting.
“As part of the ABC Corporation, Disney World is required to host so many auditions per year. But just because they are auditioning does not mean they are actually casting,” said Mongillo.
While auditions are most commonly held in Orlando for the flagship theme park, auditions are held all over the nation, such as New York City and Honolulu, Hawaii, for performance opportunities at Disney resorts that are a part of the Disney Vacation Club and Disney Cruise Line. Disney also auditions overseas for roles in their Euro Disney park.
As the door to the dance stage opens again, the rejects flood out. Many are making tearful phone calls. Mongillo survives one more round until she is cut from the pool of contestants auditioning for Belle. However, her spirits are not broken.
“I would love to audition again, and I plan on it,” said Mongillo. “It is a really good experience a lot of fun, but for now I just want to go to Downtown Disney.”