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I’m a former Disneyland cast member. I was Alice in Wonderland.
i worked there for 3 years, also did wendy from peter pan. no, there are no underground tunnels. yes, i know the jack sparrow who did the interview for LA magazine. he’s a creep. none of the girls liked him. ask anything and i’ll tell.
Do the young kids really believe you are the character? Any good cute kid stories?
yes lots of children really believe it and thats what made it special. the best cute kid story is a make a wish girl i met. she was 6 years old and almost blind from her condition, but she could see if you were close enough. i spent hours with her on 3 different days that she was there, the last day the mother was sobbing and telling me how i was her daughters angel and how they were so happy she got to see me before she lost all sight. she asked if alice could join them at the character dinner. in wonderful disney fashion my managers said NO, alice could not extend her hours into character dining. so i said fuck it, got out of costume, went and bought her an alice doll and went to the dinner as myself to give her the doll. i figured she was almost blind and would have no clue i was alice without all the blue. i approached the mother at dinner who instantly started bawling and hugging me, i gave the little girl the alice doll and told her i was alices friend. i gave the mother my contact info and kept in touch with the family. the little girl passed away shortly after but the mother sent me a beautiful photo of her daughter and i walking down a path holding hands. she also sent me a silver angel that hangs on my wall. i was told they buried her with the alice doll. i cry thinking about it, but im glad i have those memories. there are SO many more amazing stories but that is my favorite.
EDIT: figured i could show this since my face is not in it http://imgur.com/rGN4E.jpg(FIXED) it stays on my fridge. :]
EDIT: i thought id toss this story up here for those who dont feel like scrolling down to find another nice story. its down there but this will make it easier. perhaps someday i’ll write all my experiences like these but for now, heres one more.
–its a beautiful thought but one that makes me cry if i think about it too much. there are a few children i met over the years that have that effect. there was a boy too i met who was 7 and was autistic. so i just sat with him and sang him a song from alice in wonderland since his mom told me it was his favorite movie and he watched it 20 times a day (most autistic children latch onto a movie like that) well when i was done singing the song he yelled “ALICE” and hugged me. then his mom started screaming and crying and i had to ask her what was wrong and it was at that point she had told me he had never said a word in his life and that was his first. i had to leave shortly after because of how powerful it was. i probably cried backstage for about 20 min. ive worked with autistic children in my past and i just knew that one word meant SO much to that mother, to hear her sons voice. like i said there are SO many stories like this. its one of the reasons i may go back, i know i changed some lives.
That’s a beautiful story.
When my daughter was three years old we took her to Disneyland (from Oregon). All she wanted to do was to look at all of the pretty shops and buildings. One day we were in one of the restaurants, all alone, and just about the entire Alice in Wonderland cast came in and sat with her while she ate her lunch (it was about 11:00). She was so shy, and the cast was so nice and gentle with her. Thanks for being a part of that.
loved surprising kids like that. or when i was stuck at the hotel on rainy days, i would use the in house phone to dial random rooms till i found one with kids in it. id tell them i was there to visit them. they would come down the elevator not believing but the look on their faces when i was there at the bottom was priceless. id pay money to do that again.
What is the strictest/most ridiculous rule that Disney has for its cast members? I’m under the impression that there are quite a few, so please correct me if that is not the case.
the worst is clocking in. you are not allowed to clock in early which i understand, so you have to stand by the clock and wait till its time to clock in. but if you are even one minute late you incur points against you that can be used to fire you. they may have upped it to a 3 min cushion but sometimes i would get there 30 min early to have extra time to get makeup and wig on, and id forget to clock in on time since i was busy getting ready. so even if they KNEW i was there i was still counted as late. that got a lot of people fired often.
You didn’t get paid for the time it took you to put the costume/makeup on?
yes if i gave myself the allowed hour to get ready, but honesty it took me more than an hour to really get the makeup right and the wig right as well as all the clothes. i did not want to look half assed i really cared about how alice looked so i would go early to create perfection.
Is the magic ruined?
kinda… yeah :[
Oh fun! I love watching you and the mad hatter be ridiculous and silly in the park. Especially the musical chairs. It’s my favorite.
Anyways, my question is, what was the audition like? I’ve always wondered what kind of things they ask you to do and act out. And how many other people auditioned with you?
the audition is a 2 day process that starts with about 1000 people and usually about 8-10 get hired. it starts with a basic lookover 10 at a time in rows. you are either put on one side of the room or the other. if you are on the side with the fat girls you know you are done. so like one side of the room is crying and the other side is uncomfortable but trying not to laugh…the uglies get sent out. then it goes to dancing. they teach you a routine and you perform it 4 at a time twice in front of the managers. then after everyone is done they call numbers. separate the room again. if you are on the side with the good dancers its the same process as the first. the bad get sent home. then its on to wigs. they try the wigs on you and you go back, if they like it on you they take pics, if they REALLY like it they ask you to put the full costume on then take pics. then you are put in a room. maybe 100 people are left at this point. you are called out one by one and either given a paper to come back the next day or you are told to go home. the next day involves about 20 people that come back. they test your dialect and improv skill. make you sing, dance again. then its the sit down interview where they pretty much tell you yes or no. when i was hired 12 people made it out of 1000. thats 12 face characters. i was the only alice that made it that audition.
Did you ever see any celebrities?
tons of them, id have to sit here all day to name em all. id have to say my favorite though was travis barker and shanna. their children are awesome and i have lots of photos with shannas daughter. i seemed to run into them every time they visited.
I bet I’ve seen you.
What did your significant other think of your role? Did you get any propositions while in character?
Oh, here’s a great one. What simple things can we, as tourists, do to make your jobs easier?
the significant other i had at the time could have cared less. i think he came to see me once, and not by choice. i had at least 20 marriage proposals to which i would reply “but im only 12”. and a simple thing people can do is NOT BUY AUTOGRAPH BOOKS. characters HATE them. its best to just be polite and take a quick photo or get a quick hug. also be understanding when a character needs to leave. i knew a few girls who are so overheated when they got done with sets that they would literally take their heads off back stage and pass out.
So guys would just walk up to you and say “will you marry me”?
yes. one even had a ring…
Read through this whole post. Seems like most of the questions are about peripheral things. I’d like to hear about you being Alice, what you said and did, e.g., what were some of your favorite lines, how did bring a smile to kids, how did you approach kids if they weren’t sure who you were, how did you act if you were with a whole family, can you give an example of what you mean be “improv”, etc. Thanks.
as alice i would say lots of things. usually playing off of people (ie improv) taking what they say and twisting it into a story or a game of questions. if i was in a hurry to somewhere i would ask people which way the white rabbit went, they would point and i would scurry off. some of the favorite lines we had were with people whos birthdays it was. the mad hatter only celebrates UNBIRTHDAYS so we would run away from people if it was their birthday screaming “NO DONT TOUCH ME! BIRTHDAYS ARE CONTAGIOUS!” hahahaha the kids who did not know who i was were funny, they would call me cinderella and i would exclaim “do i look like i clean cinders?” further confusing them. interacting with whole families was no different than interacting with one person, its just more people to play off of and have fun with. an example of improv could be some of the stories we told, we would do a story time every now and then, and take a simple story like goldilocks and the 3 bears, and change it to goldilocks and the 3 armadillos. we would make a mess of the story, making it up as we went using people in the crowds to act out the parts we describe. over all creating amazing times for all involved.
What were some of your scripted lines you had to deliver in different situations? Did you always have to use an English accent?
there were no real scripted lines, it was 99% improv. and yes i always had to speak with an english accent. i think i was pretty good too because i had an english family tell me they thought i would be an american girl hahaha. guess i fooled em!
What was it like wearing the whole getup in the summer heat?
horrible. its about 3 layers of clothing + stage makeup that you had to keep reapplying as it melted off your face in the sun. usually in the summer my #1 goal was to find a shady place to let the people attack. getting mobbed in the sun SUCKED
Here are some quick fire questions:
What was the best thing about your job?
What was the worst thing?
Were do they really keep Walt Disney’s frozen head?
What is the most egregious thing you saw staff do?
What was the biggest rip off that Disney did to its customers?
Did you ever take the costume home?
What was your favourite costume?
Ever feel like slapping customers?
what’s the worst thing a customer ever did to you?
The kids, the parents, LOLWOT, falsely report things to get others fired, the ticket prices, no but i should have stolen one, alice of course, YES, stab me with a pencil. 😀
lol no. it was a crazy lady in a wheel chair! she REALLY wanted that autograph. needless to say she never got it, but i did get stitches.