As most of you know, the new live action Aladdin movie is coming out this weekend and I’m SO excited! In honor of the movie, I thought this would be a good chance to go down memory lane and share with you all my experience of being Princess Jasmine and working at Walt Disney World!
I worked at Disney World from 2004-2007 and I say this in the most genuine way, it was THE BEST job I’ve ever had! I was getting to be a princess for a living, while dancing on multiple stages at the parks and performing in the parades….I mean, how can you not love that?! I was also lucky enough to meet my best friend while working there and we’re still best friends 15 years later! (oh god, that makes me feel old saying that lol!)
There are so many memories, stories, and experiences I could share from my time at Disney, but if I shared all of them this would be a 10 page blog post haha. I will keep it brief, but if you have more questions or are curious about any details, let me know and maybe I can create another post! I also wish I had more photos to share, but I worked at Disney before the time of camera phones and social media, so these were the only photos I could find so far.
I auditioned for Disney World right before I graduated high school. I signed up to attend the dancer audition, not knowing what to expect other than I knew I wanted to perform at Disney! I made it all the way to the end and got a call saying they would love me to come back for one more audition. I wasn’t sure what this next audition was for, I thought maybe another dance audition? When I arrived I found out it was to be fitted in different princess costumes, or as Disney refers to it, “face characters”. I never thought I would be considered for one of the princesses, so I was beyond excited. I was fitted for multiple characters, Belle, Pocahontas, Meg (from Hercules), and a few more that I honestly can’t remember. Then they saved the best for last and fitted me in Princess Jasmine, they all agreed that was the one I would be approved for. I was also approved as Meg, but I only ever got to play her twice in my years at the parks because she doesn’t have many appearances. Once they officially approved me in Princess Jasmine, then my journey with Walt Disney World officially began!
When you are a performer at Disney you are “color coded” to determine your skill level. I believe the colors went from green being lowest level, to yellow, orange, and red being the highest (I honestly don’t remember because it was so long ago, so I apologize). Once you are given your color code, that will determine what shows and roles you are able to perform in. There was a new show that was opening at the Magic Kingdom called Cinderellabration. I was picked to perform as Princess Jasmine in the show, but before I could begin, there was quite an extensive training I had to go through.
Every Disney employee, no matter your job, has to attend a two day orientation called Traditions, where they go over basic knowledge of the Disney parks and general employee guidelines. Once you complete Traditions, then you move on to your departments specific training. I went through a week of training to become Princess Jasmine. In that week of training, I began with watching the Aladdin movie and answering questions to make sure I knew the movie like the back of my hand. I was trained to speak like Princess Jasmine as well as learning the proper mannerisms. Disney has a cosmetology department for all face characters where they provide all of the makeup you can dream of and they work with you to apply your makeup in the specific way required for your character. After completing that week of training I had to go through a few more days of “set training”, which meant I had to go out and do meet and greets as Princess Jasmine, so they could make sure I could fully embody the character of Jasmine.
Shortly after my character training, we began rehearsals for Cinderellabration. This was a brand new show on the main castle stage at Magic Kingdom, and because it was brand new, it took a little longer to rehearse for than any other show at Disney. We started off our rehearsals in one of the big studios on property, but once it was time to rehearse on the actual stage we had to do it at night after the parks were closed because the guests would obviously see us otherwise haha. I remember those days being very long because I would work my normal shifts during the day and then we would rehearse for about 4- 5 hours starting at 9pm!
(Here are some photos I found from our studio rehearsals for Cinderellabration)
(These are the only photos I could find from the show! I know I have videos somewhere, so I will have to keep searching for that!)
While doing Cinderellabration, I also performed in the parade at Magic Kingdom and occasionally the parade at MGM Studios (now known as Hollywood Studios). After being in Cinderellabration for a few months, I was then approved to be in the show Fantasmic as Princess Jasmine at Hollywood Studios. If you aren’t familiar with this show, it is a night time show with lots of pyrotechnics, water, and awesome stunts! It was a really fun show to be a part of!
As a face character performer, we had the option to pick up meet and greet shifts around the park. They were usually fun shifts to pick up and that’s where I met my best friend Tabitha! She was a greeter, which is the person who helps the face character go out on to set and controls the crowd waiting to see the character. She was the first greeter I ever worked with and it was love at first sight haha!
Out of everything I did at Walt Disney World, one of my biggest accomplishments was being the media Jasmine for two of the years I worked there. Being a “Media Character” meant you were the one who did all film, TV, or print appearances in your character. There was only one person for each media character, so it was a big honor to be the only Princess Jasmine selected at that time out of all the other girls who were playing her in different areas around the parks. In the time that I was the media Jasmine, I got to perform on Regis & Kelly, dance along side Mariah Carey for the televised Christmas special, perform in the televised Christmas parade, act in multiple commercials, and I appeared on a few different poster advertisements! I wish I would have been better about keeping videos and photos of these things so you could see, but again, this was back before social media and camera phones.
(Every once in a while we were allowed to ride the rides as our characters, and let me just tell you, it was the most fun thing ever!!)
(We clearly had SO much fun on set!)
(I think this was one of the first times I worked with Tabitha! This was also in the beginning when I was still learning how to apply the Jasmine makeup correctly, so don’t judge me! haha)
There are so many more things that I would love to discuss or tell you about with my time at Walt Disney World, but as I said before, this would be 10 pages long if I did so! If there is something specific you want to know about or just have some questions, let me know! If anyone is interested in me doing a Q&A about Disney, maybe we can do that was well!