Characters are definitely an exciting part of the entire Walt Disney World experience. We all become kids again when we get around our favorite character. A lot of work and care goes into ensuring that the characters are represented well and remain a magical part of every Disney vacation. Here are 9 fun facts about characters at Walt Disney World:
9. There are height and size requirements.
Disney is all about the magic and details. This is especially true when it comes to selecting who will play particular characters. Each character has height and size requirement in order to play that character. It be very odd if one Mickey Mouse was around 5’1 and then another came out and was 6’0. It would be easily noticed. The characters typically stay within a couple of inches range. The height ranges are predetermined and cast members are measured to determine where they fit.
8. Face characters versus fur characters.
There are two different kinds of characters, face characters and fur characters. Face characters are Disney princesses and other characters that don’t wear a mask over their faces. These are the characters that can actually speak to you. Fur characters have a head piece that goes over their head to help transform them into that character. They don’t make a single noise from within the costume since it wouldn’t be realistic. The only fur character that talks is Talking Mickey, when you meet Mickey the Magician at Magic Kingdom.
7. Cast members don’t get to choose what character they are.
We already learned about the height and size requirements. These certainly are the first determinants for which characters you can be. For fur characters, this is the majority of the deciding factor. When it comes to face characters, they go before casting where they will be looked over to analyze face shape, body shape, skin tone, etc. These are all used to determine what face characters, if any, the cast member can portray. Age is also a factor in face characters since Disney princesses are so young. Unfortunately you can’t just decide you want to be Cinderella, the casting team has to feel your face, skin tone, body shape, voice, etc. also meet the requirements.
6. “Talking Mickey” is amazing!
He really is! He is the first fur character to actually talk to us! Not only that, he blinks and his mouth moves. It seriously feels like you are really having a conversation with Mickey. The sound actually does come from the head and the person inside the costume controls the speech and movement through the technology. The only place to meet him is at the front of Magic Kingdom theme park. You can also see the technology used in various shows around Walt Disney World, too.
5. They have limited set times for a reason.
You may notice that the characters need to take a break for a minute every 20 to 45 minutes depending on the weather and which character it is. This is due to labor laws designed to ensure the safety of the cast members. It gets very hot inside of the costumes, especially in the Florida sun, so the characters have to be able to fully get out of the costumes and cool off backstage. You will also notice that a lot of the times, they exit the area and then return back in just a few minutes. This is because another character is ready and waiting to come and greet guests so that lines don’t back up.
4. Face characters are not allowed to sing during meet and greets.
The princesses have absolutely beautiful voices and catchy songs in their animated films. You will notice that even if you try to sing with them, they won’t sing along with you. That is because they aren’t allowed to. It is hard enough for each it to speak similar to their actual princess. Not all of these face characters are trained singers that can handle singing songs like “Let it go”. If they didn’t sound like the princess or sound great while singing, it would ruin the magic for guests.
3. There are a couple ways to help find your favorite character.
If you are trying to find a particular character you can do a few different things. The first is to make use of the My Disney Experience App. Character meet and greets are listed there along with wait times where it can. You can also check the Times Guide for the day at that park. It will have a list of the different character meet and greets, along with times. If in doubt, you can always ask a cast member. Sometimes random meet and greets happen that won’t be on the app or the Times Guide, but cast members know about them!
2. Face characters are paid more.
The face characters are paid more than the fur characters. It isn’t by a ton, but usually around $1 or a little more. There are price ranges based on experience and tenure in the position, too. The people that perform in shows are paid even more, and aren’t cast by Disney’s casting. They are actually cast by a talent management company.
1. A character won’t be out in 2 places in a particular park at the same time.
Disney does everything they can to preserve the magic for guests of all ages. You can’t have 2 Mickey Mouse characters out right down the way from each other or that isn’t very realistic. Disney wants guests to believe that these are the real characters. Because of that, there are procedures in place to ensure that the same character isn’t out more than once at the same time to prevent this situation from occurring.