Hannah Trott tells us in vivid detail how she started with Tokyo Disneyland and what it’s like working at such an amazing place.
Tokyo Disneyland as a workplace is rewarding, sociable, challenging, memorable and arguably the best time of my life.
In order to be selected for a contract with Tokyo Disneyland, I attended an ‘open dancer’ audition in London. Hundreds of people auditioned in groups of around 40. They taught us a short ballet combination which we performed in smaller groups of four or so. They did a cut and we were then brought back
to do a jazz combination, after that they did another cut. At this point they got us to do both combinations again and did yet another cut. At this stage there were around 16 of us – eight boys and eight girls. We were then asked to do all sorts of tasks. In my first audition I literally only had to smile for them! Other tasks included basic partner lifts, tap for the boys and character acting.
I didn't audition for any specific role – all dancers go through the same audition process and their (Tokyo Disneyland) team decides which roles you're suitable for. They have very specific ‘templates’ that they cast by, especially for the Disney characters. Each character has a height bracket, certain build and even
certain face shapes. The dancers they select for the Little Mermaid show also need good back and abs strength.
Each dancer is given a contract for one show. Face characters have a slightly different schedule, as shows are seasonal, and their work can vary from parades to roving around and could also include shows at the Disney castle.
I didn't know which characters I would be playing until the costume fittings; I have played Cinderella and the Evil Queen in One Man's Dream II.
There are several shows running long-term in both the Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea parks. They're all very different in style and in specifications for their performers. Check out the Tokyo Disneyland website for a sneak peek
at the shows, or search on YouTube – there are plenty of videos.
Tokyo Disneyland auditions in several cities worldwide. The venues vary from year to year, but they will nearly always visit Britain, Australia and America. Other countries are visited subject to their needs. They also hold an in-house
audition near the end of each contract.
The majority of performers are employed on a contract for 6 months or 1 year, depending on the show. Performers are sometimes offered an extension on their contracts. In some rare cases the performers stay for many years.
The park is open 365 days a year. So you may be working on Christmas Day and New Years Eve. During winter most outdoor shows have one less show per day.
It's very hot and humid in summer and extremely cold in winter. Every show is
different and has its own ‘House Rules’ and standards.
You do sometimes spot ‘geijin’ (foreign) visitors in the parks. However, the majority of the guests are Japanese and they just love Disney. There are a lot of fans who will come to see the shows multiple times in one day; and some will even wait at the station to get a photo with you.
If successful, Disney pays for your flights to and from Japan. All performers stay in the E-Village which is a 5 minute train journey from the parks.
The Japanese people are very polite, modest and kind. The majority love meeting Westerners but most will not appreciate visitors who do not respect their customs and traditions. Be polite and respectful and you will have the time of your life.
For more information on auditions go to www.disneyauditions.com