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Ever applied to a job that requires only “childhood dreams” as a prerequisite? If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to become those larger than life characters in the country’s major theme parks, we’ve got the goods. A. Harrison Barnes, career coach and founder of says competition is tough and that are sometimes thousands who show up for a casting call, each with the dream of grabbing one of those coveted career opportunities. And not only that, but there’s much more to these roles than just walking the grounds of the theme parks, there is a level of talent that one must possess. Keep reading for the goods on the good careers

According to the Walt Disney Company, its emphasis is “on family entertainment and great talent, passion and dedication from our cast members”. As mentioned, the openings, when they occur, are extremely competitive, regardless of which amusement park or theme park you’re considering. Many women fill these roles, however, it’s not limited to any one ideal body frame, size or height. The founder says there are physical requirements, including the ability to remain on your feet for hours at a time and the upper body strength to support the costumes. There are also those roles that require a gymnastics or other athletic background, especially if your character plays a role on any of the many stages that are a part of the theme park culture.

While these are important, A. Harrison Barnes points out there are the legalities to consider. Since these roles require being in the presence of children, amusement parks have knowledgeable legal minds on staff that know how to ensure the company does not hire the wrong people. If you have a felony, and especially if you have a violent crime on your record, you’re wasting your time. The process is stringent and there are no instances when this can be overlooked. Candidates undergo extensive background checks, too, says Barnes.

So what can a theme character expect on a daily basis? Naturally, it’s a lot of fun, but it has a lot of responsibilities, as well. The goal is to keep the visitors happy and smiling. You might find yourself breaking out into an impromptu jig just to get a smile out of a five year old and you’ll also find that you’re suddenly very photogenic.

Many are surprised to learn there are internships, too. A. Harrison Barnes recommends updating your resume, courtesy of the incredibly talented and experienced team of professionals at, and then do your research. You’ll want to be sure you understand specific requirements of not only the position, but the theme park too. It’s a rewarding opportunity and is a great fit for many. After all, who wouldn’t want a career that includes carefree days and smiling families?

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