Back in 2006, one aspiring actress entered Disneyland’s Anaheim career center for a general casting call to be among the park princesses at The Happiest Place on Earth.

“It’s quite a process,” she tells Real Simple. “I remember being surprised by how many people were in the room. And people take it really seriously.”

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Her competition included young performers in their late teens and early twenties, all of whom she described as “very petite.” Some, she says, even showed up dressed wearing the costume and makeup to match the character they hoped to become.

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“It’s like a cattle call,” she says. “They bus you to a warehouse-type location and they had probably 50 girls, if not more, at a time. We all lined up, and I think they made us do a little dance. Then, one casting director came up to me and said, ‘’Okay, you’re this princess and there’s a child approaching you. What would you say? How would you act?’ They want your physical mannerisms to be very much like the character.”

From there, casting directors did not hesitate to make their decisions.

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“They cut people right away. Just said, ‘Sorry, bye,’” she recalls. “It was not very warm and fuzzy. It was super intense. I thought it would be like, ‘Oh my gosh, thank you so much everyone, you’re all amazing.’ But it was very cut and dry. But there were a lot of people there and I’m sure they have to just weed through the people. I’m sure the casting directors have been doing it for so long that they can just tell right away if someone is going to be the right fit.”

As a 19- or 20-year-old at the time, the aspiring princess adds that she thinks her age may have been a factor.

“I would say I was old—too old,” she says. “That’s why I don’t think I got any further. A lot of the people there were a lot younger than me, like 15 to 18. I was clearly very young still, but I felt like I was on the older side.”

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After two or three rounds, the casting director said she would not be moving on.

“I was still trying to pursue acting at the time, saw the ad and thought, ‘I’m just gonna try this, why not?’” she said. “I’ve heard people really like it. If that’s your thing, it’s a super amazing job.”

Want to know what it’s like for those who do get the gig? Here’s seven things you may not know about working as a Disney princess.

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