When junior Averee Linker gets ready to go to work, she first slips into a corset. Soon to follow are the electric blue dress and a pair of sparkling heels. After tying her blonde hair up into a French braid, Linker’s transformation from Averee to Disney’s Queen Elsa is complete.
Linker is joined every weekend by senior Katie Dowling, as the duo portray Anna and Elsa for birthday parties, hospital visits and other events.
“It’s a lot of fun being in character and out of character because we are like sisters in real life too,” Dowling said. “Making the kids smile, going to birthday parties and just having each other [there] is so fun,” Dowling said.
Linker’s journey to become Elsa all started with her senior project. The Seattle native was required to accumulate hours partaking in something new for her senior project, and would need to present her experience at the end of the year.
Linker, who grew up loving Disney movies, went on Google to search for princess companies on a whim. She stumbled upon Enchanting Events.
Lianna Neyens, owner of Enchanting Events, read Linker’s email requesting to become an intern for her company. Neyens turned down other inquiries for the position, but felt drawn to Linker’s application and hired her.
“My family always jokes about me working at Disneyland like, ‘This is your thing. You are Elsa.’”
From that point on, Linker dove into the process of transforming herself into an ice queen. To become Queen Elsa, Linker said she watched Frozen at least 40 to 50 times in order to memorize the entire soundtrack from the movie, among other things.
Once Linker thoroughly studied the movie, she then had to alter her appearance to look the part. This required dying her hair from a honey color to platinum blonde.
The biggest transition for Linker, however, was growing accustomed to her new and hectic schedule.
Linker said her freshman year at Western consisted of constant shuffling between school and work.
At the climax of Frozen’s popularity in 2014, Linker and Dowling were in high demand with multiple event bookings every weekend.
“When we had our biggest Frozen frenzy rush with birthday parties, we had five [parties] a day, like five on Saturday and five on Sunday. It was insane,” Dowling said.
Despite all the tasks being a princess requires, Linker and Dowling wouldn’t trade their jobs for anything right now.
“It’s been amazing because we do a lot of nonprofit events and that’s really the reason I started the company,” Neyens said. “Going to children’s hospitals, being able to visit the patients who might never get to go to Disneyland and see the characters. That’s a big part of what we do currently.”
For Dowling, the special part of the job is helping children dress up as a princess and devoting time to them. Dowling recalls a particular child who she and Linker spent time with in partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
“We gave her a princess ball, got to dance with her, and spend the whole night with her. It was so magical,” Dowling said.
Being a princess has been much more than part-time work for both Linker and Dowling. Linker is considering auditioning for the real Queen Elsa position in Orlando, Florida at Disney World.
“My family always jokes about me working at Disneyland like, ‘This is your thing. You are Elsa,’” Linker said.
Linker said parents have told them their portrayal of Anna and Elsa is more convincing than the actors who play the roles at Disneyland.
Dowling hopes to pursue event planning in the future, similar to the events she participates in as Anna. She has met many event-planning companies through this occupation in hopes of a future career with them.
Linker said she plans on leaving Enchanted Events once being Elsa interferes with her career path. Nonetheless, she will miss being a princess, considering how second-nature the role has become for her.
“There are worse jobs but it’s just always worth it to see a little kid and make their life, and they’re like, ‘I met my my hero,’” Linker said.