8 celebrities who worked at Disney theme parks before they were famous

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8 celebrities who worked at Disney theme parks before they were famous
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The Backstreet Boys at Disney World in 2012.
Kevin Richardson (seen on Goofy's right) worked at Disney World before joining the Backstreet Boys. Handout/Getty Images
  • Before they were famous, many celebrities got their starts working at Disney theme parks.

  • Kevin Richardson of the Backstreet Boys once led tours on a Disney World ride.

  • Steve Martin, on the other hand, performed magic tricks and sold merchandise at Disneyland.

Steve Martin got his comedic start at Disneyland.

Steve Martin and Donald Duck at Disneyland in 2005.
Steve Martin and Donald Duck at Disneyland on May 4, 2005. Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images

According to Disney's official fan club D23, Martin worked at the theme park "after school, on weekends, and during the summer" throughout his childhood and teenage years.

He sold everything from guidebooks to lassos, and learned about comedic timing by watching Disney performers, the website states. He even got a signature catchphrase — "Well, excuuuuuuse me" — and prop out of the job.

"The arrow-through-the-head was a thing we used to sell at Disneyland," Martin told D23. "It was just so silly. It was like anti-comedy."

Kevin Richardson was a Disney World employee years before joining a world-famous boy band.

The Backstreet Boys at Disneyland in 2012.
Kevin Richardson stands next to Goofy (right) at Disneyland on November 4, 2012. Handout/Getty Images

In a recent ABC special about Disney World's 50th anniversary, the Backstreet Boys member recalled working at the now-defunct MGM Studios Backlot Tour within Disney World's Hollywood Studios.

"It was an inspiring, incredible place to come to work every day," he said during the show.

Colleen Ballinger worked at Disneyland briefly before pursuing her internet-famous character Miranda Sings.

colleen ballinger
Colleen Ballinger is an internet creator best known for her role as Miranda Sings. Amy Sussman/E! Entertainment/Getty Images

She detailed her time with the company in a YouTube video, and said she was a performer in a "High School Musical" parade and Playhouse Disney show. She added that she "loved" the job, despite eventually being fired by the company.

"While I was working at Disneyland, all of the sudden my first video on YouTube went viral," she said in the video. "People started knowing who Miranda was, especially in the musical-theater community."

So when people began visiting her at Disneyland and calling her Miranda, Ballinger said she would briefly act as Miranda onstage. Disney employees later caught on, according to the YouTube star, and she was let go.

Wayne Brady once played Tigger at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Wayne Brady and his family at Disneyland in 2010.
Wayne Brady and his children pose with Minnie Mouse. Frederick M. Brown/Stringer/Getty Images

Speaking with Today's Parent in 2013, the TV star said his favorite Disney character growing up was Tigger from "Winnie the Pooh." He also said the character was special to him because Tigger reminded him of one of his first jobs.

"It wound up being a full-circle experience for me because when I turned 16, one of my first jobs ever was at Walt Disney World playing characters, and the first character I ever did was Tigger," Brady told the website.

Jennifer Hudson sailed the Disney Cruise Line for six months in the early days of her career.

Jennifer Hudson and Mickey Mouse aboard a Disney Cruise on January 19, 2011.
Jennifer Hudson and Mickey Mouse aboard a Disney Cruise on January 19, 2011. Handout/Getty Images

"I was on a Disney Cruise Line the year I decided to audition for 'American Idol,'" she told W Magazine in 2015. "I was Calliope the muse in 'Hercules: The Muse-ical' and I was also the Circle of Life soloist in Disney's cruise."

She said working as a performer on the cruise helped her get a part in "Dreamgirls" because "they took that as an acting credit."

"I thought it was great for then. It was great for my age," she said of the experience. "It was great for me as a talent that was trying to be a performer. And I actually gave myself that as a test to decide if I was going to go for 'American Idol.'"

"Like OK, I'm gonna go get on this ship," she continued. "If I cannot get through this ship, I do not need to go an audition for 'Idol.' But if I get through it, then I can go. And I made it through it."

Kathryn Joosten, who starred in "The West Wing" and "Desperate Housewives," worked at Disney World's Hollywood Studios in the '90s.

Kathryn Joosten in Hollywood, California, on March 5, 2010.
Kathryn Joosten's role at Disney World helped inspire her acting career. Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images

In a 2009 Forbes essay, Joosten wrote that she auditioned to work as a theme-park performer in 1992 when Disney-MGM Studios came to Chicago.

"After standing in line for five hours, I auditioned and won a job as a 'Streetmosphere' player," she wrote. "By now my boys were older and on their own, so I could accept the offer and move to Florida. I played Annie Hannigan, cleaning lady to the stars. The contract only lasted a year, but it convinced me that I could make a living acting."

Broadway star Taye Diggs previously worked at an international Disney theme park.

Taye Diggs at a Disney event in Beverly Hills, California, on August 1, 2010.
Taye Diggs has also starred in movies and television series. David Livingston/Stringer/Getty Images

In 2012, he told US Weekly that he "worked as a performer at Tokyo Disneyland." While he didn't share details about his role, he did say that he worked there for nearly one year.

Richard Carpenter got his musical start at Disneyland.

The Carpenters.
Richard Carpenter and his sister Karen Carpenter are best known as The Carpenters. Harry Langdon/Getty Images

As Rolling Stone reported, the musician sang on Main Street while wearing ice-cream-themed attire during his time with the company. The publication also reported that he'd write songs "on Pepsi napkins during spare moments."

Read the original article on Insider