Joy Smith looks and sounds just like a princess. Her voice is full of joy, making her name appropriate. And at the request of parents of Disney princess-loving children, Smith actually becomes a princess.
“We basically bring fairy tale characters to life,” said Smith, who runs Princess Pros Entertainment in Wichita.
While many children may assume Smith is dressed as a character from Disney movies like “Frozen” or “The Little Mermaid,” she said they are all based from actual fairy tales to make sure her company, Princess Pros Entertainment, isn’t stealing characters.
The characters Smith and her team can play now include the Snow Queen, Snow Princess, a Mermaid Princess and even a prince played by Doug Hearn, co-owner and technical director for Princess Pros.
The third team member, Kassidy Hope, plays many of those same princesses. All three team members at Princess Pros Entertainment have extensive experience working with children in a theater setting. Smith herself is about to go on her fourth tour with the Wichita Children’s Theater.
After playing roles such as Rapunzel, Goldilocks and the Blue Fairy in Pinocchio, Smith found work with a princess party entertainment company. In June she set out to start her own company.
“This has all happened really fast,” Smith said.
Smith said they originally planned on officially opening on Aug. 1. But after bookings started coming in, they pushed it up.
Smith said they aren’t Disney characters, but they want to bring the magic of Disney-like characters to kids far away from either amusement park.
“Disney doesn’t make house calls,” Smith said. “They don’t bring the characters from Disneyland to birthday parties so it’s really neat to do that.”
Smith said when she and her team walk in, dressed like some of their favorite fairy tale characters, the kids react in wildly different ways.
“Usually, it’s a lot of shock and awe,” she said. “We see a lot of smiles and sometimes they get so quiet because they don’t know what to do.”
But that wears off quickly, Smith said.
The princesses will be at the Derby BBQ Festival starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 12. Smith said her team will have their own tent and a place for children to take photos with the princesses. Throughout the day, the princesses will perform by telling stories or singing songs.
The princesses can also be booked for parties at princessprosentertainment.com or through Facebook by searching Princess Pros Entertainment. Smith said prices vary based on the length of time the princesses are there and what kinds of activities they do.
For those looking for a taste of what the princesses can bring to a child’s birthday party, visit princessprosentertainment.com or see them at the Derby BBQ Festival on Sept. 12.
“We’ve very excited,” Smith said with a laugh.