You wouldn’t usually expect to find Cinderella holed up in the Aylesbury Holiday Inn – my bet would have been kicking back in a fairytale castle.
Nevertheless, when I call Meredith Baldwin, who plays the aforementioned silken-haired princess in Disney’s latest stage extravaganza Mickey’s Rockin’ Road Show, there she is on the other end of the phoneline. I don’t even have to get past a lady-in-waiting to talk to her.
“We’ve got two shows here in Aylesbury and then we’re on to Cardiff,” the California via The Magic Kingdom native tells me rounding the vowels in the English town’s name, as those from the US are want to do.
It’s a long tour for the cast of the show, which landed in the UK on July 2, spending months living out of a suitcase as the show winds its way around the UK and the rest of the world.
“We’re here until September, but we’re actually on tour until next April.
“We do get to go home for the holidays though,” stresses the actress, lest I think she may be trapped in some sort of Disney internment camp.
For now this poised and polished princess is keeping her cool enjoying the unexpected summer heat.
“It’s been quite the surprise all the sunshine we’ve been enjoying. It’s been absolutely beautiful and it’s been a nice way to get out and explore.”
Baldwin tells me this is her third time in the UK, however it will be her first visit to Wales when she appears at the Wales Millennium Centre this afternoon, for a series of shows that run until Sunday.
“It will be my first time in Cardiff, so if you have any tips of things we have to see when we’re there,” she laughs, turning the tables on her inquisitor.
I extol the virtues of Cardiff Bay, I also recommend the retail paradise of St David’s 2 to the performer, who lets slips she loves shopping when she’s not stepping out on stage – and it also would have been remiss of me if I didn’t recommend Cardiff Castle to this member of Disney’s royal family.
“I’ve been very lucky to have seen all the places I’ve been able to see,” says the 29 year old who has been travelling the world with Disney shows for the last six years.
“But I sometimes get tired of travelling so much and I do miss my family. It does get hard at times but I’m lucky to have a very supportive family who are just a phonecall away.”
Family life entailed living just 15 minutes away from Disneyland in California, so it was no surprise Baldwin ended up performing for one of the world’s biggest brands.
“All my sisters and brothers worked for Disneyland before me and when I got old enough it was kind of the thing to do,” she recalls.
“I worked in a lot of Disney parks around the world. Then I auditioned to play the Princess and how could I turn that down?”
The latest Disney spectacle will see your favourite characters such as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, the stars of Toy Story, Winnie The Pooh and Cinders herself heading out on the road to recruit acts for a glitzy talent show.
Being everyone’s regal favourite I wondered how does Baldwin cope with the adoration from her pint-sized fanbase.
“It’s a lot of fun but there is some pressure of course because she’s a lot of little girls’ and little boys’ favourite princess.
“Not only do I get to have the fun of performing I do sometimes feel a little stressed knowing that everybody knows how she should look like, how she should talk, walk, dance so I have to be the best Cinderella I can possibly be.”
Nobody can be that happy smiling all the time though I counter. “Sure they can,” she replies. “I watched the movies when I got the role and I sat down and studied her to see how I needed to act – and of course learning the choreography of how to dance in a big ballroom was a challenge.”
When I quiz her about the meet and greets that are offered at each venue I’m hoping for an anecdote about how much she really wants down a bottle of vodka to get her through them, however she’s the font of all diplomacy toeing the Disney line.
“They’re a lot of fun. Some people don’t ever have the opportunity to visit Disney’s parks so we are able to bring all these characters to everybody’s hometown and they can meet these characters for the first time.
“The funniest thing is when little boys come up to you and they act like they don’t want to meet you and they really do,” she adds.
“Also, the other day we had a little boy dressed as Prince Charming sat in the front row which was fun for me, so I could wave at him while I was singing!”
Mickey’s Rockin’ Road Show is at Wales Millennium Centre from today until Sunday. Age guide: 2-8 years. Tickets priced £19-£24, children (under 12): £2.50 off from the box office on 029 2063 6464 or via www.wmc.org.uk