Caroline Coplen creates 'magic' as costume buyer for Disney
Caroline Coplen, a costume buyer for Disney and alumna of the College of Agriculture,
received the Walt Disney Legacy Award.Photo provided by Caroline Coplen
Caroline Coplen’s office isn’t in Cinderella’s Castle, but she thinks her role at
Disney is pretty magical.
Coplen, a New Orleans native and 2011 alumna of the LSU College of Agriculture, is
a costume buyer for Walt Disney World, where she helps source costumes for individuals
working in operational roles for Disney’s domestic parks, resorts and cruise line.
“These are considered uniforms, but they are not your typical polos and khakis. It’s
much more complicated than that,” Coplen said. “I am dressing cast members who, for
example, work in the Haunted Mansion, so they must look the part.”
While studying textiles, apparel and merchandising at LSU, Coplen did a six-month
internship with Disney’s costume buying team.
“It’s not getting coffee. Our interns work as buyers, write purchase agreements, conduct
Coplen said she loved the work and the environment at Disney so much that she wanted
to make a career out of it. She returned to Orlando immediately after graduation,
Coplen concentrated on merchandising while in school and received a minor in business
administration. She said having that background helped her land the job. She also
credits faculty members in the Department of Textiles, Apparel Design and Merchandising
with her success.
During her time at LSU, Coplen also interned with the millinery team at Colonial Williamsburg,
studied abroad at Manchester Metropolitan University in England and visited China
with a group of faculty members and students from the College of Agriculture.
“All of these experiences set me on the path I am on today,” she said.
At Disney, every employee is considered a cast member, and Coplen said in her role,
she works closely with designers and vendors from around the world to get costumes
that meet Disney’s standards and specifications.
“The purchasing process is similar whether you are buying Styrofoam cups for a grocery
store or costumes for Disney, but with Disney I am essentially creating happiness
for our guests,” Coplen said.
Coplen recently received the Walt Disney Legacy Award, an honor bestowed on only one
percent of Disney Cast Members. Coplen said recipients are recognized for inspiring
others. Guests can distinguish award winners by their blue name tags.
“It is such an honor,” Coplen said. “I keep looking down to make sure my name tag
hasn’t turned white again.”
Coplen said she feels very lucky to work for Disney.
“We’re creating this immersive experience that you can’t do anywhere else. It’s a
wonderful thing to be a part of,” she said.
Caroline Coplen is an employee of the Walt Disney Company but any views expressed
in this article are her own and do not reflect the views of the Company.