How To Get A Job At A Disney Theme Park

By Chris Kolmar - Nov. 18, 2020

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If you love Disney and are looking for one of the most unique professional experiences in customer service, you need to consider landing a job at a Disney theme park.

Disney is one of the largest and most significant companies in the entertainment and media industries. There are endless opportunities for excitement and professional growth at any of the Disney Theme parks and attractions around the world.

This means it is no small thing to get hired by Disney. Their “Cast Members,” which is the title for those who work at their theme parks, resorts, and DisneyStores, are held to the highest standards of customer service and family entertainment. It will require skill, effort, maybe even a bit of luck, but to help your chances, consider the following tips.

  1. Location, location, location. Unless it’s part of their college or international program, Disney hires cast members who are close to the theme parks. They will not pay for relocation expenses. Therefore, if you do not already live near one of their sites, you will need to either move ahead of time or set up a local P.O. box.

    If you decide to move, you should have other job opportunities lined up because it is very risky. If you set up a P.O. box, be prepared to explain your situation during the interview process. This could be an asset, as it will show them how serious you are about the position.

  2. Know the Disney mission and align with its goals. Disney prides itself on being a leader in its respective industries. This means they expect the best from themselves and their employees, so make sure to bring ambition and resolve to the table.

  3. Have a family-friendly background. You will have a background check during the hiring process. It is unfortunate, but Disney is not going to hire people who have shown poor behavior in the past.

    This does not mean it is impossible if you have a negative record. However, your resume is going to need to show some sort of dramatic improvement in behavior.

  4. Understand the “Disney look”. Since Disney wishes to promote a family-friendly atmosphere, you are expected to dress conservatively. That means anything considered extreme or cutting edge must be avoided. They take serious pride in their professional appearance.

  5. Have an available schedule. Like any entertainment park, the busiest times at Disney theme parks are during weekends and vacations, so understand that you will need to be available. They will not hire many Cast Members who are looking for traditional Monday through Friday nine to fives.

  6. Have your own transportation. Since Disney expects its workers to live near the theme park, they also expect you to be able to get yourself to work. Many locations are in areas with little public transportation, so having a car is super important to be a dependable employee.

  7. Know your role. There are many types of roles at a Disney theme park. Whether you are in costume around Magic Kingdom, a help desk clerk at a resort hotel, selling gifts at a Disney Store, or helping out backstage, you need to know the kind of role you will be assigned.

    Job type you want
    Full Time
    Part Time
    Internship
    Temporary

    This also means being a flexible team player, ready to adjust your role as needed. Consider this as a perfect opportunity to build up your experience for future professional development.

  8. Know the Disney terms. Working at a Disney theme park comes with its own vocabulary. So you will only help yourself by brushing up before applying.

    A lot of it is based on maintaining the family-friendly performance theme that Walt Disney originally envisioned. For example, cast members call situations where children are without their parents “looking for lost adults” to minimize panic and maximize positivity for the child.

    Another good term to know is for customers, who should always be referred to as “guests.”

  9. Always be in character. Once you are on Disney property, you are always expected to fulfill the Disney mission. Be the cast member ready to provide excellent service at a moment’s notice and never break character around the guests.

  10. Tailor your resume. Disney will be looking for fun-loving but professional applicants. Make sure to highlight experience with working with people, particularly families and children, as well as experience in a fast-paced customer service environment.

  11. Develop your skills. The skills of a cast member include guest service, customer service, safe environment, and communication. Essentially you are to be trusted with handling large groups of people and keeping them happy. Look at your current and past employment experiences and see when you have used such skills.

  12. Be physically ready. Cast members are on their feet a lot. Be prepared to do a lot of walking and energy-intensive work. Many Disney theme parks, such as DisneyLand and DisneyWorld, are in warm climates and cover a lot of ground, so especially during the summer months, you should expect to break a sweat.

  13. Get a referral. There is a special system where other Disney cast members can refer an applicant to the hiring department. This system uses a referral card you will receive. Your chances will dramatically improve if the person referring you is in a management position.

  14. Network. If you cannot get a referral, you can still network. Networking is key to achieving most jobs. Find people who work at the theme park and set up informational interviews but keep it as a casual conversation. Skim through your social group and see if anyone has connections. You never know; all it takes is to start looking.

  15. Meet former cast members. Similar to networking, find ways to meet former cast members. Get their thoughts and suggestions on landing a job. This is targeted networking.

  16. Follow Disney social media. Disney social media accounts, especially those geared towards HR, occasionally post-hiring information, such as interview sessions and job postings. By following their accounts, you give yourself a leg up.

  17. Prepare for the interview. This should be a no brainer. Research the position. Learn the Disney mission and look. Realize that many interviews have classic questions such as “Why do you want to work here?” and unique ones such as “Which Disney character best represents you?”

  18. Treat the interview as an audition. Time to showcase your personality. Disney will want to see what kind of personality you are. You should bring a high level of energy and passion while also remaining professional and collected.

  19. Be unique. Find a way to stand out. Don’t go over the top and say things that might offend people, but don’t be a cookie-cutter applicant either.

    There are many ways to be professionally unique. For example, consider telling a memorable anecdote about why you want to work at Disney.

  20. Research. There is a lot of information from former cast members on there. Read up on their experiences and get an understanding of what a day in the life of a cast member is like. Read up on Disney’s history while you are at it to get a better context to its mission and values.

  21. Have fun. You are trying to get a job at Disney, so enjoy yourself! If you are expected to help bring happiness to others, bring some to yourself too.

Final Thoughts

Disney is a huge organization that offers so much both to its guests and cast members. Many cast members are happy with the roles and responsibilities their job entails. After reading this list, if you are interested and feel like you can succeed in this environment, apply now, and prepare for the magical journey that awaits you.

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Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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