Ahh, Disney employment. Disney, the American legend. We grew up watching their cartoons, our parents and grandparents grew up watching their cartoons, Disneyland and Walt Disney World are the twin Meccas of the American Summer Vacation. Could you work there?
Walt and Roy Disney formed the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio in October of 1923, and the rest is history. Disneyland opened in 1955 and did its part to fuel the growth of the Great American Vacation. With the death of Walt in 1966, control passed to his brother Roy, who changed the name to honor his brother’s memory. In 1971 Walt Disney World opened in Florida.
Today there is also Disneyland Paris, and Disneyland Hong Kong (which has one “land” open while the other three are under construction). And then there is the Aulanii Disneyland Hotel and Resort in Hawaii, along with various other hotels and entertainment facilities such as MGM studios, for a total of 14 theme parks around the world. Disney also owns and operates the ABC broadcast television network, as well as cable channels ESPN, A&E Network, and the Disney Channel.
The Walt Disney Corporation employs over 150,000 people, and has annual revenues in excess of 40 Billion US dollars.
Disney offers jobs in over 75 different categories, so we won’t be covering them one-by-one as we usually do. In any case, the vast majority of the Disney jobs available are what are called “Operations” jobs at either Disneyland in Anaheim, California, or Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida. Obviously, if you live near one of these areas, you will have a big advantage.
Operations means you are out in the front lines, actually making the park go. This can be as simple as serving drinks at a refreshment stand, or taking tickets at a ride, or working as a “cast member”, (which means wearing one of those Disney character costumes), it can be as humble as mopping or sweeping, or it can be a complex technical position involving maintenance of rides and attractions, all of which need regular maintenance, service, and lubrication.
Since we can’t cover them all, let’s have a look at what’s currently, (early September 2012), available at Disneyland in Anaheim. There are today no less than 60 openings at Disneyland Anaheim. Let’s have a look at just the entry level ones –
Banquet Server Seasonal, Disneyland Resort – This is a job at the hotel, serving and clearing in the banquet halls. While being a banquet server is a bit different from waiting tables in a standard restaurant job, both jobs use the same skills.
Bell Services Seasonal, Disneyland Resort – What used to be called a bellhop. You work at the hotel and carry people’s luggage. This is usually a good job for tips, but you must learn to be obsequious, (that’s a fancy word for brown-nosing).
Compensation Internship – This is a job in what used to be called the payroll department. Not just processing paychecks but designing and evaluating compensation packages, including benefits. Some might not consider this an entry level job, but all you need is to be a college junior or senior and have experience with MS Access, Excel, Sharepoint and other MS Office apps. That and good math skills will get you in as an intern, and your future is golden.
Convention Service Attendant Seasonal, Disneyland Resort – This job involves setting up and taking down displays and exhibits for conventions, as well as setting up and taking down tables and chairs for banquets. Heavy lifting is required, and the work is often seasonal and/or on-call.
Disney Dining Reservation Agent Seasonal, Disneyland Resort – You take reservations on the phone and in-person, and you enter them in the system. All you need to qualify for this job is to be at least 18, know how to use a computer, and have a pulse. And it starts at $10.65 per hour, more than 25% above California minimum wage.
Disney Vacation Club Associate – This is a commission sales job for Disney Vacation Club, which is a time-sharing / vacation ownership plan. Granted, commission sales can be rough, but if you can make it happen, the commissions can be very good money. All you need to qualify for this one is the ability to work on your feet and basic computer knowledge.
Housekeeping Part Time, Disneyland Resort – This is just a cleaning and sweeping and changing the sheets job, but it starts at $10.00 per hour; how much can you complain?
Laundry Attendant Part Time, Disneyland Resort – Again, a simple job in the hotel laundry, you sort clothes, you wash clothes, you mop the floor. Nothing exciting, but it starts at $10.35 an hour, you could do much worse. All they ask is that you be st least 18 and available to work flexible hours. They also prefer that you are bilingual, but that’s a fairly common qualification in Southern California.
Temporary Full Time Gardener – “Cast Members assigned to the Gardener position are responsible for providing on-going landscape maintenance for the Disneyland® Resort properties and completing work in a safe and efficient manner.” Right, so, it starts at $13.65 per hour. Temporarily.
And there you have a sampling of just the entry level jobs available, at just Disneyland Anaheim, just this one week. There were actually nearly a dozen other internships that I did not list, because they require specialized knowledge or school, such as the Costume Design Intern position, that requires honors from a fashion design school.
Disney enjoys a surprisingly high employee satisfaction rating, based upon anonymous feedback from current and former employees, and a whopping 89% “approve of” CEO Bob Iger.
Getting That Job At Disney
The Disney careers site is at careers.disneyparks.jobs . When you arrive there, you’ll see two bars you can click on. The left one allows you to search jobs by category. If you click that, the two listings for Disneyland and Disney World are at the very top. The bar on the right allows you to search by a specific location. Obviously, there’s some overlap between the two, but those are your two best means of searching. So, for example, if under the Location tab you click on Anaheim Jobs, you’ll then see three pages of listings, totaling 50 or 60 openings on any given day. From there you just click the job you’re interested in, read the details, and click the “Apply Now” button.
And now a few random bits of information that may help you in getting a job with Disney –
- Average wage for a Cast Member is $8.49 per hour, varying from a reported low of $7.00 per hour to a high of $10.00 per hour.
- Associate Intern positions average $16.00 per hour, with reports varying from a low of $8.00 per hour to a high of $24.00 per hour.
- Many applicants report “cattle call” style interviews, where a large number of applicants were brought in at once, and interviewed briefly in rapid succession.
- Some applicants for internships report multiple phone/Skype interviews before a face-to-face interview.
- Sample interview question – “What types of people could motivate you most?”.
- Sample interview question – “Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult guest.”
- Sample interview question – “What types of people do you not want to work with?”.
- Sample interview question – “How do you handle questions you don’t know the answer to?”.
And there you have a summary of at least a representative sample of the vast entertainment empire that is Disney. There are always Disney employment available, (if you live in the right place), the pay is often above market rates, and employee satisfaction is as good as it gets in business today.