Disney Jobs

How to Work in the Happiest Place on Earth

Disney World Cinderella Castle
© Rebecca McKay

Disney World and Disneyland are known as the happiest places on earth. It's no wonder many people covet Disney jobs. While some people simply think it will be fun to work in one of these theme parks, others realize how good a job or internship at this prestigious company will look on their resumes. Prospective employers know that Disney provides extensive training to all their workers—known as cast members—and they look forward to benefitting from it.

Once you are hired, you will spend time "earning your ears." In addition to learning the ins and outs of your specific role during this training period, Disney will instill in you its core values, called the "Four Keys": safety, courtesy, show, and efficiency. Cast members are expected to demonstrate these principles whenever they are at work, in addition to following some very strict rules regarding behavior (you must always smile, for example) and appearance (like no visible tattoos or body piercings). While some consider this too rigid an environment, others thrive there.

Where are Disney Park Jobs in the United States?

In the United States, you can work at Disneyland, in Anaheim, California or The Disney World Resort, located near Orlando, Florida. Disneyland is comprised of two parks: Disneyland Park and California Adventure Park. Four parks—Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios—make up the foundation of Disney World Resort. They are complemented by two water parks, a shopping and entertainment complex and a variety of resort hotels. What does this mean for people who are interested in a Disney job in the U.S.? Lots of choices! There are roles in entertainment, food and beverage, hotel and lodging, park operations, and retail and store operations.

Entertainment Jobs

Many people dream of being character performers, either those who dress in fur (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Chip, Dale, etc.) or what are known as face characters (Princes, Princesses, etc.), or singers, dancers and actors in stage shows and parades. There are also entertainment jobs that don't involve performing. These cast members help performers bring the magic to guests. Character attendants escort characters out on stage to meet with guests and supervise character and guest interactions. Those who work in costuming spend their days making costumes for and dressing characters, performers, and cast members.

Food and Beverage Jobs

Full-service and quick service restaurants in Disney's parks and the surrounding hotels employ cast members in a variety of roles. Quick service food and beverage cast members work in counter service locations preparing and serving meals to guests. Full-service restaurants employ servers and hostesses. In addition, professional chefs prepare food for the dining facilities throughout the resorts.

Hotel and Lodging Jobs

Disney guests can choose from hotels and lodging ranging from luxury to motel-style accommodations. Cast members make sure guests enjoy their entire stays regardless of which type they choose. Jobs are available in bell services, front office, concierge operations, guest services, housekeeping, recreation, and management.

Park Operations

Cast members employed in park operations roles provide services in the theme parks that allow guests to enjoy the time they spend there. You can find jobs in attractions, specialty stores, custodial, transportation, lifeguarding, photo imaging, and management.

Retail and Store Operations

Shops that sell Disney-oriented and other merchandise are located throughout Disney World and Disneyland, as well as in cities worldwide. Jobs are available for retail salespeople and managers. If you want to work in a park as opposed to a Disney Store in a city or shopping mall, make sure to specify that when searching for open positions.

How to Find a Disney Job

The following sources list job openings at Disney Parks and Resorts:

Disney Careers: Parks Jobs: This is Disney's official site for employment listings. You can search for positions by keyword and location, as well as check the status of your application if you already applied for one. Be aware that your results might include opportunities that are unrelated to your search. You can also sign up for job alerts.

Disney College Program (DCP): Paid internships working in entry-level jobs in the parks are open to current college students and recent graduates, regardless of age. Non-traditional college students, take note!. College Program participants work in short-term positions that are usually not be related to their majors. While some colleges give credits for participating in the DCP, many do not.

Disney Professional Internships (PI): College juniors, seniors, graduate students, and recent graduates can apply for these paid positions that give them real-life work experience related to their majors.

OrlandoJobs.com: Walt Disney World Resort: Get a list of available jobs and set up alerts.

Indeed.com: You can search for jobs in Disneyland or Disney World. Openings that are not actually in the parks but are nearby may turn up in your results.

Twitter: @disneyparksjobs: Follow @disneyparksjobs to learn about employment opportunities. It includes positions within and outside the parks.

Benefits of Disney Employment

  • You will get excellent training that will prepare you for jobs elsewhere
  • Cast members get free park admission that also allows them to bring in guests except during certain blackout periods
  • Another perk: discounts on merchandise, resort stays, some restaurants, and special events
  • Many cast members are eligible for medical and dental insurance, sick days, and paid holidays and vacations

Some Terms You Should Know

As discussed earlier, whether you are an executive or custodial worker, Disney refers to all employees as "cast members." The company also calls customers "guests." Here are other terms that are part of Disney's special language:

  • On stage: any area visible to guests
  • Backstage: Areas where cast members work behind the scenes, as well as get from one place to another throughout the parks.
  • Utilidors: Tunnels under the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.
  • On Property: Anything on Disney property.
  • Code V: Alert that a guest has vomited.
  • Mousekeeping: The Disney resorts term for housekeeping.
  • PAC: Parade Audience Control