Are you a Disney fanatic dreaming of living in the magical kingdom with your idol Mickey Mouse, while brushing shoulders with the likes of Belle and the Beast? This fantasy can become a reality with the vast amount of jobs available at Disney. Whether you’re changing careers or you’re looking to do some work experience while at university, applying (and getting on) to Disney’s internship programme might just be right up your alley.
From working at one of Disney’s renowned parks to building your transferable skills at their corporate offices, here are the ins and outs of how you can get a foot in the door of the most creative company in the world.
1. Know the Basics
To your delight, Disney has one of the largest internship programmes available to young professionals and school leavers. With over 130,000 employees, this mega business seeks to hire fresh talents during the autumn/winter and spring/summer periods every year.
There are two types of internship programmes offered by Disney:
- Disney College Programme: This US-based programme offers a variety of front-line jobs throughout the company’s theme parks and resorts. Participants in Florida are provided accomodation at any of the four Disney Housing complexes which are located close to the property, with transportation included. Those that select the California resort, meanwhile, have housing included that’s located two miles north of the Walt Disney resort.
- Disney Professional Internship: Offered at the Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort and Disney’s Global Studios, this programme is more career-orientated and can be found across a number of roles, including in marketing, PR, engineering, finance, technology, HR, graphics and animation, veterinary and management. Housing is available on a first come, first serve basis.
The length of the internships vary depending on your desired role but, overall, you will need to take at least six weeks to a year out of your studies to participate in your selected Disney internship programme. During this time, you’ll be given real-life projects and will develop new skills and vital contacts to help you throughout your career.
2. Read the Requirements
If you’re ready to spread your wings and pursue a magical career, you’ll need to meet the following requirements for a better chance landing a place in one of Disney’s programmes.
Disney College Programme
In order to get onto this programme, you’ll need to:
- Be a student or recent graduate – you should have completed at least one semester of college or university or should have graduated within the past six months
- Meet any school requirements – in some cases, you may be required to meet certain GPA or grades in order to be successful.
- Be 18 years of age or older by the time the programme begins
- Possess unrestricted work authorisation
Disney Professional Internship
In order to apply for this programme, you’ll need to be an undergraduate studying a similar or relevant subject to the role that you are applying for.
3. Send Your Application
Go to Disney’s job search page, find the role that you’re interested in and click on the ‘Apply’ button. Fill in the application form and upload your CV (in PDF format). You’ll also need to attach an unofficial transcript and a tailored cover letter.
Once you submit your application, you’ll be able to view its status in the Dashboard. If you progress to the second stage, the application status will change to ‘In progress’. If you don’t, however, it will change to ‘No longer in consideration’. Be sure to keep an eye on this.
Meanwhile, don’t forget to ask for referrals. This will help you get noticed, so connect with your alumni and see if they have a contact that currently employed by Disney. If so, reach out to them and share your story with them, and see if they can help you.
Applications are screened by Disney’s hiring team who shortlists the applicants that bets match the criteria. If you pass this stage, you’ll be given an overview of the position, followed by a telephone interview with a member of the human resources department.
If they think you’re suitable, you’ll move onto the final stage of the interview process, where you’ll meet face to face with the supervisor you’ll be working under. It’s important to note that process can differ slightly from role to role, and you may have to do a Skype interview, too.
4. Ace the Interview
Interviews are nerve-wracking, no matter where you are applying, but being prepared will take a bit of pressure off the big day. As you can imagine, the entire process of getting a job at the Magical Kingdom is no walk in the park, which is why we’ve rounded up all the information you need to know.
- Leave a two-hour window for your call: Disney will give you a specific time they will call but they advise that you leave a gap of two hours in your schedule to make sure you don’t miss it.
- Think of it as a chat with a friend: Don’t overcomplicate the call and let your nerves get the best of you. You know your CV and experience inside-out, so you can discuss it calmly with the HR representative, allowing your personality to shine.
- Smile: Even though the person on the receiving end can’t see you, they will definitely be able to ‘hear’ your smile. Treat the call as you would a face-to-face interview and act in the same manner.
- Dress the part: Following on from the previous point, the way you dress will also alter the way you feel. If you dress as if you were going to a professional interview, by extension, you will feel more confident.
- Prepare your questions: Finish the telephone interview by asking the recruiter a few questions. You could ask about what duties the role entails or even about their own career at Disney and how they were able to bag their job.
If you were successful in the previous stage, you’ll make it through to the final round of the interview process. Here are some tips to consider.
- Tell your story: It’s important to share your story in your video or on-site interview. According to one Disney recruiter: ‘I like to ask candidates to tell me about their experiences and interests. We are a storytelling culture, and questions like this let me hear their stories and passions. I also like to ask them why they want to work at Disney. It seems like a simple question, but you can learn a lot about a person's interests and motivation.’
- Be confident: You’ve made it this far because you’re the best of the best; remind yourself of this when the interview nerves start to kick in.
- Be prepared: You’ll be expected to talk about your skills and experiences and how these can relate to the role you’ve applied for. Have examples and scenarios ready of when you used these specific skills.
- Follow up with a ‘thank you’ note: Your work isn’t done just yet. After you walk away from the interview, it’s important to follow up and thank the interviewer for their time.
5. Get an Offer
Once the interview process has been completed, it’ll be a waiting game to see if you are offered a position or not. If you manage to land an internship, you can expect a salary of $8.90-$17.43 (£6.38-£12.49) per hour, depending on the specific role. That’s in addition to the exclusive perks you’ll receive as a Walt Disney employee, which include affordable healthcare insurance options, theme park admission, discounts, educational opportunities and more.
Every miracle takes its time, so if you weren’t accepted the first time around, don’t let it dishearten you. You can continue applying for as many positions as you like – until you find the one that is perfect for you.
Have you applied for an internship at Disney before? If so, join in on the conversation below and share your experiences…
Currency conversions are based on rates supplied by XE.com on 15 March 2018.