March 5, 2009

Reader Mailbag: Working at Disney World

Every Thursday, the JobMonkey blog answers your burning questions about your job search. In past weeks, we’ve talked about negotiating a salary offer, pursing a nursing career, and supporting a laid-off spouse. Do you have a question for the JobMonkey? Send me an email or leave me a note in the comment section.

Dear JobMonkey,

Hi! I am a 17 year old high school student from Germany. I want to work at Disney World this summer. What do I need to do to get a job at Magic Kingdom?


Dear Greta,

I have to tell you that we get a lot of letters like yours. Most of them have come from European teenagers like you, who are interested in working in the United States for the summer.

Funnily enough, Disney World seems to be the place of choice — not that I can blame any of you. It definitely seems like a magical place to work!

So here is the deal with Disney World (and Disney Land, don’t forget about Southern California’s Disney theme park!). Most of the jobs at Disney are similar to the ones at just about any theme park – food and beverage, attractions, custodial, front desk, guest relations, grounds maintenance jobs, and merchandise sales.

Disney also has a handful of uniquely magical jobs, including Imagineering jobs, Disney Catering and Disney Convention Services, Creative Entertainment, and Adventures by Disney Tour Guide jobs. Most of these jobs are not seasonal, however, so you should focus on the first set of traditional theme park jobs.

Despite the U.S. shrinking economy, Disney is still hiring in abundance for the summer of ’09.

And the good news for you, Greta, is that Disney parks are also continuing their tradition of recruiting non-U.S. citizens. Disney officials spend several months overseas identifying, interviewing and hiring seasonal theme park staff. Recruiters are typically dispatched to South Africa, Eastern Europe, Indonesia and the Philippines.

If hired, Disney will procure your short-term J-1 visa work, which allows you to work in the United States for up to four months — perfect for a summer job. Disney employees not only earn a salary that can be as much as 10 times higher than average salaries in their home country, but they also receive health insurance benefits for the duration of their contract.


>>To learn more about the recruitment process, check out this JobMonkey interview with a theme park recruiter.

>>You might also want to read this interview with a past Disney intern, another great way to get your foot across the Magic Kingdom threshold. Here is more information on the Disney Career Start Program, which is specifically for high school seniors and recent graduates. (College students should check out the Disney College Program.)

>>To search for current Disney job openings, visit the Disney Corporate site.

Hope that helps you get started, Greta!  Good luck in making all your dreams come true this summer.

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