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  1. #1

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    Making a living working at Disneyland?

    I am currently only a junior in high school, but my future seems to be creeping up on me nonetheless.
    Let me just get to the point. I legitimately can't see myself doing anything else but working at Disneyland. I've been going there since before I could walk. I'm too in love with the place!
    But everyone keeps telling me I wouldn't be able to make a decent living. What do you guys think? Would I struggle to get by each month? I'm not one for material items anyway; I don't frivolously spend my money. I don't need to live in a mansion. You know? I think I'd be able to do it. Or am I just being naive? I'd probably still go to college and get my degree in business or something, which could actually help me with getting higher positions at Disney in the long run, right?
    Am I having too high of hopes about this?
    Grr! Your thoughts and/or experiences are greatly appreciated. :-)

  2. #2

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    Re: Making a living working at Disneyland?

    i would say if you're going to college, look in to doing the disneyland internship program. i think that will not only give you a better idea of what it would be like to work at disneyland (which is a far different experience than visiting), but you'll also meet people who can help you figure out what path to take if you do decide that disney is your dream.

    "oh, i just love happy endings!"




  3. #3

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    Re: Making a living working at Disneyland?

    Quote Originally Posted by bisforbrittney View Post
    i would say if you're going to college, look in to doing the disneyland internship program. i think that will not only give you a better idea of what it would be like to work at disneyland (which is a far different experience than visiting), but you'll also meet people who can help you figure out what path to take if you do decide that disney is your dream.
    Great advice

    Remember visiting Disneyland and actually working are two completely different things. That and keep in mind that working in the park itself is very customer oriented, so if you don't like to work with people being in that aspect of the business may not be for you. However Disney is a huge company and has many behind the scenes types of jobs (office work).

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    Re: Making a living working at Disneyland?

    I say follow your dreams! Sure entry level jobs are low paying, but everyone starts somewhere. I agree, look into the internship program. Now would be a good time to check it out.

    I'm semi-retired, and everytime I visit the parks I think I would love to live there and work in Disneyland. I imagine myself driving a Main Street vehicle, part-time, and visiting the parks on my days off.......sigh..... : )
    [Half awake] How many cups of sugar does it take to get to the moon?

  5. #5

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    Re: Making a living working at Disneyland?

    welcome to micechat
    look John Lasseter,he stated in the parks
    follow your dream
    who knows the next Walt may be you...
    Take a look at the theme park models I make at kolbykonnection.com

  6. #6

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    Re: Making a living working at Disneyland?

    Before even college, consider it as a place for a summer job. See what you think by getting a taste, rather than plan a unpredictable life around it.

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    Re: Making a living working at Disneyland?

    To echo what others have said, I would recommend just getting a job there once that's a possibility. That will give you a feel for what the job and the pay are like, and then you'll have a lot more information to work with. There are many incredible things about working for the Mouse, but there are downsides as well. It will be up to you to figure out whether it's worth it

  8. #8

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    Re: Making a living working at Disneyland?

    As others have said, the college program is a good idea. Please, whatever you do, either go to college or get some technical job training.

    Another suggestion: go to college for training in a profession that you can use at Disneyland but can also take elsewhere, if need be. Disneyland has registered nurses, security, lots of technicians, etc. Getting into one of those fields will give you a different way in, and if you find that Disneyland is not for you, you will have some viable prospects for jobs elsewhere.

    One more suggestion I thought of: there have been a number of books written by former CMs. I'd read as many of those as I could. I'd also search for the numerous threads here with input from CMs. A lot of them have important things to say, both positive and negative, about working at Disney and it's good to pay attention to them.
    Last edited by Malina; 10-30-2012 at 11:56 PM.

  9. #9

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    Re: Making a living working at Disneyland?

    Quote Originally Posted by djam00 View Post
    I am currently only a junior in high school, but my future seems to be creeping up on me nonetheless.
    Let me just get to the point. I legitimately can't see myself doing anything else but working at Disneyland. I've been going there since before I could walk. I'm too in love with the place!
    But everyone keeps telling me I wouldn't be able to make a decent living. What do you guys think? Would I struggle to get by each month? I'm not one for material items anyway; I don't frivolously spend my money. I don't need to live in a mansion. You know? I think I'd be able to do it. Or am I just being naive? I'd probably still go to college and get my degree in business or something, which could actually help me with getting higher positions at Disney in the long run, right?
    Am I having too high of hopes about this?
    Grr! Your thoughts and/or experiences are greatly appreciated. :-)
    It's fantastic that you're so enthusiastic about working for Disney. I would recommend that when you get into college that you join the Disney College Program on either coast. That will give you an idea on what it's like park-wise. I can't say that you cannot make a living by working in the parks because I know people who do. The big thing to consider is the fact that many of the jobs in the park are hourly meaning that you may have to work extremely long shifts to pay off the bills. Also, the Disney parks operate 24/7 365 and usually if you work in the park, you will be working on holidays.

    There are supporting roles for the parks, though and in a business as big of Disney, it takes a lot of people with a lot of different skills to run, so anything that you are interested in going into would probably work just right. Majoring in Business isn't a bad idea (that's one of my majors). I'm currently in my last year of college (thank god) and I'm seeking a job with Disney, so I can somewhat relate in terms of trying to get there.

    The best of luck to you!
    DisneyTwins
    Since May 2003

  10. #10

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    Re: Making a living working at Disneyland?

    I don't work at Disneyland in Anaheim, but I do work at Disneyland in Paris. Like someone else has said on here, working at and visiting the parks are two very different things. For your first few days or even weeks you'll probably be excited, I was. I woke up thinking 'Yessss! I'm working at Disneyland today!', but after awhile you loose some of that excitement. When your alarm goes off at 5am, it looses alittle bit of its attractiveness. However, overall I still love working here, but I'd be lieing if I said I didn't look forward to my days off.

    Just remember there's a huge huge huge difference between being a cast member and being a guest. I would definitely recommend working there temporarily during the summer before you make any big decisions.

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    Re: Making a living working at Disneyland?

    Agreed with all of the posters above.

    It sounds great to work there but an entry level job can only carry you so far. Although Lassiter ( and many other famous people ) once worked there, they also got bigger and better. Getting a college degree and having a plan to be further along is a must for surviving life in general.

    If I could do it over again I'd get a BA in mechanical engineering and then work as a CM until ( after years of applying ) I might actually land a job as an Imagineer. Even then, I've talked to a former Imagineer and he said that job isn't for life either. It's a rotating door of people coming and going.

    Have a plan. Have a backup plan. Let yourself dictate the change, otherwise the change dictates what happens to you. ( cutbacks, etc. )

  12. #12

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    Re: Making a living working at Disneyland?

    I worked at Universal through high school, thinking it would be the coolest thing ever...it wasn't haha. Walking through the area I worked through on visits just became sorta stressful, and Universal isn't even as 'magical' as Disneyland. I'd say definitely get your degree first so you can get a higher-level job so as not to ruin the magic by being in food service 40 hours a week in your favorite place on earth.

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    Re: Making a living working at Disneyland?

    Working for Disneyland is fine as a summer job. Just do it. Figure it out. I've done it. My friends have done it. BUT it isn't a career.

    I worked there for 2 seasons. It was a fun experience. You'll enjoy the perks like employee discounts and free entry, but the pay was ridiculously low. It is fine as long as you're living at home. Working outdoors gets old fast. Getting fresh air is nice, but to do this for hours is hard on your system.

    Work on your career. There are plenty of jobs at Disney for highly skilled people. Eventually, you do want to be John Lasseter. He didn't stay long at attractions. No one stays long for their first jobs. If you do, something is wrong with you. Heck, I moved around a lot for my professional job. You might need to work for other competing companies. Companies do want varied experience from their candidates.

    Don't be a superfan at work. It can work to your advantage as a dedicated worker. It can also work to your disadvantage as organizations are political. Avoid political battles or perhaps let them work to your advantage.

    I legitimately can't see myself doing anything else but working at Disneyland.
    Just a warning. Working there can ruin the best experience you had of your visits to the park. You'll never see the place in the same way again.

  14. #14

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    Re: Making a living working at Disneyland?

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenW View Post
    Working for Disneyland is fine as a summer job. Just do it. Figure it out. I've done it. My friends have done it. BUT it isn't a career.

    I worked there for 2 seasons. It was a fun experience. You'll enjoy the perks like employee discounts and free entry, but the pay was ridiculously low. It is fine as long as you're living at home. Working outdoors gets old fast. Getting fresh air is nice, but to do this for hours is hard on your system.

    Work on your career. There are plenty of jobs at Disney for highly skilled people. Eventually, you do want to be John Lasseter. He didn't stay long at attractions. No one stays long for their first jobs. If you do, something is wrong with you. Heck, I moved around a lot for my professional job. You might need to work for other competing companies. Companies do want varied experience from their candidates.

    Don't be a superfan at work. It can work to your advantage as a dedicated worker. It can also work to your disadvantage as organizations are political. Avoid political battles or perhaps let them work to your advantage.

    Just a warning. Working there can ruin the best experience you had of your visits to the park. You'll never see the place in the same way again.
    To the OP: Steven's post is 100% sound advice, all of it -- but particularly the last two paragraphs.
    "With the acquisition of Marvel and now of Lucasfilm,
    Disney may have finally found the grail. You don't need
    imagination or art. All you need is a brand."

    - Neil Gabler


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    Re: Making a living working at Disneyland?

    My daughter is a lifelong Disney fan, and we've had similar conversations. She's a fantastic artist (in my opinion, of course), and really wants to work in the animation dept. at Disney. Her original plan was to complete college with an animation degree and work for Disney for the rest of her life. After much research into the company and asking people who work in similar positions, her plans have changed.

    Now she is double-majoring to keep her options open. She'll still apply to be a Disney animator, but doesn't think it will be a lifelong career.

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