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  1. #1

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    How do I get a professional career through Disneyland?

    It has always been my dream to work at Disney but I also would like a job that requires some kind of degree. I plan to major in business administration or something similar and I would like a management type of job. What kinds of options do I have for that? Also, how do I go about getting the job? I don't personally know anyone inside the company and I know that for a lot of jobs like that it's helpful to know a person who works there. Would the best way be to get my degree and apply for a higher up position or should I get my degree and try to work my way up in the company? Any information would be awesome. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2

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    Re: How do I get a professional career through Disneyland?

    My advice? I'd do the college program, get your foot in the door while you're a student.

    Then when you have the degree, you also have experience at Disney and can apply everything you know in your career.

  3. #3

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    Re: How do I get a professional career through Disneyland?

    I think the college program is a great opportunity. I regret that I didn't do it during college. Unfortunately when I applied there was some kind of screw-up with my paperwork at my school and Disney never received my application. I think that almost all of the people they hire directly out of college are from the program. But there are opportunities to join Disney later in your career as well. I interviewed with WDI twice a couple of years ago to work on Shanghai but didn't get hired, but I still may try to work there eventually.

    Anyway, I think the key is being really good at some specific set of skills that Disney needs. So I think the most important thing is to master whatever you major in and get as much similar experience as possible before applying there. That can really come in many forms, if you're a great businessperson then they'll hire you just for those skills even if your experience is a little different. (Plus Disney is so big and does so much that they hire almost every kind of professional you can think of.)
    The Mickey audience is not made up of people; it has no racial, national, political, religious or social differences or affiliations; the Mickey audience is made up of parts of people, of that deathless, precious, ageless, absolutely primitive remnant of something in every world-wracked human being which makes us play with children’s toys and laugh without self-consciousness at silly things, and sing in bathtubs, and dream and believe that our babies are uniquely beautiful. You know…the Mickey in us.
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  4. #4

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    Re: How do I get a professional career through Disneyland?

    There are also professional internships that you can look into at the disney careers website. That way you'll also be gaining experience in your job field

  5. #5

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    Re: How do I get a professional career through Disneyland?

    Most of the professional positions require degrees, so you're headed in the right direction. Keep an eye on disneycareers.com relentlessly and apply for any and everything that matches your skillset. If you can start low, they'll usually promote from within as I've seen with the people I used to work with in the 90's who are now all leads and supervisors.
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  6. #6

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    Re: How do I get a professional career through Disneyland?

    Quote Originally Posted by CaliforniaAdventurer View Post
    My advice? I'd do the college program, get your foot in the door while you're a student.

    Then when you have the degree, you also have experience at Disney and can apply everything you know in your career.
    Can't stress this enough. They like to train their future employees. I had 3 interviews in the marketing department last month and the managers loved me...they still hired an internal employee ahead of me.

    I am considering going back for my MBA just so I can try and get in with the MBA internship.
    10 year AP holder for Disneyland and finally just upgraded to the Premium pass!

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  7. #7

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    Re: How do I get a professional career through Disneyland?

    Get your foot in the door with the college program and then get your degree in whatever you like. Know yourself and your skill sets to find where you fit in the company. That is what a CM who worked at city Hall told me when I was a teenager.

    Personally, I'd go with a liberal arts degree because I have read that a lot of companies are looking for well rounded people who can handle work relationships well. A lot of things can be learned "on the job".
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  8. #8

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    Re: How do I get a professional career through Disneyland?

    Disney has professional internships you can apply for as well as college programs. A friend of mine did an internship at WDW a few years back.

    When I get closer to graduating I'm considering applying for a Disney internship with Imagineering or Walt Disney Animation.
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  9. #9

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    Re: How do I get a professional career through Disneyland?

    Get your foot in the door as a CM or intern and work your way up. From what I hear, it's very hard to get in as an outsider no matter how much Disney knowledge or love you have. Good luck!

  10. #10

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    Re: How do I get a professional career through Disneyland?

    Quote Originally Posted by DisneyGeekery View Post
    Can't stress this enough. They like to train their future employees. I had 3 interviews in the marketing department last month and the managers loved me...they still hired an internal employee ahead of me.
    Almost all salaried management roles are hired from within. The exceptions are highly trained technical staff like electrical engineers or software designers, but even then there are multi-degreed engineers in TDA who started as Jungle Cruise skippers 30 years ago.

    Jon Storbeck, Vice President of Disneyland, started as a ride operator on the Skyway in the 1980's. George Kalogridis, President of WDW, started as a busboy at the Contemporary Hotel in the 1970's.

    You need to start at an entry-level job and work your way up. Become a Trainer and then a Lead, and then schmooze your way into the Management Training Program (called "Emerging Leaders"), then start climbing the corporate ladder from there.

    Every year there are 10 Million perky college graduates in new suits with freshly minted Business Administration or Marketing degrees all trying for the same cubicle job. If you have never worked at Disneyland and have no idea how the place ticks or what makes it go, you will be beaten out for every salaried job offer by the internal candidate who has worked the front lines for a few years and knows all the inside tricks. Every time.

    Being an AP doesn't count. And in most hiring cases, it will be seen as a detriment rather than a benefit.

    Start in the trenches and work hard for several years. Then work harder for a few more years, and you might make it. There's no shortcut to a cushy desk job at Disneyland. Internal candidates rule the world at TDA.

  11. #11

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    Re: How do I get a professional career through Disneyland?

    Excellent POV and advice Westsider.

  12. #12

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    Re: How do I get a professional career through Disneyland?

    Try to get in some logistics work. Always problems to solve at DL, and many require quick thinking.
    "Here You Leave the World of California Today and Enter the World of, um, er, California Today."

  13. #13

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    Re: How do I get a professional career through Disneyland?

    True to this.

    And there are countless others who were execs there when I worked there who came before Storbeck who started as ticket takers, etc.....

    Sage advice from Westsider.



    Quote Originally Posted by Westsider View Post
    Almost all salaried management roles are hired from within. The exceptions are highly trained technical staff like electrical engineers or software designers, but even then there are multi-degreed engineers in TDA who started as Jungle Cruise skippers 30 years ago.

    Jon Storbeck, Vice President of Disneyland, started as a ride operator on the Skyway in the 1980's. George Kalogridis, President of WDW, started as a busboy at the Contemporary Hotel in the 1970's.

    You need to start at an entry-level job and work your way up. Become a Trainer and then a Lead, and then schmooze your way into the Management Training Program (called "Emerging Leaders"), then start climbing the corporate ladder from there.

    Every year there are 10 Million perky college graduates in new suits with freshly minted Business Administration or Marketing degrees all trying for the same cubicle job. If you have never worked at Disneyland and have no idea how the place ticks or what makes it go, you will be beaten out for every salaried job offer by the internal candidate who has worked the front lines for a few years and knows all the inside tricks. Every time.

    Being an AP doesn't count. And in most hiring cases, it will be seen as a detriment rather than a benefit.

    Start in the trenches and work hard for several years. Then work harder for a few more years, and you might make it. There's no shortcut to a cushy desk job at Disneyland. Internal candidates rule the world at TDA.

  14. #14

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    Re: How do I get a professional career through Disneyland?

    Good stuff to know! Thank you very much everyone.
    does anyone have info on the college program? How do I apply? Is it difficult to get accepted?

  15. #15

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    Re: How do I get a professional career through Disneyland?

    I'm following a similar path to you. I'm majoring in Business Admin while planning to work an entry level job as a part-time Cast Member while attending school. I also did the Disney College Program this year, which I recommend doing if you plan to do a Professional Internships (which I'm doing).


    In terms of getting into the DCP, I found it personally very easy to get into. It will require you however to take a semester off of school to do it. There are TONS of resources (Tumblr, forums, YouTube vlogs) where applicants have chronicled the application process.

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