06-08-2012, 09:17 AM
I am thinking about working at Disney and just wondered if anyone on this board, from the UK, has ever worked there? And what was it like?
I just need some general tips about how you go about applying there and if it was worth it?
06-08-2012, 12:53 PM
I worked at WDW for 3 months during the summer last year. I went as part of Disney's International College Program, where students all over the world can work for a number of months at WDW. There is a thread on the UK Trip Planning board about wondering what it's like to work at WDW, and I posted a bit about my experience there (2nd post). There are also some experiences from other past UK cast members too. Here's the thread:
It was honestly the best 3 months of my life, and I would give anything to be back there doing it all again. It's almost a year since I left the UK to head there :scared1: If you can do it, you will never, ever regret it. The experience changes you and I honestly believe that everyone comes back from it a much more confident and happy individual! The care and ethos of the company is nothing like I will ever experience again, but I have taken a lot from it, and now sort of find myself living by the 'Disney Basics'!
Unfortunately, there's only really a few ways a UK national can work for WDW (apart from marrying an American, getting a green card and becoming a US citizen and then working for WDW - believe me, I've considered that !!! :rotfl:)
The first way is through the INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE PROGRAM which is what I did last summer. This is only a 3 month placement and cannot be extended (unlike the American College Program which is for American students in college) and always takes place during the summer. The requirement for this is that you HAVE TO BE A STUDENT at the time of application. Are you at university at the moment?
The applications for this normally open around a year before the summer that you apply for, so I'm assuming they will open for next year over the next month or so. For myself, applications were open June - Oct 2010, and I went in June 2011.
The next option is becoming a part of Disney's CULTURAL REPRESENTATIVE PROGRAM. This is where, as a UK national, you will go to WDW and represent the UK in the World Showcase for one whole year in Epcot. This obviously limits the roles that you can do - as part of the international college program you can get allocated any role within any park (you do get to state preferences if you get through to an interview), but as part of the CRP you will only be working in the UK pavilion in Epcot - so either food and beverage or merchandise. Of course, there's not a problem with that - I would love to do it!! There are no sort of requirements for this - I think you just have to be a UK national. You don't have to be a university student like the ICP.
The final way that I am aware of is the ACADEMIC EXCHANGE EXPERIENCE. As far as I know though, this is only available to a very limited number of university students. It's where students doing things like tourism/hospitality courses in CERTAIN universities in the UK, can apply to do one of their placements for their course in WDW. This lasts for around 6 months I believe, but like I say, you have to be studying a certain course and in certain universities.
So those are the three ways. And just a little bit more info: for all the cast members on the above mentioned programs, Disney will provide accommodation for you. They own four apartment complexes just 'off-site' - ranging from one bedroom (2 people) to four bedroom (eight people) apartments. Yes, you will be sharing a bedroom - but this is all part of the fun! The complexes are lovely, and all have pools, and club houses etc. Disney also provide special cast member buses from these apartment complexes for pretty much anywhere on Disney property. The rent for the apartment automatically comes out of your pay cheque every week, so technically you don't have to worry too much about it. Out of the four complexes, one complex (The Commons) is only for those cast members on the cultural rep program. The other complexes are for everyone else - people from all countries can apply for these programs, so you would be living with people from all over the world, not necessarily with people from the UK.
You can of course try and sort out your own apartment, but that's a major hassle for someone who is going to be there a relatively short time. Plus you wouldn't have transport and Disney housing activities included then either... :confused:
Another thing: you won't make big money working for WDW. Minimum wage is not great there - I was making under £5 an hour there last year. You'll also find that, any money you make every week in your pay cheque will be spent back in Disney, as that is pretty much where you spend all of your free time haha ;) to be honest though, I think I would have worked for free - I just loved it too much! Also be aware, that you need to fund your own flights to and from Orlando, and you need to apply and fund your own visa which is over £100. You also have to pay a £100 administration fee to Disney if you get the job.
There is only one company that you will be able to go through in the UK if you want to work for Disney, and that is YUMMY JOBS (http://yummyjobs.com/).
Their web pages for the different programs are:
Academic Exchange: http://yummyjobs.com/opportunities/programmes/13/disneys-academic-exchange-experience/
Disney also has an 'International Programs' website (https://www.disneyinternationalprograms.com/) which is a good place to get an overview of the things that you may be eligible for. However, when you want to apply for anything on there, they will direct you to Yummy Jobs.
So that's a whole bunch of info for you! I wish you all the luck in the world if you choose to apply for something - I wish more people could experience working for WDW because it literally is life changing!! In the run up to my 'program' I kept a blog (link in my signature below), which contains lots of info about the application process and the 6 months preceding my program, so check that out if you'd like! I also intended to keep it up whilst I was working for WDW, but life was so manic. Working for WDW is no holiday; you will be working long hours, and any spare time you have will either be spent sleeping, cooling off in the pool, or more than likely, spending it in the parks (for free!!!)!!! So that meant I only managed to blog up until my 3rd day :rotfl: However, I fully intend on catching up as I kept a diary whilst I was out there, so keep an eye out for any updates!
Hope that helps! And any more questions, then feel free to ask away :)
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