Making “magic” at Disneyland and its sister parks takes a big team. More than 130,000 employees work at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts around the world — each of whom is called a “cast member.” Working for Disney comes with perks beyond mouse ears, like free admission to parks and resorts, and charity and education matching programs. Jody Sweet, vice president of recruitment, diversity and inclusion and talent management, reveals what it takes to work at the happiest place on earth.
What qualities do you look for in every candidate?
All of our cast, crew, and Imagineers [engineers who design theme park attractions] across the globe share one vision: to create magical memories for guests. We look for people who embrace that vision — storytellers, creators, and people who are passionate about guest service.
How many employees do you have?
Walt Disney Parks & Resorts has more than 130,000 cast members worldwide. We have offices in North America, Europe, and Asia. There are five parks and resorts sites located in California, Florida, Paris, Hong Kong, and Tokyo — with a sixth destination under construction in Shanghai. We also have Aulani, a Disney resort and spa in Hawaii, and four cruise ships in our Disney Cruise Line fleet.
How often do you hire new people?
We hire thousands of cast members around the world throughout the year.
What types of jobs are you hiring for the most?
I just returned from Shanghai where we kicked off the first of several large-scale job fairs as we gear up for the grand opening of Shanghai Disney Resort. We have more job fairs planned in Shanghai over the next several months as we create thousands of opportunities for people with all levels of experience. We also continue to add new experiences at our [U.S.] parks, which means plenty of operational roles, plus we have many positions in STEM fields like data analytics and engineering.
What do you expect candidates to know about Disney Parks as well as the company as a whole before an interview?
I think it’s important that candidates know what we’re all about: creating exceptional guest experiences. No matter what role they are applying for, they will be an integral part of it.
Where do you recruit candidates?
All of our roles are posted on the Disney Careers website. We recruit throughout the year at many college and university campuses. We also head to conferences in targeted fields like digital technology, robotics, engineering, and creative talent.
Do certain positions require auditions?
We audition musical theater actors, dancers, singers, and musicians [to fill live performance roles at the parks]. All of our auditions are posted on our auditions site.
Do you conduct background checks?
Yes, all new cast members go through a background check prior to starting.
What types of full-time jobs are available for recent graduates at Disney Parks?
We recruit recent graduates for all our businesses — from the culinary arts, to robotics, to theatrical design, to animal sciences. We’re always looking for the best and brightest. We have hundreds of different disciplines and endless opportunities.
Do you have an internship program?
We have all kinds of options for students who want to start with us as an intern. We have professional interns [in departments such as accounting, human resources, or legal], and we also have specific programs for college, culinary, and international students where you can meet others from around the world and get valuable experience. There are different requirements based on the program you apply for, all of which are listed on our internships site.
Are interns paid or do they receive college credit?
All of our internships are paid roles within the company. College credit is determined by individual schools.
Sid Philips is a father of two and a loving husband. He currently resides in Pennsylvania and has been a fan of Disney since his parents took him there in 1980! Sid has visited multiple Disney parks around the world and loves each one!
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