Rachel Paige
June 05, 2016 8:03 am

Hello to all the new college graduates out there, and congrats! Also hello to everyone else out there who has not graduated from college yet (or recently) and finds themselves in the mood for a little change in life! Haven’t you always wanted to just pack up your car and drive down to Orlando, Florida and start working at Disney World? Sounds magical, right?

While it does sound pretty awesome, it’s also a little more complicated than just showing up at Disney World and announcing, “I’M HERE!” If you’ve ever wanted to do just that, here’s what you need to do before you move to the happiest place on Earth.

If you’re still in college, you can apply for the Disney College Program

Think of the Disney College Program (DCP) as like a college internship. You can apply to spend a semester “abroad” at Disney World where you’ll work, live, and also take classes — and if you’re lucky, actually earn college credit (but check with your college about that).

If you are NOT currently enrolled in college, you CANNOT apply for the DCP. New grads are unfortunately out of luck. You have to apply for the program while still currently enrolled.

You should probably move to Florida ASAP

Disney gets hundreds and thousands of job applications every single day. The easiest way to sort through them is to look at the cold hard fact regarding location: Are you currently living in Florida? While not necessarily always the case, Disney is way more apt to hire someone already living in the Orlando area than, say, someone living in Ohio. If this is a dream of yours, you might want to consider moving to Florida without a job already in place, and hoping/praying that it falls into line within the first few months you’re there.

Believe it or not, there’s a long waiting-list to get a job at Disney

Remember how Disney gets hundreds and thousands of job applications? They hire a lot of people. They want to hire a lot of people, because it takes a lot of people to keep Disney World running smoothly. Sometimes they get so many applications, and they want to hire everyone, but can’t. So, you go onto a waiting list for a job. There is no rhyme or reason as to when a job call will come for you. It could be a week, it could be a month…or it could be a year. There’s honestly no way to tell. Be prepared to wait.

Unfortunately, you won’t get to choose your first job location (probably)

When you FINALLY get that magical call for a job, you will be told a work location (or, an area). It probably won’t be your first choice. It probably won’t be your second or third choice, either. But if you want to work at Disney, take whatever job they offer you, whether it be custodial at Animal Kingdom or merchandise at Downtown Disney. You can always transfer job locations later, but at least you’ll have your foot in the door!

But, you can transfer, promise!

Depending on what work location you are assigned, if you’re not thrilled with it, there is the opportunity to move around the theme park. You’ll still have to work at the location you’re assigned, from anywhere from three to six months, minimum, and then you can apply to transfer elsewhere. Never give up on that dream job of working the elevator doors at Tower of Terror.

The reality of becoming a princess is closer than you think

Oh, so you want to be a princess? Ignore everything written above, you have to do something completely different to be a princess. Disney frequently holds open auditions all across the country (and world) for princess, performers, dancers, and singers. You don’t have to already be working at Disney to audition for one of these roles. Just show up to an audition and bring enough pixie dust wit you.

The shifts you work will not be ideal

Know back during high school when you worked your part-time job and you had crappy hours, like all the closing shifts on the weekends? Yeah, it’ll be the same at Disney World. You’ll be going into the company that already employees THOUSANDS so you’re going to have to work your way up. Before you can do that, you’re going to have a lot of closing shifts. And these won’t be closing shifts like, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. More like, 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. Because sometimes the Magic Kingdom is open until 3 a.m. because WHY NOT?

It will be very, very, very hot (and also it will rain)

Have you ever been to Florida during the summer? It’s like visiting the surface of the sun. Then, it rains. Know that the weather won’t be ideal, and sometimes you might be standing out in the inclement weather if your job involves any sort of outside activity. Sure, you’ll have a raincoat, but you’re still probably going to get wet.

Be sure to have a little bit of cushion with your savings

As with moving anywhere for any new job, you should have a little bit of savings, just to be on the safe side. You’ll have moving expenses, and then setting up a new life in a new location, and also you’re going to want to buy EVERYTHING DISNEY. Don’t go spending your paycheck all in one place.

It is always going to be crowded, sorry 🙁

No matter where you go, what time of the year, or what time of the day, there are going to be a lot of people. They might be other Disney employees, or they might be guests visiting the theme park. Know that you might THINK you have a short drive wherever you’re going, but then add like 45 minutes to your commute just to be on the safe side. Also, a car to get around Disney World is a very good investment.

The perks of working at Disney World are pretty cool

Most importantly, yes, you will get free admission into the park. You’ll even get extra tickets to share with your family and friends, so they can come with you into the park, too! On top of that, you’ll have merchandise discounts, food discounts, hotel room discounts, cruise discounts…and the list goes on.

Going to work at Disney World will be one of the best things you ever do

Maybe you only stay at the theme park for a few months, or maybe you stay for five years. However long your tenure at Disney World, you’re never going to forget the friends and memories you made there.