As I hang up the phone after an interview with a College Program applicant, I reflect on the question they asked me that I have heard a few times before: “How did you get to where you are today at Disney?”. This question comes up often for the same reason I asked it on my very own College Program Telephone Interview. Students want to hear how someone who completed the program transitioned into a long term career with Disney! I always like to say that no one’s journey is exactly the same, so listen to the feedback of others to help yourself make your own Disney story. I hope my Disney story can inspire you to remember: You have endless possibilities at Disney!
I began my Disney journey as a College Program participant in the fall of 2012 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I was an Attractions Hostess at “It’s Tough To Be a Bug!” where I transformed our Guests into “honorary bugs” with the help of Flik from A Bug’s Life. Over the next few months I learned a great deal about exceeding our Guests expectations and how to resolve Guest issues. At the end of my College Program, I returned home to New York where I learned quickly that Disney was calling me back.
I was working for a well-known retail chain as a Guest Service Team Leader and found my passion for helping others and leading a team. This is where I got the idea that a great role for me would be a Merchandise Leader with Disney! I was offered a Management Internship in Merchandise after multiple interviews and moved back down to Orlando in June of 2014. I spent the next year working closely with mentors who helped develop me into a leader that I was proud to be – one that empowered our Cast Members to go above and beyond for our Guests, worked closely with Cast Members to develop their resumes, edited their cover letters with them, and completed mock interviews with them for interview preparation. At the end of my internship, I was offered a position to stay on full time as a Merchandise leader. After I received my full time position, I continued to develop by taking on different leadership responsibilities and I was fortunate enough to be a part of the 2018 Traditions team, where I was able to facilitate our Traditions class to brand new Cast Members. I also began working closely with the Disney College Program again!
I began volunteering for the Disney College Program at College Program arrivals, College Program graduations, and was a College Program point of contact for participants at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I taught welcome sessions for our new participants and I realized after constantly wanting to help and work with program, I should work for the Disney College Program itself! I knew the best fit role for me would be interviewing students for the very program that launched my career with Disney!
I briefly left the company for a year to gain experience interviewing and applied for the Interview Partner role exactly a year after leaving the company, in June of 2019. I have now wrapped up my first season of interviewing, and it is my best role I’ve ever had. Meeting students from all over the United States hearing them share their passion for Disney and why they’d be a great fit for the company always takes me back to the beginning of my Disney journey where the wonderful Interview Partner thought I would be the right fit for this company.
There are a few things I’d like for you to take away from my Disney journey:
- Attend workshops and classes that will help better yourself – whether it be in your personal or professional life. I attended many that helped me make decisions to better help prepare me for my dream role.
- Attend networking sessions to meet Cast Members from all over the resort! We’re over 74,000 strong and there’s so many Cast Members that have some amazing roles you may want to be a part of in the future! Make those connections!
- Keep a clean record card! Your leaders can help develop you, but they need you to be at work in order to do that.
- Share with your leaders what your goals are. They may be able to offer you great advice!
- If someone shares with you something you need to work on, take the advice. You can only continue to grow when you accept feedback and use it to help you grow into a better Cast Member.
- If you get turned down for a role – ask for feedback! I was told I didn’t have enough experience interviewing others, so I went and found a position that allowed a major focus of my role to be interviewing!
My Disney journey has come full circle, and I’m so enjoying where I’m at, but even when you achieve your dreams, keep creating new dreams. That way, you’ll never stop growing!