As much as I wish this was a current job (sob), this post is about how I got a job working at Walt Disney World in 2015! (Just a quick note that these photos were taken in 2015, so the quality isn't amazing! I apologise!) I thought it would be appropriate to share this post now, as Yummy Jobs (the company I applied with to work at Disney) have just announced that they are restarting the Cultural Exchange Program for people to fly out this summer! The link to their website is here in case anyone is interested in applying.
Quick disclaimer though - my experience was obviously 7 years ago, so the whole process may be completely different now, especially post-COVID!
In my final year of university, I decided that I really wanted to do some sort of work abroad program. It would be the only time I could do something like that (without having any real responsibilities!) so I really wanted to go for it and do something for myself. I'd been to a lecture at university about Camp America and was planning on applying to that, but then a friend at my part-time job mentioned the Disney Cultural Exchange program. He'd been the year before and loved it, so he was talking about how amazing it was and basically sold it to me! I've always been a massive Disney lover and it was always a dream of mine to go to Disney World, so I thought, why not try and work there?
The program was called the Cultural Exchange Program, and was a 3 month program which took place in the summer. To apply, you had to be a current university student. I went online and found out I had to apply through a company called Yummy Jobs who dealt with UK applicants. I found loads of blogs and YouTube videos with advice on applying and chatted with my friend who had already been. There was also a Facebook group for hopeful applicants, which proved to be very useful! This is why I wanted to write this blog post myself - as I found other people's blogs and YouTube videos really helpful when I was applying.
I sent off my application, which was a basic form with a personal profile and an essay about what Disney meant to me and what cultural exchange meant to me. I remember agonising over this for hours, wondering what to write, what they'd want to read, how to sell myself... in the end, I just wrote from the heart and prayed that my passion came across. Then became a waiting game to find out if I'd gotten through to interview!
INTERVIEW 1 - YUMMY JOBS
The first interview was at Manchester Metropolitan University. I remember being SO nervous and excited! I got the train in and met up with some other applicants from the Facebook group (including Alice who ended up being my roommate for my program!) and we headed over together. The Yummy Jobs representatives gave us a talk about what the program was like, gave us a Disney quiz and then it was time to be interviewed. We were interviewed in groups (which is really hard!) and they asked questions about various roles and ways we'd deal with certain situations, as well as the standard 'Which Disney character would you be and why?' Like I said, it was really hard because you don't want to be the person talking over everyone and interrupting people, but you also want to stand out and not be silent! Once this was over, it was then another few-week wait to find out if we'd gotten through to the next stage.
INTERVIEW 2 - THE WALT DISNEY HEADQUARTERS
Woohoo, I'd made it to the second round of interviews! This time I was invited to The Walt Disney Company Headquarters in London! I remember this being such a big deal. I went with some applicants I'd chatted to last time (including Alice!) and we went in together. After waiting in the waiting room with a giant silver glittery Mickey Mouse statue, we were given passes and different times in the day for our interviews. They told us that we could either wait there for our chosen time or return later. As our times were hours away, we decided to explore London instead, making sure to visit the Disney store for maximum excitement! When it was time for our interviews, we went in individually and had our interviews with the Disney recruiters (who were lovely!) They were so friendly and chatty, so I remember thinking it was so much easier than I'd built it up in my head. They asked about my work experience, what Disney meant to me, what my views on cultural exchange were and why it was so important etc.
Then was a huge waiting game of a few months, constantly checking my emails, reading everyone's posts in our Facebook group asking if anyone had heard...
THE EMAIL On December 19th 2014, late at night, the email finally arrived. I'd been selected to take part in a Disney program! I remember screaming and running in to my mum's room to tell her. I couldn't believe it! Our arrival date was 2nd June 2015, so I had quite a while to wait, but I remember being so excited and it was all I could talk about for months.
And that's the story on how I got my job at Walt Disney World! Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the Cultural Exchange Program was cancelled, but Yummy Jobs have literally just announced that it is returning! It was the best experience of my life and I'm so glad I did it. It taught me so much more than I ever thought it would, and I'd give anything to go back and relive it.
I do have some other posts about my time at Disney planned, like about my arrival week, how I found out what my job was and where I lived for the duration of my program, but I thought this would be enough for one post! Let me know what you think below.