Tag Archives: Disneyland

A Disney College Program How-To: The Phone Interview

26 Aug

Congratulations! You made it through the trenches where most dreams die — the web-based interview! However, you’re not out of the woods yet. I’ve met plenty of CP hopefuls who confidently got to the phone interview and had it all fall apart because they weren’t prepared.

This is the first and only time in your application process where a human will talk to you. Keep that in mind. This is the ONLY time you have to express exactly why you want to be part of this program, why Disney means a lot to you, why you deserve to be working for Mickey Mouse. You get one shot. Make it count.

The DCP website keeps a few questions online to ask potential candidates. “Why do you want to work for Disney?” “What do you think you can bring to the program? Why?” “How do you hope this program will impact your future?” Those questions are just a taste of what an interviewer could ask you.

Know the roles. Disney will consider you for ANY (and I mean ANY) role in which you showed interest. For example, I put a 1 (low interest) for parking/transit, but I hate driving. My interviewer asked if I would be comfortable with my list of interests, and I asked her to remove parking from my selections. She said that’s fine, and I continued my interview with four choices: Photopass, Attractions, Merchandise, and Character Attendant. Read over the role descriptions before your interview and MAKE SURE you’re okay with anything listed under each description.

Here are some need-to-know tips for a great phone interview:

Be prepared. Those questions Disney posts online? Yeah, they actually ask you those verbatim. I scribbled out each answer I had to the three questions and read those answers back to my interviewer. She didn’t see the notepad on my lap during the interview, but she probably noticed I’d thought a lot about why I wanted to work for the company.

Smile. Seriously. Smiling will keep you upbeat and in a pretty good mood throughout what can be a stressful interview. Also, I can pretty much guarantee the interviewer on the other end of the line will be smiling just as much as you. With both phone interviews in two programs, I’ve left my interviews feeling confident and happy rather than petrified and nervous. That’s largely because my interviewer was genuinely rooting for me and I could smile throughout the process.

They’re rooting for you. Recruiters know how incredible a program DCP is. They want as many students as possible to experience it. They want you to succeed. Don’t ever feel like they’re out to get you with a trick question. If you don’t understand a question, as your interviewer for further explanation.

Dress to impress. No, the person on the other end won’t see you. You should still treat this opportunity like a business venture and dress in something you’d wear to an in-person interview. Dress in a way that makes you comfortable and confident. I’ve had people swear they’ve worn pajamas to the phone interview and made it. Congrats to them that unprofessionalism bade well for once. I hope they never brag about that to any other employers, as that’s just a really sad accomplishment. You might as well start practicing professionalism now. “The Disney Look” is definitely something you can get a head start on before your DCP begins.

Be personal. Be the best you that you can be. Disney is looking for individuals rather than carbon copies of Mickey Mouse. They want types of people for certain roles, sure, but they want people whose different backgrounds and experiences can contribute to a diverse and thriving work location. Don’t give answers you’d think Walt would love to hear. Give answers you’re comfortable with and honest about. If you’re truly meant to work for Disney, then your answers will align with what the Company looks for in applicants.

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A Disney College Program How-To: The Web-Based Interview

25 Aug

You want to apply, so now what? Let’s learn about the web-based interview. 

There are two sections to this part of the interview. There’s a general form that Disney uses to make sure you’re not a serial killer. Once you get through the basic eligibility requirements, you’ll receive an email about a web-based interview.web-based interview

It’s severely tempting to think “Ah, yet another internet quiz. This will be SUPER easy!” Don’t think that. Nope. Don’t do it. MOST DCP applicants are cut HERE.

The web-based interview is where you have to know yourself pretty well. You should be honest in your answers, sure, but most importantly, you should be CONSISTENT in how you present yourself. If you say you’re timely on one question but then say you sometimes run 10-15 minutes late on another, the system will notice that inconsistency.

Five helpful hints to doing well on the web-based interview:

Use STRONG answers. You’ll rate things on a scale for most of the interview. Don’t put neutral; you’re effectively saying “I feel ‘meh’ about this.” Disney doesn’t need “meh;” it needs “yay” or “nay.” You either go a STRONG YAY or a STRONG NAY.

Know what you prioritize. Is it safety of Guests? Is it comfort? Is it making people smile? I’ve yet to discover if there are right or wrong answers with this, but I can assure you (and my fellow DCPers will agree) that SAFETY is the number one key with the Walt Disney Company.

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Know yourself “Inside Out”

Know yourself. You don’t have time to debate whether you’re messy or clean (or “dysfunctional yet organized” like myself). They want you to push through the entire interview in about 30 minutes. There are a lot of questions. You have to keep moving.

Be honest. If you make it through the web-based interview, your interviewer in the next step will ask you about what you checked for the web-based portion. Not remembering what you put isn’t a great sign, so being honest and true to self helps. That never changes.

Be confident. You got this.

For an intro about the DCP, check out my last post here.

What questions do you have about the College Program? Leave them in the comments area below! There’s no such thing as a dumb question. 

A Disney College Program How-To: An Overview

24 Aug

It’s that time of year: Disney College Program applications are online and ready for YOU.

Ever considered spending a semester away from the hard desks of college classes and instead working for Mickey Mouse?

I spent a year and a half of my life participating in the Disney College Program. I worked

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Just a regular night at Fantastmic!

Fall 2013 in the Magic Kingdom at the Stitch complex in Tomorrowland. I spent Fall 2015 at Disney Springs (then Downtown Disney) at DisneyQuest. And yes, #disneyquestisopen. I extended my program into Spring 2016 where I worked at Rock N Roller Coaster and Fantastmic! While I stayed an attractions cast member for all three programs, each work location had its own benefits and challenges. I had fresh experiences each and every day.

There are three elements to the application process:

  1. General application.
  2. Web-based interview
  3. Phone interview

For the next week, I’ll be going over each part of the application process in detail. Feel free to leave any questions you have in the comments below, and I’ll answer them in the posts!

Here are some basics if you’re interested in applying:

– Must be at least 18 years old.                                         

– Must have finished your first semester of college.

– Must be currently enrolled in college at the time of application.

(The following aren’t must-haves but seriously help if you have them)

– Enjoy dealing with people. You’ll have new roommates with whom you’ll hopefully bond. You’ll more than likely be enrolled in classes with people very different from yourself. Oh, and there’s that little bit where you’ll probably work with thousands of people each day. I’m not saying you have to be extroverted! I’m an introvert myself. However, it really helps if you have patience with the Guests (and sometimes cast members) who frustrate you.

– Experience being away from home. Sure, you might try to plan a visit home for a weekend, but not everyone has that luxury. Fall program participants will spend Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas without their families. For some, that’s very difficult. There were several people within two weeks of my Fall ’15 program who quit because they couldn’t handle being away from family/significant others/friends.

– Willing to get out of your comfort zone and try new things. You get out of the program what you put into it. If you never leave your apartment fearing Orlando itself, you will be miserable.

– Know and love the Walt Disney Company. No, it’s not a requirement. It helps enormously. I grew up entranced by Disney movies. I vividly remember my family vacations to Walt Disney World. I know why the magic matters in my life. If you can find that connection, it helps when things get tough. It helps when you have days when Guests yell at you. You find the magic in your memories and it reminds you why you pursued this opportunity in the first place.

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Mickey ears are all the cooler when you match your roommates. 

The perks are endless. There’s the whole getting-into-the-parks-free bit. You’ll rub elbows with all sorts of insanely talented people. You have opportunities to learn first-hand from professionals who are the best in the business. You get insane discounts for yourself and your family. You form close bonds with some of the best people you’ll ever meet.

You never know until you try! Apply today!

Applications for Spring 2017 are LIVE! Click here to apply!

Disney Christmas Parade Review – A “Frozen” disaster?

25 Dec

Let me preface this by saying I really REALLY love Frozen (as the Elsa costume hanging in my closet might indicate).

Naturally, when I heard Disney’s yearly Christmas parade would be Frozen-themed, I squeed with delight while bracing for a barrage of whines from nay-sayers and purists who lament the snowball of millions of dollars padding Disney’s pockets. And so, as I sat in front of the TV, I was so excited to see a twist to the classic Disney parade.

That’s not what I got. At all.

After two hours of garbled Ariana Grande juxtaposed with touching reunion blips, the “parade” left me thinking, “What happened?”

Sure, it’s great to see Disney showing off their newer properties. Lucy Hale’s “country-fied” performance fit detail shots of Radiator Springs nicely. Aulani looks STUNNING; not even Disney Channel starlet Laura Marano could ruin the views. (A huge missed opportunity, however, was Samantha Brown’s segments of new and exciting things from the Company. Adventures by Disney could have been showcased extensively in a two-minute segment, but it was reduced to a 30-second commercial.)

However, sparkly close-up shots couldn’t fill the gaping hole in my heart from the lack of Main Street footage. What parade? The “celebration” was an amalgam of performances loosely pieced together with awkward segues (looking at you, Tim Tebow), a handful of floats, and *maybe* a glimpse of a character whose name isn’t Anna, Elsa, or Olaf. Plus, anyone who’s ever been to Magic Kingdom will notice Festival of Fantasy and MISICI floats were poorly converted to Christmas-themed pieces. Clearly, a majority of the budget when to Anna and Elsa’s floats and those 1997-era special effects at the end.

Seriously, guys, Santa is the big reveal at the end.

Why change an excellent structure for one film? It makes no sense to piece together these featurettes with Frozen when it cannot be duplicated another year. Producers could’ve just as easily added Anna and Elsa’s float into the usual parade route, kept the performances (maybe cut Trisha Yearwood’s songs to two instead of three?), and done the traditional commentary from the Main Street hub.

Dancers in Anaheim’s Disneyland Christmas parade. Can we have a bit more of this please?

We get it. Frozen was the biggest box office hit for an animated film ever. It won an Oscar it rightfully deserved. Every parent of a 5-year-old kid has a video of them belting “Let it Go.” Again, WE GET IT.

But what happens next year when Frozen fever melts away and you’re left with an awkward production structure? What movie is going to fill that gap? If this is a new precedent for future Disney Christmas celebrations, it’s a dangerous format to follow.

Hopefully, this was a one-time thing. (Please be a one-time thing.)

Diane Disney Miller, Walt’s Eldest Daughter, Dies at 79

20 Nov

Diane Disney Miller, Walt Disney’s eldest daughter, passed away last night at her California home. She was 79 years old.

Courtesy of DisneyParks blog

Miller was the last surviving member of the Walt Disney family. Walt frequently mentioned in interviews that his two daughters were the inspirations for Disneyland, a place where he could take his daughters when it was “daddy’s day with the girls.”

“As the beloved daughter of Walt Disney and one of his inspirations for creating Disneyland, she holds a special place in the history of The Walt Disney Co. and in the hearts of fans everywhere,” Bob Iger, the Company’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “She will be remembered for her grace and generosity and tireless work to preserve her father’s legacy.”

Miller was the eldest of Walt and Lillian Disney’s two daughters. Her younger sister, Sharon, died in 1993 of cancer.

Miller founded the Walt Disney Family Museum, which opened in 2009, to honor the personal memories of her father rather than a corporate figurehead.

Have a Haunted Halloween! – Fun Facts about Disney’s Haunted Mansion

31 Oct

HAPPY HALLOWEEN, EVERYONE!

Welcome, foolish mortals, to this blog post dedicated to a staple attraction at every Disney park. In the spirit of Halloween, here are some rarely known, bone-chilling facts about the attraction.

1) Haunted Mansion’s backstory is the most complex of any attraction backstory in ANY Disney park.

2) Ever wonder what the Ghost Host looks like? There’s a portrait of him hanging in the knocking doors hallway.

Just in case the corpse swinging from the noose in the Stretching Room wasn’t enough for you…

3) There’s this hidden Mickey you probably never noticed in the graveyard scene.

And there’s also one on the table during the ballroom scene.

4) The Haunted Mansion (or Phantom Manor) at Disneyland Paris was designed to be the scariest variation of the attraction.

It also has the most variation from the original. The premise being a young bride’s father murdered her fiancé, only to have her father mysteriously disappear in a tragic accident. Overwhelmed by grief, the bride believes her fiancé will somehow return and is consequently haunted by a menacing demonic spirit.

And I speak from experience when I say it is a million times darker and scarier than its WDW companion.

5) Who is Master Gracey? Is he the same as the Ghost Host?

Nope, not quite. However, the name was taken from Imagineer Yale Gracey who was a lead designer of the “spectral effects” for the original Haunted Mansion.

6) Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion is already prepped for Christmas!

Well, Haunted Mansion Holidays that is…

7) Your doom-buggy’s backwards fall out of the attic supposedly symbolizes your inability to handle what you’ve witnessed thus far, so you jump out of the attic to your death.

Which also explains why the ghouls are suddenly so happy to see you in the graveyard scene, and might be why the groundskeeper’s dog is so scared of you.

8) Haunted Mansion CMs and Tower of Terror CMs are the ONLY Cast Members instructed not to smile on the job.

9) The newest Haunted Mansion, known as Mystic Manor, in Hong Kong Disneyland opened spring 2013 and uses Danny Elfman-produced score and trackless system.

So friggin cool.

10) In the WDW version’s pet cemetery, there is a headstone to Mr. Toad from Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, an attraction that closed in 1998.

11) Ever wonder how the stretching room works? At Disneyland and Disneyland Paris, guests step inside a carefully concealed OTIS elevator. At WDW and Tokyo Disneyland, the ceiling itself stretches as guests are already located on the base floor of the attraction.

12) Want to get to the front of the queue after the stretching room? Head for the pink lady’s portrait. That’s always the wall that will open, regardless of which room you enter. (This only works at the WDW version)

13) The organ found in the Disneyland version’s ballroom scene is an actual prop from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. All other HM’s organs are direct replicas of that one organ.

 

Happy Halloween! “Hurry baaaacckkk…. We’ve been dying to have you.” What’s your favorite part of the Haunted Mansion? Comment below!

Ten Ways You Know You’re a Disney Cast Member

21 Oct

Cast members around the world are a special breed of people. Working for the company has also given us a special (and at times odd) skill set. Here are 10 things I’ve noticed since working at WDW:

1) You can judge a group just by glancing at its size.

Sure, you always ask “how many in your party?” but you already know the answer. Yes, of course you included the babies in the count when the parents don’t. You’re already prepared when the Guest doesn’t respond with a number and only points to the large group and says “us.”

2) You can’t help but call little girls “princess,” even on your days off.

And when you do accidentally let that slip, her parents look at you like the biggest creep…

3) You can tell exactly what time it is by the fireworks shows around Disney property.

I once had a CM at Hollywood Studios point to IllumiNations and say “Oh hey look! It’s Wishes!” My response? “Nope, there’s too much red used in those fireworks for it to be Wishes. It’s Illuminations. We use more blue.”

4) You dream about work once you go home.

This can be good or bad. I’ve had nightmares about evacuations-gone-wrong on the PeopleMover. I also dreamed Stitch high-fived me before he teleported out of the chamber.

5) You get super-defensive about your job, especially if you work attractions.

Sure, you can vent to your coworkers that you think your ride is lame, but you’ll defend your attraction to the death to a Guest who tells you it sucks and Disney should take it out.

6) You keep tabs on the cool new merchandise and when your seasonal discount pops up, just waiting to buy what you want.

Yeah, I’ll take a pair of Glow with the Show ears and that adorable Eeyore pillow pet, please.

7) The letters “E” and “R” are your favorite letters, especially when put together.

Conversely, the number “101” has the potential to be the most stressful number you hear at work.

8) You know exactly when to hit up your favorite attraction while playing in the park for maximum fun.

Riding Rock and Rollercoaster three times in one hour thanks to the single rider line? Yes, that sounds quite nice.

9) You still fan-girl over seeing characters and friends of characters backstage.

Hey, Prince Phillip. You like pizza? That’s cool. Me too.

10) You get really creative when answering Guests’ questions.

“Oh that line coming from Cinderella’s castle? Well, Peter Pan drew that in the sky for Tinkerbelle to follow. He doesn’t want her to get lost.” “Sorry, guys. Stitch escaped and did more damage than we thought. Come back later on tonight and see if we’ve got the teleportation system back under control.”

I know this is a really general list, so feel free to comment with even more ideas. To my CMs, what are quirks you’ve noticed working for the company?