Getting a Job at Disney But Not For Disney
A couple of years ago, I wrote an article for MousePlanet on how to get a job at Disney. I’ve had responses from hundreds of individuals since who are hoping to job at Disney World. In general, everything I know about working into a job at Disney is really in that article. I really have no further advice on that subject. But I have thought that I could share insight on how to get a job at Walt Disney World, even if you weren’t working for Disney.
Why would you want to work at Walt Disney World when you’re not working for Walt Disney World?
1. You may not get hired by Disney the first time around. Or you may have to wait longer than you want to re-apply. This is the next best thing, or potentially a bridge, to getting into Disney. You may even be a better fit for their organization than for Disney. Let’s be honest, not everybody is a right fit candidate for Disney.
2. They may pay better than Disney, and/or their benefits may be greater. Same applies for scheduling/availability.
3. Some positions don’t exist within the Disney company. You can’t be a glass artisan, drive ski boats, teach golf, build legos, or be a bowling lane attendant for Disney. But you can with these other companies, and still do it on Walt Disney World property.
4. If you are trying to make a break and move to Orlando, it provides you a safe way to make the transition. If for instance you work for a Sheraton hotel in Milwaukee, it may be easier to make the transition to working at the Swan and Dolphin hotel, operated by the same group. You already work for a Speedway gas station in Atlanta, or a McDonalds in Manhattan. It may be easier to bridge over to a Speedway gas station or a McDonalds in Walt Disney World than to try to get a job at Walt Disney World right off the bat.
So this is for those wanting to find a job at Walt Disney World, but not working for Walt Disney World. There are over 30 possible employers. Whenever possible, I provide a link to where you can learn more about their careers or to at least their phone number. If there isn’t a link, I couldn’t find it, so please don’t ask. If you find it, let me know. You may have to reach out to Walt Disney World Casting to learn more (in a few instances, Disney Casting may be assisting with the hiring). Or, go directly to the location and inquire. Your efforts to do so may put you at the head of the line. Many of them take resumes the old fashioned way right at the door. But don’t go during their busier hours.
Here are some of the non-Disney employers at Walt Disney World:
Positions In The Parks
You really want a job working in the parks? Well, here are some possibilities that will put a Disney costume and name tag on your shirt, even if you aren’t receiving your paycheck directly from Disney itself.
Arribas Brothers. The store with those beautiful glass-blown objects, along with a wide variety of other collectibles, is run by Arribas Brothers, who have been in the parks for nearly half a century. They have stores in the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Disney Springs. Plus they sell their merchandise for the Disney Store.
Landry Restaurants. You may not recognize the name, but you probably recognize their restaurants inside of Disney. Rainforest Cafe has two restaurants, including one at the gates of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Yak & Yeti is another inside the park. T-Rex is a restaurant located in the heart of Disney Springs. Landry’s Seafood is just outside the gates of Walt Disney World and Bubba Gump is at Universal’s CityWalk. Others are throughout the community.
Palmas Services. Love Mexican Food? Because if you do, it’s run by Palmas Services. That includes Epcot’s San Angel Inn, La Cantina de San Angel, and La Cava del Tequila. It also includes all of the restaurants at Disney’s Coronado Resort.
Planet Hollywood. Most people link Planet Hollywood to the location at Disney Springs. But Planet Hollywood also has a retail space on Sunset Boulevard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. In the wake of Disney not signing on with Hard Rock Cafe (who would go to Universal Studios instead), Disney signed on with the once celebrity-led Planet Hollywood. It’s still one of Planet’s biggest locations.
Rubio Arts. Again, you may not recognize the name, but you will recognize the roles they play in the Disney parks. For instance, most people have no idea that the balloon seller on Main Street, U.S.A. is an employee of Rubio Arts. Silhouette artists, caricature artists, and those who do the calligraphy on the parasols are all Rubio employees. It’s a family business that dates back to the days of Walt Disney, who granted the franchise to Jess Rubio himself.
Food & Beverage
Bongo’s Cuban Cafe. The rhythm is going to get you at this restaurant owned by Emilio and Gloria Estefan.
Earl of Sandwich. This is a busy counter service facility at Disney Springs. Lots of employees needed to staff.
Ghirardelli. If you love chocolate, you will love this job–or you will never be able to eat chocolate again!
House of Blues. This falls under Live Nation Entertainment. As a chef, you’ll be working with a menu that’s a mix of American and international cuisine. But remember that there are admissions and retail positions as well as kitchen positions open.
Jelly Rolls. Located at Disney’s Boardwalk, this piano bar offers food & beverage as well as nightly entertainment.
Levy Restaurants. Again, not another name you may recognize. But you do recognize Wolfgang Pucks, which has two facilities at Disney Springs. Paddlefish and Portobello are also Disney Springs restaurants operated by Levy.
McDonald’s. If you’re “Lovin’ It” at the McDonald’s where you work at, you may find yourself “Lovin’ It” even more at the McDonald’s at Walt Disney World. The one at Disney Springs is gone, but there is a large one near Blizzard Beach and Disney’s All Star Resorts. Enter the zip 32830.
Paradiso 37. The Taste of the Americas–specifically all 37 Latin American countries–doesn’t have an online place to apply. I recommend e-mailing at firstname.lastname@example.org or applying in person.
Raglan Road Irish Pub. Probably the most entertaining site. You’ll find career opportunities listed under the title: “Work Sucks”. In truth, many of their employees have stayed on since they first opened. When last there, I noticed one individual applying in person.
Shades of Green. Adjacent to Disney’s golf courses is Shades of Green. It’s one of the first hotels Disney built on property. Today, it’s a hotel run by the Armed Forces Recreation Center. Preference is given to those who formerly served in the military.
Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel. Most don’t know that one of the most uniquely designed hotels on property isn’t run by Disney, but rather by Starwood Resorts, known for the Westin and Sheraton hotel chains, among others. It’s also been listed as one of the “Best Places to Work” by Orlando Business Journal.
Basin. Basin is your home for bath and beauty products at Disney Springs.
Harley Davidson. Operated by Orlando Harley Davidson, they have a location at Disney Springs.
Lego. Thought about being a Lego Brick Specialist. If you love picking up LEGOs all day and sorting colors while playing with others who do, then this job at Disney Springs is for you.
Littlemismatched. Footwear, clothes, accessories and more.
Entertainment & Recreation
AMC Movie Theaters. A large AMC movie theater showplex can be found in the heart of Disney Springs. Food & beverage positions as well as ticketing/ushering and other traditional theater jobs can be found.
Splitsville Luxury Lanes & Dinner Lounge. Love bowling? Disney Springs is home to a unique bowling experience that offers not only bowling, but food & beverage as well.
Cirque du Soleil. Ever wanted to join the circus? This unique organization is as fascinating as a work culture as it is as a show. The link here doesn’t send you to the career page, because you need to check out other things about them as you assess your interest in working with them. Remember, there are also food & beverage, admissions, and store positions as well.
Sammy Duvall’s Water Sports. Sammy’s group handles all of Disney’s fun in the sun on the water needs–from parasailing to paddle boards. They also run a retail space at Disney Springs.
Walt Disney World Golf. Disney has some championship golf courses, to include the Magnolia, Palm, Lake Buena Vista, and Oak Trail courses. The facilities are managed by Arnold Palmer Golf Management.
BrightView. Not all of Disney’s horticulture is maintained by Disney itself. Clearly, they do most of the important flower beds and of course, the topiaries. But there are miles of work between the parks and even in the resorts and the parks that are done by BrightView.
Construction. I don’t list any organizations here. I simply note that there are construction projects all the time at Disney–some big, some small.For instance, two contractors, one out of Michigan, and another out of Alabama, were hired for the new Fantasyland Forest project. The trick on these is to find out about a major construction project like Avatar Land (not yet rewarded) and then seek them out.
Speedway Gas Stations. There are three Speedway stations in the middle of Walt Disney World. Use the zip code 32830. Apply to the three listed in Lake Buena Vista.
Mears Transportation. You want to drive a Disney bus? Well, the ones that take you between the resorts and the parks are run by Disney. But the Mickey’s Magical Express bus that takes you from the airport to WDW and back, as well as the Disney Cruise Line motor coaches all run under Mears.
Reedy Creek Improvement District. Thinking of leaving your current government job but wanting to do something different? Most people don’t know that there is a government entity that runs all of Walt Disney World. Reedy Creek Improvement District hires for positions in administration, finance, personnel services, planning & engineering, building & safety, environmental services, information technology, and even emergency services. Yes! You could be a fireman at Disney! But you have to apply here.
That’s the list. Walt Disney World is big. And there are many jobs available, even if you aren’t working for Disney. If I missed one, please let me know and I’ll add it to the list.
You still want to work for Disney itself? Remember, you can always call 407-828-1000, visit their Casting Center at 1515 Buena Vista Drive, or go online at DisneyCareers.com.