How long does the process take?
Now the short answer is that there is no short answer to how long it may take from the moment you apply until you actually arrive in Walt Disney World. The minimum amount of time it may take is 3 months (very rare), the average is about 9 months and the maximum could be as much as 15 months! There's lots of factors that effect how long you may be waiting during each stage of interview and then there's the wait list (which most people will find themselves on at some point. Check out The Result page when you're ready for more info).
Let's look at an example timeline (keyword: example). Let's imagine that 'Stacy' has applied for the first time and is successful, this is what her process might look like:
- AUGUST 1st: Stacy submits her application on the first day applications are open.
- AUGUST 31st: Applications close.
- SEPTEMBER 15th: Yummy Jobs email Stacy to tell her that she has a pre-screen interview.
- OCTOBER 6th: Stacy attends her pre-screen interview at the Yummy Jobs offices.
- OCTOBER 20th: Yummy Jobs email Stacy to say that she's invited to a face-to-face interview.
- NOVEMBER 17th: Stacy attends her face-to-face interview at the Disney offices in London.
- DECEMBER 5th: Stacy's friend gets a start date of March 13th but she herself is told she's on the waitlist and that she'll hear more in April.
- APRIL 7th: Stacy is offered a program that starts on October 1st.
- AUGUST: 12th: Stacy attends the US embassy to get her visa.
- SEPTEMBER 30th: Stacy flys out a couple of days early.
- OCTOBER 1st: Stacy checks-in to Disney housing and her program begins.
So you can see how this process may take a lot of waiting. The application process alone takes about 3-4 months before you even factor in waiting for your program to start or the added wait of the wait list. So again, this is just an example and this may be very different during your own experience. I say this not to deter you from applying but rather so you're aware of what's likely ahead.
The Application Form
- Qualifying questions – Here you’ll be asked some quick questions to see if you’re eligible for the program. These include whether you speak fluent English, if you’re over 18 and if you hold a passport for the relevant pavilion that you’re applying for (e.g. Canada or UK).
- Basic Information – Your name, date of birth, address etc. as well as being asked to create a Yummy Jobs account.
- Profile Photo – So that the Yummy Jobs team can effectively see you as a person, you’ll need to upload a portrait photo of you against a BLANK background (That does not mean a bush or Magic Kingdom... Just one solid colour). Yes you can smile and I think it’s good to do so. Also try to look conservative as that is what they will expect of future Disney cast members (hair out of your face, no hats, no sunglasses, no piercings or extreme hair colour).
- Contact Information – Some more basics like your phone number, your emergency contact and address.
- Education – This is where you enter whether you’ve attended a university (don’t worry you can just put not applicable if you haven’t) and your relevant grade. As well as giving you space to add your secondary/higher education and relevant grades. (Don’t worry this will not solely determine your success)
- Work Experience – Here you can add your RELEVANT and RECENT terms of employment. It’s not necessary to list every job you’ve ever had as your CV is likely to have already covered that. However do include your current or most recent employer and a relevant experience to food and beverage and/or merchandise. It’s here you’ll be asked for dates of employment (estimate if not sure) and you’ll be asked to give detail of your responsibilities in 500 words or less. It may be a good idea to copy the responsibilities you may have described on your CV already.
- Date of Availability – The earliest date at which you would be able to depart for your program. If it’s as soon as possible, list todays date.
- Additional Questions – Here you’re likely to be asked a couple of questions like “Why do you value cultural exchange and interaction?” and “Final comments?”. Two questions which have been designed to make you think on your feet. The first one is effectively asking you ‘Why would you like to share/enjoy sharing your culture with guests at Disney?’ and the second is kind of asking ‘What makes you unique and what do you have that others may not?' If a question throws you off, just try rewording it and see if you can put yourself in the recruiters shoes in seeing what they're asking for. All the questions asked will be seeing if you're right for the ROLE and not necessarily just Disney, so bare that in mind.
- Documents – Here is where you upload your CV and cover letter, look above for some tips on writing your CV and cover letter.
- Previous Visa – You’ll be asked if you have worked in the USA before and if the answer is yes, you’ll be asked to upload a scan of said visa (if you have more than one, just upload your most recent).
- Passport – This section is “optional” however it is only optional as some people may not have their passport at the moment, may have never had one or it is currently being replaced or processed. So if you have your passport, do upload a scan of it and fill in the necessary information of it’s issue/expiry dates, passport number etc.
- The mother load: “What motivates you to apply for this program?” The key question in your application, it’s this that could be the make or break. I don’t say it to scare you, I say it so that you take it seriously. Be sure you say WHY you want the opportunity and what the program will do for you. Seriously think about it as a passion for the role and the company is key. Whatever you do, do not say that you want to get out of home because they're looking for people who will be passionate about where they're from and interested in speaking to people from all over the world.
- Previous Disney / Yummy Jobs Experience – Here you’ll be asked whether you’ve worked for the Disney company before, whether you have completed a Yummy Jobs program before and where you heard about Yummy Jobs.
- TAH DAH! – You’re done, hit the submit button and you’re on your way. I would recommend doing the application all at once when you've got some time but you do have the option to save what you've written so far and return at a later time if you'd prefer.
I Want to Increase My Chances!
Submitted your application already? Have you heard back and you’re going to pre-screen? Make sure you view the Pre-Screen advice page to get ready.
So, you'd like to work or you're at least considering working in Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida!
Here I'll show you what the application process is like for Disney's Cultural Representative Program and even give you some tips for your application.
Know that following the application stage there is a pre-screen stage and a face-to-face stage before you may get offered a space on the program. As such, I advise you have patience from the offset.
Am I Eligible to Apply?
In order to be eligible for Disney's Cultural Representative program, you must meet these requirements prior to applying for the program.
And that's it! No need to have gone to university, no need to have taken certain subjects in school and no need to have a visa already!
How do I Apply?
Yummy Jobs is Disney's in-land recruiter for the UK Cultural Representative Program. It's with Yummy Jobs you'll submit your application and (pending success in application) you'll proceed to a group interview and presentation known as Pre-Screen.
Applications are only open twice a year and typically stay open for 2-3 weeks. It's a good idea to Click Here to view the information on the Yummy Jobs website and see if there's any news on when applications will be opening or if they're open now!
What Should My CV Look Like?
Should I Write a Cover Letter?
In regards to your CV, it’s a huge part of what they’re going to base their decision on for pre-screen. About 4,000 applied in 2012 and only 200-300 got selected for pre-screen, so it is competitive.
You must be honest, but if you’re a good communicator, bubbly, friendly, multi-tasker or fast learner, then make sure you put it in there. Simple things like having someone else read it, spell check, checking your grammar and the layout are important. But they want to get an idea of your personality, so make sure you cover it well. The roles available are food and beverage and merchandise, so any experience in these fields should be a main focus within your CV.
Your CV also needs to remain completely professional. Yes you’re applying for Disney and the place where dreams come true… However just like any employer, they’re looking for friendly and professional individuals. Conducting your CV in a professional manner means that you’re mature and you’ve taken the time to impress them. With that professional tone, include an idea about your personality and some of your best selling points. Throw in your interests for good measure, especially if they're related to hospitality and the disney company in any way.
In short YES! The purpose of the cover letter is to sell your personality and your passion as to why you’re a great fit for the company and the role. This is when you can let your Disney Keeno run wild.
Write your CV in Word or Pages then you'll have the opportunity to upload it during the application. Feel free to spend as much time as you want before the applications open writing your cover letter and CV.
Three things that make a good cover letter (you can use these to structure 3 paragraphs):
Don’t forget to structure it like a formal letter addressing it to “Sir or Madame” including your address at the top right, the date at which you’re sending it and finishing it with “kind regards” and your full name.
The cover letter is when you can be a bit more creative in your love for Disney. It's important to not get carried away but you can certainly sprinkle some Disney magic into it. Think about why you love the company, why you love sharing your culture and what you'd hope to gain from the program.
As I mentioned on my last blog post, I have been accepted onto the UK Disney Cultural Exchange Program and will be a Walt Disney World Cast Member for Summer 2016.
I wanted to create a record of the entire experience for myself to look back on and in the hopes that it would help any future applicants.
In order to apply, I first had to fill in an application form on the Yummy Jobs website. Yummy Jobs is the recruitment partner for Walt Disney International Programs. Applying directly through the Disney website isn’t of any benefit if you are a UK participant, as all applications are processed through Yummy Jobs.
Online Application consists of:
- Headshot – make it smiley! 😀
- Personal details/contact information
- Work Experience
- Answering two additional questions
- Why do you value cultural exchange and interaction?
- I used examples from my gap year
- Explained how I had benefited from cultural exchange/interaction
- Discussed my degree
- Discussed importance international friendships
- What is your motivation for the program?
- Wanting to give back to Disney as a cast member
- My experience in performing at Disneyland Paris
- Insight into Disney’s business philosophies
- Working in a different country/exchanging culture
- Helping to make Disney guests dreams come true
- Why do you value cultural exchange and interaction?
- I highlighted keywords that Disney look for in bold, which is useful when Yummy Jobs are scanning your application
- Cover letter
- Use this as an opportunity to say anything you haven’t been able to say so far in the application and to sum up the key points that you may have already touched upon
- Prepare your answers in advance
- Read over them and edit them
- Get friends and family to read them
- Check for spelling mistakes
- Think about why you want to take part in the program
- Don’t forget to emphasise the cultural exchange element
- Think about what Disney wants in a castmember and make sure you have examples of this throughout your application
- Watch lots of Disney ICP/CEP/DCP blogs
- The online application is where the largest amount of applicants get cut, so make sure you spend time perfecting your application
If you have any questions, click here. But feel free to ask anything in the comments below.
Good luck! 😀