Moving up in the company- How to start


Hi everyone! I am a former Tomorrowland Merchandise cast member (WDW), and I moved down to Florida to work for Disney. I had been sick and wanted a leave of absence, but I was unable to get one, so I quit, which saddened me. I still wish that I hadn’t left. (This is super long, and I’m sorry- my main, main question is in the last paragraph, so if you really want, you could skip down to the bold part…!)

But, I’m in good standing with the company, and I’m graduating in a couple weeks with my Bachelor’s degree in Communications. I have applied to other companies, but my heart is telling me to go back to Disney, which was my ultimate plan, but I wasn’t sure if I’d start at another company and transfer, having gained some experience elsewhere.

Ideally I would have a job that requires a 4-year degree, or even one that requires a 2-year degree. I know, though, that it’s hard to get jobs with Disney when you’re outside the company. In March, I applied to three (I think) Professional Internships, but I haven’t heard anything back yet (they have until May 16th, I think, to contact the person they want). I recently applied for a position through, but I don’t even know if I’m qualified for it, but I figured that it’d be worth a shot.

I know that I want to work for Disney, and a huge goal for me is moving up in the company. I know that it’s easier to move up in the company (or even to get hired by the company) if you’re a cast member. So, should I, even though I have a college degree, go to Casting and get a part-time or full-time job, in Merchandise, or Attractions, or Housekeeping, or something like that? How long must you work in a position until you can be eligible to use the Intranet and apply to jobs/move up to a higher position? I don’t want to work in a restaurant. Ideally, I don’t want to do merchandise again, just because I’ve been cashiering since I was 15 and want to try something new. I’m thinking Housekeeping…it is hard work, but I’m looking for something semi-challenging. I’m assuming that housekeepers don’t interact with guests as much as cast members in other roles do, and my major is Communications, so that might not fit in terms of that.

A couple years ago, I went back to Casting, because I didn’t know if I wanted to come back at that time or not, but I figured I’d have an interview for character performer anyway (I had previously done an audition, but I was put on the waitlist and never heard anything back)…I didn’t end up coming back, but I had the same Recruiter as I had for my initial interview. Do you always have the same Recruiter? My Recruiter intimidates me! She’s not mean or anything, and maybe I’d be intimidated by any Recruiter…but I’m just curious, I guess. I’m nervous about the “Tell us about a time you helped a customer” question- I have no specific answer…I was a speedy cashier in all my cashiering jobs, but I’ve never had such a unique experience with a customer that I would remember…that question alone intimidates me. Also, I know that she (or whoever my Recruiter would be) might ask why I want the job I want. Could I just have an interview without saying which job I want and have the interviewer help me out; could she ask me questions and see what would be a good fit?

Do Recruiters, in Casting, really care about your ambitions? If I told her that I want to move up in the company, does that matter? I understand that I need to “start from the bottom”, but a question I have for all of you (and maybe for my Recruiter) is: Do certain roles allow you to move up in different ways? If I go into Merchandise, Attractions, Housekeeping, or whatever else (I’m not quite sure what else I’d be eligible for, besides restaurants, which I don’t want- what else is available at Casting?), would I be able to move up the same way? If I work there for X months or X years, could I move up to the next level, whatever that is, in the same way for each role? I’m probably not explaining my thoughts well. If being a Merchandise Hostess leads to becoming an Assistant Merchandise Manager, would being in Housekeeping lead to becoming an Assistant Housekeeping Manager, or whatever the initial moving-up level is?

Being an almost-college grad, the thought of making $6.90 or so an hour isn’t an awesome thought, but I know that I want to work for Disney, so I need to put in my time. I just really want to know how being a Merchandise Hostess or a Housekeeper will lead to bigger and better things with Disney.
Thank you so much!!!


I really can’t help you with all of your questions but all I can say is to follow your dreams. Do whatever it takes even if it means starting from the bottom and working your way up. Good luck with your job search.


I don’t have any advice either, just to echo what yankeevttch said. Also, welcome to MouseBuzz. Keep us posted as to what you decide and how it goes.


Probably not too helpful…but opportunity will be your strongest friend. Finding the opportunity will depend on the work you want to put into it. As I may not know what Disney has to offer for advancement, I am sure that they look within before they outsource to fill a position. As I am sure you have heard and understand, you will need to have patience. Things will not happen in ‘x amount of months’. Seems like you are going the right route by going to school. That will help you when other opportunities open up down the line. For now, be a hard worker…stay motivated and seize any opportunity (big and small…because people remember that), and most of all be patient.
Best of luck


Thanks, everyone! Grumpy_Medic, when you say seize every opportunity, are you talking about applying for job openings as well as things such as saying that I’ll work a double-shift? I’m married, and I know that my husband wouldn’t want me working unnecessary crazy hours- we’ll never see each other! And my poor dogs!

I understand about paying dues; in California, are there more corporate, or office, type of entry-level jobs? I think I failed to mention this, but my ideal Disney companies to work for are the movie studios (my minor is film), Disney Channel, Radio Disney, Hollywood Records, etc.- media-based parts of the company, or even Disney Consumer Products. I feel, at this point, that, if I choose to work at WDW and try to work my way up, I’d just use that as a foot-in-the-door to try and transfer to another section of the company, in California, if that’s even possible. Granted, I definitely would love to move up in a WDW role, to a high manager or something, and then try and transfer…

I know that it will take years, and what if it doesn’t happen? Not to be a pessimist, but if I got a poor-paying job out of college, on purpose, and didn’t end up getting promoted, I’d be heartbroken (and poor!)…I know that it’ll take hard work and dedication, but does that include working 70-hour weeks? At this point, I’m not sure if I’d sign up for part-time (which my husband would want, so I’ll have a more structured schedule and know that I’ll be able to go to church, etc.), or full-time (meaning more money and less time sitting on my butt at home).

Is it a good idea to work part-time on the weekends, in case I get a more entry-level office-type job at an unrrelated company, hone my craft there while still being a Disney cast member, and hope that something in the Intranet pops up that I would be qualified for?


My biggest piece of advice would be to take whatever you can get to start and then really work hard and impress. So many young people today (and I’m not saying you’re one of them) just go to work to do their job and that’s it. Anything they’re not specifically told to do by a manager is not even thought of. Go the extra mile, care about your company and customers, act like it’s your own business and put in that 120%. You will be recognized for it.


It is obvious you have a passion about your career!

I am a recruiter - NOT FOR DISNEY - but thought perhaps I can give you my somewhat-professional-opinion about the tough job hunt process as well as moving up the ladder.

First, if it is your ultimate dream to work for Disney - GO FOR IT NOW! If you get settled with another company, the opportunity may not come back to you. It sound like you are young (new graduate), and NOW is the time to take risks. Definitely follow your heart.

As far as your question if the recruiter really cares about your abimtion: SHE HAD BETTER! That is her job: to find the best candidates for an incredible company to serve the company’s phenomenal guests. If she places an ambitious person in a dead end job, she’s wasting everyone’s time (including the guest if they receive sub-par service from an unhappy CM). She could be a dud recruiter, but being in-house recruiting I assume personal gain (ie commissions) shouldn’t interfere with her judgement. Even if she irritates you, pretend like she doesn’t! She is your gate-keeper, unfortunately. Lord knows, I probably irritate most of my candidates! :laugh:

Working your way up requires diligence. I have found the most successful people who have risen through the ranks to be hard-working, sincere and ALWAYS give more than expected. Networking is a MUST. Join focus groups and attend any company function/activity/seminar that will help you LEARN about the company and meet people. If you engage and shine, people will notice. FIND THOSE PEOPLE!

May I offer some constructive criticism?! I really don’t mean to offend, but I think this might help you. STAY POSITIVE 100% of the time. A few times in your post, I could feel your frustration coming through. I KNOW the job hunt process is frustrating and it is so easy to become negative. Try your best to keep your eye on the prize and stay positive at all times. I hope I haven’t offended you, but wanted to sincerely help out.

Don’t give up on the process and GO FOR IT!


BC85 – I read in you rpost that you do not want restaurant work, but you also don’t want to make $6.90 an hour. But I have read many posts here from CMs who have mentioned that because waiter and waitress CMs get to keep their tips, they make a ton of $$$$$… Can you just try it for awhile and see how it feels? Then, if you don’t care for it, you can ask to switch maybe?


Ok, Listen to me, because I am a very smart and wise individual. Ok, maybe not so smart, nor so wise, but I DO have some help.

  1. My niece was a Disney lover like all of us. When she graduated from college she started with WDW i her field. She had applied before graduation and went through the screening. My impression is Disney would like you to work for them start to finish. So that you learn to do things the Disney way.
  2. GO to and read the article about Captain Dave(?). He began part time at WDW and is now an Illuminations Cruise Captain.

I hope this helps. Welcome to our world here.


I want to expand on that, Miss Disney, if you don’t mind:

We don’t start at the top or even near it most of the time. That’s actually not a bad thing and it’s good to learn “from the bottom up”. I’d wash dishes if it would get me in with Disney. I know, from experience, that you can move up and rather quickly, and pick just about anything you want to do, if you do an outstanding job. People will notice.

  1. Go to the career placement center at your college and see if anyone can tell you anything about Disney jobs.

  2. Understand that Disneyland and WDW are very different hiring entities, and park jobs are different from corporate jobs are different from film jobs…

  3. How badly do you want this? The best thing for you to do would be to turn the world upside down finding people who have jobs similar to where you might like to be, and then take them out to breakfast (cheapest meal!) and ask them to explain how they got where they are- and how their coworkers came to their positions.

  4. Find out who does the hiring for any position you can think of that you’d want, in any branch of the Disney universe. Set up informational interviews, making it very clear that you are NOT begging for a job at this time, but that you’d love to work for Disney and are exploring different paths. (If Human Resources people aren’t kept busy, they use their free time thinking up annoying policies. :wink:)

It’s not easy. Good luck!


There is a difference between seizing the opportunity and becoming a work horse. You don’t want to do other people’s work (per say)…but you must have a life outside of your work life. Don’t make the mistake that many of us do which is: living to work.


Thank you all for the advice! I’m definitely going to be looking for the Captain Dave article!

I’m an active member of another Disney forum, and I had been posting job concerns for months- I reread that thread, and one of the members mentioned how he thinks that Costuming may be a great fit for me. I had thought at the time that he could be right, and after rereading that today, I figured I’d go for it- my minor is film, and it’d be great to work at the studio or Disney Channel, and I figure that if I network enough and move up enough, I just may end up there. Costuming is working with the cast members, helping them find costumes, and organizing the costumes, etc. Hopefully I’ll be able to job-shadow someone who works in costuming for the stage shows and things like that, and maybe move up eventually into that field…I had started an internship with a fashon company, but it didn’t pan out, but I may ask my manager there about any advice she may have (I can’t sew, though, which this part-time Costuming position doesn’t require).

I have a good feeling about this, but I’m obviously not guaranteed a position.

Again, I greatly appreciate your advice, and I will be rereading through it and absorbing it all!


Good luck in finding that great Disney job!!