Month: March 2016

Boss Tan Lines

Boss Tan Lines

One of the leaders at Blizzard Beach told me to look at the guests feet. If the guests have very noticeable tan lines, they could be a lifeguard. The leaders at Blizzard Beach seem to have especially significant tan lines. Overall the leaders I have met have been truly helpful at Disney. For most positions, there is a three day learning period that ends with a knowledge assessment. Every day during this learning period I was paired with a different leader and learned some useful bits of information such as common issues and recommendations on resolving them. On my first full day being on my own at Blizzard Beach and I was having a difficult time constantly jumping in to help small kids at the catch pool of a slide with a strong current. One of the leaders, probably hearing my consistent whistles, came by to see what was going on. He did not admonish me, but was completely helpful by suggesting that I perform assists with my rescue tube while maintaining my watch over the water rather than stopping the slides and performing full jumping in rescues since they kids were not drowning, they were just struggling to get out of the current. It’s this kind of helpful and positive leadership that I appreciate.

At Disney, entry level cast members can become leaders as early as one year into their career.  This gives them an opportunity to lead others and learn leadership strategies.  Early leadership lessons are vital in establishing a leadership pipeline for companies.  Not all of the leaders I have come across appear confident in their leadership abilities, but they all do seem to want try to be better.  The open door policy seems to be well received at Disney and there are opportunities to talk with people at a variety of levels.  On my first day of training at Blizzard Beach,  I had the opportunity to talk to one of the managers of the lifeguards.  I let him know my strategy and goal to get into a technical leadership position at Disney.  He sincerely said he would help me get to utilize these open door policies to talk to other leaders about technical leadership at Disney.  I look forward to earning my boss tan lines as I grow at Disney.


My First Ears

My First Ears

Understandably, it takes a lot of training to work as a lifeguard for the company striving to be the most admired in the world. So far I have had the following:

  1. Traditions – A full day learning about how all roles at Disney are important and every Cast Member makes an impact to the guests visiting the parks. Also we went over the 4 Keys. This was a very special class where I got my name tag from a very special Disney Cast Member.
  2. Welcome to Operations – Operations is the department that I now work in. This class re-emphasized the 4 keys and goes into detail about how Operations Cast Members make an impact on guest experiences through the 4 keys. Plus there is a quick overview on ergonomics.
  3. Lifeguard License – This is a three day training session that was a little stressful. Apparently a good amount of people fail out of this training. It consists of learning aquatic rescue methods, CPR, rescue breathing, and an overview of first aid. In order to pass, potential lifeguards are expected to perform rescues of pretend distressed guests with an assigned team, pass a written test, and demonstrate CPR techniques for adults, children, and babies.
  4. Forecast Blizzard – Half day overview of the water park where I will be working, lots of cheesy references to ice and snow. It makes me feel like I need to practice phrases like “Ice to meet you.” While the movie Frozen isn’t very integrated into the park yet, I am told it may be coming this Summer!
  5. Welcome to Recreation – Half day overview of the Recreation group within Operations and my introduction to the knowledge warehouse known as the Hub. Recreation is seen as the icing on the cake, the personal touch to the Disney vacation, helping to create those amazing memories and great experiences through guest interaction at the resorts and water parks.

With the exception of the lifeguard license training, these classes have all been facilitated by Disney cast members that are training the class as a side activity for their main Disney role. The lifeguard license training was facilitated by representatives from Ellis and Associates at a Cast Member area called Mickey’s Retreat. One thing that stands out compared to my previous jobs is that everyone LOVES their role. Being around so many positive people is very exciting for me and I look forward to getting more involved!

Getting in Disney

Getting in Disney

I have been applying to various positions at The Walt Disney Company for four years. Throughout this time, I applied for positions close to my skills and experience. I had a few interviews, some of them have gone very well, but no offer. Eventually, I secured a new job as a Logistics Engineering Manager for a great defense contractor in Orlando. For this position, I was moved from Chicago and was awarded the opportunity to be closer to family, warm weather, and Disney. For two years, I have been busy growing my skills and network, but haven’t made it in as a Disney Cast Member yet.

So I tried a different tactic, I applied for a front line job as a lifeguard. I have been a lifeguard before, long before, as in while I was in college over a dozen years ago. Within a short period of time, I finally got the invitation to interview! The process consisted of the following:

  1. Online Interview – more like a personality test asking what would I do in various situations.
  2. Face to face quick and simple interview at the Casting Center! The Casting Center is a beautiful building with amazing details featuring Disney characters and scenes from the movies.
  3. Lifeguard test to verify that I can swim at Mickey’s Retreat, a recreation area for cast members and their guests.

Once I passed those three things, I got the job offer to be a lifeguard at Blizzard Beach. With the support of my family, we developed a strategy to keep my career moving forward and I happily accepted the position with Disney.

Creating Happiness

Creating Happiness

Hello, I am Jennifer!  I am starting on a journey to get to my dream job.  Last week I quit my very well paying technical leader position at the number one defense contractor to pursue a career with Disney, the company whose main goal is to Create Happiness.  I am obsessed with The Walt Disney Company and have a BIG HAIRY AUDACIOUS GOAL to be an influential part of this amazing company and help families create amazing memories.

I have tried the normal way of applying to positions that are equivalent to my experience and skills, but I kept getting past over for internal candidates.  Therefore, I am going to be one of those internal candidates.  I am going to become a cast member, do the hard work necessary to learn everything I can to one day be a great leader for The Walt Disney Company.  The first step in my journey at Disney has me going in as an aquatic safety adviser, also known as a lifeguard at Disney’s Blizzard Beach.

The risk is a little high, but I have worked with my family to strategically secure us financially for a limited amount of time, continue my knowledge growth, and to expand my skills.  I am researching going back to school and get my MBA while also working with my boyfriend, Jason, in maturing and launching his mobile web application, a game currently called American Sleuth.  I hope to gain some database management and marketing experience, our first official team meeting is tomorrow!