How I Worked for Disney World: The Application Process


August, 2015, I made the decision to apply for The Disney College Program; an internship where you get paid to live at Disney World and work in theme parks… well kind of. I didn’t live at Disney World exactly, I lived off-property, but the apartments were owned by Disney!

My older brother worked for Disney for almost two years before I did and when I was younger, he told me that I could work for Disney when I was older. I was elated, I always loved the theme parks as a kid, so I figured working there would be just as magical. I grew up performing in theatre and people always told me I should work as a character in theme parks when I grew up.

So, when I was 5 months away from receiving my Associates Degree, I had no idea what I wanted to do next in my college career, but I did know that I loved to perform and I wanted to travel. I found out I was eligible to apply for the Disney Internship because I was still enrolled in college full time, so I took the chance and applied.

The Disney application process is rigorous and has three steps. The first step is a background check and making sure your college makes you eligible to participate, since some two year colleges are not.

After I passed the first step I was invited to a Web Based Interview (WBI, for short). This interview was timed to one hour and consisted of over 100 questions where I needed to answer somewhere between ‘very likely’ to ‘not very likely.’ I wanted to make sure I had strong answers during this process, so I tried not to answer neutrally. Most of the questions were along the lines of, “How would you rate the messiness in your room,” “How well do you work with others?” and “How well do you deal with stressful situations.” About thirty minutes after I took the WBI, I received a notification to schedule my phone interview, which was the last step to the interview process.

A week later I was on the phone with a Disney representative. The phone interview lasted about 25-30 minutes with my interviewer asking me situational questions, and why I wanted to work for their company. I made sure to remain professional and answer all my questions honestly. About two months later I received an email saying I would be working for Disney World and my start date would be February, 2016. I packed my belongings and on February 9th, 2016, I moved into the Disney apartments and started my job working on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom Park in Orlando, Florida.

Before I applied for the Disney college program, I attended a character (fur costumed characters and face characters) audition in NYC but unfortunately did not make it past the first round.

My job was simple at Disney; I was the Parade Audience Control, which meant I walked outside from the front of the park all the way to the castle and made sure the guests and families watching the parades and shows were safe. I also answered guest questions, maintained walkways during fireworks and parades, and played games with kids before shows. My job was special because I wasn’t indoors all day, and I got the chance to watch the fireworks, stage shows, and parades every day as well as getting the chance to lead them (which was the most coveted job within that role).

I did this job for 6 months and shortly after, I was invited to extend my internship until January of 2017 and was able to cross-train and work in other areas of Main Street USA. Around October of 2016, near the end of my internship, I decided that I wanted to stay in Florida and I applied to stay part-time and work in Fantasyland at the “Little Mermaid” attraction. 

My story doesn’t end there though. A friend of mine found out about an audition for Universal Orlando, he asked me to go with him. After successfully passing the audition, I decided to end my time with Disney and accept my position with Universal part-time. After a year working for Universal, the same opportunity arose for me and Disney World, except this time I would get to be a performer.

My dream job.


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My name is Mariah Olmstead and I'm a Senior at NEC. I transferred to NEC in fall of 2019 and I'm currently a communications major with a concentration in Journalism and Media/Production. Before coming to NEC, I worked for the Walt Disney Company and Universal Studios Orlando as a performer, and before that I was a student at Community College of Vermont. I want to be a travel writer or work for a production/media company once I graduate in the spring. I love Kpop, theatre, and dancing. Most of my editorials are personal stories or related to theme parks, and the Kpop industry. Once I graduate, I plan on teaching English abroad in Korea.
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