The one-day event on April 20 featured a Disney group presentation on the different roles available in the program and what your time in the program would look like. This was followed by one-on-one interviews, which marked the beginning of the application process for several excited students.
It was the first day in what will be for some lucky applicants, a life-changing experience.
What’s the Disney placement all about?
The Australia and New Zealand Disney Cultural Exchange program offers students a rare opportunity to live, learn and further their career while earning money at the incredible Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida in the US.
Successful applicants to this twice-annual recruitment drive will go on to work for 6-12 months at the resort in a role chosen to match their skills and career aspirations.
“We work with the student during their interview to determine where their interests are so we can make sure to take that into account while we are making our location assignments,” Joe Iglecia-Scholl, Senior Recruiter at Disney Programs, explained.
Information about the Disney International Program
- The Disney recruitment drive is held in October and April every year
- All domestic students can apply not just hospitality students
- International students should speak to Disney about visas
- You can get assistance from your Success Coach during the application process
- The program offers a diverse range of roles across different business areas
The different opportunities to expect from a Disney World Resort internship
“Torrens University students on this program would be placed into a front-line role in one of our four theme parks, two water parks, over twenty resort hotels, or two shopping districts,” Iglesia-Scholl said.
“The participants in this program will work in a front-line position, gaining valuable real-world experience from a leader in the travel and tourism sector. Participants could work in a number of roles that could include merchandise, sales, attractions, ride operations, and food and beverage, just to name a few.
The roles we offer for the Australia and New Zealand Cultural Exchange Program are all front-line and entry-level. With that, we do not expect that prospective candidates have work experience in travel and tourism.”
Former Torrens University student completed the Disney Cultural Exchange placement in 2019
As a Master of International Hotel Management student at Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School naturally, Daniel Pearce was drawn to the Hospitality roles on offer in one of Disney’s many hotels and resorts.
“My role at Walt Disney World was the position of Concierge, similar to Front Desk Agent,” Daniel explained.
“In this role, you are responsible for bringing the magic to life for guests, providing exceptional guest service and ensuring that all guests have a memorable experience throughout their stay.
You also have the chance to work with a diverse team who are all dedicated and shares the same passion for creating magical experiences.
I was based at Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter Resort, but I also had several opportunities to work at other locations on Walt Disney World property like Disney's Coronado Springs Resort and Disney's Contemporary Resort.”
One aspect of the role that stuck with Daniel was how much he enjoyed working with a great team, to create unforgettable experiences for guests.
“Being able to pass the magic onto guests who are experiencing a Walt Disney World Resort for the first time or their 40th time was always pleasurable. Everyone is welcoming and you feel respected and valued,” Daniel explained.
How the Disney recruitment process works for students applying through Torrens University
Because of the long-standing close relationship between the two organisations, Disney comes to Torrens University Australia to recruit twice a year, in April and October.
“Disney and Torrens University have a long and incredibly successful history together,” Joe Iglecia-Scholl explained. “Torrens students bring so much with them to Disney that we value.
First and foremost, they bring their own diversity of thought, ideas, and cultures. Having a wide tapestry of employees is one of many things that contribute to our success as an organisation. We also love Torrens students for their passion and professionalism.
Year over year, we see some of the most talented, passionate, and dedicated young professionals come to us from Torrens University and we look forward to continuing that success moving forward.”
According to Mia Bronotte, Torrens University Industry Consultant, the twice-yearly Disney recruitment drive is advertised to students through the Careers Connect portal.
Students first register, then attend the presentation, and directly afterwards begin the application process: starting with their in-person interviews.
“Due to visa requirements, these interviews must be in person and cannot be held online,” explained Ms Bronotte. Luckily for students, they can also get some help during the recruitment and application process.
“Torrens University and Blue Mountains International Hotel Management (BMIHMS) students interested in applying for the Disney International Program work with their Success Coaches to ensure they are industry-ready. This may include tailoring your resume and completing mock interviews so you are giving yourself the best chance of success,” clarified Ms Bronotte.
The program is competitive. However, Disney often recruits from Torrens University, because they are consistently impressed by the talent on offer.
“As an alumnus of William Blue (now part of Torrens University) many of my fellow classmates attended interviews and successfully gained placement at Disney,” explained Ms Bronotte.
“They all had an amazing learning experience and enjoyed their placements as cast members. In the past 2 years, 6 students have gained placement into the Disney International program through recruitment.”
How does the Disney program benefit students?
According to Daniel Pearce (Master of International Hotel Management at BMIHMS) participating in the Disney program gave him an unusual chance to develop a lot of invaluable skills for his career and his current role as Hotel Manager.
“It gave me transferable skills that I was able to bring back with me and use in hotels here in Australia,” Daniel explained. “Some of these included learning how to deliver premium guest experiences and being able to translate that through to the teams you are working with.
It also helps when you are presenting to a team, being able to use your experience and relate things back to the time you had at Walt Disney World. The experience heightens your attention to detail and sharpens your focus on creating moments for guests.”
The Walt Disney Company is famous for its world-class training program, which teaches program participants how Disney does business as well as training them in their specific role. Beyond the training program, this large international brand has a wide spectrum of career opportunities on offer globally for graduates.
“The Walt Disney Company is the largest entertainment company in the world,” explained Iglecia-Scholl. “With such a global reach, there are endless career possibilities for Torrens University Graduates.
The Australia and New Zealand Cultural Exchange Program is a great way to get a foot in the door, but from there we see candidates find full-time employment with Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, and so many more areas within the company.”
That’s great news for Daniel Pearce. Daniel is currently enjoying working as Hotel Manager at Holiday Inn, Sydney Airport, but he dreams of one day joining the Disney team again.
“My dream career would be to go back and work as a General Manager with The Walt Disney Company,” said Daniel.
“I definitely miss my time there and would love the opportunity to return in a managerial role with them and continue my passion of passing on magic to all guests entering the resorts.”
What advice would Daniel pass on to any student who is wondering if a position with Disney would be worthwhile for them?
“In two words, 'Do It!’,” Daniel said. “You will gain so much in terms of personal and professional growth and gain valuable industry experience. Having Disney on your resume also will make you stand out in the crowd when applying for roles.”