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Walt Disney World Best HR Practices

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“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them”. This quote by Walt Disney is one that he lived by. He made his dreams of opening a family friendly amusement park come true. Not many people know this but the first Disney park to open was Disneyland in Anaheim California. Disneyland was such a huge success that Walt and Roy Disney decided they wanted to open an even bigger and better park. They began to search for the new area in 1959. They looked and considered a few places before they decided to look more in the Orlando area. They chose Lake Buena Vista, Florida for many reasons. One of the main reasons was that Disneyland didn’t get many guests from the east coast and they still wanted those people to be able to experience the magic too. Another reason is that they wanted it to be in a larger area. They wanted a larger area so the park could be bigger and so they can add lodging accommodations for guests to stay. After many years of figuring everything out for the new park people started to talk and rumors started to come out there is going to be another Disney park. Walt and Roy had a set day in 1965 when they were going to announce the new park but the public got to it first. On December 15th 1966 something terrible happened…Walt Disney had passed away from lung cancer. Roy wanted to keep his vision alive, so he kept working on opening the park. For obvious reasons he named the park Walt Disney World.

Disney world first opened their doors on October 1st 1971. Later that year Roy Disney passed away on December 20th 1971. Magic Kingdom was the first to open, after that came Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. Back when the park first opened the prices of the tickets were only $3.50 for adults, $2.50 for 18 and under and $1 for kids 12 and under. The Disney parks still make sure to show the history of Walt and his brother.

To many people Disney seems like an easy, fun, and an amazing place to work. What many people may not have known is that Disney has a much harder hiring process than most other places of work. Disney looks for many things from the people they are considering to hire. Some of the main things they look for in people is their age, height, and overall appearance. If you are older, they may have you work in some of the shops around the parks even if you didn’t want to be a retail person. Another example is height, if you want to be a Disney princess the you have to be between the heights of 5’4” and 5’8”. If you are below 5’4” there are other parts that you can be and or play and same goes for the people who are taller. Another part of what they look for in their cast members is making sure that they actually look like the part. For example, unfortunately they will not hire a woman who doesn’t have a tiny waist to be a princess. There are also many parts to the hiring experience. If you are looking to be a performer, they will have you go through many different auditions, practices, and fittings to see if you fit the role. Even if you pass everything and then you don’t fit the dress or the costume, they won’t hire you because they don’t alter their costumes.

Another part of being hired is the application process. This process is not as long as the hiring process. During the application process you can go to their website and look for whichever park you want to work at and see if they are currently hiring. After that you will receive an email or call that you will have a web-based interview. If you pass the online interview, the next step that you will take is receiving an email to set up a time and day to have your in-person interview. On their career website they give you some idea that you should think of during the interview process that may help with you getting the job. I think that this is a very helpful tool because there are so many people that get nervous during this pressure filled process. If you pass all of this, they will select you for a role or tell you what you may be doing in the parks or resorts. After that you go through training the beginning working.

One of the biggest challenges that Disney faces is people leaving. So many people love working at Disney world and they don’t want to leave. There are so many jobs at Disney but not always many available. Currently right now there are only 12 jobs open at Disney world and none of them are performers, most of them are behind the scenes people. Right now, at Disneyland there are 29 jobs open but once again none of the jobs are performers.

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The training process at Disney is very important. It is important because they way that they teach their cast member shows while they are on the job. They take about a week to train their cast members. One of the ways they do training is through a program called ‘Traditions’, everyone has to do traditions it doesn’t matter how much experience you may have. Traditions is program where they teach you a lot of things about Disney from History to where things are located. It is also used so you can learn how to work with the other new people there as a team. They also have games and stuff for people to do through the session. At the end of traditions, they give you your name tag which is a very important part of working at Disney World. After traditions they do park orientations. During this they take you around all of the parks and teach you some information specific to each park. A fun part about park orientation is that you get to ride some rides while you are at each place. Another reason they do park orientation is so that you know where things are in the park, so when you’re working, if a guest ask where something is, you can answer their questions. After that everyone kind of breaks up into their own categories, like for example people who will be in the park, resort workers, and retail workers. Usually from there on out the rest of the week is spent learning how to do things in your own category that you work in.

Another way of training is something they have called Disney University. Disney University is a more proper way of training. This is for the cast members to learn more deeply about the history, how to grow as a person and also professionally, and also more about training. One of the only ways to do this program is to be enrolled in a college that will let you work at Disney and get credit for it at the same time. Disney University is also what they call the building where they do all of the training for the people who work there also known as the cast members. There is a Disney University located at almost all of the Disney Parks across the world.

Disney also teaches a lot of other small things during training. For example, females can only where one set of earrings, they can’t have multiple earrings in. They can’t have any facial piercings while there. They also teach that your name tag is a very important part of working in Disney World. They teach that you can never go without a name tag. If you lose your name tag you can pick from a bin of other name tags that have been lost and use it till your new one comes in. Another thing is that no one working at Disney can have the same name, so if you do have the same name, they will ask you to pick a new unused one. They also teach Disney lingo to the new cast members. An example of that is: ‘on stage’ means anywhere on park grounds that the guest can see; ‘utilidors’ are the underground tunnels that the cast members use to get to different areas of the park without having to push through the crowds; ‘mousekeeping’ basically means the same as housekeeping in the resorts. Another one of the biggest things they teach is that the guest happiness always comes first.

One thing that Disney is best known for is giving their guests the best experience. They teach something called the four keys to make sure everyone has the best experience possible. The four keys are safety, courtesy, show, and efficiency. Safety basically means to always make sure the guests are being safe all while having fun in the park. Courtesy means to always make sure people know it is a happy environment by having a smile on your face all the time. Show means to make sure that you are always putting on a show for people and that you don’t fall out of character. Efficiency is to make sure everything is done in a timely matter so no one is wasting their time.

There is a new article that I read that confirmed to me that Disney really has the best customer service. There was a family who was leaving Epcot and go into a horrible accident on the way home. The mother was beheaded in front of them at the scene of the crash and dad passed away later at the hospital. The nurses brought the girls back to Disney to ask for a refund. They told the cast members the whole story about why they are in wheelchairs and have bruises and cuts all over them. The cast member gave a refund but also took them for a private VIP tour for the rest of the day at the park. They made sure that all the characters and princesses waved at them every time one came by. Unfortunately, nothing was making them smile or even forgot about what happened for even a second. They tried to do everything they can to try and make the girls smile once. At the end of the day after the famous parade all the characters and princesses went straight to the back VIP room so they can meet the girls. They all came in and talked to them and hugged them to try and help them feel better. Then Mickey Mouse walked in and the girls lit up. After not smiling all day, the girls faces and attitude changed as soon as he came in. They went for a hug and talked to him and were smiling the whole time. This to me is what amazing customer service is because even after this terrible thing that happened with their parents, they still smiled so big when Mickey came out. Disney really is the most magical place for many people.

References

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walt_Disney_World
  2. https://www.rd.com/culture/disney-employee-rules/
  3. https://parksjobs.disneycareers.com/application-process
  4. https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/employee-relations/pages/disney-employee-engagement.aspx
  5. https://www.businessinsider.com/walt-disney-world-cast-member-secrets-2018-2#you-learn-quickly-that-its-all-about-the-guests-1
  6. https://www.themeparktourist.com/features/20140911/29258/7-steps-spiel-training-disney-style
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disney_University
  8. https://www.thebalancecareers.com/disney-jobs-525775
  9. http://thewisdomdaily.com/disney-world-uplifted-girls-parents-died/
  10. http://disneyatwork.com/disneys-four-keys-to-a-great-guest-experience/
  11. http://sepheritbuddy.com/index.php/2018/12/27/walt-disney-quotes-about-disneyland-famous-quotes-of-walt-disney/

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Walt Disney World Best HR Practices. (2022, October 28). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 1, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/walt-disney-world-best-hr-practices/
“Walt Disney World Best HR Practices.” Edubirdie, 28 Oct. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/walt-disney-world-best-hr-practices/
Walt Disney World Best HR Practices. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/walt-disney-world-best-hr-practices/> [Accessed 1 Feb. 2023].
Walt Disney World Best HR Practices [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Oct 28 [cited 2023 Feb 1]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/walt-disney-world-best-hr-practices/
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