In my last blog post, I discussed stage one of the Disney Cultural Exchange Program application process. This post is going to focus on stage two; the pre-screen group interview.
On the 7th of September (before the applications had even closed) I received an email inviting me to take part in a pre-screen interview on Wednesday 7th October!!
Unlike previous years, all the group interviews were taking place at Yummy Jobs office in Epping, Essex. The email also provided a link to the Yummy Passport which you must print out along with one profile picture attached to the document. We also had to bring a photocopy of our passport.
I arrived at about 8:50 with a couple of other girls who I had travelled in with from London. Yummy Jobs is opposite Starbucks and next to HSBC on Epping high street. As more people started arriving, everyone began chatting which will calm any last minute nerves you may have.
At around 9.15 we were asked to go upstairs in groups of five to the Yummy Jobs office. After we signed in with the Yummy Jobs team we were given a sticker that had the name of a Disney character and an interview time. I had Mickey Mouse which represented the interview group that I was going to be in (go, team, go!) These stickers are given out at random, so you won’t be in the same interview group as the people you came in with. We were then asked to sit down and wait for everyone else to sign in. Use this time to chat to people around you, and make sure you are smiling! The Yummy Jobs Team are very happy and smiley, so reflect their attitude – you are interviewing for Disney after all!
The presentation started with a quiz with questions such as:
- What was the most recent birthday celebrated by WDW?
- When was the park opened?
- What are the three biggest mountains?
- What are the names of the Disney Cruise ships?
I won a chocolate for guessing the name Fantasy as one of a Disney Cruise ship!
We then watched a variety of videos telling us about the program. I really regret not writing things down, so I would recommend making some quick notes of things they say such as role availability, finances etc. I do remember them telling us that this year there were roughly 300 roles available and that very, very few of them would be for character attendant. Remember, be flexible about your role choices!
There were 9 other people in my interview group with Adam at 10.30. The interview started by us handing in our yummy passports and passport photocopies.
We were then asked to talk to the person next to us and find out:
- their name
- what they were studying
- Adam then asked us to go round to the group introducing the other person.
Next, we each had to take a starburst – pick whatever colour you like the most! The colour you chose corresponded with four options that were on a sheet of paper. For example, I picked red, so I had to give an interesting fact about myself. Other people had to say what their favourite food was, their favourite destination etc.
Next he went around the group and asked if we had any tattoos or piercings.
He then asked the group why we wanted to do the program. I don’t think anyone wanted to look too pushy and answer first. I think I was second to answer but everyone had a turn to speak, and we didn’t move on until everyone had answered.
Next he asked us to split into two groups. He said each group would have 2 minutes to plan and present a Disney event that would represent the United Kingdom. Our group came up with the idea of a tea/street party, which different foods to represent different areas of the country. We stressed the inclusiveness of not making it too London-centric and also said that we would have meet and greets with some of the British Disney characters such as Mary Poppins, Alice, Peter Pan and Wendy, and Merida.
We were next asked what were our top roles? This was asked around the group in order.
He then asked us a role specific question.“Imagine you were working on Tower of Terror, and the boy was too small. What would you do?” This question was asked to the floor and for some reason, everyone was jumping to answer it. I was one of the last, and everything I was going to say had been said. Nevertheless, I answered it by stressing how I thought all the other answers were really good. I then added my own little twist by saying that I would ask who the boys favourite character was and say “once upon a time (insert who the favourite character was) was too small to ride it too! But now he is a big enough, just like you will be one day!” I stressed the importance of keeping the magic alive no matter what situation you find yourself in.
He then asked, “what would we do if our housemate was messy, how would we deal with this?” There seemed to be a slight hesitation in answering this question, so I jumped in with a real life example of playing Whistle While You Work, and basically just making it fun!
He finished off by asking what character we would be. My initial answer (Belle) had just been said, so I quickly changed to Tiana because of her determination, passion for doing what is right and love for her family.
He then asked if anyone had any questions for him, and I asked: “What was your favourite moment when he took part in the program.”
After that, we all thanked him for the interview and had a few pictures taken.
Everyone in my interview group was genuinely lovely. I couldn’t fault anyone with the answers they gave and was thinking it must have been so difficult for Adam to decide who would be selected to go through to the next stage.
However, I had heard stories from other groups where people were being cut off mid-sentence to get their points heard. That didn’t happen in my group at all, and I think that the majority (and potentially all of us) were accepted into the face to face interview stages. (Well done team Mickey Mouse!)
I spent the rest of my day by heading back into London and going to the Disney Store on Oxford Street and of course buying some goodies! We then had a very late lunch in Pret, and then headed off home.
The results seemed to come in batches.
- Batch 1 – Rejections:
- At around 8.30pm on October 12th someone on the facebook wrote a post to say they had been rejected. After this, more rejections began coming in.
- Batch 2: On Hold
- This was something that had not previously taken place at this stage
- Nearly all Disney alumni/anyone working for the Walt Disney Company i.e. The Disney Store were put on a hold list whilst Yummy Jobs confirmed with their previous managers that it was ok to proceed with their application.
- Within the hold group, there also seemed to be a number of non-Disney alumni.
- Their email stated that they would kept on file, and Yummy Jobs would be in contact with them no later than October 23rd.
- Batch 3: Yes’s
- They were coming through in alphabetical order
- However, it seemed to totally bypass M – this was naturally making me even more nervous (my last name begins with M)!
- A few Disney alumni/previous applicants said it was probably just a malfunction with the automated email service. However, I decided to email Katie and let her know.
- Technical Problems
- It was not until the next day that I received an email titled “DUPLICATE EMAIL.” It began with a note saying that there had been technical difficulties with the email system, and to please ignore this email if we had already received one as it was identical.
- After manically reading the first line, I scrolled to the rest of the email. All I saw was the word “Congratulations” and “final interview.” I was stood in the middle of M&M world in London when I found out and could hardly contain myself!
I had about another month to wait until the final interview at Disney HQ in Hammersmith.
If you have any questions, click here. But feel free to ask anything in the comments below.