Seasonal Job at Disneyland Paris Helped Me Travel the World

I was paid a little bit more than the minimum wage in France at the

  • I was paid a little bit more than the minimum wage in France at the time, around $300 a week. 
  • Some people who worked there were obsessed with Disney, but I hadn’t even heard of most of the Disney movies.
  • The job also came with perks, like free Disneyland Paris park passes, and food discounts.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Djeneba, 26, who worked a seasonal job at Disneyland Paris so she could earn extra money to travel the world. The following has been edited for length and clarity.

In 2018, I was studying for my French-English literature degree and decided I wanted to take a temporary job, so I could earn some extra cash and use it to travel the world. 

I grew up in France, but I’ve always been fascinated by different cultures. At the time, I was eager to travel to Hong Kong and Taiwan, so I wanted to work a 3-month seasonal job to help me pay for that.

I decided to try to work at the same place my brother worked a few years prior, Disneyland Paris. He had a variety of jobs there, including receptionist and restaurant server. He had a good experience, plus because of him, I knew how the job application process worked.

I first applied on the website for jobs in restaurants and in stores, since I had a background in hospitality. I received an invitation for an in-person group interview where candidates learned about the company then did team-building exercises. 

It seemed like they offered two types of contracts to applicants. One was for people who had specific skills, like being a cook or a ride technician. The other was more seasonal. It also seemed like if you spoke English, they offered you jobs where you could interact with customers.

In four months, I got an offer to work at a restaurant at a Disneyland Paris hotel. 

I knew from my brother that the long wait was normal, especially because I was applying for a summertime job (July to October). Once I got my offer, I started working a few weeks later.

Djeneba

Djeneba, 26, worked a seasonal job at Disneyland Paris so she could earn extra money to travel the world.

Djeneba



In the first week of training you learn about Disney history. The second week is for your specific job, which was more fun than I expected because you get to meet other new employees. By th

e time you start, you know lots of familiar faces. 

The job came with perks 

I worked the night shift, usually from 4 p.m. until midnight and was paid a little more than France’s minimum wage at the time, around $300 a week. 

The job also came with perks, like two free Disneyland Paris park passes a month, discounts on food and products at the park, and schedule flexibility. Plus, for people who didn’t live in Paris, Disney paid for their travel, and offered accommodations, which were deducted from their salary. I already was living in Paris, so I didn’t need that.

However, we didn’t get tips at the restaurant. Because it was buffet-style, customers would pay a flat rate before entering, and didn’t usually think about tipping.  

The night went pretty fast — and Disney cleaned my uniform 

I’d arrive at 4 p.m. and change into my uniform: cowboy-style long jean skirts, jeans, and a blouse (to go with the theme of the restaurant). At the end of every shift, we’d leave our uniforms there, and Disney cleaned them for us. 

We’d do a walk-through of the restaurant, and set up. Staff didn’t have to wait on guests since it was a buffet. The manager would give each person a position for the day, like operating the cash register, busing tables, or guiding guests around the restaurant. 

There was a lot of standing, but because I moved around a lot, the night went fast and I didn’t feel exhausted.

I got to meet people from all over the world 

The job was exciting mostly because you’re working at a restaurant that attracts people from all over the world. Disney encouraged us to talk to guests and make them feel special (also known as the Disney Magic), so the best part of my job was learning about new cultures. A lot of guests were from Nordic countries, Spain, and Italy. 

These might seem like generalities, but I noticed that a lot of people from the UK ate fast and left, while people from Latin countries and Spain usually took their time.

Customers wasted a lot of food 

Perhaps one of the most frustrating parts of the job was seeing how much food goes to waste. Because it’s a buffet, we always tried to encourage guests not to take too much and instead go back for seconds. We didn’t do take away for leftovers wasn’t allowed because of food safety measures. People seemed to pile as much as they could onto their plates then leave without finishing it.  

Working at Disneyland Paris was better than I expected

I wasn’t sure what to expect working for such a big and well-known company, but Disneyland hired people who were friendly, outgoing, and purely themselves. It was easy to get along with other employees and that made for a welcoming environment.

Some people who worked there were obsessed with all-things Disney, but I was the opposite. I hadn’t even heard of most of the Disney movies or characters.

If you want to work there, I advise applying way before you actually want to start. The recruitment process can take a few months. But it’s an easy seasonal job, and by the end of it, you’ll understand the Disney magic or, at least whatever it means to you.