Amusement Park Workers
Since amusement parks are located nationwide, jobs can be found in every state. Note that most jobs are seasonal—usually from April to October. The larger parks do maintain some employees year-round, mostly those working in the business departments. In fact, the winter months are usually the busiest time for amusement parks. Advertising, funding, recruiting, and company organization, new construction, and other prep work takes place during the off-season.
Only a few parks are open year-round, and these are located in warmer climates. Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm, located in southern California, as well as Disney World and Busch Gardens, in Orlando, Florida, employ thousands of workers to run their parks.
Rarer still are indoor amusement parks. Some enclosed employment opportunities can be found at the Nickelodeon Universe, which is located inside Minnesota's Mall of America.
Many amusement parks recruit at college campuses and job fairs; others visit local high schools. When attending such recruiting events, make sure your resume is up to date, and, if you're lucky, be ready for on-the-spot interviews. Parks often hire many high school and college students, as well as a growing number of senior citizens for seasonal positions, and they look for enthusiastic, entertaining, and hardworking people.
Search for amusement park jobs online also. The Walt Disney Company, for example, is increasing its reliance on online resume submissions. Its Web site (https://jobs.disneycareers.com) offers a wealth of employment information such as job postings and their requirements, student opportunities, audition schedules, resume tips, and internship info.
Whichever method you choose to apply for employment, it helps to be organized. Contact your school's career services office or conduct your own online search for a list of amusement parks in the area—or nationwide, if relocation is not a problem. Submit your resume/application to those that pique your interest, and follow up on your leads. Organizations such as the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions can be helpful in narrowing your job search. Some may even post employment or internship opportunities.
Advancement in this industry depends on the job. With work experience, a food and beverage cart attendant can be promoted to work at a park restaurant or snack shop and eventually become a restaurant manager. Employees with an interest in mechanics can start as an assistant in the mechanical department repairing and maintaining the rides and work their way to a supervisory position. A member of the chorus or dance troupe, after proper training and performing experience, can strive to be a principal dancer or one of Disney's character singers.
Interns stand an excellent opportunity for advancement. The time spent working on an internship brings valuable on-site work experience. Many companies may prefer to hire their former interns because they already know the company and the work involved. Knowledge and skills learned at amusement park jobs can easily be transferred to other fields such as hospitality or other areas of the entertainment industry.
Workers who aspire to work in a management position must understand that such jobs come with hard work and time served in the industry. College degree holders—in marketing, business management, hospitality, or related majors—will have the best chances at landing a management position.
Tips for Entry
Read Funworld magazine (https://www.iaapa.org/news/funworld) and World Waterpark magazine (https://www.waterparks.org/web/Magazine.aspx) to learn more about trends in the industry and potential employers.
Visit the following Web sites for job listings:
Attend industry conventions sponsored by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions to network and to interview for jobs.
Land an entry-level job at an amusement park to learn about the field and make valuable industry contacts.