Lots of folks looking for theme park jobs

March 2, 2009, 10:13 AM · I subscribe to a many Google News alerts for various theme parks, and over the past couple weeks I've been inundated with stories about various parks having thousands of applicants come forward looking for summer jobs this year.

Normally, I don't bother with such stories - regional theme and amusement parks look for new employees every winter, and that's not really "news" to anyone who follows the industry, or to fans.

But the number of folks showing up for work this year might be. Certainly, the lousy economy provides the motivation.

While an oversupply of applicants isn't the best thing for returning employees (less chance for pay increases and overtime), it can be good news for park guests - since parks will have their pick of employees for the summer, including many older, more mature candidates who otherwise might not consider theme park work. If the economy brings back older, more experienced applicants who had worked in the park in the past, so much the better. Experienced employees mean safer parks, shorter lines and better customer experience.

Now, how long any of these applicants will hold on to these summer gigs is another matter. If souring economy means too few people end up visiting the parks, many might end up laying off some of the folks they are hiring now.

How is the park employment scene looking to you, Theme Park Insider readers? If you are applying for a job, or working at a park that is taking applicants, reply in the comments or e-mail me your story. Thanks.

Replies (11)

March 2, 2009 at 12:18 PM · I saw a story where Carowinds reported receiving nearly 3 times the amount of applications they normally get. I have to believe that they aren't the only ones and that it's probably an industry wide trend. Given the economy and rising unemployment, the seasonal parks will have a mountain of apps to go through.

The good thing for the parks is that they indeed will have a better pool to choose from. The new applicants range from high school to out of work professionals looking to pick up some cash. Hopefully it translates to better service and a better product, because it sure has a chance to. I doubt that it spells trouble for returning employees who do their job well, but it will weed out slackers and potential bad hires for the sake of filling the position.

March 2, 2009 at 6:01 PM · SFGA is the only one taking pride in the Chicagoland area that has alot of jobs for people. The scary thing is they are getting lots of retirerees
March 2, 2009 at 7:24 PM · I am currently seasonal at WDW, so I dont have to worry about actually getting a job...but I do have to worry about picking up shifts and getting hours, which are hard to come by nowadays....I also want to go full time, but theyre not promoting anyone to full time for a while...we have a a hiring freeze that has been on since october or november, which is supposed to be lifted in march, but we shall see

They are offering a summer college program for cp alumni, and I applied (still waiting to hear back, its been more than 5 weeks! ugh)..which means they figure they will need help for the summer...but apparently the program had only 200 openings and 800 applied, which goes along with your story Robert

March 2, 2009 at 8:02 PM · SFSTL is getting a huge turn out for new hires. They have 3,000 jobs open and have seen 300-500 people turn out a week to apply. The job fairs keep going every Saturday for another 2 weeks.

I wonder if they will stop once they "open" jobs are full or, will they continue and keep them on "retainer" if they can improve the state of the park and add to the customer value.

Now, I admit last season I was not impressed that the largest theatre in the park had a "video" show. But, after lengthy discussion with folks who work there, I understand why now.

The costs was too high and it was cheaper to have more street-mosphere and cheaper shows in the smaller venues. Hopefully, in the future they will be able to afford to bring it back.. But, I have to say that this was the right idea even if I didn't agree with it at first.

March 2, 2009 at 9:06 PM · I interviewed for two Professional Internships at EPCOT and AK. Got a face to face interview. Didn't get the jobs!
March 2, 2009 at 11:03 PM · This is not what I want to hear as I graduate from my bachelor's mechanical engineering program and aspire to work for a theme park company.

Six Flags in the list of companies to watch go under this year. Disney loses its top chef. Failing economy. Too many park applicants. Dubai projects frozen or cancelled. Give me some good theme park news, please.

March 3, 2009 at 7:14 AM · The good news is that when the economy picks back up (when being the key word), the application pool will shrink again. The internships/professional positions were probably always difficult to get, but now it's probably even tougher with more professionals applying. Engineers and design positions are probably even tougher because (A) Parks are cutting back, and (B) Contractors are generally the first place they cut.

Another piece of good news Joshua. Theme park managers have to know that this would just be a job to many of those people. If I was in their position, I would hire someone with a passion for, and knowledge of the business over someone looking for a paycheck. I assume that you have that particular quality....along with knowledge and willingness to learn. Don't forget that when you go to the interview.

March 3, 2009 at 11:57 AM · True say, and thanks for the advice.
March 3, 2009 at 12:04 PM · Note to theme parks hiring summer staff: pass on the "older, more experienced applicants."

Seriously...I go to theme parks to have fun with people who work there because the place IS FUN. Not to hang out with a bunch of cranky sourpusses who are there because it's the best job they could find.

Seriously: there's a reason Disneyland used to hire kids. Sure, they were cheap. But they also had that youth thing, and it brought an energy to the park. Who wants to deal with Ozzie Nelson when they could hang with Ricky?

March 3, 2009 at 1:50 PM · I want line attendants who've been around rides long enough to know how to load 'em fast and full, to keep the wait time minimal. If they can do that while offering a laugh, great. But I hate attendants who are trying to be "fun," yet not doing their job.
March 4, 2009 at 2:47 PM · I get aggravated with lazy teenagers doing a half-assed job. Despite being young myself, I typically prefer older employees, but I do hate to see senior employees working late nights when they are too damn tired to think.

Just hire good candidates, young or old.

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