Things you didn't know about Disney Cultural Representative Program: Canada edition

Ever dreamed about living and working at Disney World? Well, it's a possibility if you live outside the USA.
Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot
Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot / Anadolu/GettyImages

It's your first day of a Walt Disney World vacation. You grab Mickey waffles and scrambled eggs from your resort's buffet and head to the Skyliner with EPCOT as your destination.

In the meantime, cast members are busy preparing food, tidying merchandise, and clocking in for another day on the Cultural Representative Program.

EPCOT is one of the most unique parks as they host the CRP, where cast members from around the globe represent their countries in 11 pavilions: Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, America, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom and Canada.

These cast members on a Q1 or J1 visa spend anywhere from 12-15 months showcasing and telling unique facts about their country.

How to know if a cast member is working the pavilion

As you wander through the World Showcase, you'll see cast members in different costumes. In Canada specifically, we wear buffalo/lumberjack plaid shirts/skirts. The red and black checkerboard style is a reference to our Scottish heritage.

Before you ask, we don't necessarily wear buffalo plaid every single day. But if you take a trip into the Rocky Mountains in Alberta or a forested area in Ontario, you might find someone dressed in plaid.

Plaid is also found at the Calgary Stampede. Each July, the city of Calgary puts on "The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth" and you can often find everyone in cowboy boots, cowboy hats and plaid shirts.

How do you work at Disney?

One of the most asked questions is "How did you get this job?" Unfortunately, there isn't an exciting answer.

At random times in a year, Disney will post on their careers site a link to whichever country you represent. Each country will have qualifications to work there.

Once you apply, you could be selected to attend an interview. For the Canada applications, you'll go to Vancouver, B.C. or Toronto, Ontario. From there it's just like a normal job interview. You'll talk about what you can bring to the pavilion and your work experience. You'll then say whether you want to work in merchandise, food and beverage or attractions (if the country has a ride or movie.)

What's a day in the life at Disney?

Speaking from a merchandise perspective, it's a pretty straightforward job. We have a cart on the promenade to open, a store and a bar.

Without the boring logistics, you're just doing a retail job, but at Disney. You'll be selling merchandise, drinks and snacks. You'll work with other cast members and go from being strangers to friends really fast.

You have opportunities to meet a lot of different guests. You might also be lucky enough to see some top-end guests like the Vice President of Walt Disney World, actors if they're doing the Candlelight Processional during the holidays and athletes. Of course, if you're big into social media influencers you'll spot them quite a bit.

Pro's and con's working away from home

Since this is a year-long, you'll be away from home for an extended period.

On the CRP you'll have access to complimentary admission to Disney World and many cast members get a Universal Studios Orlando Pass to take advantage of both parks. You can also take vacation time to fly over to the West and visit Disneyland with your admission. All of which is a pro.

If you don't have a car, you can still access all of Disney's property with the bus service provided. However, it does limit you to just where the buses go. Otherwise, rideshare or making a friend with a vehicle are your other options.

Disney also looks great on a resume. Due to the world-class guest service provided and the reputation Disney has, saying you've worked a year for them could certainly be beneficial.

Have you ever thought about working for the mouse? I'd highly recommend it!