Are you looking for your dream job designing theme parks? We’ve pulled together a step-by-step checklist with items you should consider if you’re looking for your ultimate dream position designing theme parks or in the themed entertainment industries.
Each step provided has links to a deeper dive and more detailed information for each step along the way!
Theme Park Design Dream Job Guide
Step 1: Define Your Passion and Design Talents
Start by taking the time to reflect on and understand your personal passions and make a list your best personal skills and talents. Knowing what medium of design you’re best at and perform nearly every day is the key to guiding which college you should attend, which college degree or training you should acquire, and which role you will play in a theme park design team or company.
Step 1 Suggested Reading To Aid in Defining Your Passion
- How To Combine Your Passion And Talents To Land Your Dream Job
- How To Determine the Best Theme Park Design Job For You
Step 2: Read Books About Theme Park Design
After or during Step 1, research and read books about designing theme parks. There are a plethora of books many by former or current theme park designers, architects, and creatives.
Step 2 Suggested Reading about Theme Park Design
Step 3: Match Your Degree or Training to Your Passion
Matching your college degree or professional training to your individual passion is extremely important. For example, if you are a creative interested in a concept illustration or graphic design role, you don’t want to spend the time and years getting an engineering or business degree. Match the best college program and degree that closely aligns with your personal design passion and future dream job designing theme parks.
Step 3 Suggested Reading to Help Couple Your Passion With Your Dream Job
- How To Combine Your Passion And Talents To Land Your Dream Job
- Themed Entertainment College and University Degree Programs
Step 4: Create Your Personal Portfolio
To apply for any design-based or creative role at a college or university AND theme park design company, you will need to present a personal portfolio of your best work. The ultimate goal of your portfolio is to provide a visual description of your personal skills, any relative work experience, and your creative talents.
Step 4 Suggested Reading for Creating Your Portfolio
Step 5: Research Theme Park Design Jobs
Prior to submitting your application to any theme park design company, we suggest researching several roles within those companies that align with your: passion, best design skills, your college degree or professional training, and your ultimate dream job goal. As you may know, it takes hundreds of different roles and creative individuals to completely design a successful theme park – Walt Disney Imagineering has over 140 different positions alone.
Step 5 Suggested Reading to Research Theme Park Design Jobs
- Theme Parks History: From Amusement Parks to Universal
- Universal Creative: Orlando’s Top-tier Theme Park Designers
- How to Become a Disney Imagineer
- How to Become a Theme Park Architect
Step 6: Network With Individuals In The Business
One of the best ways to learn more about your dream job, and other similar roles, is to network with individuals already working in those positions. The theme park design and themed entertainment design industry is a small pool of talented individuals. Personal connections is an excellent way to get your foot in the door or at least a chance to get an interview for the position(s) you desire. Building lasting and trustworthy relationships with individuals already working full time in the role you desire is a great way to learn more about the job you’re aiming to land and gain a mentor from someone who’s already been through the journey you’re currently undertaking.
Step 6 Suggested Networking Sites and Organizations
- Themed Entertainment Association (TEA)
- International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA)
Step 7: Research Theme Park Design Companies
While your dream theme park design job may be within Walt Disney Imagineering or Universal Creative, many people overlook the vast array of other creative and design companies that work on theme park projects with these two organizations and other theme park, amusement park, and themed entertainment companies around the world. If at first you don’t succeed in landing a position with these two iconic theme park design companies, consider an equal role at a top theme park creative design company or theme park architectural design company.
Step 7 Suggested Alternative Theme Park Design Companies
- Top Theme Park Architecture Firms
- Top Theme Park Concept Design Companies
- Disney Imagineering Alternatives
- Theme Park Design: From Concept to Reality Requires Architects and Engineers
Step 8: Applying and Interviewing For Your Dream Job
Application Process Insight
Being prepared for a job interview begins prior to the applying for the open position. In general, most employers – especially those in the theme park design fields – ask for the same general information. It is incumbent for open position candidates to have all the general information you will be required to submit ready, information such as:
- A tailored and professional cover letter for each open position
- A solid and refined resume
- A professional portfolio of your best work
- Optional: a list of character references for the employer to contact
- Your desired start date
- Your desired salary range (research similar positions to be on target)
Interviewing Process Insight
Interviewing for your dream job requires an equal amount of preparation on your part, prior to sitting across the table from your future, potential employer. While you will need all of the aforementioned information when applying, you should consider the following action items prior to the day of your interview:
- Research the company and understand their culture and accomplishments
- Research the individuals interviewing you (suggest using LinkedIn and their company’s website)
- Research the types of projects and professional services they offer and excel at performing
- Research the specific role you’re interviewing for at that company to understand what may truly be required of you in that role (this is where networking comes into play)
- Arrive 10 – 15 minutes early
- Bring an extra hard copy of your resume
- Bring either a hard copy, thumb drive with a file, or a laptop with your portfolio at hand
- Be professional and courteous to all employees at that company – starting with the parking attendant, receptionist, on through to the individuals interviewing you
- Bring and convey your passion (show your authentic enthusiasm for being interviewed and the opportunity to be interviewed)
- Speak clearly and with conviction to the interviewers
- Be truthful about your talents, skills, prior experience, and your goals if selected for the role
- Post-interview, send a follow up thank you email to those in attendance that day 1-2 days after the interview – if you’ve heard nothing 7 days later, follow up with another email asking if they have any additional questions (DO NOT email the interviewers every day asking if they’ve made a decision yet)
Step 8 Suggested Reading Interviewing For Your Dream Job
Step 9: Dream Job Mentor and Mentoring
Whether you’re in day one of your career or a CEO of a major corporation, having a professional mentor – someone who is not you’re equal but more experienced – is a great way to refine your professional talents and skills throughout your entire career. Even C-suite executives of publicly traded companies have ‘business coaches’ – a fancy way of saying mentors. Being a mentee and one day eventually becoming a mentor is a highly rewarding and valuable tool in your quill of knowledge and personal skills.