Disney Nurse: The Happiest Career On Earth
By Lee Nelson
When Cheryl Talamantes moved to southern California in 1987, she saw an ad in the newspaper for nurses at Disneyland.
“I was intrigued and did a quick look at it but never pursued it. Being married to a Marine meant frequent moves. When we moved back to the area in 1999, a dear friend of mine was working as a Disney nurse and encouraged me to apply,” she says.
Soon after, Cheryl applied for the position and embarked on her nursing adventure with Disney. This month marks her 17th year as a Disney nurse.
As an RN-BSN for over 34 years, Talamantes spent the first half of her career in all types of departments and specialties including med-surg, telemetry, oncology, pediatrics, orthopedics, home health, and even case management for a large insurance company.
All of those positions gave her a great foundation and the versatility needed for serving employees and guests at Disneyland.
Unique Patient Care
Now the Guest Health Services manager at the Disneyland Resort in California, Talamantes gets to work with princesses, cartoon characters, and people from all walks of life.
“We are fortunate to meet guests from all over the country and the world, and there are situations where we are working through language barriers as well as cultural traditions when it comes to medicine,” she says.
In addition to having First Aid locations in all of the parks, they also offer care at state-of-the-art urgent response clinics to the hotel guests.
“We are the primary medical first responders at the resort, and can be dispatched to anywhere in our parks, hotels or parking lots,” she adds.
The resort is open 365 days out of the year, and the nurses work in all types of weather and physical locations.
“You could find yourself climbing down into a submarine or up the stairs to a treehouse. We work around entertainment like parades and support four, half marathons a year,” she adds.
They provide basic First Aid. But if the situation warrants it, the nurses assess and assist guests in getting to a higher level of care. Having a large population of people in the resort on any given day means the medical staff can see and respond to just about anything.
“So, our nurses need to have strong assessment skills and be comfortable in the first responder role and working with all age groups,” she says.
The Magic of Working at Disney
Talamantes feels the biggest highlights of being a nurse in a place like Disneyland is first, the cast members.
“In our own department, we truly are a second family. In my entire career, it’s something I have never experienced to the level we have here. We are fortunate that we work alongside so many other departments who truly respect our team and are willing to assist us as needed,” she says.
They do their best to turn around a guest’s day when an unexpected situation arises which could impact their visit or vacation. But mostly, the nurses realize they are fortunate to work in a place that is rewarding on so many levels.
How To Apply for a Disney Nurse Position
When a position opens, it is posted on the Disney careers site for a certain location, as is true for all of the parks’ roles, said Melissa Britt, manager for media/external communications public affairs, Disneyland Resort.
“We have Disney Nurses at each site: Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disney Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland and Shanghai Disney Resort. We hire year-round for various roles at the Disneyland Resort,” she says.
Qualifications for Disney Nurses
To become a Disney Nurse, one needs to be a Registered Nurse with a minimum of 5 years of experience, CPR/AED certified and have a valid driver’s license, says Talamantes.
They look for someone who has a calm, friendly demeanor, and an outgoing personality in order to engage guests of all ages. Helpful traits to have include kindness, patience and empathy.
A Disney Nurse needs to have strong critical thinking, problem solving and assessment skills, is confident working autonomously in a first responder role, and is energetic in order to be able to manage the physical nature of the job.
Salary range for Disney nurses
Britt says that they don’t typically provide salary ranges, since it varies by experience, location and responsibilities. For information on average salaries by state, see our article which ranks all 50 states by average RN salary and cost of living.
There are definitely perks when working for an international company like Disney. Some employees receive free entrance to theme parks around the world and discounts on hotels and merchandise.
“I don’t know of any other type of nursing specialty you can work and be able to have Mickey Mouse or a Princess come by to make an ill guest feel better. Disney nurses understand the magic and do everything they can to provide it for our guests,” she says.
Where Are The Best Nursing Jobs?
High-paying nursing opportunities abound. As a skilled correctional nurse, you are in control of your career. Check out the best jobs from coast to coast on our job board. Get the pay and career path you deserve. Click here to see open positions for nurses now.
Lee Nelson of the Chicago area writes for national and regional magazines, websites, and business journals. Her work has recently appeared in Realtor.org, Nurse.org, Yahoo! Homes, ChicagoStyle Weddings, and a bi-weekly blog in Unigo.com.