Disney English Careers: FAQs
When was Disney English established?
Disney English opened its first center in Shanghai in October 2008.
Where are the Disney English centers located?
Disney English centers are currently in Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou, Ningbo, Tianjin, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Wuhan, Dalian, Shenyang, and Chengdu. Disney English will continue its expansion into other cities throughout China in the coming years.
What experience is required to work for Disney English?
English Foreign Trainer:
- Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
- 2 years post-graduate teaching experience, preferably teaching young learners
- Energy, enthusiasm & passion to inspire children in the classroom
- Strong organizational skills and the ability to juggle multiple priorities with grace
- Exceptional guest service mentality
- Flexibility, openness and professionalism
- Internationally recognized TEFL certification preferred
- Must be a native English speaker
- Ability to commit to a 12-15 month contract
Language Learning Director:
- Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
- 5-7 years combined teaching and management experience
- Internationally recognized TEFL certification
- Energy, enthusiasm & passion to inspire children in the classroom
- Flexible, open and professionalism in demeanor
- Exceptional guest service mentality
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills
- Strong organizational skills, and the ability to juggle multiple priorities
- People management skills, with the ability to train, develop and retain teams
- Must be a native English speaker
What is TEFL-C?
Disney English provides the TEFL-C course as a no cost benefit to all foreign academic cast members. All foreign academic staff at Disney English are TEFL-C (Teaching English as a Foreign Language to Children) certified. The program, which is affiliated with Columbia University Teachers’ College, consists of 20 on-line modules. Foreign cast members will take the first 7 online modules prior to starting with Disney English. Once on-board, 15 hours of live training are provided, as part of on-boarding and training. The remaining 13 online modules must be completed within 3 months of arrival. The hard copies of the TEFL-C certificates will be provided upon completion of the course. Please speak with your recruiter with any questions.
How long is the contract?
The Disney English contract for trainers is 12-15 months, including your training prior
to your arrival in your center. Contract lengths are dependent on your start date, and the date on which a term ends. Please speak with your recruiter with questions.
Will I receive orientation and training?
A one-day orientation is provided on the Monday after you arrive, and is followed by 6 business days of academic training. During academic training, you will learn about the Disney English interactive storytelling approach, our curriculum, classroom and service standards, and on how to use our interactive technology.
Do I get paid during orientation and training?
Yes, you will be paid during this period.
Will I need to obtain a complete medical physical prior to going to China?
Pre-entry medical checks are, at times, required. The Labor Bureau in Beijing, Tianjin and Guangzhou require a pre-entry medical check in order to secure your invitation letter and employment license. Additionally, some Chinese consulates require a pre-entry medical check in addition to other documents to secure your Z visa (regardless of your city of placement). Please be sure to check with your local consulate to confirm regulations. If you need a medical form, your recruiter will provide you with one.
Will I receive a complete physical when I arrive in China?
After you arrive in China, you will need to complete a medical check to secure your work and resident permit. The cost of the physical in China is approximately 700RMB, which Disney English will reimburse, typically between 4-6 weeks after submitting receipts. Please note: Be sure to bring two 2-inch color photos with you, as they are required for the medical check in China. Also, Disney English does not reimburse for vaccinations.
What is the actual time spent in the classroom during a typical week?
Foreign Trainers spend 40 hours per week in their centers, of which, approximately 21-24 hours are spent in the classroom. The remainder of the time is spent preparing lessons, conducting demonstration lessons for potential students and their parents to help market our program, hosting referral events, attending staff meetings and development training, and engaging in other center activities as needed. Trainers work a 5-day week with two consecutive days off during the week. Shifts do not start earlier than 8:30am and would end no later than 9:00pm.
Will I have weekends off?
Saturdays and Sundays are Disney English’s busiest (and longest days) at the centers. Everyone is required to work both days, and you can expect that one of the days will have a 12-hour shift. You will receive 2 consecutive days off during the week, to serve as your “weekend”. Usually the days off are either Tuesday/Wednesday or Wednesday/Thursday.
When will I know in which city I will work, in which center I will be placed, and what my schedule will be?
Your recruiter will discuss available openings and their corresponding location during your interview. Please note that occasionally, because of our rate of growth and the changing nature of business in China, your city assignment or arrival date may shift prior to your arrival. Upon your arrival, you will be assigned to a center and corresponding schedule.
How old are the learners?
Disney English provides English classes for children ages 2-12 years old. There are 3 programs offered:
- Hello World: 2 year olds
- Foundation: 3-6 year olds
- Step Up: 7 year olds +
Learners are placed based upon their language assessment. All Foreign Trainers work with each age group.
How long are the lessons?
- Hello World: Lessons are 45 minutes during the week, and 1.5 hours on the weekend
- Foundation: Lessons are 60 minutes during the week, and 2 hours on the weekend
- Step Up: Lessons are 60 minutes during the week, and 2 hours on the weekend
- Trainers meet with the young learners for approximately 2 hours per week
How many students will be in one class? Will I lead the class by myself?
No class will exceed 15 students. Trainers teaching the Foundation & Step Up programs will have an Assistant Trainer accompany them for 80% of the time. Trainers teaching the Hello World class will have an Assistant Trainer accompany them throughout the entire class. Additionally, the parent and/or guardian will also be permitted to attend Hello World.
Will I be based at one center or will I work in multiple centers?
Initially, you may be required to provide coverage in multiple centers, however, once you complete this “floating” period, which can last up to two months, you would be placed in one center for the remainder of their contract. Please note: You may be required to work temporarily in a city other than the one you were initially assigned to. In this case, Disney English would provide your hotel accommodation for the duration of your stay and transportation to/from the city.
Are there promotional opportunities?
Yes. Disney English cast members are eligible to apply for a promotion after they’ve completed 6 months of service. Promotional eligibility is dependent on performance, and what positions are available at that time.
Is there a dress code?
All Disney English academic cast members are required to maintain a consistent look. Disney English will provide you with khaki pants and 4 Disney English polo shirts for your uniform. You must also wear black, close-toed leather shoes and a matching black leather belt, which are not provided by the company. Your pants will be custom ordered upon your arrival. Custom orders may take time, so please bring a couple pairs of basic khaki pants from home. Cargo pants and capri pants are not permitted. Once the tailored pants have arrived, you must wear them while in the center. Male cast members must be clean-shaven and have haircuts above the collar. Female cast members must have neat hairstyles off the collar. Tattoos must not be visible wearing a short-sleeved shirt, and must be covered at all times. Facial piercings must be removed when in the center. During orientation and training, the uniform will not be available, and business casual attire is required.
How important is it to learn Mandarin?
You do not need to speak Mandarin in order to teach English. Disney English is an English immersion curriculum, so Chinese will only be used when necessary by the local cast.
Will temporary housing be provided during my first few weeks in China?
Disney will book your hotel accommodation upon your arrival, where you may stay for up to 3 weeks. During this time you will attend orientation and training, and conduct an apartment search. Please note that you do not begin to accrue your housing allowance until you check out of the hotel.
How do I find an apartment?
You are required to secure your own permanent housing. Though Disney English does not have an in-house realtor, we encourage you to speak with your new colleagues about realtors and websites with whom they’ve had success. Upon arrival at your center, you’ll be provided with a document that contains the contact information for a few realtors, as well.
Disney English recommends you bring a minimum of $2,500 -$3,000. This money is necessary for initial out-of-pocket rental deposits & fees. Disney English offers an optional advance of your first 3 months housing allowance. Please be aware that if you elect to receive this advance, your taxable income for the month increases significantly, and those taxes will be withheld from your first paycheck. Additionally, you will not start receive your regular monthly housing allowance until the 4th month. If elected, the cash advance is typically issued 2-3 weeks after you’ve filled out the necessary paperwork.
Are apartments furnished?
Many apartments are furnished. You will need to work with your realtor to ensure the apartment has the amenities you desire. Utensils, pans, sheets, towels and other standard household goods are easily found in China.
How do I open a bank account in China?
Disney English will take you to open your bank account within the first 3 days of your arrival in China.
What is my daily ATM limit for withdrawing money?
The daily ATM limit is 2,500 RMB.
Can couples work for Disney English?
Yes, but Disney English hires each person individually. Couples will be assigned to work in separate centers, and we cannot guarantee that couples will always start at their assigned center on the same date. Additionally, while we try to make accommodations, there is a possibility that couples may not have the same days off, though you will always have at least one common day off each week.
How much money should I have?
Many members of our cast are able to save money, but this depends on personal spending habits.
Does Disney English pay for shipping from city of origin to China? Does Disney provide storage facilities?
Disney English is unable to provide shipping assistance or storage facilities for belongings.
Can I bring my pet?
Disney English does not provide any assistance or counsel on animal transportation. We recommend that you refer to the Chinese Embassy website to learn more about the requirements.
Are there any physical demands that I should know about?
Yes, Disney English delivers exciting, energetic content to help our learners connect with English in a totally original way. To successfully secure a work permit in China, all candidates must complete a thorough medical check. Academic positions require frequent standing, bending, squatting, and reaching. With very limited amounts of time, you are running around setting up chairs, breaking down tables, and gathering realia, etc. Frequent lifting of one to five pounds and occasional lifting of up to 40-50 pounds is required.
Does Disney English assist with the visa process for my spouse and/or dependent(s)?
Disney English can add your legal spouse and/or children to your invitation letter, which will allow them to enter China on a spousal or dependant visa.
Spousal Visa: In order to process the entry visa, you will need to send soft copies of their resume, passport photo page and marriage license along with your documents for processing.
Dependant Visa: In order to process the entry visa for your child, you will need to send their passport photo page and birth certificate or adoption decree along with your documents for processing.
Once in China, Disney English will help secure their resident permit(s). Please be sure to bring eight 2×2 passport photos to China for the resident permit applications.
Your first month with Disney English will be intense! Because of this, though not mandated, we strongly recommend that you wait 1 month to bring your accompanying spouse or dependant(s). Please note that a spouse or dependant visa does not legally qualify one to work in China.
How do I obtain a visa to bring my girlfriend/boyfriend to China?
Due to Chinese visa regulations, Disney English cannot sponsor a spousal or dependent visa for your unmarried partner. Please refer to your national embassy, as China regulations, requirements and process can vary depending upon country of origin.
What benefits are included in the compensation package?
- Disney English will book a one-way ticket, from your city of origin to your city of orientation
- You will be provided a (taxable) travel allowance of 420 RMB, added to each month’s salary, for your return flight
- 3 week stay in hotel upon arrival
- 7,000 RMB training bonus (issued 2-3 weeks after arrival)
- 3,000-4,350 RMB monthly housing allowance (varies on location)
- Direct deposited with monthly salary
- You will not begin to accrue your housing allowance until you check out of the hotel
- If you elect to receive the 3 month housing advance, you will receive your first regular housing allowance in month 4
- Monthly salary
- 100% paid monthly health insurance premium (co-pay not included)
- Dental insurance included in healthcare package
- Spouse’s and dependants’ premium covered at 50%
- Please see Benefits Highlight Sheet for details
- 10 sick days per calendar year
- 10 accrued vacation days
- Disney English observes 11 Chinese national holidays
- TEFL-C certification
- Mandarin lessons provided by Rosetta Stone
Does Disney English pay for airfare?
Disney English will arrange a one-way ticket from your city of origin to China. Should you need to book your own travel to China, DE will reimburse up to $700 USD, with prior approval from your Travel Coordinator. We also provide a (taxable) travel allowance of 420 RMB, which is deposited with your monthly salary. This allowance may be used for a return flight or travel to another destination. Please note: Disney English does not pay for the airfare for accompanying spouse or dependants, unless they are employees of Disney English.
When will I receive my travel itinerary?
Your travel itinerary will be available approximately two weeks prior to your scheduled start date. Your travel itinerary is contingent upon approval and receipt of your China visa. Should there be an issue with obtaining your visa, your travel will be changed appropriately.
Could you please provide a brief list of the health benefits?
Your annual health insurance premium is paid for by Disney English. You will be charged a co-payment when visiting a physician. The insurance network includes English-speaking physicians. Disney English will pay 50% of the cost of the insurance premium for spouses and eligible dependants, and the employee is responsible for the remaining 50% of the cost.
When does my insurance coverage begin?
Health Insurance starts once the contract is signed.
How soon will I receive my training bonus and first paycheck?
You will receive your training bonus via direct deposit approximately 2-3 weeks after you’ve filled out your paperwork and opened your bank account. If you start before the 15th of the month, you will receive your first paycheck at the end of that month. If you start work after the 15th of the month, you will receive your paycheck at the end of the following month. For example, if you started work on the 21st of March, you would receive your first paycheck at the end of April.
How much time off do I get?
Foreign Trainers and Language Learning Directors accrue 10 paid vacation days.
Disney English observes 11 Chinese national holidays. They are:
- New Year’s Day: 1 day
- Chinese New Year: 3 days
- Qing Ming Festival: 1 day
- Labor Day: 1 day
- Dragon Boat Festival: 1 day
- Mid Autumn Festival: 1 day
- National Day: 3 days
Please Note: Substitutions are not permitted in the event a holiday falls on a day you already have off. As is the case with your standard weekly schedule, due to the nature of our business, centers may observe a slightly different holiday calendar than the Regional and National Offices. Holidays and vacation time not observed on this calendar can be coordinated with your manager, in accordance with Disney English time-off policy and depending upon the center’s schedule.
What type of visa do I need? Who will pay for the visa?
Disney English will process your documents with the labor bureau, and will send you your invitation letter and employment license, which you’ll need to secure your Z (work) visa. The Z visa is typically obtained in your country of residence. Once in China, you will receive your official work and residence permits. You are responsible for the initial costs of securing your Z-visa, however Disney English will pay for or reimburse the costs for securing your work & resident permit when you arrive in China.
What documents do I need to provide in order to get my Z visa?
Once you have accepted the position, you will be introduced to a China HR Specialist, who will explain the visa document collection process to you. Candidates are required to provide the following documents:
- Soft copy of resume
- Soft copy of passport picture page
- Soft copy of Bachelor’s degree
- Soft copy of employee verification letter(s): Showing at least 1-2 years post-graduate teaching experience. These letters need to show proof of employment (specific employment dates are preferred); on company letterhead with employer signature or official stamp
- Soft copy of TEFL certification
Note: Beijing and Tianjin require soft copies as well as the original documents, along with a mandatory pre-medical check. All documents will be returned.
How do I get my visa?
Once the offer has been accepted, your recruiter will send an email introducing you to one of our HR partners in China, who will collect the documents required to process your invitation letter and employment license. Documents must either be e-mailed or postal mailed, depending on your city assignment. Your paperwork will be sent to the Chinese Labor Bureau for approval and, once approved, your invitation letter & employment license will be sent to you. Please be sure that we have your updated address so as not to delay delivery. These documents must be included in to secure your Z visa, along with any other documents required by the Chinese Consultate with whom you’re working. Depending upon the city, documnets processing may take up to 4-5 weeks.
What documents do I need to include in my Z visa application?
While standard documents including your visa application, passport, invitation letter & employment license are always required in order to secure your Z visa, you must consult with the Chinese Consulate at which you will be applying about consulate specific requirements. Some locations mandate a pre-arrival medical check, regardless of the city in which you will be placed. Please speak with your recruiter for details. Many US citizens have had success using courier services such as http://www.mychinavisa.com and Canadian citizens using http://www.mychinavisa.ca
What if I am arriving on an F visa?
Please contact your recruiter for additional information and details surrounding the F visa process.
How and when will I fly to China?
Once you have the Z visa in your passport, you must notify your Recruiter & Recruitment Coordinator immediately. The Recruitment Coordinator will book your ticket and send you the itinerary and e-ticket via e-mail. Flights can be issued & ticketed within 24 hours.