Disney Interactive Studios

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Disney Interactive Studios Reviews

Updated September 11, 2014
Updated September 11, 2014
98 Reviews
2.9
98 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Disney Interactive Studios President, Disney Interactive James Pitaro
James Pitaro
9 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • People work hard but few stay late, a healthy work-life balance that is fully respected by management (in 5 reviews)

  • Great people, great benefits, great salary (in 7 reviews)


Cons
  • The culture was awesome and the company actively promoted and lived up to the promise of work life balance (in 4 reviews)

  • Upper management has no idea how to develop a product strategy (in 6 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Disney Magic

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Manager  in  Glendale, CA
    Current Employee - Manager in Glendale, CA

    I have been working at Disney Interactive Studios full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Creating innovative products and projects that challenge and excite while working in professionally with truly the best of the best is what happens here. The magic happens when expertise, meticulous planning and great people intersect to super serve and provide a world-class Disney experience.

    Cons

    Since technology is constantly changing, our business continues to evolve and change with it. It's just the way things grow not a "con."

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep listening to your employees who deal with the day to day, project to project scenarios and continue to listen. That's one of the many things that makes Disney Interactive a great place to work.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Great company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - UI Designer
    Current Employee - UI Designer

    I have been working at Disney Interactive Studios full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    great coworkers and location, often get half day before a holiday off. 3 weeks vacation, catered lunches. great work life balance.

    Cons

    red tape, difficult to get a project to work on that was our own. constantly trying to make changes to please execs.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    give internal studios the same freedom and leniency as the external licensed development teams.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great people but unstable environment

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Glendale, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Glendale, CA

    I worked at Disney Interactive Studios full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    The people you work with are amazing. The Disney Brand. Casual work environment. You get great insight to what the entire company is doing. Fun projects.

    Cons

    Upper management, yearly fiscal layoffs, low morale, people living in fear of being laid off. Very little growth opportunities. Overtime needs to be requested and usually denied and you end up working ridiculous hours anyway. This is the branch of the Disney company that is unprofitable, thus resulting in yearly fiscal layoffs.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5.  

    Great if you have management support!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Manager  in  Glendale, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Manager in Glendale, CA

    I worked at Disney Interactive Studios full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    I really liked Disney until the last year. Autonomy to build my team and program the way I wanted. Most supervisors helped me to remove roadblocks. Empowered to learn and grow.

    Cons

    In 4 years, there were at least 4 rounds of layoffs. Upper management was a revolving door. I never had the same boss for more than 1yr.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop shuffling so your workers can get a sense of stability. Stop getting in the way. Lean in less often. Buy a good development company and allow them to make you an awesome game.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Meh

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Disney Interactive Studios full-time

    Pros

    As stable as game jobs go. Good coworkers. Great HR.

    Cons

    Lots of over time. Bonuses promised then taken away. Rampant cronyism.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7.  

    Good experience, but sad ending

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Disney Interactive Studios full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Office culture was always great, lots of opportunity for promotion and experiences, great people, and always fun to work for Disney.

    Cons

    Poor leadership which continues to get worse. Too much removed corporate structure without a real understanding of the value of the people they have. Inability to actually make profitable games stemming from a desire to mash together mediocre game concepts with Disney IP.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get to know the people who make the games, put the right talents in the right place. Build better, more stable game engines. Don't be afraid to take the right risks.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Empire mindset, so out of date

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Disney Interactive Studios full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    A super large & well-known company. No real management so that you can plan and do whatever you want. Lots of PTOs, someone even took 4~5 months off. No worries if you're already out of date with whatever skills you claim to have. You can wfh from 1 to 5 days a week, and even remotely any where on earth.

    Cons

    What kind of company all the sudden terminated ESPP to all its employees? What kind of leadership likes to acquire new tech startups, gradually centralize their techs back to HQ then phase them out? What kind of mentality likes to over staff big bunch inexperienced, has you train them and they together edge you out? If you were a somebody, they’ll make you a nobody, and bring up a real cheap nobody into somebody in some extraordinary cheap ways. There seems no really work ethic standards but everyone is on his/her own. Even some crooked can get around until things start to go really nasty. The list of negatives can go down over tens or even hundreds. Pretty much its internal is like one of their own evil empire movies. Cheap, no future, no decency, ...., very demoralizing & depressing cultured. Yeah seriously, do not be fooled by their parks and movies

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Repent & grow up.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Disney Interactive - where QUANTITY assurance is valued over QUALITY!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Quality Assurance Tester  in  Glendale, CA
    Current Employee - Quality Assurance Tester in Glendale, CA

    I have been working at Disney Interactive Studios as a contractor for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Free snacks and drinks offered to all employees.
    Beautiful campus.
    Starbucks
    Free Events on the campus.
    Employee discounts at stores.
    Very Clean.

    Cons

    I am so disappointed with the way this department of Disney is run. I can only hope that other Disney departments incorporate better values, policies and standards.

    Several testers were brought in with promises of becoming full-time employees. After being there a few months, it became apparent that only females get this opportunity, specifically, the ones the supervisor favors. No offense to these women/girls, but most are not qualified for the position. Several long time males contract employees are overlooked for these same positions or are never given the chance to apply or interview for these positions. These females are secretly moved into these roles without the entire department even knowing there was an open position. The leads over these positions have no say-so in selecting their candidates or organizing their team. These smart women have befriend the one and only person who can move them up - by going to lunches and getting drinks with that said person- the QA Supervisor. Good for these women, but it doesn't leave much hope or opportunity for the rest of us who don't wear skirts and high heels to test games. Most of these women/girls have never had a QA job before and were not given any proper training. I feel bad for the women/girls who were hired in their interviews and were made promises of blue badges (permanent Disney employees), but some of these women refused to lean over the desk of certain supervisors to get ahead in their white skirts and with exposed pink thongs, and for that, these women will never become part of the clique.

    Women are not the only one who have learned the ways of the department. It saddens me to write that certain males have caught on to the women's way of schmoozing the only Supervisor. Due to the Supervisor's love for certain women in the office and the males kissing up to him, this has formed the Supervisor's posse. Once again, good for the all males and females that are willing to do this to get ahead. Good for them to the play the game. However, I know talented people in this department that have been passed up or will be because they refuse to be apart of the drama. So how do you know you are in the clique/posse, Clue 1: Special gourmet pizza is hidden at the desk of the Supervisor on certain nights, if you are lucky enough to find out and offered some, then you are in the group. Hint: It's not available to everyone, even if it's aroma is spreading across the floor, but however, Disney Interactive is fitting the bill. If you try to get some pizza without an invite, the posse will inform you that you were not invited. Clue 2: If you aren't being asked to private dinners with the Supervisor or to go drinking after work, then you are definitely out of the group.

    The next big issue with this "supposed" video game company is the newly implemented bug count on the new title. With several male and female testers trying to "bug" without any experience while meeting a quota is a recipe for disaster. Leads pretend to scare you into thinking that duplicated bugs and non-bugs will be heavily weighed into your bug count, and you will be severely penalized for any of these mistakes. Now that the project is coming to an end, these so called no-nos have no bearing on your overall review or whether or not you will be asked to stay beyond the first round of layoffs.

    Disney Interactive QA department has become that company that is only worried about covering themselves with numbers to prove that this new title (video game), if it doesn't do well with consumers, well the QA department wrote 30,000 bugs, it has to be the developers fault.

    Recently, Senior QA Testers had meetings with all QA testers regarding training. For most testers, there was no training, but seeing how these are a bunch of first-time testers, who don't know the difference, most were scared into a meeting where they were forced to say this was the best place they worked. This became a joke among all testers both new and seasoned.

    I could go on with several other issues, but future wannabe employees be warned. I truly warn you. Be ready to play the game, don't worry about writing quality issues while testing any game, just write a bug, even if it makes no sense, get that count higher. Ladies, you've got a real shot at advancing here, but know who to schmooze, and there is only one person.

    It's only a matter of time before I am let go, and then a few months later asked back. I have finally given up hope on my dream to work here full-time. I will not be coming back, unless things change or management changes.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Open your eyes to who's leading this department. This department is falling apart and the games are already showing for it. The director of the department seems to be a good guy, with little to no say over his supervisor - there is something wrong with that. It's obvious there is a huge divide among blue badges, the divide being the Supervisor vs. all other blue badges in this department. This department since last November has changed and I can only attribute most of the problems, newfound drama to the Supervisor who took his role at that time. I truly love Disney, and I can only hope that things really do change.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10.  

    Used to be great before current management

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Disney Interactive Studios

    Pros

    It's Disney, it's an amazing brand and you get to work with amazing people and projects. Great office atmosphere.

    Cons

    Guaranteed layoffs every fiscal year, low morale. Employees live in fear of getting laid off. This is a non profitable group within the Walt Disney company. They have laid off so many people, but have the same amount of volume of work. Very hard to move up or receive recognition.

  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    The Review

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Disney Interactive Studios as a contractor for more than a year

    Pros

    - Disney is large and it treats its members well. If you're contracted, that's a non-issue. If you're full-time-Disney, it's a great bonus.
    - Disney employment looks good on a resume.
    - Disney interactive, like many game studios, draws creative, intelligent, and kind people. Co-workers will likely be more pleasant than in other fields.
    - Compared to other game studios, Disney cares more about employee personal needs. There is overtime, but unlike other studios, the "voluntary" overtime is not necessary.
    - DI has some of the benefits that most major studios carry: free drinks, free food (pizza on Fridays), and free snacks.
    - For contract QA employees: DI offers more stability than other companies. There will ALWAYS be a mobile game to test. Unless the employee doesn't do their job, they'll likely finish their contract of 18 months.

    Cons

    - The business model of Disney games lends itself to heavy overturn. 700+ employees were laid off this last Fall. Not all games are profitable, even if all teams involved do their best.
    - Very few employees have a chance of advancement.
    - Contract employees will think they have a chance to advance because Disney Interactive is different from other employers. Most contractors will feel like they wasted time, even though they spent more time with a single employer.
    - The advancement of critical employees is hamstrung by Human Resources.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Always focus on who helps the product and who cares about the product. The middle management is already competent. Senior management should focus more on team production than meetings. 99% of the team doesn't care about 99% of quarterly meetings. Even if your Power Point presentation is well thought out, nobody cares.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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