Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Guarding the World: Overview of the Lifeguard Role

If you know anything about me, you know that I don't like walking into any situation blind. I like to be prepared as possible. Another thing you should learn about me is that I have worked as a lifeguard for 5 years (plus time working as a swim instructor). Honestly, I miss being a lifeguard and cannot wait to do so at Walt Disney World!
Look at those great tan lines!
In order to not walk blindly into this experience I am compiling a basic timeline of lifeguard training for the Disney CP. This is the information that I have gathered by reading different blogs, forums, and using the Disney CP website. It should hopefully give you a very basic idea of what to expect if you're in the lifeguard role. If any of my information is incorrect, please let me know so I can fix it!

Day 1: Swim Test

This will be the evening of your Check-In date. They will let you know at Check-In where and when you will report for your swim test. It is traditionally at Mickey's Retreat at 6pm and lasts about 2 hours. You'll be split into a few different groups to finish the test. The parts of the test includes:
  • Swim 200 yards
  • Tread water for 2 minutes with hands out of the water
  • Retrieve a 10 pound brick from 8 feet water (feet first)
Tips: Wear a one piece or they'll make you wear a shirt over a two piece swimsuit. Also bring goggles if you have them!


I'm a little fuzzy on when you'll have Traditions as a lifeguard. I believe it'll be a few days after Check-In like everyone else. You'll also get your first week schedule at Traditions, which will be training!

3 Days of Lifeguard Training

After successfully passing the swim test (yay!), you will be scheduled for 3 days of lifeguard training. This includes CPR, AED, and Lifeguard training, both classroom and in the pool. You'll be schedule from 8:00am to 5:00pm for these 3 days.

Lifeguard Final

The culmination of your lifeguard training will be test out day! This is where you'll demonstrate all the lifeguard skills you've learned after the course. This includes:
  • CPR Test on an adult, child, and infant
  • A Written Test
  • Mock Incident Test in pool


As a Disney Lifeguard 

After completing all of the above, you will finally be moved to your specific location, whether that's a resort pool or a water park. At your location you'll go through another week of training. Then you'll be a real Disney Lifeguard!

As a Disney Lifeguard you can expect:
  • 30 minute rotations
  • Constant scanning and roaming at your lifeguard stand
  • Cleaning, raking sand, moving lounge chairs, other cleaning
  • Being friendly to every guest
  • Monthly Inservices (yes, more training!) 
  • Audits or VAT tests 
Okay that's most of the information I know at this point. I'm also trying to figure out what a typical shift is for lifeguards. Again they differ person from person, but I've heard resorts are typically 8am-4:30pm, 5 times a week, while water parks tend to be 8am-6pm, 4 times a week. But they also do split shifts at the water parks, so of course everything can change!


  1. for the three days of training, do you have a choice on what three days you have the training? I'm thinking of applying to be a disney lifeguard in the new year, but i have class tuesday through thursday every week

    1. They should be able to accomodate your class schedule. I'm not sure how many different classes they have set up, but they have to work around part time workers for jobs, so you will just have to discuss that with Casting.