Tag Archives: Disney College Program Information

A Disney College Program How-To: An Overview

24 Aug

It’s that time of year: Disney College Program applications are online and ready for YOU.

Ever considered spending a semester away from the hard desks of college classes and instead working for Mickey Mouse?

I spent a year and a half of my life participating in the Disney College Program. I worked

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Just a regular night at Fantastmic!

Fall 2013 in the Magic Kingdom at the Stitch complex in Tomorrowland. I spent Fall 2015 at Disney Springs (then Downtown Disney) at DisneyQuest. And yes, #disneyquestisopen. I extended my program into Spring 2016 where I worked at Rock N Roller Coaster and Fantastmic! While I stayed an attractions cast member for all three programs, each work location had its own benefits and challenges. I had fresh experiences each and every day.

There are three elements to the application process:

  1. General application.
  2. Web-based interview
  3. Phone interview

For the next week, I’ll be going over each part of the application process in detail. Feel free to leave any questions you have in the comments below, and I’ll answer them in the posts!

Here are some basics if you’re interested in applying:

– Must be at least 18 years old.                                         

– Must have finished your first semester of college.

– Must be currently enrolled in college at the time of application.

(The following aren’t must-haves but seriously help if you have them)

– Enjoy dealing with people. You’ll have new roommates with whom you’ll hopefully bond. You’ll more than likely be enrolled in classes with people very different from yourself. Oh, and there’s that little bit where you’ll probably work with thousands of people each day. I’m not saying you have to be extroverted! I’m an introvert myself. However, it really helps if you have patience with the Guests (and sometimes cast members) who frustrate you.

– Experience being away from home. Sure, you might try to plan a visit home for a weekend, but not everyone has that luxury. Fall program participants will spend Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas without their families. For some, that’s very difficult. There were several people within two weeks of my Fall ’15 program who quit because they couldn’t handle being away from family/significant others/friends.

– Willing to get out of your comfort zone and try new things. You get out of the program what you put into it. If you never leave your apartment fearing Orlando itself, you will be miserable.

– Know and love the Walt Disney Company. No, it’s not a requirement. It helps enormously. I grew up entranced by Disney movies. I vividly remember my family vacations to Walt Disney World. I know why the magic matters in my life. If you can find that connection, it helps when things get tough. It helps when you have days when Guests yell at you. You find the magic in your memories and it reminds you why you pursued this opportunity in the first place.

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Mickey ears are all the cooler when you match your roommates. 

The perks are endless. There’s the whole getting-into-the-parks-free bit. You’ll rub elbows with all sorts of insanely talented people. You have opportunities to learn first-hand from professionals who are the best in the business. You get insane discounts for yourself and your family. You form close bonds with some of the best people you’ll ever meet.

You never know until you try! Apply today!

Applications for Spring 2017 are LIVE! Click here to apply!

My DCP Review

31 May

This fairytale came to an awkward close. The princess didn’t get a knight, prince or court jester. She didn’t even get financial stability.

My second DCP did not come with a fruitful return, and thus, I’m leaving the Disney Company indefinitely. And that’s okay.

I spent the last five months of my life watching a major powerhouse completely restructure one of its assets. I saw budget cuts devastate full-time and part-time employees barely clearing 40 hours each week as they were only scheduled 30 or less. I heard about my CEO’s paycheck, the streamlining of positions to save a few more millions. We can’t say “Thanks, Shanghai” sardonicly without a bitter pang that there’s more to the story.

I spent the fall portion of my program furiously applying to Professional Internships, adjusting my resume and cover letter to meet every specification listed on an individual application. I took pride in graduating Summa cum laude, completing a Masters-level thesis project and having my stories mentioned and quoted by Washington Post and Sports Illustrated. Maybe I assumed too much, but I sent each application in with a sense of success and with the expectation of two phone interviews. After all, “if you can dream it, you can do it,” right?

Silence.

The four rejection emails I received were automated and cold, which is fair given the size of the Company. I’m assuming never hearing back from the other five applications were also rejections as well. What I didn’t expect was the brutal honesty from one of my meet-and-greets: the resume section is ALL automated unless a department wants it another way. Most departments don’t want to read through the hopes and dreams of applicants; it’s clearly easier to have a computer do the emotional bits. I bitterly laugh at the irony of computers weeding out candidates for writing internships. The most impassionate creations deftly scanning for “keywords” of writers who spend time crafting a variety of ways to express themselves.

It all felt, well, very non-Disney.

I doubt if Walt himself would be able to land a PI interview. After all, he could barely negotiate contracts. (Roy, on the other hand, would probably make it to the final round of a management internship.)

You can be angry at me for not playing the system. You can call me naïve for my bitterness. I’m nothing more than a stubborn millennial who doesn’t want to earn her keep, right? My 60-hour work weeks during holiday seasons, dealing with thousands of Guests each day, telling irate parents their child doesn’t meet a height requirement and getting screamed at — none of it will ever show enough commitment to this place for some people.

“That’s what you signed up for,” the voices echo. “You’re supposed to be nice. You knew what you were getting into.”

Well, yes and no. I love making magic. I love seeing a kid terrified of riding a ride come off triumphant and shouting “we have to do that again!” I love having families reunite at their favorite place if only to spend a few days together. Those moments are truly inspiring, and they are why I worked for Disney.

But since when does making magic and offering excellent customer service stay confined to one company? In the words of Dream Along with Mickey, why can’t I “take the dream with [me] wherever [I] go”?

I had the honor of meeting Marty Sklar –Walt Disney’s personal ghost writer– several months ago at a book signing. The experience itself was life-changing, and his book offered an unexpected glimpse into Imagineering.

The first half of Sklar’s book explores the 10 Commandments of Imagineering and creativity. The latter half consists of over 75 anecdotes from current and former Imagineers. Nearly all of them admits to having most experience outside of the Disney company. They do not speak highly of the opportunities for WDI interns –the most coveted professional internship within the Company. If anything, overzealous interns are criticized for entering into their dream job unwilling to adjust to outside input.

I spent time recently thinking up the Disney executives who left the company and returned to a higher position. The list was quite lengthy, and Lasseter’s existence on the list was enough to comfort me.

To my friends still in Orlando pursuing their professional dreams, good luck. I know a majority of you were left with the awkward silence after putting in full-time and part-time applications, even after going above and beyond in your work locations. I hope that answers come and bring favorable news when they do.

I love Disney, and that will never change. I still tirelessly follow the Disney Parks Blogs, Oh My Disney and DisneyStyle accounts for new information about the company. I will forever love the thrill of walking down Main Street USA and hearing the Dapper Dans serenade a new set of ears.

I’ll keep blogging remotely from wherever when announcements are made or whenever I have an Oh My Disney moment of inspiration.

But I can’t become so enraptured with the constantly-evolving magic that 20 years of my life passes and I’m stuck with piles of untried dreams under Four Keys Cards receipts.

Sometimes, the best stories are the ones where a lofty goal isn’t reached. The princess lands a fresh adventure and a quest begins anew.

 

Disney College Program – What I Learned 1 Year Later

11 Dec

It’s been almost a year since I completed my Disney College Program experience. I left an exhausted shell of a human (thanks, New Years Eve shifts), and I slept the entire drive back to Kentucky. I didn’t think I’d miss it. I went to the parks whenever I got the chance. I had enough Disney movies on VHS to sustain me. Disney depression might exist for some people, but not me. I was above it.

Wrong. ALL WRONG.

I confess my role with Walt Disney World had absolutely NOTHING to do with my journalism degree (much to the chagrin of my adviser and professors). I thought the only “practical” thing to come out of this experience was this blog, which I marketed as validation I put my writing skills to good use.

In doing so, I neglected a plethora of other skills I could actually put on a resume (GASP).

So, for those of you confused as to how to market your mad spieling skills from Attractions or ability to serve thousands of hotdogs per day in Quick Service, here’s how to break it down:

1) If you spieled, congratulations! You have excellent lung capacity, a knack for pantomiming, and a penchant for remembering/relaying information to Guests.

2) If you worked Attractions, your nimble and adept fingers can push multiple buttons in order to restart a 101.

3) Merchandise people, be sure to mention your ability to stay awake until ungodly hours of the wee morn as you stock and organize.

4) Character performers, congratulations. You’re so freaking special. Everyone worships you at the parks. Why do you even need a resume? Just get some headshots done. You’ll be fine.

5) Quick Service F&B, bless your souls. Seriously. Be sure to note your ability to operate often-faulty equipment (merch CMs could put this down, too). Mention your ability to take physical injury and excessive verbal abuses simultaneously.

6) Hotel people, you’re business-y types. You’re probably in hotel management and already have “people-oriented” listed somewhere on your resumes in neatly-organized serif fonts.

7) EVERYONE WHO MADE IT THROUGH DCP: You all have people skills. You all worked hours/shifts you didn’t think you could finish. You worked in conditions and lived with people you might not have liked against your will. You missed family functions, holiday traditions and other opportunities to devote at least five months of your life to making other people happy.

YOU make the magic in the parks, and the boss-mouse couldn’t do it without you.

Good luck putting that on a resume.

You Might Be a CP…

17 Jan

It’s been a whole month since the last blog post. I’ve had plenty of time for introspection now that my college program has come to an end. Though I’ve been home nearly two weeks, it feels like I’m taking an extended vacation. Any moment now, I’ll get on The Hub for next week’s schedule and be back in my Commons apartment. However, I know (deep deep deeeeeeeeep down) I’m not going back for a while.

This post is for all CPs, past and present.

If you feared the Vista Way swimming pools and hot tubs more than termination, you might be a CP.

Those things foamed in ways no body of water should ever foam…

If at least one roommate self-termed or got termed, you might be a CP.

If not, good for you, you lucky dogs.

If you realize that “CP” actually stands for “closing personnel,” you might be a CP.

Extra-Magic hours made weekly schedules even more “magical.” Working until 4 am is always a blast.

If that 40 percent seasonal discount was used to purchase Christmas presents for everyone on your list, you might be a CP.

Hope my family doesn’t mind Disney-themed presents for the next three years.

If rice/pasta/ramen/peanut butter sandwiches constituted most of your diet, you might be a CP.

Even buying park food became a special treat. You can eat off those turkey legs for at least a month.

If you initially followed the group Facebook page but quickly grew tired of the constant postings, you might be a CP.

“Hey guys! I’m trying to sell/give away/get you on this creepy party bus/go to Universal/need a ride to WalMart. Anyone want to buy anything/come with me/give me a ride?”

If housing events were only attended for the free food, you might be a CP.

You also brought food home with you, hoping it would last until the end of the week.

If a Transtar bus incident made you late to work more than once, you might be a CP.

Literal definition of a “struggle bus.”

If “You’re from (insert state here)? Me too! We should totally hang out sometime!” was said more than once during your first week, you might be a CP.

By the end of the program, there’s a 95 percent chance you have no idea what happened to that person.

If the full timers at your location still didn’t know your name after four months of working, you might be a CP.

“Hey, Meagan, can you move these strollers around?” “My name is Shelby…” “…Really? You sure? Are you new?”

If you had no idea whether you’d survive training week, you might be a CP.

First week without your trainer: “I WON’T REMEMBER ANY OF THIS! I’M GOING TO GET TERMED MY FIRST DAY. Please, dear Lord, please don’t let anything break down.”  By the end of the program: “Psshhh… Need to evacuate the attraction? I’ve totally got this.”

If you made just as many international friends as American friends…

And hope to visit them all in their exotic home locales.

If you still love watching Disney movies despite working there…

(cough cough FROZEN cough cough)

If you got teary-eyed the final time you read “Thanks for making the Magic happen!” as you clocked out…

If you dread going back to the “real world” or your home university…

If you made countless memories you’ll cherish forever…

If you miss working for The Mouse…

You might be a Disney College Program participant or alumnus.