Tag Archives: Walt Disney World

A Disney College Program How-To: The Phone Interview

26 Aug

Congratulations! You made it through the trenches where most dreams die — the web-based interview! However, you’re not out of the woods yet. I’ve met plenty of CP hopefuls who confidently got to the phone interview and had it all fall apart because they weren’t prepared.

This is the first and only time in your application process where a human will talk to you. Keep that in mind. This is the ONLY time you have to express exactly why you want to be part of this program, why Disney means a lot to you, why you deserve to be working for Mickey Mouse. You get one shot. Make it count.

The DCP website keeps a few questions online to ask potential candidates. “Why do you want to work for Disney?” “What do you think you can bring to the program? Why?” “How do you hope this program will impact your future?” Those questions are just a taste of what an interviewer could ask you.

Know the roles. Disney will consider you for ANY (and I mean ANY) role in which you showed interest. For example, I put a 1 (low interest) for parking/transit, but I hate driving. My interviewer asked if I would be comfortable with my list of interests, and I asked her to remove parking from my selections. She said that’s fine, and I continued my interview with four choices: Photopass, Attractions, Merchandise, and Character Attendant. Read over the role descriptions before your interview and MAKE SURE you’re okay with anything listed under each description.

Here are some need-to-know tips for a great phone interview:

Be prepared. Those questions Disney posts online? Yeah, they actually ask you those verbatim. I scribbled out each answer I had to the three questions and read those answers back to my interviewer. She didn’t see the notepad on my lap during the interview, but she probably noticed I’d thought a lot about why I wanted to work for the company.

Smile. Seriously. Smiling will keep you upbeat and in a pretty good mood throughout what can be a stressful interview. Also, I can pretty much guarantee the interviewer on the other end of the line will be smiling just as much as you. With both phone interviews in two programs, I’ve left my interviews feeling confident and happy rather than petrified and nervous. That’s largely because my interviewer was genuinely rooting for me and I could smile throughout the process.

They’re rooting for you. Recruiters know how incredible a program DCP is. They want as many students as possible to experience it. They want you to succeed. Don’t ever feel like they’re out to get you with a trick question. If you don’t understand a question, as your interviewer for further explanation.

Dress to impress. No, the person on the other end won’t see you. You should still treat this opportunity like a business venture and dress in something you’d wear to an in-person interview. Dress in a way that makes you comfortable and confident. I’ve had people swear they’ve worn pajamas to the phone interview and made it. Congrats to them that unprofessionalism bade well for once. I hope they never brag about that to any other employers, as that’s just a really sad accomplishment. You might as well start practicing professionalism now. “The Disney Look” is definitely something you can get a head start on before your DCP begins.

Be personal. Be the best you that you can be. Disney is looking for individuals rather than carbon copies of Mickey Mouse. They want types of people for certain roles, sure, but they want people whose different backgrounds and experiences can contribute to a diverse and thriving work location. Don’t give answers you’d think Walt would love to hear. Give answers you’re comfortable with and honest about. If you’re truly meant to work for Disney, then your answers will align with what the Company looks for in applicants.

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A Disney College Program How-To: The Web-Based Interview

25 Aug

You want to apply, so now what? Let’s learn about the web-based interview. 

There are two sections to this part of the interview. There’s a general form that Disney uses to make sure you’re not a serial killer. Once you get through the basic eligibility requirements, you’ll receive an email about a web-based interview.web-based interview

It’s severely tempting to think “Ah, yet another internet quiz. This will be SUPER easy!” Don’t think that. Nope. Don’t do it. MOST DCP applicants are cut HERE.

The web-based interview is where you have to know yourself pretty well. You should be honest in your answers, sure, but most importantly, you should be CONSISTENT in how you present yourself. If you say you’re timely on one question but then say you sometimes run 10-15 minutes late on another, the system will notice that inconsistency.

Five helpful hints to doing well on the web-based interview:

Use STRONG answers. You’ll rate things on a scale for most of the interview. Don’t put neutral; you’re effectively saying “I feel ‘meh’ about this.” Disney doesn’t need “meh;” it needs “yay” or “nay.” You either go a STRONG YAY or a STRONG NAY.

Know what you prioritize. Is it safety of Guests? Is it comfort? Is it making people smile? I’ve yet to discover if there are right or wrong answers with this, but I can assure you (and my fellow DCPers will agree) that SAFETY is the number one key with the Walt Disney Company.

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Know yourself “Inside Out”

Know yourself. You don’t have time to debate whether you’re messy or clean (or “dysfunctional yet organized” like myself). They want you to push through the entire interview in about 30 minutes. There are a lot of questions. You have to keep moving.

Be honest. If you make it through the web-based interview, your interviewer in the next step will ask you about what you checked for the web-based portion. Not remembering what you put isn’t a great sign, so being honest and true to self helps. That never changes.

Be confident. You got this.

For an intro about the DCP, check out my last post here.

What questions do you have about the College Program? Leave them in the comments area below! There’s no such thing as a dumb question. 

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.

 

Food and Wine Review Part Deux and the Cost of Eating Around the World

9 Oct

Thirty-eight booths comprise this year’s Food and Wine celebration, which means my first review barely scratches the surface of Epcot’s culinary offerings.

For those wishing to eat and drink around the world, I calculated how much it would be to eat one item and drink one beverage at each booth. The average cost of a food item is roughly $4.50 – $5, and drinks run a bit higher at $5.50 – $6. That last average obviously excludes the $10 martinis or margaritas (looking at you, Mexico pavilion). Averaging the cheapest estimates, the Around the World challenge costs roughly $380. Granted, I haven’t tracked my spending like I should, but this might be a good ballpark figure if you’re gung-ho about sampling a little bit of everything.

Here are more highlights from my third (and fourth and fifth) expeditions to the World Showcase:

-Pomegranate kir, France:  

 If you love sweet adult beverages, the pomegranate kir will satiate your taste buds. It’s sweet to the point of being sour (hello, pomegranate juice), but the tart flavor is cut by the champagne. I walked around the France pavilion feeling fancy with my flute and pretended I’d actually be able to afford a meal at Monsieur Paul’s one day.

-Grilled Bush Berry Shrimp, Australia:  

 While the lamb chop sounded divine, I couldn’t pass up the smell of the grilled shrimp. Well-seasoned shrimp lightly buttered and smothered in a sweet and sour sauce served on a bed of sugar snap peas and a little bit of pineapple. The colorful plate kept me satisfied yet not weighed down. I’d recommend pairing the shrimp with the Unoaked Chardonnay to cut some of the sweetness.

-Sweet Mango bubble tea, China: I love Bubble teas. I love mango. There’s literally no way I can’t not put this on the list. All ages can enjoy this non-alcoholic staple of the China pavilion. 

 
-Ravioli, Italy: It’s already a staple for Food and Wine and with good reason. The cheese blend inside the ravioli is sweet yet tangy. The tomato sauce isn’t too heavy or over-seasoned. I’m a big cheese fan, so the additional cheese topping the ravioli bake might be a bit much for some but I love it.  

-Haggis with neeps and tatties, Scotland: They finally did away with vegetarian haggis this year! The haggis was well-seasoned and tasted exactly like when I had it in the UK studying abroad. The rutabaga and mashed potatoes offset the savory with traditional UK “bland” palette cleansers, and overall, the dish tasted extremely comforting. Scottish comfort food is the best way for me to describe this one. Be brave and give it a try!

Y’all know I’m not done here. I convinced myself that if I walk around Future World enough before hitting World Showcase, the calories won’t affect me. A sequel to these reviews might entail my adventures in losing the Food and Wine weight, but it’s worth it.

Comment below with your favorite Epcot snacks from this year or years past!

Food and Wine Review 

4 Oct

It’s that time of year, the time when wallets get lighter and waistlines larger. The Epcot Food and Wine festival is upon us, and this year with more pizazz than ever before.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary, Epcot is going above and beyond previous years to offer the largest selection of countries and experiences.

However, not everyone can eat around the world, so here are the points you don’t want to miss:

– Beef tips, Africa: Beautifully plated spicy and savory beef tips cannot be missed this year. While I’m still irritated that Disney lumps an entire continent into one small booth, I’m beyond pleased with my experience in Africa (but then again, I’m totally biased).

– Apple drink, Poland: It’s literally an apple pie slushie with vodka. Nothing could be wrong about this beverage, not even the $9 price tag. The biggest challenge is deciding whether you should eat it with a spoon or a straw.

 – Chocolate pudding, Ireland: This bite-sized desert has been a favorite of mine the last three years. A small chocolate cake morsel is drizzled with a Kerrygold creme sauce and has a molten, “lava” center. Paying $3.50 for such a small cake might seem too steep for some, but it’s worth the price.

– Mussels, New Zealand: I’m normally not a mussels or oysters fan. However, the seasoning and presentation of the seafood won me over.

 – Loaded mac and cheese, Farm Fresh: I bought this in frustration because Farm Fresh booth got rid of the watermelon juice I loved so much. However, THIS IS SO GOOD. Delicious cheddar cheese with crispy bacon and scallions combine for a fancy mac and cheese dish I want to replicate at home.

As I continue my travels “eating around the world,” be sure to look for further updates and reviews!

Why Going to Disney World and Graduating are the Same Things

19 May

You’ve slaved away for four (or five…maybe six) years, just waiting for this moment. You even decorated your wardrobe to express your excitement.

Cap courtesy of Elyssa Carmony.

Cap courtesy of Elyssa Carmony.

You have to stand FOREVER in lines with people who will not stop talking.

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And then there are all these people you have to deal with.

disney crowd

Let’s not even get started on the pictures. All 2.5 million of them.

disney collage

Then the moment comes. After nearly two hours of waiting, you finally get what you came here for.

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Suddenly, the complaining stops as your dreams come true. You did it.

Image courtesy of WKU Media.

Image courtesy of WKU Media.

It’s only moments after you left that you’re overwhelmed with a sense of wanting to do it all over again.

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