So You Want To Do The Disney College Program, Well…

…whoop dee doo.
I have been around the block before with block heads just like you.

If you don’t know where that lyric is from, I’m going to kindly ask that you brush up on your Disney movie knowledge (and oh, fun fact, we barely sell ANY merchandise from this particular movie and it makes me sad because it’s such a classic and one of my favorites).

No, seriously, that is AWESOME. Four for you, Glen Coco!
Deciding to apply to the Disney College Program is a big step in and of itself, and I’m sure you have a lot of questions.
Luckily, for you, I happen to have a lot of answers 😉
Now, of course, if a question/answer isn’t here, please feel free to comment with other questions and I will add them to this list for future CP applicants 🙂

Now, let’s get started!

Q: What exactly is the Disney College Program?

A: The Disney College Program is a paid internship at either the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida or at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. You can express interest for both locations when filling out your application.

Q: What do you do on this internship?

A: You can express interest in a number of roles ranging from entertainment (which requires an audition), merchandise, custodial, quick and full service food and beverage, attractions, etc. *Note: Any role you have will be directly in the parks (including Downtown Disney and water parks). If you want something that is more ‘business-y,’ you may want to consider applying for a professional internship!*

Q: How long is the program?

A: There are three different time frames for which you can express interest. The first one is the Spring Program which normally goes from January to May. It does vary, though, and your start date could be February with an end date in June. The second one is the Spring Advantage Program, and these typically start in January or February and end in August. The third one, which to my understanding isn’t always offered, is the Spring Quarter Program. This one starts in April and ends in August.

Q: What are the requirements for applying?

A: You must be at least 18 years old, currently be taking classes at an accredited university/college AND have completed at least one semester. In other words, if you are currently a college freshman, you can apply right now for the Spring program! Also, if you have graduated within the last six months you are also eligible to apply.

Q: Is it better to do it during college or after you graduate?

I just completed the program and I am still in college, but I do have a lot of friends who waited to apply until after they graduated as a way to make the transition from college to ‘real world.’ My advice? Do what works best for YOU. If it doesn’t fit into your schedule, don’t ruin your future by trying to do this program. Disney will always be there; your education should be your main priority. But, if you want to do this program as a way to get your foot in the door with the company, I would recommend applying while you’re still in school because it gives you more chances to get accepted than if you wait until you graduate and you only have one chance to get in.

Q: Do you have to take classes?

A: Disney does offer classes that you can take for college credit–if your school will accept them. If your college does not accept the courses for credit, there are free seminars/courses you can take instead to build professional skills and learn about the history of The Walt Disney Company. However, it is NOT required that you take classes during your program.

Q: Does it cost anything?

Upon accepting your invitation to complete the DCP, you will have to pay a fee which covers your rent for the first few weeks (more on this in the next question) and other things. For the Disney World program, it’s about $350. For the Disneyland program, it’s about $850.

Q: Are you provided with housing?

You are eligible to request Disney Program Housing during your college program and link up with roommates. You will be paying rent on a weekly basis and it will be taken directly out of your paycheck each week, so you don’t need to worry about it. (The first few weeks you won’t be working enough to cover rent, and that’s why you pay that money in advance so you don’t have to worry about it.)

Q: Is there transporation?

There is, at least for the Disney World program. (I’m a little fuzzy on the Disneyland Program details since I didn’t do it!) HOWEVER, if you have a car, I HIGHLY suggest bringing it because the transportation we are provided can be very…unpredictable and unreliable at times.

Q: Do I have to have a certain major to apply?

No! All majors are welcome to apply.

Q: What is the application process like?

You will first fill out an initial application. This is where you will express interest in either one or both locations (Orlando and Anaheim), express interest in the various roles you can be cast in, and provide the standard background information. Next, if your application is strong, you will be invited to complete a web based interview. Based on that, you will either no longer be in consideration for the program or you will be invited to schedule a phone interview. Once you have completed the phone interview, the waiting game begins.

Q: How long does it take to hear back after a phone interview?

A: Honestly, you could hear back immediately or you could be waiting a while. (I waited a month until I found out I was accepted) Also, you may be pended throughout the process. DO NOT FREAK OUT! Being pended is always better than no longer being in consideration, so if you see pending on your dashboard, stay calm. A lot of people who were pended, including myself, were accepted.

Q: Is it easy to get accepted?

A: Honestly…no, it isn’t. I know a lot of people who applied several times before getting accepted, but on the flip side I know a lot of people who applied many times and got accepted every time they applied. If you have a strong application, a winning personality and your passion and love for the company is evident, your chances are a lot higher. But tens of thousands of students apply for this program, and only a few thousand get accepted for Disney World and even less than that get accepted for Disneyland. So do not put all of your eggs in one basket when applying for this program–you are not guaranteed to get accepted.

Q: What do I get out of it?

A: This program is what you make it. You will either get A LOT out of it and have a wonderful experience or get NOTHING out of it and be miserable. In addition to perks like discounts and free park access, you get life long friends (if you make the effort to get to know people), you get connections (if you learn how to network), and you get valuable skills that will help you be successful even after your program ends. Plus, you get to put that you worked for a Fortune 500 company on your resume. That’s pretty awesome if you ask me.

Q: Would you recommend it?

A: Absolutely. If you decide to apply and get accepted, your program will have its ups and downs. However, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I think it’s worth everything that you go through. You just have to be open minded, positive and willing to put in the work. ‘Work Hard, Play Hard’ is like the unofficial motto of the DCP, and it’s a motto to live by.

These are some general questions that I have been asked/questions I had myself when I was applying, so I hope that this is helpful to you if you’re considering applying or know someone who is! If you have any other questions, like I stated earlier, please don’t hesitate to comment and ask!

Applications are now OPEN for the Spring CP season, so click here to begin your application to work at the most magical or happiest place on earth!


55 thoughts on “So You Want To Do The Disney College Program, Well…

  1. Do you have any tips when completing the web based interview and phone interview specifically? Thanks 🙂

    1. For the web based interview, just make sure you don’t rush and read each statement/question carefully. For the phone interview, make sure you know the roles you’re applying for very well, make sure you’re in a quiet space, have pen and paper to take down notes, and a little tip someone taught me–write down the name of your interviewer and thank them by name at the end of your interview.

  2. My daughter was notified that she has been accepted into the DCP. She is very excited since she hopes to eventually have a Disney career but a little disappointed because she was assigned to life guarding and she really wanted an “in park” assignment to help her make decisions for the future. Any advice?

    1. I would, of course, still encourage her to accept the position because this an opportunity that many only dream of getting.
      I also wasn’t placed in a park for my CP, and I think it was a blessing for me because it didn’t ruin any…”magic.” But you don’t need to work in the park to make decisions for the future–plus, there’s no guarantee she would work in the parks in the future either! Her program will be what she makes it, whether she’s super in love with her assignment or not. She just needs to keep a positive attitude and make it work for her.

      1. Thanks so much for your response. She is excited to get a foot in the door and determined to shadow as much as possible while being the best Disney lifeguard she can be!

  3. I sent in an application just after midnight and received an email back about an hour later saying thank you for applying, not everyone gets an interview due to the high volume of applicants, and that I would hear back by April 15th. Is this normal? Should I be concerned or do they usually send this before sending the web based interview?

  4. If selected, do you work ONLY in the job you are elected for? Any chance for working in other areas too, or switching to other jobs once there?

    1. Hi there, once you are selected and placed in a role you can ONLY work in that role. You can always try to pick up shifts in other locations but you cannot pick up shifts in roles you don’t have the training for. For example, if you are cast in merchandise, you can pick up shifts in any merchandise location but you cannot pick up shifts in attractions/quick service food and beverage/etc.

  5. So I’ve been stalking your blog (amazing by the way), and it’s really helped me with what to do and don’t when i get accepted to the program. I applied for Spring 2016 and Fall 2016, and was “No Longer in Consideration” both times. My boyfriend thinks it might be because I have no work experience and have never had a real job. Is that what could be the problem? Or does my application just not stand out enough? Like in your blog “So You Want To Do The Disney College Program?”, you said “If your application is strong, you will be invited to complete a web based interview”, and I was wondering what a strong application looks like. I haven’t gotten a web-based interview either of the times, so I’m just wondering if it’s me or just that there’s a lot of other people applying (which I already know is true). Thank you in advance, and thank you for this amazing blog!! 😀

  6. If you don’t get accepted, will you get an email saying so? I’ve been waiting for a long time (my phone interview was in February and I still haven’t heard back). I have a lot of trouble logging onto my dashboard, so I can’t really check there, but I was just wondering if I don’t get it, while I get a rejection email?

  7. Hi! I’m not 18 yet, but I have a question for my future. How long do you get to do the DCP? Is it only a year, less or more? I want to do it for a while when I’m older if I get accepted 🙂

    1. You can only do it for up to a year. You get accepted initially for a 4-7 month program and you can extend, but you cannot be part of the program past a year from your original start date.

  8. I’m planning on applying for the Disney college program once I have semester completed however I start my first class which is a month and then my second one is in another month can I apply and between those two months just to get my foot in the door and when I went on their official website it says that if you don’t get accepted you can reapply as many times as you need to is this true? Thanks again

    1. The applications open in August and you must be enrolled in at least one college course when you apply. If you apply and get denied during that particular recruiting season, you cannot apply again during that season. For example, if you apply for Spring 2017 and you get denied, you cannot apply again for Spring 2017. However, when applications open in January/February for Fall 2017, you will be eligible to apply. Hope that helps!

  9. I’m in a community college right now to save money, but plan to transfer to a local university in the spring. What would my chances be of being accepted and/or when would be the right time to apply?

    1. Everyone has the same chances of being accepted- they aren’t better or worse depending on where you go to school. Tens of thousands of students apply every season and they only take a few thousand. As for the right time to apply, that’s up to you and where you are in your schooling. Just keep in mind that the last time you can apply is when you’re in your graduating semester so that you would start your program once you’ve graduated.

  10. I did the program in 2015 and realized that only 3 of 6 of my roommates were actually taking classes back at their colleges (including myself) I’m going again for 2017 and I wondered if taking a class back at your college was really mandatory?

  11. What a coincidence! I started humming “One Last Hope” as soon as I clicked on the Google link for your blog post! Even before I saw your lyric reference to the song!

  12. I wont be applying until I graduate, but, if I applied to both the Disney College Program and a Disney Professional Internship and (best case scenario) actually got accepted to both, would you suggest doing the DCP or the DPI? My dream is to be a software engineer (or whatever I end up deciding to do with my computer science degree) at Walt Disney Imagineering or maybe at either Pixar or Walt Disney Animation Studios, and I’ve heard that the DCP is the best way to get your foot in the door for Disney so that you have a higher chance of getting professional internships and careers within the Walt Disney Company, but, if I already get an offer from DPI, would it be better to just take that opportunity instead?

    Since my main end-goal is Imagineering, would you suggest doing the DCP in Disneyland or Disney World? I’ve heard that the California Program is nicer because it’s smaller, and, of course, it would be better for potential Imagineering networking opportunities, but the Florida Program offers many more roles, and Florida is much closer to home and my family.

    Also, do you know if DCP Cast Members at Disney World get roles at Epcot? And, specifically, at the France Pavilion? I am majoring in French (in addition to computer science), and I think having a role in Epcot France would be a cool way to apply that after college (so another reason I’m torn between Florida and California is that WDW has Epcot France but DL is closer to Imagineering and the animation studios). Then again, I guess Epcot isn’t the only place I can use French; no matter what role or park I’m in, French would be useful to communicate with native speakers.

    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi there-
      If you get offered a PI, take the PI. You’ll actually get experience in your field instead of going through the DCP in a role that won’t be relevant to your field of study. Also, the Disneyland program is significantly harder to get into, just so you know!
      And no- DCP cast members do not get roles in Epcot. You can take the language test and get a language pin but that’s it.

  13. How long does it take to hear back after you sent in your application (to hear if you move on to the Web-Based Interview?)

      1. I applied for the Disney internship for the 2nd time and got submission. What does that mean? Some say it’s bad, others say it’s good.

      2. O that’s weird. The first time I applied I never got submission, just in progress. When will I know if I’m excepted?

      3. Well it doesn’t work the same every semester. And in the email you get after applying, it should tell you when you should expect to hear by. You won’t be automatically accepted- you need to go through a web based interview, then if you pass that you’ll get a phone interview.

      4. I was told becuz I applied the second time I don’t have to do the Web based interview or the phone interview cuz all my info is save. I only applied for the spring semester in august and did not get in. I heard back from them in November. So it hasn’t been that long since my first application

      5. If you passed the WBI, you might automatically move to a phone interview IF they determine you are a qualified candidate. If you did not pass the WBI the first time, you will need to take it again. And you never skip the phone interview, so whoever told you that gave you incorrect information.

    1. You have a 50/50 chance. Tens of thousands students apply and they only select a few thousand. Just because you reach the phone interview stage, it doesn’t guarantee acceptance. Just make sure you’re fully prepared for the interview.

  14. Hi! I just got accepted, and I was wondering what the housing is like? I know the website has some housing information, but could you provide any additional info? Do you have to share a room, bathroom, etc.? That kind of info. Thank you!!! 🙂

    1. Yes, you have to share a room and share a bathroom with at least one other person. Each complex is different so based on your personality and everything, that’s how I would decide where to stay!

  15. Hey! So I’m super interested in the DCP (Have been since I was, like, 15) but I’m worried about one thing: How many college credits can I actually earn during the program? I would love to participate, but I’m worried about it slowing down my schooling significantly. For reference, I’ll be a freshman Theatre Major starting this Fall.

    1. Hi! So you’ll have to consult an advisor at your school for this one. My school/major would not give me credits for my participation, so I took as many online courses through my school as I could and made up the rest over the next two semesters. I graduated ‘late,’ but it was well worth it.

  16. Hi! Thank you for this information! I am considering applying to the DCP in Orlando this fall in hopes of attending next spring. My question for you is: If I get accepted this year (as a sophomore in college) and decide I can’t attend, will declining the offer hurt my chances of getting in if I apply again another time? Thank you so much!

      1. That is so good to hear! Thank you so much for your quick and kind response! All the best!

  17. I can’t wait for the application to open up in a week or two for the 2018 Spring program! My BFF got accepted into the Summer Program at the Disneyland Resort as a lifeguard and I’m SUPER jealous lol, fingers-crossed I’ll be able to get in too. Thanks for all the info!

  18. Hello! I actually just applied yesterday for the DCP as soon as the application for it was posted! I received an e-mail saying the latest I’d hear back from them is in November, but obviously I feel like it would be sooner. How long after submitting the application did you hear back from the company? Your blog has helped a lot by the way!


    1. Hi there!
      Congratulations on applying, first of all!
      Normally that’s the email they send so that you know the general time frame. Since applications just dropped, I wouldn’t worry too much if you don’t hear right away.
      I don’t remember exactly how long it took to hear back (I may have written it in a previous blog post!) but I know my whole process from applying to acceptance was about a month and a week give or take 🙂

  19. This was super helpful! I just submitted my application and I’m super nervous! Now we wait! Thank you again for this post!

  20. I am an MBA student and haven’t been able to get into a Disney Professional Internship. Would it benefit me to apply for the DCP to get my foot in the door into Disney? My issue is that none of the positions would pertain to my future goals, but I’m hoping it will boost my chances for DPI next year.

    1. Hi, John!
      Disney Professional Internships are extremely competitive whether you’ve completed a college program or not. It’s possible that completing a program would boost your chances for a PI, but it definitely isn’t guaranteed. I completed a second college program right after I graduated and was, luckily, offered a PI the following semester. But I also applied to PIs when I was applying for my second program and didn’t get any, even though I had completed one program before. It really boils down to how right of a fit you are for the position, but I definitely recommend trying to get into the college program—especially if working for the company is within your future goals.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.