Rivers of Lights has officially debuted at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and I had the opportunity to experience it for myself. This is a show you do not want to miss. Continue reading
Today was an exciting day for two of Orlando’s major theme parks- SeaWorld and Universal, to be exact. SeaWorld hosted its Media Day for its newest coaster, Mako, which has been marketed as the fastest, longest and tallest roller coaster … Continue reading
It is no secret to anyone that knows me, or reads this blog, that I am in love with Disney. My time on the Disney College Program only made my love for Disney stronger and ever since I left, I’ve … Continue reading
The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights will have its final dance tonight at Disney’s Hollywood Studios before its lights go dark to conclude its 20th, and last, season.
A spectacle that has become a family tradition for many guests is going away as construction on Star Wars Land is expected to start some time this year in the very area where the lights have danced every holiday season for the past 20 years.
Even though I only had the pleasure of visiting the lights the past two years, I am still deeply saddened to see them go. They truly are a special sight and you can’t help but feel happiness as you stand in the middle of their twinkling beauty.
While Disney has said that this is the final year for the lights…there has also been some signs that they might not be gone forever!
First, Disney extended the date of the lights from the 3rd of January until tonight, the 6th.
Second, when asked on Twitter if this was, in fact, the final season, they replied that this season was currently planned to be the final season. And, as the crazy theme park fan and lover of Disney that I am, I certainly read that as there being a slight chance that they could, in fact, bring the spectacle back in the near future.
Whether they choose to bring the lights back or not, guests have been blessed with 20 years and I think we can all agree it’s been quite a run. But, even if they put some new holiday festivity in its place while construction is underway, it just won’t be the same.
Here are some pictures from my final trips (yes, I made two trips from Naples to see the lights because necessary) that I hope bring a smile to your face as we all say goodbye to the Osborne Lights.
…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).
But back to the main event. SO YOU WANT TO DO THE DISNEY COLLEGE PROGRAM?! YAAAAAAAAAAAS.
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!
Maybe it hits you when you start to pack up your side of your room and you find various mementos from memories you’ve made over the past four to six months; or maybe it hits you when you put on your costume for the last time and say goodbye to the fellow cast members you worked alongside who really became family. But really, it’ll hit you the hardest when you’ve said your final goodbyes to each park, you’ve watched your last Wishes, you’ve cried with your friends as you held hands leaving Magic Kingdom and you’re sitting in the car (or at the airport) leaving your Disney life behind.
It’s the sign you had a magical experience and that now, you have something to miss.
It’s Post Disney College Program Depression.
If you think it hurts like hell when you’re saying goodbye, it hurts 10x more when you’re actually gone and far away from the people who became the biggest parts of your life in such a short amount of time and the magical place that brought you all together.
You find yourself flipping through that DCP Facebook album you never quite finished because you got so caught up in having the time of your life. You click along and watch your journey unfold right before your eyes and you can’t believe that it wasn’t that long ago that those pictures were taken. It’s been a month, maybe two, but it feels like a lifetime has passed by.
Anything Disney related sets you off. If you go to see a Disney movie, the opening sequence with the castle makes you cry. If you listen to Pandora and a Disney song comes on, you’re a mess. If a Disney Parks commercial comes on the TV, you bury your head into a pillow because the sight of your happy place is far too much to bear. If someone asks you about your time at Disney, you give them a long spiel and in the middle of it start to get choked up thinking back on everything.
You constantly post throwback pictures from your program because you’re in denial that it’s over and you’re always checking the Disney Careers website because getting back to Disney would be (another) dream come true.
Moral of the story? PDCPD sucks.
Maybe it isn’t something that can be cured; how do you stop missing a portion of your life that changed you forever?
Maybe, instead, you learn to live with it. You accept that it happened, that it was wonderful, that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and that now…it’s over.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t try to lessen the pain, so here’s a few ways that you can help cure your PDCPD:
- Talk to your CP friends. Yesterday I was thinking about everything and looking through pictures and suddenly I felt overcome with sadness…so much so that I started bawling. After texting my closest friends from my program about it, they both called me and even though hearing their voices hurt at first, I felt better after talking to them. Staying in touch with friends from your program is a wonderful way to keep the magic alive long after your program is over, especially because no one else in your life is going to understand what you’re going through except for them. Keep them close; lean on each other because they’re the best source of support.
- Create a shadowbox or memory board. Having everything with sentimental value from your program in one place may actually make you feel better. Maybe you’ll cry putting it together, but once it’s done…I promise it’ll make you smile, seeing all of the memories and experiences you had in one special place. Pictures, movie stubs, fastpasses (if you were lucky enough to snag some paper ones), wristbands from HOB, four keys cards, your acceptance post card and, of course, your name tag are some things I would recommend gathering for your project.
- Plan a trip. The best thing about doing a college program? Reuniting with your best friends in the most magical (or happiest) place on earth! (Or even visiting each other in your hometowns!) If you have your heart set on meeting up with your friends again, put aside a little money from each paycheck and plan a trip with each other. Planning a vacation, even when it’s far away, will help to offset the sadness from your program being over because you’ll be too excited about reuniting with everyone and being at Disney again!
- Look into future careers with TWDC. Just because your program is over, it doesn’t mean that your time with Disney is over forever. Completing a college program opens up a lot of future doors for you, especially if you go back to school and earn your degree. You can apply for professional internships, alumni programs, go part/full time right out of school or, if you’re feeling up to it, you can always apply to a program for the semester after you graduate. If you feel that Disney is where you’re meant to be then make it happen! The sky is the limit.
The first few months after your program ends are the hardest. You watch new CPs begin their journey and you wish more than anything that you could rewind and start yours over. But you know what? I think a silly, willy, nilly old bear said it best:
“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” – A. A. Milne (Winnie The Pooh)
When you think about it, we are incredibly fortunate to have had the experience we had. Thousands of students apply every semester and we were among the chosen few (thousand) to participate. Some of us even got to extend our programs and continue making magic for longer than we expected.
We worked hard, we played hard, we loved hard, we cried hard, we failed hard and we succeeded hard. We found ourselves, we grew up, we made mistakes, we followed our hearts and our dreams and we never once looked back because we were living.
And that, my friends, is how I want you to continue to be. Be fearless. Be adventurous. Maybe you’ll never be the exact same person you were those few months but it doesn’t mean you can’t continue to grow and be the best that you can be. And, lastly, be proud of yourself, because you were responsible for making magic every single day and you did a damn good job.
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” -Dr. Seuss
I’d like to start by apologizing for being so MIA since I moved to Orlando to participate in the Disney College Program, but I am about to make up for it right now!
I did begin my program on the 19th of January, and it has been a challenging, but highly rewarding, experience thus far. I am living in Chatham Square with four lovely roommates and I am working merchandise at the World of Disney at Downtown Disney, which is the largest Disney store in the world.
*pauses for dramatic effect*
My work location has been the most challenging part so far, mainly because the store is composed of 11 rooms. This means that I have had A LOT to learn, and you only get about a week of training (or, really, four-five days). I will be the first to admit that I had a hard time the weeks following my first initial week (where you go through Casting, Traditions, and get a feel for everything before you start on the job training) trying to find my place and I wondered if I had made the right decision in coming here. I felt overwhelmed from all of the training plus trying to keep up with my classes, and I felt excluded because my hours at work differed from all of my roommate’s hours, so I barely saw them.
But then something happened:
I remembered I am at Walt Disney World completing an internship that thousands of college students around the world would give up anything to do.
I started to find the positives at work, whether it be interacting with more guests or reaching out to and getting to know more coworkers. In fact, some of the best times I’ve had here so far have been with my coworkers. Even on days when it’s not that great, I know that there are four magnificent parks waiting for me on the days that I’m off, and that alone makes the experience worth it.
This adventure I am on is one I was meant to take, and I am sure of that. The lessons that I am learning and the experiences I am having are going to shape who I am and help me become the best version of myself.
Is it scary? Absolutely.
Is it tiring? Of course.
Can it be frustrating at times? Yes.
But the friendships I am making, the magical moments I am having and am able to create…they make it all worth it. I mean, where else in the world can I go casually visit Magic Kingdom before work or have breakfast with the Fab Five?
Adventure is out there, you just have to go for it and don’t look back ❤
*I will do a post about some of the fun things I’ve done since I’ve gotten here soon, and if anyone has any questions about the DCP I can do a question/answer post too, just let me know!*
I am finally writing my first post of the new year! (I know it’s eight days late…forgive me.)
First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!
A new year brings new opportunities, new relationships, new adventures and SO MUCH THEME PARK NEWNESS.
Are you as excited as I am?!
Before I run down the list of new things happening at some of our favorite theme parks this year, can I just say that you need to experience NYE in Disney at least ONCE in your lifetime? It’s magical. In fact, it needs its own post. *Makes mental note to do a post on NYE in Disney*
Now that I’m done being sidetracked, let’s talk about some of the things you can experience this year in some of the best theme parks in the country!
1. I am just going to leave this list of 10 new rides/attractions coming to theme parks across the country via Theme Park Tourist here. All I have to say is…I need to go to Six Flags Fiesta Texas. Look at the list–you’ll see why.
2. This year, Disneyland will be celebrating 60 years of being The Happiest Place on Earth! (July 17 is the day Disneyland opened in 1955.) The Diamond Celebration is set to begin this Spring, and I need to find my way to California.
3. The Sorcerer’s Hat at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is officially on its way out as of yesterday. Workers have begun to dismantle the impressive structure and soon, The Chinese Theatre will be in full view as guests walk down Hollywood Boulevard. Will the Earful Tower resume its duty of being the park icon? Only time will tell!
4. I know it’s far away, but Universal Studios Florida will be putting on their 25th Halloween Horror Nights event this fall on select nights from Sept. 25-Oct. 31. I am a huge baby when it comes to anything horror, but HHN keeps me coming back every year. If you’ve never been, this is the year to go. I guarantee they have some amazing plans up their sleeves.
5. The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival at Walt Disney World returns this Spring from March 4-May 17. I have personally never attended the Flower and Garden Festival AND I will be in Disney completing my college program this Spring, so I’m excited to go for the first time!
6. A Celebration of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure takes place from Jan. 30- Feb 1.*Fun Fact: YOU CAN DRESS UP!* There are so many fun events planned throughout the weekend, so take a look here and form a plan of action if you plan on going!
7. The ‘Frozen’ Fun may have ended at Walt Disney World (except for the sing along at DHS), but it’s just starting over on the other coast! At Disney California Adventure, you can meet the royal sisters, shop at Wandering Oaken’s, play in the snow, and maybe even get a warm hug from Olaf! Details can be found here. There is also a ‘Frozen’ show at Disneyland, so be sure to get a park hopper ticket in order to experience everything ‘Frozen’!
8. Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be here again before we know it! (May 15-June 14 to be exact) And with the release of a brand new Star Wars movie at the end of this year, I bet the event will be even better!
I guarantee there are more things happening this year, and as I find them out I will add them to the list! If you know of anything super awesome happening at a theme park this year, let me know in the comments!
What events are you looking forward to most? What theme parks do you plan on visiting? Let me know so I can live vicariously through you!