You can’t complain that nothing new is being added to the parks and then complain when new things are announced. Continue reading
…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!
If you look up the ‘Disney College Program,’ you’ll get the basic run down. It’s a paid internship at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla. or the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA. for 5-7 months, depending on when your program starts/ends. You can be cast in one of several roles including merchandise, custodial, food and beverage, attractions, boutique host/hostess and entertainment. You can even take classes for college credit and attend seminars to improve your networking skills or to learn more about Disney history.
But the websites, pamphlets, newsletters, various blog sites and information sessions don’t even begin to scratch the surface of what the Disney College Program truly is.
They don’t tell you that the first week is just as emotional as your last week.
They don’t tell you that going to Casting makes you feel like every dream you’ve ever had is finally coming true.
They don’t tell you that waiting for your Cast Member ID is torture. (I wanna be where the people are…and all of the people are at Disney and I can’t get in yet.)
They don’t tell you that Traditions will fill your heart with so much love for The Walt Disney Company.
They don’t tell you that the first time you walk into Magic Kingdom as a Cast Member you will feel like you’re finally home.
They don’t tell you that life is the bubbles those first few days when it’s nothing but going to the parks and waiting for training to start.
They don’t tell you that you will most likely come home from your first day of training crying to your roommates because it’s all so overwhelming and new and confusing.
They don’t tell you that the first few weeks of work are the hardest.
They don’t tell you that it gets easier.
They don’t tell you that being a CP means, essentialy, being a ‘closing person’ for 98% of your program, except for those really rare occasions where you get an opening shift and get out of work when there’s still sunlight. (Cherish those moments)
They don’t tell you that those nights where you work until 1am are the nights where you bond with your fellow cast members the most, especially other college program participants.
They don’t tell you that this is where you’ll make friends for life.
They don’t tell you that closing shifts almost always end with a trip to Steak ‘N’ Shake, IHop, Denny’s, McDonald’s or Taco Bell with your coworkers.
They don’t tell you that Trails End is literally the best place to get breakfast on property because 1) ALL YOU CAN EAT and 2) $13. (Those CM perks though)
They don’t tell you that time goes by a lot faster than you think, and suddenly you wake up and you only have a few weeks left to do everything you didn’t do the previous 4 months.
They don’t tell you that exploring the parks on your days off is awesome…but that you should venture out of Disney sometimes, too. (Beaches are only an hour/two hours away, and it’s nice to visit other theme parks even if you’re the biggest Disney fan out there–Universal and Busch Gardens are pretty fun.)
They don’t tell you that Wishes will always give you chills.
They don’t tell you that going to House of Blues is a must, at least once. (Except now you must be 21+ to get in; sorry young padawans)
They don’t tell you that work will be difficult some days but that your friends at work will always make it better.
They don’t tell you that you’ll develop a crush or two, and sometimes it’ll work out and sometimes it won’t.
They don’t tell you that your friends, though, will become the backbone of your program. You will literally spend night and day with them, whether they’re your roommates or coworkers.
They don’t tell you that everyone you work with becomes your second family, and that, if you’re lucky, they’ll always be there for you.
They don’t tell you that you will want every piece of Disney merchandise ever created, ears and light sabers included.
They don’t tell you that Transtar is a NIGHTMARE. (If you have a car, you are blessed. If you have friends with cars, you are blessed. If you don’t have either…make some friends really fast or may the odds be ever in your favor.)
They don’t tell you that meeting your favorite characters over and over again will never get old.
They don’t tell you that being The Rebel Spy is life changing.
They don’t tell you that going to the parks alone can be really nice sometimes. Therapeutic, even.
They don’t tell you that the parks are really amazing photography subjects and that taking a picture of the same thing is worth doing because no two pictures ever look the same. (And that’s why I have a million pictures of Cinderella Castle, various firework shows, Festival of Fantasy, Spaceship Earth, and the Hollywood Tower Hotel.)
They don’t tell you that getting pixie dust is always the answer to any problem. (But be warned; you will be permanently pixie dusted for life. That glitter is hard to get out.)
They don’t tell you that playing in the parks when it’s raining is actually the best because as long as you have a poncho, you’re golden. (Besides, we all know it rains for like, .5 seconds when it rains in Florida, anyway.)
They don’t tell you that a mental breakdown is possible and highly likely, because the stress can get to you. But that’s okay; it happens to the best of us.
They don’t tell you that you get homesick even though you’re having the time of your life.
They don’t tell you that you’ll make some mistakes, but it’s part of growing up.
They don’t tell you that the program will make you a better person.
They don’t tell you that closing a park is the best thing ever (because who doesn’t want pictures on an empty main street?)
They don’t tell you that you’ll memorize the words/lyrics to things like Festival of Fantasy, Celebrate the Magic, Wishes, Tower of Terror and The Haunted Mansion…or maybe that’s just me?
They don’t tell you that you’ll meet people from all over the country and world and catch the travel bug. (Because making friends from all over means not having to pay for a hotel when you travel, which is perfect.)
They don’t tell you that even though you’re the one who is supposed to be making magic, the guests will surprise you some days by making magic for you, whether it be getting a hug from a little princess or getting told that you made a whole family’s vacation by being so engaging and kind to them.
They don’t tell you that graduating from the program is bittersweet.
They don’t tell you that the last week is the hardest and that there is no way to prepare for it.
They don’t tell you that the last few shifts you work with everyone will be emotional.
They don’t tell you that you’ll cry pretty much every day that week. And yes, even when you think you’ve cried all the tears you can cry, you cry some more.
They don’t tell you that the last night of work is filled with hugs, plenty of pictures and promising to keep in touch. (And seriously, keep in touch. You’ll regret it if you don’t.)
They don’t tell you that the last time you visit each park will be hard because you can’t imagine a life where getting up in the morning and deciding to go ride Tower of Terror before work is not a thing.
They don’t tell you to take an obnoxious amount of pictures. Yes, it’s wonderful to live in the moment, but it’s also wonderful to have something to look at once your program ends to remember the amazing time you had.
They don’t tell you that the last time you go to Magic Kingdom with everyone will be the worst night you’ve ever spent in Magic Kingdom.
They don’t tell you that you’ll hold onto your friends for dear life as Celebrate the Magic starts.
They don’t tell you that trying to sing along to Wishes and bawl your eyes out at the same time will result in the saddest, but sweetest, eruption of giggles ever.
They don’t tell you that throwing your graduation ears into the air and trying to get a picture of it is actually kinda extremely difficult but also makes for some of the funniest fail pictures ever.
They don’t tell you that the moment you say goodbye, you’re already wishing you could hit the rewind button and start all over again.
And, lastly, they don’t tell you that this is a once in a lifetime experience, and that no matter what happens, it’s one of the best journeys you will ever go on. So cherish every moment, live in the present, be prepared to lose sleep, go on adventures, step out of your comfort zone, make connections and dare to dream ❤