Disney College Program Anniversary

Remember when you got accepted into the Disney College Program? Remember when you were three months away from check in? Remember when you made it to the final month? Remember when it was only one week left? Remember when it … Continue reading

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).

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!

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Dealing With Post Disney College Program Depression

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)

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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

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Find Your #DisneySide at #StarWarsWeekends

The month of May brings us a variety of things. Flowers (courtesy of April showers), the end of school (for those of us in college), graduation (congratulations class of 2015!) and beautiful weather (for the most part).

But…what May brings us at the Walt Disney World resort is an immersive experience that you cannot get anywhere else.

Star. Wars. Weekends.

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Whether you are a super fan or someone who is just getting into the famous saga, Disney does not disappoint, and this year is bound to break past records for attendance and sales.

Sunday concluded weekend 3 out of 5, with two more weekends of Star Wars fun to be had by all. And if you haven’t been yet…well…I’m going to tell you why going at least once will be worth your while.

1) Characters

Everyone loves characters; Little kids, big kids and even bigger kids (aka adults) love to get a picture and get some one on one time with their favorite characters, and Star Wars Weekends is chock full of them. You have Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and Chip and Dale dressed as some of your favorite SW characters (which goes over really well with little kids who may not be as into the movies as their parents!) and then, of course, you have your classic SW characters. There are character meet and greets set up throughout the park where you can meet them, and some of them walk around the Coke bottle area near the former Studio Backlot Tour (still bitter about this) entrance. There are also two character dining experiences you can choose from: Star Wars Dine-In Galactic Breakfast at the Sci-Fi Dine In Theater where you will meet classic Star Wars characters, and Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine at Hollywood & Vine where you will meet Mickey and his pals.

If neither of those appeal to you, wait in the hot sun to meet your favorites, you must.

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2) Merchandise

What would a special event be without LIMITED EDITION MERCHANDISE?! To answer that question, the event would be lame. Super lame. But thankfully, Disney goes above and beyond in the merchandise department for SWW, and this year may be the best yet. Darth’s Mall has been a staple at SWW for many years and is normally housed in the sound stage building directly next to Toy Story Midway Mania. However, with the Backlot Tour space being vacant (and again, still bitter) and the former home of Darth’s Mall being occupied, Disney decided to put Darth’s Mall in the backlot area, and it’s bigger and better than ever. Darth’s Mall is made up of two locations: Watto’s Grotto and X-Wing Collectibles. Prop Shop (directly next to the Mike and Sulley meet and greet area) is also considered part of the shop complex, but you’ll find more of your normal Star Wars merchandise in this store. Watto’s Grotto (which I got to work in!) houses your soft line merchandise (clothing, including Her Universe merchandise by Ashley Eckstein), toys, build your own droid and build your own light saber stations, a create your own name tag area, pins, magicbands and autographed photographs.  X-Wing Collectibles, as the name suggests, houses all of your limited edition merchandise and more pricey merchandise, such as artwork, figurines, and Dooney and Bourke. In addition, there is a new stein and popcorn bucket available this year–Boba Fett in stein form and Han Solo in Carbonite in popcorn bucket form.  There is a little something for everyone, no matter what your level of love is for Star Wars.

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3) Rebel Hangar: A Star Wars Lounge Experience

Starting at 4pm, a rather large portion of The Backlot Express is transformed into the Rebel Hangar, which is new to SWW this year. Indulge in delectable small plates, drinks (alcoholic and non-alcholic) and desserts while in a nicely themed atmosphere. You may even receive a visit from some characters, so keep your eyes peeled! The addition of this dining experience begs the question: Will Disney add a permanent Star Wars dining experience if they add a Star Wars area to the park? It would certainly be popular whether it was quick or table service, and I’m sure it’s something they’ve already thought about. Nevertheless, if you are able to snag a reservation (because I don’t think they take walk ins), the Rebel Hangar is a unique experience and one worth having. Oh, and don’t forget to try the blue milk 😉

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4) A Parade in DHS

One reason why I love SWW is because Disney’s Hollywood Studios gets a parade! Well, they call it a motorcade, but still, anything is better than nothing! Starting at 11pm, the celebrity guests make their way down Hollywood Boulevard with the help of Mickey and his friends and classic Star Wars characters. They all gather onstage for a few photo opportunities as James Arnold Taylor goes through a run down of all of the events taking place throughout the day. If you didn’t wait since the night before to get a ticket to meet your favorite celebrity, this is the best chance you have to get a good picture of them.

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5) FIREWORKS

Fantasmic! is great and all, but I have always been and will always be a fireworks display loving girl; that’s why Wishes is my favorite nighttime show at Disney. However, yet again, DHS has me in love with their Star Wars themed fireworks. Symphony In The Stars is six minutes of pure bliss, and my only complaint is that I wish it were longer! The music and fireworks fit perfectly together and keep the guests engaged from start to finish, making it one of the best fireworks displays Disney World has to offer. Be sure to get a good spot well in advance though–at least an hour/an hour and a half before it starts. My suggestion is in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard right past where the ice cream cart is. You can see the screen/stage pretty well and you’re in the perfect spot for pictures/video.

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Whether you’re part of the rebellion or the dark side, Star Wars Weekends has a little something for everyone.

Besides, you get to play around with a light saber and battle people. What more could you possibly ask for?

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You’re Gonna See It’s Our Destiny

Today would have marked one month until the end of my college program here at Disney.

Instead, today marks one month until a majority of my best friends leave and embark on new journeys, and I am beyond upset about it.

I was always told that the best years of my life would be spent during the four years of my college career, but my college career has been filled with tons of turbulence and detours. It’s hard to have the best years of your life when you move away from all of your friends and have to start over in a new school…twice.

I’ve always tried to make the best of it, but at some point I decided that the best years of my life would be after college.

That is, until I started the Disney College Program.

This has been, by far, one of the best years of my life. The friends I have made here are the friends I will have for life–I am SURE of it. I will be flying to Illinois, South Dakota, Michigan and Texas in the coming years, and I will be driving down to Coral Springs, Fla. and driving up to Bradenton, Fla. to visit six of the most amazing ladies I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

My program would not be what it is without them. Through all of the tears, the breakdowns, the upsets, the laughter, the goofiness, the sheer happiness…they have been there. They’ve listened to my ridiculous rants, laughed at all of my attempted jokes, held me when words could not be found, and given me a reason to be excited to go to work every single day.

My heart is literally breaking as I write this, because I know that time is running out. I know that one month from today, four of them will leave, and I will be devastated. I know that I will hold onto them for dear life before letting them go and having to continue my program without them. But I also know this:

If nothing else, doing this internship was the best decision I ever made because I met them. The perks are great, the pay is alright, the connections are awesome, and the work location isn’t SO terrible. But the six girls that have become my family…they top the list of why this program was the best thing to ever happen to me.

So, with this last month upon us, I’m excited to make every moment count. I’m prepared to lose sleep. I’m prepared to be on the go A LOT. I’m prepared for long drives. I’m prepared for so many pictures. I’m prepared for laughs, smiles, and tears. I’m prepared to make memories that will last a lifetime with the girls who have stolen my heart.

If you need a reason to apply to the DCP, this is it…right here. Apply because the friendships you make here are long lasting; they are bonds that cannot be broken.

Katie, Abby, Denning, Erin, Katherine and Mary…this one’s for you. Now let’s have some magical moments and make these last 30 days count ❤ #WODSquad

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Having Adventures in the Great Wide, Somewhere…

Two posts in two days?! I am spoiling you guys 😉

But I did promise to share some of my fun adventures that I’ve had so far on my program, and I always keep my promises.

So, without further ado, it’s time for DCP Adventures with The Theme Park Princess ❤

1) My coworkers are some of the most amazing women I have ever met, and I LOVE spending time with them. About a month ago, six of us (plus a few other people) went to breakfast at Trails End, located at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Lodge and Campground. Trails End is a country themed restaurant that offers an all you can eat breakfast buffet (so delicious and SO worth it!). This breakfast was the first time we all really got to know each other, and we bonded over good food, funny stories and our ever present awkwardness. To say we’ve been inseparable ever since would be an understatement; not only do I see them all the time at work, but we also have a ton of ‘WOD Squad’ dates and sleepovers. I can’t get enough of these girls! That was the day I realized I had made friends for life, and I will be so sad to see the majority of them leave in May 😦

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2) You would think that because I am beyond obsessed with Disney, an annual pass holder AND a cast member that I would have gone to every Disney park in Orlando. Oddly enough…you would be wrong! Up until a few weeks ago, I had NEVER been to a Disney water park! Luckily, my roommate and I changed that and we went to Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon! I’ve only ever been to one other water park, and it’s a very small one right by my house in Naples, Fla., so it really doesn’t compare. But I loved every minute of being at Typhoon! I loved the wave pool (even though I got knocked down every time), I loved all of the water coasters and the lazy river was SO relaxing! The great thing about the water park is that you can get a lot done in a short amount of time and still have the rest of the day to do other things, like visit Downtown Disney 😉 If you’ve never visited a Disney water park, I highly suggest making that part of your next trip! Now I just have to conquer Summit Plummet at Disney’s Blizzard Beach!

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3) Aside from my obvious love for theme parks, I also love baseball! I grew up going to Yankees games and when I moved down here to Florida, I obviously stopped going as frequently. Last week, I went to my first baseball game in about two years, and seeing my team play in the most magical place on earth was a wonderful experience! The next day I went to yet another baseball game, this time it was the Braves against the Marlins, and while I’m not a fan of either team, I just love watching the sport and being with my friends. We also went to Hollywood Studios that night (after a much needed nap), and I got to experience my friend riding all the major attractions for the first time. I love watching someone’s face the first time you drop on Tower of Terror, or when you get launched on Rockin’ Roller Coaster. Baseball and Disney are two of my favorite things, so the fact that I got to combine both over the course of two days was truly magical. (Plus, I got to see my roommate hard at work since she works at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex!)

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These are just a few of my favorite adventures so far, so I promise to have another post in the near future! But none of these amazing experiences would’ve been possible without the wonderful group of people featured in this post, so a huge thank you to Katherine, Katie, Erin, Denning, Abby, Deanna, Tyler, Ryan and Jake for making my program as fun as it has been. You guys are the best.

Here’s to many more memories to be made at the most magical place on earth! ❤