A few months with the mouse can change your life entirely. Continue reading
After the excitement of getting accepted into the Disney College Program settles, you will start to get asked things like, “so why are you doing the program?” and “how is working at Disney going to help your future?” And maybe … 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
When your time with Disney finally comes to an end, it’s heartbreaking. It feels like your program went by so fast. You went from counting down the months until you checked in to counting down the days until you have … Continue reading
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
To my Disney College Program Family,
We have all gone our separate ways. We have gone back to school; we have extended our programs; we have gone part time at Disney; we have traveled the world and we have found new jobs. Our paths have taken us in directions we didn’t know were possible until they were happening, but something just doesn’t feel right.
And that’s because we aren’t together.
I walk around campus and I feel lonely. I know people, I have friends, I go out…but it just doesn’t feel the same anymore. I look around at all of these groups of friends and I’m jealous.
I’m jealous because my close group of friends is scattered all around the country and I don’t know when I’ll see them again.
Something magical happens when you do a Disney College Program. You step out of your comfort zone because somehow…you already feel comfortable. You find yourself wanting to meet new people and make new friends because you want more people to share your love of Disney with. You click with so many people in such a short amount of time and you become inseparable.
In my almost five years of college, I have never experienced anything like this. Nothing I have ever been a part of really felt like…a family. And I need to thank each and every one of you for making my home away from home so incredibly special.
I miss that moment we met for the first time.
I miss seeing your faces at work.
I miss driving to work and having dance parties in the car or taking Transtar to work and being scared the whole ride something was going to happen.
I miss bonding in the break room.
I miss taking pictures in our god awful costumes.
I miss group chats.
I miss sleepovers.
I miss inside jokes.
I miss days off spent exploring the parks together.
I miss cheating on Disney and heading to Universal.
I miss lying by the pool and having deep talks about life.
I miss parties and HOB nights.
I miss waiting in 30 minute long lines for Taco Bell after work.
I miss making stupid faces for ride photos.
I miss impromptu photo shoots.
I miss riding Tower of Terror a million times in a row.
I miss having meals together.
I miss graduation day.
I miss being able to text you that I needed you and you showing up at my door five minutes later.
I miss everything.
I miss everything every, single, day.
It doesn’t get easier; when you spend every day with someone for six months of your life, not having them around is hard. It’s painful. But I am thankful that we had six months of experiences together. I am thankful for late nights at iHop, Sunday and Wednesday nights at HOB, mornings spent at Trails End, and countless days spent getting to know and love each other while playing in our magical backyard.
You won’t understand this feeling until you go through it yourself. It can’t be explained, it can’t be faked and it can’t be taken for granted.
I miss and love you all. Thank you for making my program what it was. You have set the bar extremely high for my future friends–let’s pray they like Disney as much we do.
If you’re currently going through your program, cherish these moments you are sharing with your best friends. And if you are long gone from your program, go text your best friends and thank them for being part of your journey, whether it’s been six months or six years.
…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
One of the most rewarding roles you could ever have at Disney, aside from being a performer, is being a merchandise cast member. The reason? You get to interact with guests on a daily basis and help them find that one souvenir that will remind them of their magical trip to Disney for years to come. I mean I don’t know about you guys, but I think that’s pretty special.
That being said…being a merchandise cast member is…quite the experience. I would say that aside from main entrance operations, guest relations, FSFB and concierge, we interact with more guests (for longer periods of time) than most other cast members…and at the World of Disney (where I did my college program) I know that’s definitely true. And when you’re interacting with hundreds -no- thousands of guests on a daily basis…you’re bound to have a few (several) “interesting” interactions…which, of course, make for great stories later.
And so, with the help of my merchandise cast family, we present to you: #ThingsYouEncounterAsAMerchandiseCM
*The limit on the amount of “interesting” questions you will be asked/things you will be told does not exist*
1) *Guest looks you up and down* “Do you work here?” -Mmm…this one is our FAVORITE. We suppose that you could be unsure if we work there, even while we’re in full costume, we have an arm full of merchandise and look like chickens with their heads cut off.
2) “Where’s the Harry Potter merchandise?” “Where are the yellow minions like this? (As they hold up Mike Wazowski)” “Where is your Shrek merchandise?” “Do you sell Spongebob stuff here?” “Do you sell Dr. Seuss merchandise here?” – We are going to settle this once and for all:
DISNEY. DOES. NOT. SELL. MERCHANDISE. FOUND. AT. UNIVERSAL. ESPECIALLY. NOT. HARRY. POTTER.
The ONLY similar merchandise we sell is Avengers merchandise, and I’m pretty sure even that is different. And Mike Wazowski is NOT a minion. *Drops mic and walks away.*
3) “Where are the attractions at Downtown Disney?” “Where are the fireworks at Downtown Disney?” – SHOP. DINE. PLAY. That is literally the slogan for Downtown Disney. We have no fireworks and no attractions, but we do have DisneyQuest (but not for long *cue sadness*), a load of restaurants/shops and an extensive amount of alcohol (for those of you 21 and over). Enjoy 🙂
4) “Do you have any backyardigans merchandise?” “No, I don’t think so.” ‘It’s a Nick Kids TV show.” “Ma’am, this is a Disney store.” “Yeah…?” “So we sell Disney merchandise, not Nickelodeon.” – *face palm* Moving on…
5) “Where is the Disney section?” – Well let’s see...the entire store…
6) “Do you have a clearance section?” – Ha. Haha. Hahaha. HAHAHAHA. Oh…no, sorry.
7) “How much is this?” – This question is only okay if there is no price on the tag or it’s one of those items that has a color that represents a certain price. But if you literally walk up to me with the tag out and in your hand with you pointing right at the price…*face palm*
8) *Points at costume* “Where can I buy that?” – First of all, N-O-W-H-E-R-E. Second of all, why do you want it…? This is the least flattering thing any of us has ever had to wear. I guess we make it look good though, guys. So good job everyone!
9) “Excuse me, do you sell the soundtrack to the store?” -Yeah…that would be a no, ghost rider. But if you want a soundtrack that’s actually GOOD, we do have the Wishes soundtrack. (Also, side note, can we put FOF on a CD so I can buy it and play it over and over again, please?!)
10) “Do you sell the Fastpass Bands here?” – No, we do not sell MAGIC Bands here. (Oh, yeah, pro tip: World of Disney does not sell Magic Bands…don’t ask me why, because I don’t know)
11) “Can we purchase park tickets here?” – I know we’re the largest Disney store, I get it. But…can you purchase tickets in any OTHER merchandise location on property? No…so, sadly, you can’t do that here, either.
12) “Aren’t you supposed to have everything? You’re the biggest store.” – We get this A LOT. Trust me, I’m just as mad as you are that there is no Big Hero 6 merchandise and that the only princess merchandise is pretty much for little girls. But no, we don’t have everything. And it isn’t our fault as cast members that we don’t have everything, so please don’t get mad at us 🙂
13) “So I saw this shirt at Epcot…” – I’m going to stop you right there. We do not sell park specific merchandise. Anything that says Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom or EPCOT on it you will NOT find anywhere except that specific park. So if you see it in the park, just get it. Don’t ‘wait until you go to Downtown Disney’ because you’ll be really disappointed.
14) “So I saw this item at the Disney Store…” “Do you take Disney Store coupons?” “Are you doing the same sale as the Disney Store is doing online?” – Having to explain this one is a bit of a nightmare 🙂 World of Disney is not a Disney Store. Though both stores operate under The Walt Disney Company, the Disney Store is completely separate, while the World of Disney sells merchandise specific to the overall resort. So no, we do not have that awesome princess dress you saw online…but we do have a ton of others!
15) *Asks guests if they have discount* “No, not unless you wanna give me one! Haha!” -This actually isn’t that funny and makes me feel uncomfortable when a guest continues to ask about my discount 🙂 The boss wouldn’t like that!
16) “Oh, there’s no price tag? Must be free!” – *Awkwardly laughs while trying to escape to find price tag to ring merchandise to finish transaction with guest because no it isn’t free*
17) “We’re going to the real Disney tomorrow!” -EL OH EL. Yes, because Downtown Disney is the fake Disney and the only real part of Disney is Cinderella Castle. Yes, of course. How could I forget?
18) “Where are your sum sums?” -Well…we don’t sell sum sums here….or TSUM TSUMs either…(See? World of Disney does not actually have everything. Isn’t that really depressing? Once Upon A Toy does, though. But not all of them, sadly 😦 Try the Disney Store!) This one is almost excusable because the ‘t’ is silent, but still…it’s funny to hear it pronounced as sum sum.
19) “Why don’t you sell *insert character/movie title* merchandise?” – Well, ma’am/sir, I really don’t know. I am not in charge of what merchandise we sell, because if I were, there would be a lot more Hercules merchandise because WHY WE NO SELL HERCULES MERCHANDISE, DISNEY?!
20) *Guest starts twisting arm to use Magic Band, it turns blue* *Guest tries swiping credit card* “Uhm, why isn’t this working?” -Well, probably because I have yet to scan all of your merchandise. Just a thought, though. I could be totally wrong.
HOWEVER, despite all of the *interesting* interactions we have on a daily basis, we also get to have chats with little princesses/fairies/princes/pirates, we get to meet people from our hometown/college and strike up conversations, we get to make magical moments and become the highlight of someone’s vacation and we get to make long lasting friends (because you will literally be with your coworkers ALL, THE, TIME).
Just be prepared to disappoint a lot of people because we don’t sell Universal merchandise 😉
And don’t forget your Disney Point!
Dear Future CP Participant, Congratulations on being accepted into the Disney College Program! You are part of the chosen few (thousand) that Disney felt would embody and exemplify what it truly means to be a Disney Cast Member, and that … Continue reading