Walt Disney World is full of amazing opportunities, both in vacations and also in career opportunities! ?From professional positions, internships and a College Program! ?Who knew!? ?You can attend college at Disney World? ?Sounds like a dream come true to me! ?Shannon from Texas is one of those lucky college students who was chosen to participate! ?From the looks of her pictures and recent interview, it sounds like she’s having a magical time! ?I am so grateful that she would take the time out of her busy schedule to let us all in on her Disney life!
I first learned about the Disney College Program in August one day when I saw a flier sitting on a table in my school cafeteria. I had no idea you could take a semester off school for a Disney Internship that would give you college credit AND still be enrolled in school. I went home that night to research more about it. In the beginning, I thought I was just going through a phase. I thought I’d get hyped on Disney for a while and then go back to the real world. But the more I learned about the program, the more excited I became. I hadn’t been to Disney World in ten years, and my family had always promised we’d go again one day. So just my mom and I took a trip there for a weekend in November. After arriving back home, I was once again filled with a child-like wonder – and willing to do whatever it takes to be apart of that Disney magic.
I applied January 28, two days after the “Fall Advantage” application dropped. Within the next two weeks, I passed the Web Based Interview and had a nerve wracking phone interview, (which is the main part of the application process). Three weeks later I was accepted. It was one of the happiest days of my life.
The best decision I made during the application process, was joining the Facebook group for current DCP applicants. The group is full of people who can answer any questions you have. It’s also a nice place to geek out with other Disney friends. But I truly started to grasp what the program was all about when I followed other college students on their YouTube accounts who were currently participating in the program.
To be accepted, you must be enrolled in college and meet any requirements your school requests. ?The program is available for many college students, nearly 50,000 apply per semester, and roughly 5,000 are accepted, depending on the jobs Disney needs to fill. They welcome all majors and fields of study. And to my surprise, a large number of the students accepted have already done the college program once or twice before.
You are still able to participate in the program one semester after college graduation. Many students do so and end up applying for full-time positions when their internship ends. There is also Professional Internships you can apply for with jobs in areas like management and operations.
More than 20 different job positions are offered – from merchandise, to attractions, life guarding, transportation and character performing too. Of all the positions available in the application, you will be asked to rank each role with – High, Moderate, Low, or No interest when applying. Although Disney always keeps your best interest in mind, they can and will give you a low interest role if you apply for it. This initially happened to me when I was accepted for housekeeping. I wasn’t totally thrilled, but I was willing to do anything to work at Disney. You can accept your role or deny it, but it cannot be changed unless you are accepted into a character role after an audition, which I was fortunate enough to be offered.
The classes available through the college program do not directly advance you in your major. It’s like taking an elective. My corporate analysis class is currently teaching about Disney heritage and how the company runs so wide and successfully. Although it is not a required class for my Business Major, the class will count towards my GPA and it is interesting learning about it.
Program participants have the choice to live at one of the four hosing complexes or to live off site. Living in the DCP housing: The Commons, Patterson Court, Vista Way, or Chatham Square is the smart choice in my opinion. Most of the DCP’s live there and Disney hosts fun housing events during the week for everyone there. It’s also helpful because of the bus system they have and its a great way to make friends. The apartments are fairly nice, I currently live with 4 other awesome girls. We hadn’t known each other previously but have become very close in the short time we’ve been here. Two of them are from New Zealand – In the International College Program.
Although I claim to be Mickey Mouse’s number one fan, our apartment looks just like any other college student’s has very little Disney decor. We just bought a beautiful paining of a beach to finally hang up in our front room and we’ll have a couple of Disney mugs an such but other than that, our place looks like any other college apartment.
When I arrived, we spent the first couple days moving in, getting settled, and buying whatever we needed for the apartment. It was nice getting to know the area and exploring downtown Disney and some of the resorts. After our orientation class which was on our fourth day, we received our park passes and we were able to go into the parks. Training started two days after that, so it was nice to have almost an entire week of play. But little did I know that the playing had barely begun.
It is truly a joy waking up every morning working for the mouse. Some work weeks are longer than others. This week I will be working 48 hours. But I don’t mind because I know the time flies while I’m here.
There are so many perks of the program; Free park admission, limited guest passes, discounts everywhere, transportation, and recreation areas Its nice to have free park admission. After a long demanding day of work, you can head over to the Magic Kingdom and end your night by watching a fireworks show and a parade. My favorite thing to do in the parks is meet the characters. I light up like a child when I get a big hug from Mickey Mouse. It always makes my day better.
As Disney Cast members, we have a responsibility to create that magic everyday by striving for perfection and being cheerful in everything we do. Being a cast member myself, I can honestly say that almost all the magic you see happens within the parks. Behind the walls of the castle is just ordinary life. Not quite as magical, it’s rather smelly actually. But it gives us a responsibility. Walt’s image when he created the Disney parks was to pull families out of their ordinary lives and put them in this world where they could escape and be surrounded by bright colors, smells, and songs. Everything that is worth seeing and being apart at Disney World of is right there in front of you.
My internship- Fall Advantage 2015 will last for seven months. I will leave in January, unless I choose to extend my program until the end of the year. And right now at this point, I have every intention of doing so. While you’re on the program, most colleges offer credit for through internship. With my school, they asked me to write a couple essays and some simple assignments to get credit for the DCP.
I tell everyone I know that I have the most amazing job in the world. Because creating smiles everyday is the most rewarding feeling you could imagine. When I was working on set the other day, one family told me they experienced their child take his first steps that morning in that restaurant. You become apart of so much happiness and like Walt once said, “You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” And how true that is. The thing that makes Disney stand out is the people. And children hardly know the impact they have on the cast members. The most magical moments I’ve experienced here so far are the pictures that children draw for the characters – my fridge is full of them.
The one thing that surprised me going into this is how great of friends I’ve become with so many already. It’s great to have people around you that you can watch Cinderella with and then 20 minutes later drive to the park to meet her. I know that the people I meet here, we’ll stay friends for a lifetime. And I’m so excited for the next 6 month, especially with the holiday season coming up!
Thanks Shannon for all of your Disney insight and sharing in your experience with us! ?I don’t know about the rest of you, but I wish I had know about the Disney College Program when I was in college! ?It sounds like a truly magical experience with the opportunities to makes lifelong friendships and amazing memories!!!
For more information and to apply yourself, go here:?http://cp.disneycareers.com/en/default/