A Simple Guide to the Disney College Program

I’m going to Disney  World!! And no, I don’t just mean for a vacation,  I’m going  to live and work there during spring semester as part of the Disney College Program! Most people have heard of this program, but maybe don’t know a lot about it, so I thought I would answer some common questions:

What is it?

The Disney College Program (or DCP) is a four to seven month internship program for college students at either Walt Disney World in Florida or Disneyland in California. You can choose either Fall (August through December), Fall Advantage (Late May to December), Spring (January to May), or Spring Advantage (January to August). There’s also an option to start in April if your school is on the quarter system.  I’m doing the Spring program at Walt Disney World and I will be there from Jan 13th – May 16th.

What is the application process like?

First you fill out an online application and then you might get a link to take a web-based interview (WBI), which is basically just a survey where you pick if you agree or disagree on certain things. If you pass the WBI then you get to schedule a phone interview! This is around a 15-20 minute phone call with a Disney recruiter where they ask you different questions about what roles you would be interested in and what you would do in certain situations. I was so nervous for the phone interview, but the recruiters are so nice and make you feel relaxed! After the phone interview it can take a few weeks to find out whether or not you got accepted. Waiting to find out was the worst part! Since so many people apply, not everyone will get the WBI or pass it. However, if that happens, you can always apply for the next semester.

A few weeks after I got accepted, I got this awesome postcard in the mail:

Congratulation Allison!

What do you do while you’re there?

Once you get accepted, they put you in a job (which Disney calls a role) which could be Lifeguarding, Merchandise, Attractions, PhotoPass Photographer, Hopper, Transportation, Character Attendant, Character Performer, Costuming, Main Entrance Operations, Quick Service Food and Beverage, Full Service Food and Beverage, Custodial, Concierge, Housekeeping, Bell Hop, or Vacation Planner. Character performers have to audition specifically for that role, but for the others you just indicate your interest on the application and you could be placed anywhere. They try to place you in an area you have experience or an interest in. Depending on your role you may be working in a park, water park, hotel/resort, or in Downtown Disney.  My role is Quick Service Food and Beverage (QSFB), but I don’t know yet where exactly I will be working at. We don’t find out our work location until check-in on our arrival day.  Disney has classes that College Program Participants can choose to take if they want, either for credit or for fun.

Do you get paid? And where do you live while you’re down there?

This is a paid internship (yay!) and for each role the wage is different, but its at least minimum wage and usually higher. At both Disneyworld and Disneyland there are Disney apartments that participants live in (You can find your own place to live, but its cheaper and more convenient to live in the apartments they provide). Your paycheck gets direct deposited into your bank account and rent money comes out weekly from your paycheck. All utilities are included in the rent and from pictures I’ve seen, the apartments look really nice! The apartments also are fully furnished and come with cooking supplies and kitchen ware.

What about transportation, how do I get to work?

There are special buses just for college program participants that stop at the apartments and go to all the parks and resorts. Where ever someone has work, the bus will take them there. In California, they do not have special college program buses, but there is a public bus that will take participants to their work location . Many people chose to bring their car down (there is free parking in the apartment complexes and work areas) because they like the convenience of having a car.

What about school?

Many people doing the program are getting credit from their school or taking a semester off from school and just doing it for fun. I’m a semester ahead with my classes so doing the program will not put me behind or anything. IU won’t give you credit for taking classes at Disney during the program, but some majors require you to do an internship  so doing this could possibly count. I may not be getting school credit for doing this, but I can still use it for work experience hours that I need for my major.

I could go on and on about the Disney College Program, but I  didn’t want to make this too long and make you all bored! More information can be found at http://cp.disneycareers.com/en/default/ including how to apply. I am probably going to keep a blog about my Disney experience and I will keep you all posted! Feel free to ask me any questions you might have about the program or just anything in general.  I will definitely miss IU while I’m at Disney, but definitely not those harsh Indiana weathers! 🙂

HAVE A MAGICAL DAY!! (Yes, Disney workers really do say that)

Allison Lefko

Hospitality, Tourism, and Event Management major with a minor in Spanish

Hey Everyone! I am a Senior here at this wonderful place we call IU. I love going to sporting events (can't wait for basketball season!) and hanging out with my friends. Feel free to leave comments and tell me what you what me to write about. Thanks for reading! 🙂

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