What’s the Disney College Program Really Like? Words From a Graduate

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Perhaps you’ve always wanted to work at one of the parks? If so, you might want to consider applying to the Disney College Program! 

What is it? It’s a paid internship program where you can go to class and work at the park at the same time. What better way to gain hands-on experience as a student, right?

There are a few requirements that you have to meet, though, in order to apply. For one thing, you must be at least 18 years of age. Not only that, but you have to be enrolled at an accredited institution. 

In other words, you can’t apply if you’re currently taking “time off” from college. For more information, you can visit their official page.

For those who want to learn more about the program, be sure to read on! You see, we had the chance to ask a former participant a few questions. Perhaps you’ll learn a thing or two from it!

Without further ado, here it is:

A Q&A With a Former Disney College Program Participant

  1. What was the application process like for the Disney College Program? 

It started with a basic online application. This was followed by an online interview and then a phone interview.

  1. Do you have any tips for those who are preparing for the interview? 

Just be yourself. Sharing your passion for Disney and what the company stands for is also a plus.

  1. Can you tell us more about your on-the-job experience? 

I had the opportunity to be a Photo Pass photographer at EPCOT. While this is what I wanted, not everyone gets to do what they want to do. I was really lucky. 

My job was to take photos of guests at various photo ops around the park, but usually the France pavilion in front of the Eiffel Tower. I would also work with different characters and photograph their meet-and-greets with guests.

  1. What would you say is the best role to have? Why?

I only had one role, so I can’t speak to any role. However, I really enjoyed what I did. I got to be in the park the entire day doing my best to ensure the guests have a great moment to capture. They’ll always have these photos to look back on — I took pride in that.

  1. What’s the weirdest thing that you saw while you were there?

A guest tried to swim in the World Showcase Lagoon, so that was cool.

  1. Would you do it again? Was it what you thought it would be like?

I would totally do it again. I was fortunate enough to receive an extension on my time there, so I got to stay a little longer than a lot of other people do.

It’s another world down there. You get to bond with so many people — those you work with, those you live with, random people you just end up meeting. 

  1. Is it true that the dorms kind of get crazy? What was your apartment like?

It can! Mine was relatively tame. Pretty small; I shared a room with a girl I met online prior to moving in. While I live in another state now, we’re still friends to this day. The craziest thing was that she met her now-husband through DCP.

What’s crazy about it was that while he had met my roommate and they first started dating, he had a wife that he hadn’t divorced yet (the roommate knew about it; it was a whole complicated thing).

  1. Did you find it difficult having to work and go to class at the same time?

Not at all. Just create a schedule for yourself and stick to it.

  1. What are you doing now? Did the DCP help you get there?

I am a general manager of a restaurant in Atlanta. DCP didn’t assist with that at all really as I rose up in the company starting as a server.

DCP looks great on a resume and I’m sure could help someone here and there, but I valued DCP more as a life experience rather than a career stepping stone.

  1. What’s your favorite memory from when you did the DCP?

Well, I met my boyfriend there. We spent so much time at Disney together and we can’t wait to go back to re-live some of those memories.

  1. What were your fellow students/co-workers like?

Think of a high school. Cliques exist, but not in an evil, Mean Girls kind of way. When everyone knows no one, you tend to stick with those you work with for the most part. At the end of the day, everyone’s there to get away from something else and you kind of bond over that.

  1. Did you get any perks at the parks/resorts?

Yes! You get into all the parks for free and can bring a guest sometimes (I forget how often). You get an employee discount as well (and an additional discount during the holidays). 

  1. Do you still feel the magic when you visit the parks? Did the DCP take away from it at all?

Not every guest is amazing as you might imagine and there were definitely some days where I had zero interest in being at EPCOT, but ultimately I miss it. It’s been three years now and I want to go back pretty badly. The magic for me is still there.

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