Disney

Why The Disney College Program Is One Of the Best Decisions I Ever Made

The Disney College Program is BACK!!!!!!!!! Check out the official announcement and information regarding the return of the DCP here. After 14 long months, the most magical internship is returning and my heart could burst with excitement for the next generation of CP’s to experience the magic once more.

Fun Fact: I was always terrified of the characters growing up so the first time I ever met Mickey was on my 20th birthday right after becoming a Cast Member

A little background info on my DCP experience: I was accepted into five programs, but only participated in two. My first CP was Fall 2015 in Storybook Circus (#cirkieforlife) and my second was Fall Advantage 2018 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (#daklforever). 

I actually forget to take this iconic photo op until my second program lol oops

 I clearly remember the night when I applied for my first CP. It was the beginning of Spring semester Sophomore year and I was ready to drop out of college and run away (which I eventually did run away and join the circus haha) because I was so burnt out and sick of everything college had become. I knew I needed a change whether it be a break or transferring somewhere else. Thats when a friend told me about the Disney College Program. Her and her boyfriend had just graduated and started their programs. Applications were opening that same week, so I signed up for email alerts. It was 11pm when I received the email that applications were open so I spontaneously decided to apply just for the kick of it. I knew there was a long waiting period and a slim chance I would get accepted. Within minutes I was emailed about moving on to the next step of the application and interview process, so I completed that step. After that step you immediately found out if you got moved into the next round, and I was moved further along in the process. The next morning I woke up to an email to schedule a phone interview, which was shocking. So, I scheduled one for the upcoming Wednesday evening. My phone interview went great (I did it in the Target parking lot because I was running errands to keep my mind off of it haha) and I was told I would hear back within the next 3-4 months. I was then ready to sit back and not even think about it for a while because the application and interview process can typically take several weeks and I had just completed everything within a week. Well, exactly a month later I received my acceptance email!!! I was completely shocked because 1) I really didn’t think I would hear back so soon, especially since some people hadn’t even completed the full interview process, 2) I thought my chances of getting accepted were thin since I had heard all of the stats about acceptance rates in comparison to applications. 

Now, the real waiting began: I got accepted at the beginning of February and wasn’t moving to Orlando until August. Six LOOOOOONG months of waiting and excitement thus began…

My main costume – one of the best parts of this role was getting to wear so many different, fun costumes

I truly could not have asked for a more perfect first Program. I got my first pick of dates, first housing choice, the most perfect location for me, and an incredible role. My experience was a little different than expected though because I was told by friends already on the Program and lots of research that everyone in my apartment would have the same move-in date (I chose random roommates this round because if we’re being spontaneous we might as well go all the way lol). Well to my great surprise, I walk into my apartment and everything is already setup, half of my roommates are at work, and the other half are asleep. I was assigned to an apartment with 4 ICP’s and 1 CP who were there for a full year. Needless to say, this was a huge blessing because I got insider help from people who had already been in this life for 8 months PLUS they were Australian so I was immediately thrilled (well, aside from my “roomie hazing” of trying Vegemite – 100/10 do not recommend LOL). 

Graduation Day 2015

After my program was over and I went back to school, I had 2 years of school left to complete. During those years I applied, and was accepted, for two more programs. I chose not to participate in those because I was so close to finishing school and I wasn’t really into the roles I was selected for. After graduating, I decided Disney was still calling me, so I applied for my fourth and final program. 

My second program was very different than my first, but perfect in it’s own way. This time I chose to live with people I knew instead of going random. I loved going this route because we truly made our apartment into a home and were friends from the start. Everyone moving in at the same time and starting the DCP experience together was so fun because we were all going through it together. Only 2 of us had been CP’s before (both Fall 2015), so it was fun to see it through new eyes. On this program also had a very different role than before. This role was much more challenging and restrictive than my previous role. I loved the structure, responsibility, and challenges this role brought. Plus, who doesn’t want to get paid to spend their days poolside? Even though this was not your typical “magic making” Disney role, there was still lots of magic and fun to be had.

Such a unique opportunity to get a pic with the boss while in costume!

Rather than continuing down an even further detailed reflection of my experience doing the Disney College Program, I’m going to share some of my top 5 favorite things:

  1. Meeting people from all over the world and making friendships that last a lifetime.
  2. Working for one of the most influential companies in the world and the coolest boss ever.
  3. Learning how to handle almost any situation thrown at me in life via working, living, or learning. 
  4. Living at the most Magical Place on Earth.
  5. Having unique, once in a lifetime experiences and opportunities.
The coolest boss ever!

Once the DCP fully opens back up, if you’re wondering if you should apply or you’ve never even heard of it before, here are 5 reasons you should go for it:

  1. Take the leap and go for it. The application and interview process alone will give you valuable experience for the future. Nothing to lose by simply applying.
  2. You’ll have one of the most amazing experiences of your life. Nothing compares to living at Disney as a young adult.
  3. Working for one of the top countries in the world will give you incredible experience and teach you so much more than you can imagine. 
  4. You will meet so many people from all over the world and form life long relationships you’ll cherish forever.
  5. Your life will never be the same and you won’t be able to imagine a life without this time in your life.
My first castle pic as a CM

There truly is no way to adequately put into words what my experiences with Disney mean to me and how much they have changed my life. For me, Disney is so much more than a theme park or vacation destination. It’s a place where I learned so much about working, living, learning, and the world outside of my bubble. Most importantly, it gave me memories and people that I will cherish for the rest of my life. It was there for me in the one of the hardest times of my life where I didn’t know where I was going or who I was supposed to be. Disney isn’t perfect, and neither is the College Program, but there are so many opportunities and lessons to be learned if you give it your all and have an open mind. Yes, there are hard moments, but just like anything else in life it’s all about your attitude and perspective. 

Basically sums up how I felt about working in the most magical place on earth

If you have any questions about the DCP, feel free to ask! I could talk about it for days on end, haha.