My Disney College Program Internship was a life-changing experience and I highly recommend to anyone even slightly interested to APPLY to the program! With applications dropping for Fall 2019, I wanted to share a little bit more about my experience with the internship. Keep reading for the highlights of my DCP Experience!
My Disney College Program
I learned about the Internship during the winter of my Senior year of college. After applying in January for the Fall 2016 program and a series of interviews, I started in August 2016 as a Merchandise CP!
Living in Florida and making magic was a dream come true. I ended up extending my program with a new role until July 2017.
My DCP was a great experience, but in full disclosure, I also had some really difficult days. It was definitely an eye-opening experience, and I learned a ton of really valuable skills that have followed me through my professional career.
Disclaimer: I don’t buy into all of the crazy conspiracy theories surrounding the DCP application process. My best advice is to honestly just BE YOURSELF. I know, everyone says that, but it’s the truth.
The interview is divided up into three parts, the Online Application, Web-Based Interview and Phone Interview. There are also character auditions located all across the country specifically for CP auditions.
The online applications “drop” at a specific time, unannounced, and there’s a huge rush once they open! If you miss the opening days — don’t worry! It’s not the end of the world, but they do announce a closing date for applications, so keep that in mind. The online app is a fairly standard job application asking for previous work and school information. The final portion asks your interest in different roles. My best advice here is to be honest with yourself and only put interest in roles you would be comfortable doing, but also be open-minded at the same time. For instance, I knew I wouldn’t be comfortable in a custodial role, so I put no interest. I put interest in other roles I wouldn’t normally consider, like Quick Service Food and Beverage. My top 5 roles were: Merchandise, Attractions, Photopass, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and Seater.
If you pass the online application, you’re invited to complete the Web-based interview. This is a series of “moral questions” type of personality test, including statements like “I am always on time for work” and you have to rank the truth of that statement. My best advice for this portion is to always use the extreme answers, never in the middle neutral option. Also, make sure you’re consistent. If you answer “I am always on time for work,” make sure you answer “I am never late for work” in the same way on a future question…it’s a little tricky!
If you pass the WBI (web-based interview), you get to schedule a phone interview with a Disney recruiter! This portion is the hardest to prep for, but focuses more on the role-specific questions.
My Role and Locations
Goofy’s Candy Co.
In August 2016, I started my program in Disney Springs merchandise at Goofy’s Candy Company. It was really cool to be able to learn how to make all of the treats, from the Mickey rice krispies to the character apples! At first, I was a little sad to not have a role in one of the parks, but I ended up loving being a part of the Springs Squad!
Disney Springs is a great location because it’s super easy to access from CP housing since it’s so close by (as opposed to Magic Kingdom, which can be a bit of a drive), the costuming building is a great location to run in and out of, and a lot of CPs are located at Springs. The negatives include late late shifts (a lot of nights I’d be working until 2 am), and my location required special training and we were understaffed, so there were a lot of 11 and 12 hour shifts.
I chose to extend my program and received same role, new location. In January 2017, I transferred to Epcot Future World merchandise! I love love love Epcot, and this was where I truly felt at home and made the best friends!
Epcot Future World
Future World merchandise (at the time) included working at the Test Track gift shop, Mission Space gift shop, Club Cool, The Seas with Nemo and Friends gift shop, The Land gift shop, Figment gift shop and the Bridge Kiosks heading into World Showcase. I had 8 different costumes!
I loved having this many locations because I truly felt like I knew all of Epcot! A few drawbacks to this area were that I only got to work with a few people at a time since the locations were smaller and shifts were a LOT shorter, only about 6 hour days.
Let me know if you have any questions regarding merchandise, Disney Springs or Epcot!
College Program Life
Unpopular opinion: I LOVE VISTA WAY. I lived in the same Vista Way apartment for a full year, and was able to make it feel like home. I had a 2 bedroom, 4 person apartment, and it was definitely the best way to save money while living in CP housing.
It’s definitely a personal preference if you want to join the DCP Facebook group beforehand to find roommates. I say avoid the Facebook group at all costs — It’s unnecessary drama and annoying questions. My program, one of my friends from my school was doing the program so we connected and found two random roommates — one was amazing and one was actually crazy and ended up getting kicked out…so it’s a toss up.
As for transportation, I brought my car with me. I only used the bus once to go to Traditions at Disney University, but I had friends who relied on Disney transportation. I highly recommend bringing your own car if at all possible. The bus system can be a little unreliable and limiting if you want to explore the area. Or just make friends with cars!
You’ve probably heard this before too, but you’ll meet amazing people during your Disney College Program! I now have friends from all over the world. Disney people are amazing and truly lifelong friends. The hardest part is having to say goodbye.
College Program Benefits
The most important benefit of the Disney College Program is the FREE ADMISSION! Cast Members receive free admission to all of the theme parks and water parks. You also receive admission to Disneyland if you’re able to plan a trip out! Going to the parks for free is one of the best perks.
Another great benefit is the Disney Discount! For most of the year, Cast Members receive 20% off of merchandise and discounts at select dining experiences. Holiday discount is amazing, when you receive 40% off of merchandise! Holiday discount occurs from October to February, so definitely take advantage during your Disney College Program!
An exclusive offering for College Program interns is the opportunity to take Disney classes. I took a marketing class and had the opportunity to network with Disney marketing professionals! My dream is to work in Disney marketing one day, so this was a great experience that definitely made my college program worth it.
College Program Bucket List
One thing I did before I left for Orlando was create a College Program bucket list. I did a ton of research online to find cool experiences at Disney, and all around Orlando, to try and experience before going down.
Here’s my highlights of my Bucket List blog post! Other items on my list included eating at all of the Disney restaurants (something I’m still working on…there are a LOT of them!), riding all of the rides (never ever ever going on AstroOrbiter again) and going to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas parties! That’s definitely one of the benefits of doing a Fall CP — all of the holiday fun and decor!
Disney College Program Advice
Now that it’s been some time since my Disney College Program has finished, I’ve compiled my best advice for future participants to be able to make the most of their programs!
I will always tell everyone to start pin trading! Pin trading has become one of my favorite hobbies and a great way to combine souvenirs, memories and great interactions with Cast Members. Since I was in merchandise, I was pin trading with guests all the time. I grabbed one of these eBay pin trading packs to start off trading and it’s become a real addiction! I think pin trading is a great experience to supplement a theme park trip — you get to meet a lot of people and you can walk away with pins that mean something to you.
Another piece of advice I have is to get out of the Disney bubble and explore Orlando! Orlando is a huge city with a lot going for it — it kills me when people leave the college program and talk trash about Orlando when they haven’t explored further than the Kissimmee Walmart on 535. Orlando has a great local culture, amazing restaurants and exciting things to do outside of the theme parks. Check out my Local Orlando blog posts for my top local places!I truly fell in love with Orlando while I was on my program so it was an easy choice to move back to Florida.
Take Advantage of Time Off
My final advice for incoming CPs is to truly take advantage of time off. There will be so many times you’re tempted to sleep in or just hang out around your apartment on your time off — but force yourself to get out and enjoy having Disney as your backyard! One thing that changed my program was when I learned how to enjoy going to the parks by myself. I used to be so intimidated but I actually LOVE parks by myself — I get to choose where I want to go, when I want to do it, eat where I want etc. Don’t wait for friends to be free to go enjoy the parks – oftentimes your schedules will never match up!
Thanks for reading all about my Disney College Program! It’s a truly amazing internship with great opportunities. Let me know if you have any questions! I’m always excited to talk about my CP.