The applications for the Disney College Program just went live today! The applications are for the Fall 2018 program for both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. If you want to learn how to apply for the Disney College Program or are interested in learning more about it, you’re in the right place!
What is the Disney College Program?
Truly it is the opportunity of a lifetime! It started back in 1981 at Walt Disney World. Since then it has grown and you can now participate in the program at either Walt Disney World or Disneyland. The program is a chance for students in college to “live, learn and earn” with Disney. They will live with the other students in the program, learn from educators in college-accredited courses and earn a salary while working at the theme parks! If you have a desire to work for Disney in a short-term role, this is the chance!
Who Can Apply?
If you couldn’t tell by the title, you do have to be a college student to apply. But, there aren’t any age restrictions (other than being at least 18 years of age). The website says, “students must be currently enrolled and taking classes at an accredited program and have completed at least one semester OR graduated within the past six months”. Although the program students are typically 18-20 years old, if you are taking college classes later in life you can still participate in the program! I was able to apply for the Fall 2015 program when I was a senior in college and participate in the program after I had graduated. As long as you have completed a semester in college, you’re eligible to apply!
How Will it Affect My Education?
I get this question a LOT on my YouTube videos. I didn’t have to worry about this since I did the program after I graduated. But most of the students in the Disney College Program return to their college after their program ends. There are a few different options when it comes to classes:
- Most colleges offer online courses. You could try to take classes online through your school while you’re participating in the program. That way you won’t have to catch up on credits when you get back.
- The program offers collegiate classes that you can take while you are there. But you will need to check with your school to ensure they’ll accept credit for these classes.
- The program also offers non-credited classes as well! I took the Disney Traditions class (their most popular class) and a marketing class as well! It was a unique opportunity to learn from professionals working at one of the top businesses in the world!
You will also have opportunities to attend workshops on topics such as interviewing, networking and resume-building. I attended the resume class and I am so thankful I did! If you can I would highly recommend taking advantage of the courses they offer!
What is the Application Process Like?
The entire process can take anytime between one month to several months (depending on when you apply). I applied the day the applications came out, got my phone interview a week or two later and heard I was accepted all within a month.
The first part is the application, where they ask for your basic information as well as education and work history. There will also be more detailed questions on which program you are interested in (Florida or California) as well as your level of interest on different jobs. Overall the application will take roughly 30 minutes to fill out and submit.
The Phone Interview
If you haven’t interviewed before I would highly recommend researching typical interview questions. The phone interview is pretty general and doesn’t last long (maybe 30 minutes to an hour). But they will ask you about your interest in jobs based off of what you selected in the application. You want to have examples prepared ahead of time of previous experiences that would help you excel in the jobs you really want. I liked the photopass, character performer, character attendant and the boutique roles. During my interview they asked me specific questions to see how well I would do in each of those roles. I would suggest you create a list of all the roles you are really interested in beforehand. Then, write down examples of why you would be a great fit in that role. That way if there are questions about the roles during your interview you’ll feel prepared!
How Long is the Program and What is Provided?
Most programs will last around 4 months, but the “advantage” programs will be about 6 months long. During the program you will be provided housing and transportation (the Disney College Program has its own bus transportation system called “Transtar”). The apartments come fully furnished and the number of roommates you live with ranges. You will need to provide your own bedding, but you will be provided with a twin bed. After your program is over you will return home or back to your college.
What Are the Benefits of the Program?
It might not seem obvious, but you get awesome benefits through the program! First, working for Disney looks fantastic on a resume! It’s a great conversation starter and it will make you stand out. Again, I would highly recommend taking advantage of some of the workshops they offer. They are exclusive to the program and provide you with great skills you can use in future careers.
You get to go to the parks whenever you want! There are minimal dates when you can’t go (the last two weeks in December), but you have total park access other than that. Just going to Disney for free alone makes the program worth it!
You get cast member discounts too! The normal cast member discount is 20%, but if you do the fall program you’ll also get the 40% discount from November – December. In addition to the extra discount they also hand out coupon booklets with coupons for free treats and dining discounts to use on the restaurants. The fall program is fun for other reasons, but that is definitely a plus!
You will also get guest passes! Unfortunately after my program they changed it depending on how many hours you work, and I’m not sure how many in total you will get. It’s not as many as the full-time cast members, but you will still get guest passes for your family and friends to use!
So What Are You Waiting For?
If working for Disney is a dream of yours then I would highly recommend applying for the program (Click here to apply)! I loved that it was short-term so if I didn’t like it, I knew I could just go home. Luckily for me, I loved it and I got a full-time position after my program had ended! The friendships you make will last forever and the memories are irreplaceable. The Disney College Program is honestly the chance of a lifetime and you don’t want to miss out!