When people are talking about the happiest place on Earth, what's the first place you think of? Almost everyone would tell you Walt Disney World (Except for my friend Tim who said Cheesecake Factory. Jeez.) And that's a pretty accurate answer to the question, seeing as how Disney has the phrase trademarked. But all the people who have ever been graced with the opportunity to actually go to Disney will positively agree that the phrase is 100% accurate.
Personally, I've been to Disney every other year since I was born for our family vacation. We love going so much that we sacrifice a vacation in our off year so that we can go to Walt Disney World the following year. For non-Disney folk, you may read that and think "Why would you do that? Why would you go to the same place all the time instead of trying new things? Isn't it just the same thing over and over again?" The answer to those questions is this: No, it is not the same experience every time even if it is the same attractions and characters every time we go. The reason why we don't go anywhere else for vacation is because we don't want to. Then to wrap it all together, we do it because we truly love it and can't ever think of doing anything else that'll feel as amazing. Trust me, if you've ever been to Disney or are going anytime soon for the first time, you will know exactly what I'm talking about.
For people who are what we call "Disney fanatics," every one of us at some point in our lives thought about the possibility of working for the Disney company and becoming part of the cast. Sometimes this idea is just a simple whim and nothing more, but for others, it becomes a serious consideration. That simple whim develops into a pursue of a life long magical dream, that can even develop into a dream come true. There are many different ways to pursue this dream, such as full-time offers, part-time offers, and professional internships, but one of the bigger, more well-known ones is the Disney College Program or DCP for short.
The DCP is an internship program for Disney that is only offered to students who are currently enrolled in college or are within 6 months of their graduation date. This is one of the most phenomenal resume builders for any student to have in their resume when leaving college. During your program, you will be gaining real life experience from working in the parks, as well as having the opportunity to take Disney themed College courses/seminars that could possibly be counted as college credits towards your own graduation. There's even huge benefits to being a part of the DCP. Anytime you're not working you will have free admissions into any of the parks, you receive a discount on some merchandise and dining experiences, you receive up to 9 free park-hopper tickets that you can give to friends of family so they can come down and visit you, and you also receive discounts on the hotel rooms as well. But before you can have this resume enhancer as well as the bomb benefits, you first have to be accepted into the program, which can break even the strongest of us.
Applying and being a part of the DCP application process will be the best and worst time of your life. You'll meet some of the most amazing people in the Facebook group, as well as becomes super depressed as you watch hundreds of other people be accepted for the program before you. However, at some point everyone goes through almost the same 10 emotions due to the application process and these are those emotions:
The very moment the apps drop (or the moment you actually do apply for the DCP) is probably one of the most exciting things ever. This is the exact moment you have been waiting for, the moment you finally get you chance to apply to work at freaking Walt Disney World. You've probably been planning for months to apply for this program, which means you've also done some pretty intensive research on how to have the perfect resume and application. Because lets be honest, first impressions are everything. So knowing full well that you're about to submit the most lit application Disney has ever seen come there way, well that's pretty dang exciting.
You'll probably get a few days, if you're lucky, before this next emotion hits you. For some, like myself it comes almost hours after applying. And that my friends is uncertainty. For those who don't feel this until a couple days after submitting an application, or even the lucky few who never feel it, well that's dang diddly great for you, but the rest of us are suffering over here. This is the feeling you'll get once you begin to overthink too much about the whole application process. You'll start to ask yourself questions like "did I put enough high-interest job positions" or "did I use enough magical words?" And to answer this question, the only people who know the answer to this are the DCP recruiters and I'm sure they're not going to be talking about that. In all honestly, you probably won't even begin to feel this way about your application until you join the DCP Facebook group. So a word of advice, honestly try to stay off the page until you've been accepted. Emotions 3-6 will explain why.
Once the uncertainty has passed and you've joined the Facebook group, even though numerous people have told you to stay away from it, you'll start to have even more questions about the whole application process. You'll start to see words pop up like WBI, PI, CP, CM, WDW, DLR, and others that you'll have no idea as to what they are. There'll also be tons of alumni or people, who are applying for their second or third or even sixth time, talking about things that you'll be clueless about, such as living Vista Way or attending Traditions. There'll also be people posting their acceptances on the page. Wait, what? Yeah, that's right, even though they applied the same day as you, they've already moved on to a WBI (you probably still don't know what that means at this point) while you're sitting in submission (sub-what??). So you know what this means? It's time for some lengthy and probably unnecessary research.
Oh no. After hours upon hours of DCP research you've finally learned possibly everything there is to know about the DCP. And what you've learned is alarming. You realize the WBI stands for web based interview, which is the next step of the application process, meaning you, for some reason, haven't moved on yet. You also realize that submission is essentially the black hole of the DCP. Where you're not NLIC'd just yet, but you also are for sure not "In Progress." And as all of this is coursing through your brain and probably exploding your adrenaline and crushing your poor heart, there will still be tons of people getting acceptances and not going to straight to submission, that applied after you. So to be fair, now is a decent time to panic.
After having a monumental breakdown, where you probably reevaluated your entire life decisions, you'll begin to start finding some composure within the storm. You'll realize that obviously, you're not the only who was sent straight to submission and obviously they don't not like you because you didn't get NLIC'd. So, you finally take a breath and tell yourself "you know what, they take over 4,000 applicants AND they can still make a decision on my application all the way to April 14th." That's the way to think positively! Too bad a wave is about to hit and not rock your world.
6) More Panic
After going on the Facebook group for the day you'll realize from all the posts that a wave is hitting. However, it seems to not be an acceptance wave. So what else could that mean? Well, it can't be an NLIC wave because it's too soon in the program, so what does that leave left? A submission wave. And guess who's not on it. You are absolutely devastated. You realize a wave is hitting and you didn't seem to catch it. Then to rub salt in that mickey sized burn, people who applied after you will have caught the wave instead of you. So ding ding, here comes round two of panicking.
It's safe to say that at this point weeks have probably passed by and there has been no change in the status of your application. You've heard the horror stories about being NLIC'd on the last day and have just assumed that's going to be you too. You've tried to stop going onto the DCP Facebook page, but it's like a bad drug addiction that you just can't seem to shake off. The friends you've made in the Facebook group will have probably already been accepted by now and are starting to find roommates that aren't you. You'll think to yourself, "wow, that's supposed to be me." Unfortunately, you've probably lost most hope at this point that you'll get in, but you'll keep telling yourself "just a little faith, trust, and pixie dust" to make yourself feel a little better. But at this point, you just don't really care what happens to you and at the same time the light of you hope grows dimmer and dimmer.
8) Expecting The Worst
That's it. All hope is gone. Almost a month and a half has gone by and you haven't heard anything back. You safely assume that you'll be in that next NLIC wave first thing in the morning. There's no hope left, you can't seem to find any pixie dust, and you definitely do not collect $200. At this point, you've assumed that a WBI will never find its way to you, nonetheless an acceptance. You avoid the Facebook page like the 2nd animated Tarzan movie, because it'll just make you even more upset about your new assumption. To you, life is just completely over at this point.
It's been a little over a month or two and the apps have finally closed to the public. This means that the only people who can be accepted at this point are the people who have already applied and are either in submission or in progress. Realizing this, you'll begin to do a little more research into the actual application process itself, such as the applications to extend for existing CP's, the application for only alumni, and some others. This research will shine a little more light on the actual process itself. You'll begin to realize that not only are there a very limited number of spots, but not all of the spots are reserved for Fall or Spring CP's in just Walt Disney World. So with this new knowledge, it'll finally settle in that there's a good chance that the majority of the spots have already been filled at this point.
10) Being Elated or Devastated
There's only a week left for the recruiters to make their final decisions. At this point the majority of applicants in submission have been NLIC'd and the people in progress have either been accepted or NLIC'd as well. At this point, you probably just don't really care what the outcome turns out to be because honestly, you're just expecting the worst at this point. You've watched for the past week all of your friends in submission Ohana be NLIC'd, you've watched people who only applied because "it looked cool" be accepted, and you've watched the true Disney fans at heart get stuck in progress. But there's literally zero time left in the application process and you know that D-Day is arriving fast.
So one of two things is going to happen to your application. You're either going to receive the dreaded NLIC email or you're going to receive your WBI email (or go right to your PI if you've already done a WBI in the last 6 months) which will ultimately (unless you suck major eggs and understand nothing about Disney) get you an acceptance email!
This means you're going to feel on top of the world! You've finally achieved your lifelong dream of working at the happiest place on earth. It's now your shining moment to create magical memories for other park guests. You get to watch little girls turn into beautiful princesses every day and watch little boys turn into daring pirates by night. The magic will never stop and you'll probably cry every day from pure joy and happiness, and probably a hint of sadness realizing your one day closer to having to leave your Disney family and home.
Or it means you're going to feel like you're probably not good enough to work at Disney. You're going to think that you just don't have what it takes to fit the Disney image and ideal. You'll never be good enough to become thousands of little girl's fairy godmother-in-training and you're not scurvy enough to become the captain of thousands of pirates. You won't get to work and be at the happiest place on earth every day and you won't get to truly create magical moments. You'll probably cry and mope around for a couple of days. Then you'll suddenly get a mickey sized kick in the butt and get the wake up call you needed. You'll get your smile back and you'll be determined to apply for the next CP period and be better than ever.
Just know that as someone applying for the DCP, you just need to remember to stay positive. Disney looks to put everyone in the most perfect position and spot for them and the park as a whole. Not everyone can be accepted to work there (I mean the parks are only so big!). So just remember that with a little faith, trust and, pixie dust, any dream can come true.