Everyone knows what the Disney College Program is, and thousands of people dream of becoming a CP. Tens of thousands of college students apply every semester in hopes to be able to work for the mouse for 4 months or even up to a year as a college program student. There's three steps for the interviewing process and takes about two months to finally hear if you were expected or not. I was a lucky one, it was my first time applying and I was accepted in the first "wave" of acceptations. I was so happy! I couldn't believe my dream came true, I was going to go work for Disney for 4 and half months!
January rolled around and I was finally at Disney, I was there until April 7th, and my program wasn't supposed to end until May 18th. When you first get down there you experience so many different things. But unfortunately, with me, I was working all the time. I rarely had days off, and honestly, on my days off, I slept. Now some days I did go to the parks, but I was always so exhausted. Disney is not easy work, and unfortunately, I hit the point where I no longer wanted to work there.
Now as I say these things, this was just my experience. Other people experienced other things like this, but many people do love their job, end up moving to Florida, and working for Disney the rest of their lives. So for some people, it's great. With that I will still vacation there, I will still watch Disney movies, and I will still speak of the good times when I was there.
But for this article, I want to explain to everyone why I left the Disney College Program.
1. CP Housing
So there are four different housing complexes you can live in if you choose to do the CP housing. Patterson, the commons, chatham, and vista way, I was in vista way with 5 other girls. There's many different ways you can live, 6 people 3 bedroom, 4 people 2 bedroom, 6 people 2 bedroom, 3 people 3 bedroom, plenty of options to choose from. But depending on what type of apartment you want depends on how much your rent would be. The cheapest rent was $99 and the most expensive were $200, and that was by week. Your rent came right out of your paycheck. I was in a 6 person 3 bedroom apartment at vista way, my rent per week was $107. so After a month, it was $428, you put all 6 girls rent together, we were paying $2,568 a month. Our apartment sucked, our first apartment had black mold in it, and then the apartment we were moved into most of the things didn't work properly.
Each housing complex has about 30 apartment buildings, let's just say everyone pay a $107 rent a week. Each building has 12 apartments in it, and there are 6 people to every apartment. Disney World would make around $924,480 a week from the CP's. That's outrageous.
Not including the fact that you have to pay $75 for a parking pass, and you're lucky to even find a parking spot half of the time. They don't clean the apartments between program groups, they just paint over everything. Good luck on getting anything fixed without having to complain about it seventeen times. Housing is not worth it.
2. The Security at Housing
To get into a housing complex is more intense than trying to get into a military base. If you are a CP you must show your housing ID every time you go in, and if you drive a car you must have a parking sticker. If you have an outside guest with you, they must have a picture ID that the security guard takes a photo copy of, then you must fill out a full page of paperwork. If they are another CP they can stay until 2 am, and if they are not a CP they must be out by 1 am. If you are caught having someone over when they shouldn't be they you could get fired.
If you are under 21, and there is alcohol in your apartment you will get fired. If you are in a 21 and older apartment and you are drinking you will get fired. If you are in a 21 and older apartment and they are having a party, regardless if you are or are not drinking, you will get fired. If you try to go through security and you are long gone, you will probably get fired. (You should not drink under the legal age because it is illegal. But it's 2017 and I'm a realistic person.)
Honestly, one wrong move and security will get you fired.
3. The Working Conditions
I knew going into the program I would be worked like a dog, but I never expected to be treated the way they treated me, not including other people. the first week I was able to ask days off, I put in for seven days. Three days in March, and four days in April, when I put in for these days off in I was approved, which then they are called ADOS. March was no problem, but the first few days of April I looked to see if I still had my ADOS, and I saw that I was moved to waitlisted. I went to my management and told them I was getting married that weekend, and they told me that if I was schedule I would have to call in. Ridiculous.
At my first location (Toy Story, because I was deployed) I worked five days, and about 35 or 40 hours a week. When I was moved over to lifeguarding (Blizzard Beach) I was working six or seven days, and 45 to 50 hours a week. And normally I don't mind doing that at all, people that know me know that I have always worked two jobs. But something about it my body just couldn't keep up with it, and if you weren't feeling good, you probably wouldn't get sent home.
4. The pay
So I agree and disagree with the way Disney pays their employees. I personally was making $10 an hour at both my locations, which both of my locations are safety critical positions. I found out that our custodial (which I understand that they are just as important) made the same as I did. Now that's just crazy, you are going to pay be the same amount to make sure no one drowns, as someone that simply picks up trash. At Six Flags safety critical positions got paid more because they are SAFETY CRITICAL.
I talked to a lady in Disney Springs that said she has been with the company for a long time and still gets paid $10 an hour. Unless you are a status manager or high up in the company you don't get paid anything worth working there. The incentives are good, but you personally have to be there to use half of them and if you're working six or seven days a week you never can.
5. The DCP Transportation
Oh Transtar, everyone that was, is, or will be a CP knows about Transtar. I thankfully took my car down to Florida with me, but I rode Transtar a few times and I was a little scared. If you're a Disney guest your transportation is great. But we CP's have the worse transportation possible, one week a bus T-boned a car, one week a bus caught on fire, one week a bus broke down in the middle of the highway. I mean it was one thing after another, these buses were not safe at all.
As I said before, I hit the point where I was no longer happy with the choice I made. I wasn't making any money, I wasn't being treated well, and sometimes I felt as if I was a slave instead of a person.
I am planning a trip to go back to Disney World in probably five years, and I have invited all my roommates to come to my big wedding next year (we got married in the courthouse first). And I still talk to many of my Disney friends often, but if the job doesn't make you happy, you'll be miserable the whole time.
Anyone going into the College Program, don't go in with any expectations. Be prepared for the worse, but also enjoy the good times, the friendships you make, and most importantly take in the life experience. I wish all the upcoming CPs best of luck, but this is how my program went.