I spend a lot of time talking about my specific experiences with the Disney College Program (DCP). While these stories alone may be compelling reasons to some people on why they should apply for the program, I have never actually said why anyone should apply to the program. Here are 6 reasons why any college student should apply to the Disney College Program.

1. Working and Living in The Happiest Place on Earth

Well, that was a given! If you didn’t already know, the DCP entails three components; living, learning, and earning. You get to work in the Disney parks or resorts, live in company-sponsored housing and have an opportunity to take classes through Disney. Disney has a variety or roles (aka jobs) to chose from. The more popular ones are Quick Service Food and Beverage, Attractions, Merchandise, and Custodial. If you do choose to apply for the DCP I would suggest you do further research into the variety of roles that are offered. Check the DCP site for roles and check YouTube for a variety of experiences in each of the roles.

2. College Credit

This is where the learning component of the DCP comes into play. If you participate in the DCP you have the opportunity to take classes that can be transferred back to your school for credit. Depending on your school they may give you credit for the whole program. It is highly recommended that you talk to an advisor first so that you know if you are eligible for credit. A lot of the classes are geared toward business and hospitality majors but there are more so make sure you do your research!

3. Networking Opportunities

Aside from classes, the DCP also offers a variety of seminars and networking events that you are more than welcome to take during your program. Some last a few weeks and some are just a couple of hours. You can take classes and attend the seminars even if you are not receiving credit for them. I recommend taking a class or seminar anyways as a great perk for your resume! The networking events are good to attend especially if you plan on working for The Walt Disney Company after your program. These events allow you to meet with leaders and management from all different departments of The Walt Disney Company.

4. Meeting New People From Around the World

Along with the DCP there is also an International College Program. The ICP is a program for students coming from other countries who are doing the same exact thing that the students in the DCP are doing. They work where you work and live in the same apartment complexes you will live in. Both of these programs are not only a good way make friends and network with people across the country but from around the world as well.

5. Park Access All The Time!

I don’t know of many people who can say they went on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster twice before they headed off to work for the day other than anyone who may have done a DCP. Participating in the DCP and becoming a Cast Member does give you the nice perk of having free access to all of the Disney parks and water parks. While there may be an occasional blackout day for a holiday where you may not be able to get in with high volumes of guests attending the parks, there is pretty much free access to the parks all the time for Cast Members. This means you can also book FastPasses ahead of time.

6. The Amazing Discounts

As a Cast Member, you get discounts on hotels, tickets, merchandise, and food. The locations and discount rates may vary so make sure to pay attention for that. Another amazing perk of Disney Cast Member discounts is probably something that is one of Disney’s best-kept secrets. Any Disney Cast Member is entitled to shop at a discount store on Disney property called Cast Connections. Here you can find all sorts of Disney merchandise at sometimes more than half the original price. Talk about a bargain! This is a store that is exclusive to Cast Members with limited guests allowed. You will be asked to show your blue work ID at the door for verification. There is also a small store called Company D that sells exclusive Cast Member merchandise. There are a number of these stores located in places that only Cast Members are allowed into.

How many people do you know have actually worked for Disney while taking a class at Disney and squeezed in some time in the parks in between while making friends from around the world? My guess is that you don’t know many.