Everything You Need To Know Before Applying To The Disney College Program
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Everything You Need To Know Before Applying To The Disney College Program

You want to work for the mouse? Here's how.

Everything You Need To Know Before Applying To The Disney College Program

The Disney College Program was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I gained friends from all over the world. I got to work for one of the most successful companies that the world has ever seen. I even lived out my own fairytale by meeting my fiancé in front of Cinderella's castle. The nine months I had spent in total at Disney could never be beat. While I spent many months working for Disney, it took hard work and incredible patience to get accepted into the internship. There are aspects that no one understands that go into choosing who get to take part in the internship as well as research that needs to be done by the participant. I hope to help those wanting to take part in the internship.

First off, here's a little history behind the internship. The first college program was in the Fall of 1981. Originally, only 200 students from 20 schools were accepted into the program and could only work at Magic Kingdom. As the internship expanded, more students were accepted into the program and were able to work at Epcot and Magic Kingdom. As the program grew more popular, participants were open to work at all of the parks and resorts within Walt Disney World and Disneyland. As of 2005, over 8,000 students from 301 schools participate in the internship each year.

The Application:

The only requirements for the college program is for students to be 18 years or older and be enrolled in school part-time or full-time, after completing one semester of college.

Before you apply for the college program, you should research the different roles that you could potentially be chosen for. You don't get to pick which role you get chosen for, but you do get a chance to pick your top roles. I was chosen for my top role. My top role was where I had the most experience and they always have the most availability for. The role was Quick Service Food and Beverage. In other words, fast food, but more so fast casual. After the normal application questions like work experience and schooling, you will be brought to the area where you rank your interest in a role. Be aware, you can put no or low interest in something, but still be given that role. Disney will place you where they believe you will fit best or where they need you the most. The most common roles to be accepted for are QSFB, Merchandise, and Attractions. These are the roles they tend to have the most positions for in the order they would have most availability for. There are hard roles to be accepted for and usually those who have degrees or previous experience get, which are Children's Activities, Character Performer, and Character Attendants to name a few. On a side note, to apply to be a character performer, you must attend a character audition. The auditions are held in different areas around the country, close to the major cities.

After you rank the roles, you will chose whether you want to attend the Spring or Spring Advantage program at Walt Disney World or at Disneyland. The same goes for Fall or Fall Advantage. If you apply for Spring, the program time for you would be anywhere from January/February to May. Spring Advantage, would be January/February to August. When applying for Fall, the program time would be August/September to usually the first week of January. Fall Advantage is May/June to January. I am not aware of the beginning or ending dates for the programs at Disneyland because I never did a program at Disneyland. They run a bit differently than Disney World, the previous program times given are commons times for Disney World.

During the application, they will ask if you speak any other languages than English. If you speak other languages and would like to have that language on your name tag, you will need to take Disney's language test.

Once you submit the application, the waiting begins!

The Web-Based Interview:

After submitting the application, you will either be emailed that you have been selected to take part in the web-based interview or that you are no longer being considered. This is the next step, if you are chosen to take part in the web-based interview:

The web-based interview is basically Disney's personality survey. They will ask you questions regarding what you would do in certain situations, what describes you most, and roommate related questions. This is Disney's way of getting to know you and seeing if you are the right fit for the company.

Answer truthfully and don't think too much. The questions are timed, with ample time, so don't worry there. Disney just wants to get to know you and get a better idea of where they may want you.

The Phone Interview:

Now, again, after the submitting of the web-based interview, you will be waiting to find out if you move onto the next step, which is the phone interview. The phone interview is definitely harder than the web-based interview, but isn't as worrisome or scary as you might feel. You can schedule your phone interview with any time slot that they have open. There are interview times ranging from 7am to 10pm.

Once you schedule your phone interview, you will need to do some research. Do not go overboard, and spend hours upon hours studying for this interview. The more studying you do, the less the interviewer gets to know you! You do not want to go into the interview sounding like a robot and answering their questions with the same answers they've probably heard thousands of times that day.

You will need to research questions that they might ask regarding the top roles that you choose to discuss during the interview. When you begin your interview, the interviewer may ask you what are you top roles. Have 3 to 5 roles picked out to discuss. The interviewer may also ask questions regarding a different role they might see you in. There is no guarantee that any role you discuss with the interviewer will be what you get placed in. They have a unique way of picking roles for people and no one knows the process.

A question they ask everyone and one of the questions that needs to be the most unique in an answer is "Why do you want to work for Disney?" This question was by far the hardest for me to answer. I can bet that at least 90% of applicants begin this question with "because I love Disney." While that is true, it's not the answer they want for the question. Provide an answer that shows your connection with Disney, why you love Disney, what the company has done for you in life to give them a peak into why working for Disney would be for you.

The most important and best advice I could ever give you for this interview, SMILE.

You can hear when someone is smiling. It sounds crazy, but it's true. Think back to a conversation you've had with a friend and I bet you can find a time where you were certain that they were smiling. The interviewers can tell when applicants are nervous and trust me, they are amazing when it comes to dealing with that. During my first interview, I began to stutter because that's what I do when I get really nervous. My interviewer, allowed me to take a couple seconds to breathe while I apologized for mixing up my words. She was very understanding.

The interview will also consist of questions regarding tattoos and piercings. When asked these questions, be truthful because you are not allowed to have showing tattoos when working for Disney, but it does not affect if you get accepted or not. The interviewers need to know how big and where your tattoos are so they can place you in the right location if accepted. I have four tattoos and a piercing and I was accepted twice. I even had coworkers who had tattoos on their necks.

At the end of your interview, the interviewer will ask if you have any questions for them. Have at least one or two questions ready for them. Even if it's simply, what do like about working for Disney. This is your chance to make the interview more personal. Many of the interviewers love answering our questions and love telling you their Disney story. Believe me when I say, every person at Disney will have their Disney story!

As I've said previously, the phone interview is one of the hardest moments in the process for the application process, but it's also up to you and how you handle the interview.

Once you are done the phone interview, the true waiting begins.

An acceptance email or a No Longer In Consideration email for the college program could be sent to you anywhere from two days after your phone interview to nearly three months after the interview. After applying for the program, you will see on your dashboard (the dashboard is the profile you have created for the college program) what the next step is. When you are waiting for the next process you will see you that you are still in progress. This means, that you are still being considered for the internship. If you were to be told you didn't make it into the internship, your dashboard will show No Longer In Consideration.

My advice for the waiting process is to keep busy and DO NOT check your dashboard constantly for a change. It makes the entire process so much worse! Also, join the Facebook groups, they're usually named something along the lines of Spring/Spring Advantage 2018. You will meet many people who are going through the same things you are, as well as people are constantly updating. You will know if there is a wave (the terms used for a big group of acceptances) going on for acceptances or no longer in consideration.

There are many terms that are used throughout the Disney company. For the Disney College Program applicants, that applies as well.

Many terms you will find on social media regarding the Disney College Program, include:

Disney College Program - DCP or CP

Wed-Based Interview - WBI

Phone Interview - PI

Cast Member - CM

No Longer In Consideration - NLIC

These are just a few of the terms that are used. Also, PI can get a little confusing for some because there are professional internships with Disney that are referred to as PI.

The Disney College Program was one of the best experiences of my life and I would tell anyone to apply. The program isn't for everyone, but it's definitely worth the experience to try at least once. There are many lessons that can be learned throughout the program, as well as lifelong friends you'll meet. Give it a try!

Keep a look out for an article for after getting accepted!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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