One cold March afternoon last year, I remember being absolutely exhausted and had a particularly difficult day at work. I was on my break and found myself wishing I could make a change in my life.
I opened my inbox and saw an email from the Walt Disney World Company; it was a notice that the deadline for fall 2017 applications for the college program was one week away. I had tried to apply my sophomore year of college for the spring semester and I got put in the submission for nearly 3 months before I was NLIC’d (no longer in consideration). I decided that my dream of working for Disney was simply not meant to be. But, for some reason, as I was sitting in my car staring at the email, this thought came to me and I told myself “Eh, what do you have to lose?”
So, I clicked the link and spent the rest of my break filling out my application. The next day I clicked on my dashboard and expected to see “submission” next to my name like I always had but this time I saw the word “pending.” After that, I received an invite to do the Web Interview and the Phone interview and I got in! The program changed my life in so many ways. I met the most amazing people and had some amazing experiences. But, once again, it is application season and I want to help people who were in my position this time last year. So, here are some of my best tips for getting into the Disney College Program.
The application is by far the easiest part of the whole process but it is also the most important because depending on how strong your application is, you will either move on to the next step or be stuck in submission for months. The date at which you submit your application doesn’t have too much to do with your chances of getting accepted so don’t feel like you need to be on the Disney website the day that applications drop and don’t be scared if you don’t submit it until a few weeks before the deadline like me - it really doesn’t make a difference.
The application is pretty straightforward: you enter your personal information, education, and work experience. I'm not saying you won’t get in if you are a freshman, but Disney tends to accept more students who are either towards the middle or end of their college career so that’s something to keep in mind. Something important to remember when filling out your work experience section is that you want to include the most relevant work experience you have. It’s rare, but I know a few people who were rejected because they had “too much work experience” meaning they had four or more jobs in the span of two years. Disney could take this as a sign that you are non-committed and may not complete your program. So, make sure you are putting forward your most relevant work experience. If you feel you don’t have sufficient work experience, you can include unpaid or volunteer work as well.
At the end of the application, they have some more question to get to know a little more about you including, "Have you ever lived on your own?" "Do you speak another language?" "Have you ever had roommates?" etc. These questions are extremely important so take your time when answering. The only thing I truly remember changing on my application was my answer to two of these questions and it was enough to get me accepted. Another thing that makes a difference is when filling out your work experience skills section of the application, make sure you’re using words like "safely," "efficiently," and "courteously." Those are some of Disney’s favorite words!
WEB BASED INTERVIEW
if you make it past the application process, Disney will send you an email inviting you to do a web-based interview. The web-based interview is a chance for Disney to learn a little bit more about you. It’s pretty similar to some other web interviews that you take for some other jobs. For example, it will give you a statement and ask if you strongly agree or strongly disagree. It’s a pretty long process so make sure you have plenty of time to answer all the questions and make sure you don’t overthink the questions.
You can look at some sample questions online but the whole interview is pretty straightforward. Make sure you are putting either "strongly agree" or "strongly disagree," rather than indifferent. Also, make sure you’re answering all the questions keeping in mind the kind of college student Disney wants. For example, Disney wants dependable, clean, and enthusiastic students. So when you come across a question that asks how clean are you on a scale from 1 to 10 you want to put 10. There will also be some questions that ask things like, "How excited are you to move to Florida?" or "How excited are you to live with roommates?" These will usually be on a scale of 1 to 10 so make sure you’re putting 10 for all - remember they are looking for enthusiasm.
Congratulations! You’ve passed your web-based interview and you’ve made it to the phone interview. This is the part of the application process that most people dread. Don’t worry, passing the phone interview is super easy as long as you prepare. Make sure you schedule your phone interview for a time when you know you’ll be free. I took the morning off from work and school and got mine out of the way relatively early. When preparing for your interview, make sure you do your research. There are lots of good resources on the Internet that have sample questions and great tips. I printed out several sample questions and studied every single one and prepared an answer to every single question.
Disney is not going to throw any huge curve balls at you, they tend to use the same questions for everybody or at least the same format. They usually start off by asking you why you want to do the program, then they ask you if you’ve ever lived with roommates and if you have any experiences to share with them, then they go on to ask about your work experience. Besides looking at practice questions, a good way to prepare is to go on YouTube and look up college program phone interviews. A lot of people advise against this but I found it very useful. I would listen to the interviewer and pretend I was the person being interviewed and pause the video and answer as if I was being interviewed. When my actual interview came around there was only one question that I wasn’t prepared for, all other questions I had seen before.
Best of Luck to anyone who decides to apply! I promise it'll be one of the best decisions you've ever made.