The first time I heard about the program I was setting up a meeting with my academic adviser who was taking much too long for my liking. I got naturally distracted by the colorful brochures in the office until one, in particular, caught my eye, the pamphlet for the Disney College Program. I hadn't heard of it before so I picked up the brochure to give it a read. Disney as a company offers an international internship program for college students called the Disney College Program. Being a participant, you get the opportunity to live at one of the resorts, Walt Disney World or Walt Disney Land and work, play and take classes there for a semester. I decided to keep the brochure and look at it later if I had time. After my classes that day, I sat down and did some research on the program and the pros and cons that former participants have noted.
I learned that your rent is taken out of your paycheck weekly and that you can live with up to seven other roommates. I also learned about all the different roles they offer, from guest services to housekeeping, attractions to even being a character look-a-like. I especially liked looking over the different leadership classes that they offered and how school would work with me being in a different state. I decided to apply and on the first day, the applications went live in January I sent mine in.
I was so anxious to hear back originally. It took about two weeks and I finally got an email from Disney saying that I had moved through the first round and was invited to do a Web-Based Interview or a WBI for short. Just after Valentines Day, I did my interview, where you answer questions on a scale of agree to disagree. I was sitting in my kitchen and I remember my hands being so sweaty from nerves I had to keep wiping them on my jeans to use my computer keys.
I remember as I submitted it, just really hoping in my mind, I moved on to the next round of phone interviews. I checked my email after for the confirmation that it was completed and already had a new email from Disney. This made my stomach drop, as I was sure it was a rejection letter for getting too many wrongs in the interview. I opened it, and my heart jumped out of my chest. I had gotten a phone interview almost immediately.
I set up my phone interview for the following day at 1:00 pm and tried my hardest through the tossing and turning to get some decent sleep. The next day I woke up and prepared to do my interview by sitting on my quiet enclosed back porch so no one would bother me during the call. I'm not sure what happened really but the nerves got to me and I was shaking and I accidentally dropped it under my porch. I had to get down and army crawl under my porch to reach it and pull it out. Luckily she called back.
I didn't think it could get any worse than it had so I just put my all into the interview, asking questions I had and trying to make myself sound like the best candidate for the job. I was asked about three roles, out of the approximately fifteen I applied for. Those three were lifeguard, photo pass, and character performer. I shared my experience with photography, swimming, and theatre. She asked me if I would be attending an audition for the character performer role and I said I wasn't sure yet. After we talked about the roles and basic questions you get when applying for a job, we just talked more about the classes and housing offered through the program. She said I would hear back no later than April 12th and then we ended the conversation.
The character performer audition that was closest to me was March 2nd in Ohio or March 6th in Chicago. This was the week after spring break so I really couldn't risk missing class, so originally I decided to stay home. On Monday, when I got out of class my cousin Travis was texting me and asking me about the audition and if I was going to go. I said no, but he easily convinced me to skip class and go to Chicago that Wednesday.
I left for Chicago Wednesday morning around 8 with my brother, cousin and his friend. We arrived shortly after 12 and ate and then checked in at the studio for the 1:30 audition. We learned a bit of choreography and then performed it all together as a group. Then we performed it for the casting lady. They made cuts throughout the day, and eventually, my brother and I were both cut and ready to head back to Michigan.
Now it's been three weeks and all I've received is a “No Longer In Consideration" letter pertaining to the character performer job, but I'm still in the running for the other positions. All decisions will be made by April 12th and I'm just counting down the days.
If you're interested in applying and you're on the fence about it, don't be. It's been such a smooth process so far and I honestly never thought I would make it to round four of the process but sometimes you just have to believe in yourself and have a little faith, trust, and pixie dust. You might surprise yourself and spend a semester in a Disney having the time of your life!
Hopefully, I'll be heading down to Disney for the fall. If you see me in the Magic Kingdom, don't forget to say hi!