A Spoon Full of DCP

For those of you who don’t know what the Disney College Program is let me explain. DCP is an internship through Disney (obviously) where you get a chance to be part of the magic! You get the opportunity to work inside and outside of the parks doing the things you love. I had the chance to do DCP at Walt Disney World in Orlando as a PhotoPass photographer. It was 100% the best decision I have made so far, and I try to convince every person I talk to do it because it is incredible.

When you work in PhotoPass, you get to work with some very talented photographers and witness some of the most amazing things. Every day was a new adventure. I had the honor of photographing at least two proposals daily. For someone who had never witnessed a proposal before and then suddenly saw them every day, it was truly an amazing experience. I was lucky to play a small part of the most exciting day of the couples life.

I also had the pleasure of being the personal photographer for characters like Mickey, Minnie, Tinkerbell, Ariel, Buzz, and so many more! Watching people of all ages interact with their favorite Disney characters was one of the most rewarding experiences. You never truly understand the impact Disney has on people until witnessing their reactions first hand.

The people are another reason this program was so amazing. You only spend about two minutes with each guest, and that two minutes means everything. You want to make their experience in the parks the best they have ever had. You would think this would be incredibly hard, but Disney brings the best out of people, and interacting with guests was easy. I met so many people from all over the world. Getting to know them in just two minutes was educational and rewarding.

Not only are the guests great, but the cast members are even more wonderful. I never met someone who worked for Disney that wasn’t the nicest human on earth. Everyone is always smiling and very eager to help. Disney hires the best of the best and that's a big reason why everyone loves it. I met some of my best friends from doing DCP (s/o to Alex, Bridget, Brianna, and Linda) and I can’t even imagine my life without them.

The best part of the entire experience was that, even though I was technically working, it never felt that way. Every day I had a smile on my face, and not because I had to, but because it came naturally. Seeing families laugh and enjoy the magic of Disney was heartwarming to watch and could brighten anyone's day.

Besides working in the parks you get to explore them as well! As a cast member, you have access to any of the parks, whenever you want. I took full advantage of that. My friends and I went to the parks every time we had a day off. You never realize how much there is to do in the Disney parks until you try to do it all. I was there for six months and I still couldn’t see everything. That’s what makes Disney so awesome, it’s impossible to be bored.

As a cast member, you also get to experience all the seasonal celebrations like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas. Working party nights was the best. You were able to work with special characters that normally won’t appear in the parks. You also get to see all the guests dressed up in all kinds of creative costumes. The holiday-themed fireworks and shows they put on throughout the night are pretty entertaining as well. It makes a ten-hour shift go by in a blink of an eye. A little secret for those of you thinking of going to a seasonal celebration, go to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party because many cast members will tell you that is the best one.

While working there you also get to see parades and fireworks every day. You would assume watching Festival of Fantasy Parade, Wishes, and Celebrate the Magic every night would get old quick, but it never does. You are still just as mesmerized by the show as every guest in the park. There was this moment every night during Celebrate the Magic when Elsa starts to sing “Let It Go” and every person in the park would sing along. It gave me chills every night, no matter how many times I witnessed it. It was something so magical that you could only understand it if you were there.

When I started, other cast members told me that once you work at Disney it’s impossible to work anywhere else. They said most people who leave always make their way back. When I finished my program, I didn’t think that would be me, because even though I loved Disney, I missed my family and friends back home too much to want to stay so far away. Now I understand what they meant.     When I watch a Disney movie or see anything resembling Disney I get teary eyed because I miss it so much!

After doing this program I decided that I would work for the Disney company again someday, maybe not in the parks, but definitely somewhere in the company. Without that experience I would have never known that's where I want to be, so for me the DCP was everything, and I am beyond blessed to have had that opportunity.

SO if you love Disney as much as I do, apply. I promise you, this will be the best thing you will ever do. There are so many opportunities that come from doing DCP that you would be crazy not to. Even if photography isn’t the thing you are passionate about there are so many other roles you could do. If your goal is to someday work for the Disney company like me, then DCP is a step in the right direction. I have a lot of friends still working for Disney and they are making their way up the food chain. I also have friends that finished the program, went home, and reapplied. So do it, or at least try. You can apply here and if applications are not open at the moment then you can sign up for emails that notify you when they do open up! As Mary Poppins once said “Go chase your dreams, you won’t regret it. Anything can happen if you let it.”