The Disney College Program: Tips for the Application Process

Have you ever wondered how you can work at the happiest place on Earth? Well, here’s your answer:

The Disney College Program!

The Disney College Program is a paid internship that provides students with professional job experience and college credits. It is quite competitive though, with only about 12,000 students getting accepted out of the thousands that apply. You get to live in Disney Housing in either California or Florida for a semester and get numerous perks, like free admission to the parks and discounted merchandise! 

I got accepted to the program on my first try and will be working at Walt Disney World Spring 2020! So, I’ve collected the best advice about getting accepted:

 

Research

It’s important to research the program beforehand to make sure it’s the right thing for you. When doing the program, you'll be working more than playing. Your hours depend on your role but you'll typically be working at least 30 hours a week. Ensure that you can fit the program into your school schedule so that you stay on track with graduation, Depending on your school, you can also earn college credits while doing the program. To apply, you need to be at least 18 years old, have one semester of higher-level education (when you apply you need to currently be enrolled in classes), or you can apply up to one year after you graduate! 

Sometimes all the research can be overwhelming- so join a Facebook group! The groups are typically called ‘Disney College Program *your season*’. There are alumni and accepted cast members in it that will answer all the questions you have! I found this to be the most helpful because my questions got answered quickly and accurately. This also helps to make friends and find your roommate. While you do live in Disney housing, you have to pay your own rent. But don't worry! Your rent comes directly out of your paycheck. Rent is weekly and can range from $111- 200. 

 

Resume

Take your time! Don’t rush through the application, you have so much time! Keep in mind that if you get rejected then you can’t apply till the next season, so make sure you read everything over. And don’t lie- it’ll only hurt you in the long run.

When you first apply you have to list what roles you’re interested in. The program offers a wide variety of roles that you can choose from like attractions, merchandise, quick-service food and beverage, lifeguard, etc. Once you get offered a position you can’t switch what role you get and once you say you're interested then you'll automatically be considered for that role. So if you know you don’t want to spend your time cleaning the parks, don’t put down custodial as a role you are interested role. 

 

Web-Based Interview

After completing the application, hopefully, you’ll receive an email saying you’ve moved on to the web-based interview. This interview is basically a self-assessment to see if you fit what Disney is looking for. 

When you take the web-based interview, the most important advice I have is to stay consistent. This is a timed interview where some questions you only have as little as 15 seconds to answer. It sounds intimidating, but it’s not! The questions have you list if you strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, or strongly disagree. It also gives you situational questions that can occur while on the job. Try to stay away from the middle- it shows that you’re wishy-washy. However, if you put neutral for a few that’s okay! Just keep it limited. I answered about 2 neutrals and I still got a phone interview. 

Just remember that Disney isn’t trying to fail you! They want you, they just want to make sure that you’ll be able to handle the pressure.

 

Phone Interview

Congratulations! You made it to the phone interview! This is where a lot of people get stumped. The phone interview is where a Disney recruiter calls you and asks you all different questions. This can last from 15-30 minutes, it just depends (mine was 20 minutes).

To prepare for my phone interview I watched thousands (literally) of phone interviews on YouTube. That helped me the most because I got a sense of what it was going to be like! I also looked at questions online that people typically get asked. The most important thing is to know Disney’s four keys- you don’t need to say the keys upfront to your recruiter, but incorporate them into your answer. Also, know your recruiter's name! Disney is a first name company. When I had my interview I wrote down my recruiter's name and in the end I thanked her by her name. This shows you’re interested and you care! The biggest thing is to just breathe. At this point, they’ve gotten a sense of you from your application and web-based interview. So just show them why you would make a great cast member!

 

Sometime after your phone interview, you’ll get an email saying if you’ve been accepted, waitlisted, or NLIC’D (no longer in consideration). The acceptances come out in waves so keep an eye out. The Disney College Program is a once in a lifetime opportunity so I hope you consider applying- good luck!

Have a magical day!