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My Review of the Disney College Program

(Photo by IUP)

Last spring, I had the opportunity to do the Disney College Program or the DCP. For those of you don’t know, the Disney College Program is where college students have the opportunity to work at any of the Walt Disney World parks or resorts, while having free access to the parks and special discounts on select dining and merchandise. This is my experience with the program, everybody’s is different, and some have better experiences than others. I applied the first day and did the web-based interview the same day. A week later, I did the phone interview and a month later, I got the email saying I had been accepted. Since I knew I wasn’t going to be in school in the spring, the fall semester was my worst semester of school yet because I had senioritis and didn’t really care about school. Over the next few months, I prepared for my journey to move to Florida from Pennsylvania, not knowing what was going to happen.

 I had these expectations coming into the program that it would be the coolest six months and I would make best friends, and everything would be great.

 I was wrong. 

At work, I originally had attractions as my role, which means you could be operating rides or shows. I was placed in Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom, which was the park I didn’t want because I knew it had the worst hours. In attractions, you were supposed to be trained for three days and after that you are on own. In my section of Fantasyland, I had to be trained to operate three attractions and had difficulty with one of them. I took me about a week to be trained and it was embarrassing for me because everyone else had no problems figuring it out and I still had issues. After I was traded, I didn’t have issues with anything for about a month until one day in mid-March where I accidentally put an attraction into emergency stop twice and had to talk with my leaders. I told them I would be fine being moved to something like custodian, and my leaders were able to do so.

I was still in Fantasyland, but now doing custodial work. I had come in late to custodial and I didn’t know if there were other college-aged students where I was, so I was lonely and had serious thoughts about leaving because I was miserable. Thankfully, my family helped me through this difficult time and eventually I met my other college-aged coworkers and I have some fond memories with them. 

I never really made any friends whom I spent a lot of time with at the parks because I never became best friends with my roommates. Some of my roommates became good friends with each other, but I had a different personality compared to some of them. The girl who I shared a room with I didn’t mind, but to be honest, I was not as good of a roommate as I should have been. I did and said a lot of regrettable things to her. The simple message is living with six girls can be quite the handful. 

In the summer months, I did spend some time with a couple of my coworkers when we could. A couple of times, I went to a park or ate somewhere with one friend and another time, I hung out with my coworker and his roommate and had a great time with them. If it weren’t for my coworkers, I think my program would have been much harder. There were times when, if we didn’t get off super late from work, we'd go to Waffle House or an IHOP and eat dinner and talk. 

My program wasn’t what I expected it to be, but I’m happy with all the memories I made with the people there and being able to enjoy the parks. The best part about the program was simply being able to say that I did work for The Walt Disney Company and now I miss it and the people there every day.

 

(Photo by Taylor Phillips)