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My Favorite Moments from the Disney College Program

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TCU chapter.

Hello, again!

It feels so good to be back with Her Campus. I took a small hiatus last semester since I had an “abroad” internship.

I participated in the Disney College Program at Walt Disney World from February through June. The Disney College Program, or DCP, is a paid internship and offers college students a combination of on-the-job experience, professional development, and a lifetime of memories with the Disney company.

My program was easily the most challenging and rewarding experience I’ve had in my life. It was an honor to be a Cast Member and represent TCU. 

Since the DCP was such a unique experience, I wanted to share a few memories. So, while all my stories could go on for hours, I will only share three little memories.

My 20th Birthday

Since I was a little girl, I’ve dreamed of spending my birthday at Disney. Not the month before, not a few weeks after– the actual day. That wish finally came true on my 20th birthday. That day was filled with so much joy, excitement, and magic.  

My birthday began at 4:30 am with a backstage tour of the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run in Hollywood Studios. It was the only backstage tour I went on during my CP, and it was amazing. We saw how the ride operates, walked around an empty Galaxy’s Edge, and learned all about the hidden Star Wars details. After the tour, my close friend Kelly and I went to Daily Mass, got McDonald’s, and went straight to Magic Kingdom. 

Our Magic Kingdom day was perfect.

We rode the classic attractions, including the teacups, Hunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and a personal favorite––Space Mountain. Popcorn, churros, and dole whip were our go-to park snacks for the day. Next, we prepped to watch the Festival of Fantasy on Main Street (my favorite parade), the cavalcades, and the castle show. Then it was off to meet our favorite princesses, Tiana and Rapunzel.

A little later, Kelly and I ate lunch at Be Our Guest. This was one of my top DCP bucket list items, so I was ecstatic! The food was so delicious. 

Don’t believe me? Ask the dishes.

I ended the night by watching the Enchantment firework show with my close friend, Lydia. Happy tears kept streaming down my face. 

My birthday was everything I wanted and more. I just felt so loved by my friends and, overall, had a magical day. 

MY Last Day

Oh, this day was a good one. 

To start the morning off, my close friends and I ate breakfast at Ohana. The view, the food, and the memories were so good. After that, we quickly took pictures outside, and it was time to head to MK Cast Parking one last time. 

My shift was from 10:45 am until 9 pm. 

Half of my day would be spent at PAC (Parade Audience Control) and another half at my home location, ATT. (This stands for the Magic Carpets of Aladdin, The Tiki Room, and The Swiss Family Treehouse).  

While I loved my home location, PAC had my heart. 

As Ad/Lib PAC, we helped with Festival of Fantasy’s 12 and 3 o’clock parades in the Adventureland/Liberty Square area. And since most CPs worked PAC, I got to work with all my close friends daily. 

I kept my emotions together until the second parade. 

My position for this parade was Blue Rope 2. I always loved holding the blue rope because you followed directly behind the entertainment cast members. It felt like you were a part of the parade. 

So, when I walked over to receive it from my coordinator, I was sobbing. I was so sad to say goodbye to my friends, the parade, and the job I loved dearly. 

Holding that blue rope one last time was a core memory.

It’s hard to describe the feeling of being on that parade route. It’s pure magic. From that moment on, my friend and I declared we were the blue rope girls now and forever. 

After PAC, it was time to clock in at ATT. Every guest interaction, smile, and even spiel was so important. Since these were my last few moments as a Cast Member, I tried to soak up every second. My favorite coordinator was working that day, and she made me feel so special. She took pictures of me at the ATT attractions, gave me a lei, and let me ride the carpets during the firework show. 

I couldn’t stop smiling and crying the whole day. I was overwhelmed by the love I felt from my co-workers. 

There is truly nothing like being a Cast Member.

Manny’s Magical Moment

May 10, 2022, was the day that my DCP dream came true.

I was positioned in the Tiki Room and saw a little boy wearing a big birthday button. Before I could tell him Happy Birthday, he approached me and said, “Guess what? We are going on the Buzz Lightyear ride after this, and I’m so excited!”  

From that moment on, I knew I wanted to create a magical moment for him. This little boy was Manny, and he was celebrating his fifth birthday. We talked a bit about Toy Story and Buzz Lightyear before I asked if he could help me start the show. 

Manny’s face lit up with excitement, and he said yes. 

After I made my safety spiel, I announced to the whole theatre that it was little Manny’s fifth birthday. Everyone began clapping and cheering. Manny was smiling from ear to ear. 

Then, it was time to start the show. Manny did an amazing job, but there was still more I wanted to do for his birthday.  

After the show ended, I brought him a lei and said how happy I was he had come to visit us on his birthday. His mother then asked if I could take a picture with him. 

My heart just melted. 

I knelt beside him, and we both had the biggest smiles on our faces. 

While I never saw that picture, and probably never will, that moment made my entire program. I wanted to do the DCP to create magic for others. Especially the little ones. 

And, after meeting little Manny, I knew at dream was fulfilled. 

Final Thoughts

If you have ever thought about doing the DCP, I say go for it! 

While I don’t think I would do another program, I’m so proud that I went after my dream. 

This experience changed my life, and it could change yours too. I hope to write another DCP article in the future, but for now, enjoy these little memories that will stay in my heart forever. 

Monica Nieto is a Strategic Communication and Sociology double major at Texas Christian University. She is an enneagram 4, Hufflepuff, and ENFP who loves to spend quality time with her family and friends. Some of her passions include her faith, all things Disney, and trying out new coffee shops!