I’ve taken part in a few internships during my bachelor’s studies, but the one I’ll remember with fondness, was The Disney College Program: a unique internship where college students can get to work full-time, for up to a whole year, in one of the various jobs Disney World and Disneyland offer. The jobs range from running the attractions to working the front desk at a resort, and so much more. The program also offers you different complexes where you can choose to live; from the newest to the most economical, and you can choose from having 3 to 5 other roommates. Of course, having more roommates means having to pay less on living expenses. You also have to take one of the many courses Disney offers, depending on whether your University requires you to take one or not.
The application process is divided into 3 rounds: First, you need to submit your application, where you fill in your work history and education. Second, you will have a Web-Based Interview (WBI) and finally, a phone interview. Once you’ve filled in the application, you are then given the opportunity to do the WBI, which is mostly multiple choice of what-would-you-do scenarios. Through these questions, the company tries to get a feel of your personality and whether or not you fit the Disney image, so even though they say there’s no right or wrong answers in that questionnaire, trust me when I say…there is.
After you finish the WBI, it automatically notifies you whether or not you were selected to move on to the final round of interviews. Next is the phone interview; which is by far the most nerve wracking. This means you managed to convince a computer that you are fit for the job, but now you have to convince…a person (the recruiter.) They ask you questions such as “Why do you want to do the Disney College Program?” as well as your experience during your other jobs. You can find some of the questions online and practice your answers, but in my experience, they can tell if you practiced your answers and they do not like that. I have to say I was one of the unfortunate souls that practiced my answers and was rejected soon after. Pro tip, ask them questions about them, and their experience working for Disney.
You either get the email with a congratulations or one that says denied/waitlisted. Once I got the email that said I was accepted, I quickly ran out of my room to tell my parents the good news and read them the email. I was ecstatic and already thinking about what to pack and, on my day off, what park I would go to first.
Sadly, you don’t know what job and at what park or resort they put you in until a few weeks before the start of the program. This is kind of a bummer since you could end up in a position you don’t actually want, like many have.
After accepting, you can join Facebook groups for other interns that got accepted. There you can look for roommates, like others, you can put a picture of yourself with a bit of information about yourself as well as how many roommates you’d like to have and what complex you want to live in. Then you can get messages from other interns that like your personality but, if you don’t, you can always message others and talk about rooming together.
To my surprise, I managed to get into Merchandising, and was placed at a resort. It was pretty nice, because it has air conditioning and since all of the guests are at the parks, work is pretty slow; that is until the parks close and everyone comes back hungry and wanting some souvenirs.
You tend to work the same hours every day but your days off tend to switch. You can also switch shifts with other interns so if you work at a resort, you can spend a day working at a park and see how it feels. Sadly, it’s not all fun; the most difficult part of this internship is dealing with coworkers and roommate drama.
I had to deal with a lot of drama. My work started out great and I was able to make friends with international students too. I met girls from Canada, Japan, China, Brazil, Mexico, India, Australia, and New Zealand; the rest were Americans and Puerto Ricans like myself. Then came the drama. One of my coworkers wasn’t liked by the rest and since I got along with her, I got isolated as well. She left the program because of all the negativity and hostility directed at her. It’s difficult to enjoy the experience when your work environment is hostile towards you. It sucked when the people that used to offer me rides back to the complex on a cold and dark night, suddenly left me alone to wait for the bus at a time past midnight when no one was around. When it comes to roommates, I personally don’t recommend joining a Facebook group to find them because you might like them online, but when you meet them in person and see how they don’t contribute to keeping the apartment clean, it’s kind of a let-down. At one point one of my roommates who I met online brought a guy to the apartment after-hours, with alcohol and since I was awake I decided to be a good host staying up with them, talking, but because I didn’t report him, my roommate was kicked out of the program, while I was forcefully moved out of the apartment. At least Housing let me choose which complex to move to, as well as how many roommates. I liked my new roommates far more than the first few and we got along just fine. But, we hardly ever talked. I didn’t know anything about them apart from their names, and because our work hours and days off hardly ever matched, we never got to hang out. When it was time to leave, the only one I actually said goodbye to was the girl I shared a room with.
It is important to remember, this is a working experience and you can get fired so don’t think it will all be fun and you will get to go to the parks as many times as you want because on your days off, you will most likely want to laze around due to how tired you are from all the work the previous days. But, this is also a once in a lifetime experience and you should enjoy it while it lasts.