Even though the Disney College Program is currently on hold, I know there are still loads of potential applicants waiting for their chance to make magic and, like I once did, are probably doing as much research as they can to increase their chances of being accepted. So, as a Fall 2020 acceptee anxiously awaiting news of when I can finally participate, here are 3 easy tips for getting into the Disney College Program on your first try.
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What is the Disney College Program?
The Disney College Program, for anyone unaware, is a 4-8+ month paid internship at either Walt Disney World or Disneyland, where college students or recent graduates can work in the parks and get a feel for what it’s like to be a part of the magic. There is a spring program and a fall program with extended versions of each, and the application process has three stages: the initial application, the web-based interview, and the phone interview.
The program is a great opportunity for a lot of reasons. It’s hefty job experience with a big company, there are a handful of business classes you can take with Disney University, and ultimately, you have all the traditional cast member perks: free access to the parks, discounts on food and merchandise, access to events and previews, and so forth.
So for anyone who is a Disney lover who has always wanted to work in the parks to some capacity, or longed for the ability to tell your friends that you basically lived in Disney World for a couple of months, this internship is a dream.
Tips for Getting into the Disney College Program on Your First Try: The Application
This first stage is make or break for a lot of people. It’s pretty much a traditional job application, where you fill out all your personal information, resume, etc. From what I’ve heard, you don’t need a lot of job experience, or even any, to get into the DCP, but it certainly does help.
Personally, I had a lot, from part-time jobs to seasonal convention work and such. Anything counts though, so if you have volunteer experience, babysitting, have ever been a teacher’s assistant, etc, make sure to include those.
Another big tip of mine would be keywords. Try to incorporate the 4 keys, capitalize Guest and other things Disney allegedly looks for in an application. They’re pretty easy to find on Google and helped me Disney-fy my application quite a bit.
This application is also where you will choose what jobs you’d be interested in, from various levels of interest, and I cannot stress this enough, DO NOT put interest in any jobs you don’t want to do solely to increase your chances, because they may very much select you for that role. The more the merrier, but make sure you’re being honest.
Disney College Program: The Web-Based Interview
Speaking of being honest, the Web Based Interview is next. Some, like me, are lucky, and hear back on their application within the same day, giving them access to stage 2. The web-based interview is a series of questions about what you would do in certain situations, your work ethic, how you work with other people, etc, and takes about 20 minutes to complete.
It’s incredibly important to read carefully during this stage because many questions are essentially the same question phrased differently, such as “Are you ever late to work?” and “Are you always on time?” If you show inconsistencies between these questions, you will likely fail.
Honesty is also key, because while yes, they are expecting certain answers to certain questions, in the obvious sense such as you love interacting with guests and have a great attitude, but don’t answer dishonestly, because it will likely backfire in the long run.
Tips for Getting into the Disney College Program on Your First Try: The Phone Interview
Once you’ve gotten past the robot stages, the phone interview is where you finally get to speak with a real person. This is the most crucial part of the process because this is ultimately what decides whether you get in or not, and what role you’ll receive. The phone interviews are incredibly unpredictable, so don’t stress about the length, if they didn’t ask you about particular roles or even if you feel like it didn’t go as well as you had hoped.
I have a couple of tips for this, mostly being to have notes. There are plenty of documents of sample questions online, so I would recommend going through them before your interview and preparing answers, you don’t want to be put on the spot. However, this doesn’t mean you should be reading from a script, you still want to come off as authentic.
I would recommend writing down bullet points on things you know they’ll ask, or are afraid you’ll forget, and be sure to write down the recruiter’s name once you begin the interview and address them by their name at the end. Once again, none of these tips are foolproof, but plenty make you come off as more confident and professional.
Ultimately, don’t forget to smile. You’re doing a job interview for The Walt Disney Company! The recruiter will likely be incredibly bubbly, so matching their energy and staying upbeat is key.
Make sure to highlight your professional history and things that make you stand out, furthermore, because I can guarantee that everyone else going through the process is the biggest Disney fan as well.
Keep your head in the game, don’t get discouraged by others having different experiences than yours, and channel some inner pixie dust!
Current Status of the Disney College Program
Unfortunately, my spot is in limbo at the moment with everything that’s going on in the world, but hopefully I’ll have tales to tell from the castle soon enough, and hey, maybe I’ll even see some of you there.
Do you have tips for getting into the Disney College Program that I didn’t mention? Please leave me a comment below and let me know!
About the Author
Alina Jade Leffel is thrilled to be joining the Mickey Business team! She’s 19 years old and recently received my bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing for Entertainment from Full Sail University.
Alina’s an avid Disney fan and Disney World Passholder (that is, when we’re not in the middle of a pandemic) and will be participating in the postponed Disney College program once things start back up as normal. If you’d like, check out her YouTube channel, Alina Jade, her Instagram, and her website, Alina’s Medianalysis where she writes movie and TV reviews.