Just Wrote a Letter to a Potential DCP Participant. If you want to read:

I heard about the DCP in high school from a teacher. While they advertise their program a lot on other campuses, CU is not one of them. However, I was reminded about it upon seeing a flyer in the hallway one day and applied not really thinking that I would do it. The application process includes (or at least when I did it, this might not still be current) the initial application, an online personality test, and a phone interview. I passed the first two and did a ton of research for the phone interview (which I can send you) and was surprised it was only 12 minutes long.

After about five days of waiting I received the email: I was in! I got a true sense of how much I wanted to do it while waiting to hear whether or not I’d made it and decided to actually go for it. My advisor was not very supportive but I decided to do it anyway and I am so happy I did.

Over the next few months I joined the FB group for incoming interns like me and met my roommates after all of us filled out surveys and had a lot in common. I recommend doing this; it eliminates a lot of stress. Fast forward to January, when I moved to Florida, and all of us met in person and clicked right away. We got in line for a room super early to ensure that our location was perfect – we picked Chatham Square which is newer and supposedly not as noisy of an area. Our apartment was old but surprisingly nice, and water and electricity were included in the bill that was automatically deducted from my paycheck that I received every two weeks. You have to pay per load for laundry. There was a pool nearby in the area that’s gated off and exclusive for cast members living in the area, it wasn’t too far of a walk from the bus stop, and Chatham is close to an area just for cast members that is basically a park in which you can rent a paddleboat, play volleyball, etc. for free with your ID [I think it’s called Mickey’s Retreat]. Housing is also cool because they have free events for cast members [there were a few parties thrown in Chatham with free food, a DJ, and characters along with events such as “Grocery Bingo” wherein I won a HUGE bag of food and supplies like laundry detergent, garbage bags, etc”] and you have inspections that make sure you’re keeping your apartment in good shape but if you pass, you get a HUGE box of chocolate [it’s called getting the “White Glove” award].

But anyway, enough about housing. NOW TO MY ACTUAL JOB! There are different “roles” AKA job titles you can get when you apply. You find out which one you got right away in your acceptance email but not where you are working. I knew I had “attractions” – working on the rides- from my email, and found out when I got there that I would be working in Magic Kingdom in Adventureland! YAY! This area is divided into four parts: 1. Haunted Mansion 2. Pirates of the Caribbean 3. Jungle Cruise and 4. ATT. I was so pumped because I had a 3/4 chance of getting something awesome [options 1,2, or 3 above]. I couldn’t wait to be a part of one of the main rides that people came from all over the world to experience! When you check in there is a really touching workshop/ welcome event and a tour of Magic Kingdom and the entire time I was anxious to find out where I’d be stationed. I found out I got ATT and I was crushed. No Jungle Cruise for me.

ATT stands for Aladdin, Tiki Room, and Treehouse [Swiss Family Robinson]. I was dreading working these rides but long story short my opinion did a 180 and I GOT SO LUCKY. I thought I would hate it but I got to be outside, wear a costume that was super comfortable, and work right alongside the guests with amazing coworkers. There was a rotation of different jobs that I had to do [run the rides, greet people, etc] and often I would get told to go blow bubbles and play with little children in princess costumes. It was the best. ALL I did was smile at work all day because I loved it so much. Sure, it rains sometimes and listening to the Enchanted Tiki Room song can get to you in ways that you never wanted to know about, and there were days I was tired and got yelled at by guests. But I am so happy with where I got placed and since it was such a small section, I really got to know everyone including the managers and higher-ups on a more personal level.

Some of my favorite memories include:

  • Countless families asking if they could take a picture with me
  • Trading pins with guests
  • Seeing marriage proposals right in front of me and being the first to greet them with a “Congrats” button complements of the Mouse
  • Handing a boy a voucher for a new ice cream for himself and his family when he dropped his on the ground
  • Spotting a  random “princess” in a dress AKA little girl in costume and running up to her with an autograph book in my hands, getting on my knees in front of her, and exclaiming, “I KNEW IT WAS YOU! Wow, a REAL princess! I thought you might be here today and I’m SO EXCITED to see you! Will you please, please, PLEASE sign my autograph book?!” and watching her get so excited and her parents almost in tears [you can do this with basically any kid dressed in a costume]
  • Talking like a pirate to little pirates
  • Literally watching “Wishes”, the firework show, WHILE I worked
  • My fellow castmembers and managers, all around
  • Being the last/ first one to be in the park
  • Spieling. If a ride was down or there was a lull in the queue, you can tell stories to the guests and in general just get them pumped up to be there. I had a captive audience for all of my puns and they LOVED THEM which made me happy too. One time The Tiki Room was down and my coworkers and I told a grand story in which all the birds flew away and we had to get them back, etc. Working some Disney Magic.
  • Sometimes I was told to make a “Magic Moment” for a guest where I’d pick a random family and pull them to the front of the line. Feel-good moments for all of us.

Okay, so work in general was awesome. Don’t go into it thinking it will be perfect; a lot of people hate their roles at the beginning, just like I did. It is actually a lot of hard work. But the special moments, like the ones above, make it more than worth it. This holds true for any role you get. I have friends that were photographers, merchandise, lifeguards, BBB, custodial, etc. so if you have any questions about a specific role you have your eye on please let me know. I would recommend trying to work in a role that allows you to be in an actual park, as this is where the guests are and where I feel the “magic” is strongest. If you work in a park, you get really cool perks too: through my job I got a private walking tour of the Haunted Mansion with the lights on.

What about outside of work?! THIS IS THE BEST PART. You get into every park FO FREE [sans water parks] so that’s what my friends and I would do just about every day. I know each park like the back of my hand. You get to know the timing of everything so you can ride your favorite rides a million times in a row with no line if you go there at the right hour. You get to wander around and memorize all of the sights and smells, and meet characters that people fly thousands of miles to see. You get to experience all of the wonderful shows you never had time to watch before [like Lion King and Beauty and the Beast]. You get to visit your friends while they’re on the job. You get to get family members/friends in for free for a little while. You get to go shopping with a discount. You can go to many of the restaurants in the area. You can go swimming in your apartment complex pool. If you tire of Disney, you’re just a few hours from Universal Studios, many beaches, a place to swim with dolphins, and the nightlife of Orlando. I even went skydiving with my friends while there. It’s a wonderful location for active people, and more often than not, the weather is wonderful.

If you’re thinking of taking classes, I know people that took them for credit online from their university in their free time. I opted not to do this but I did take classes at Disney University on my “weekends” (usually Tuesday and Wednesday because Sat and Sun are obviously really busy times for the park and manpower is needed). I took courses on Marketing and Guest Service and graduated with two “Mouster’s Degrees”. If you take the more extensive courses with homework, you get a “Ducktorate”. LOL.

Some people hated their experience and left early. Others were “termed” [fired] and had to leave. Provided you follow the rules and work hard, this might be the best experience you have in your life. As with everything, you get out what you put in. I made friends there that I still talk to every day. I’ve never connected to people as much as I did when I lived in Florida. I feel like I grew up while I was there; it was my first time ever really living on my own so far away from any family or familiarity. I found myself. I had fun every day, from playing in the parks to having movie nights in with my roomies playing board games and cooking cookies. Ironically enough, I didn’t go into the program a huge Disney fan  - I just wanted to see how it was run as a business. Now I’m totally converted and I think about it all the time. It sounds way corny, but it changed the way I carry myself. After I went, three more people I know have gone from CU as well and absolutely loved it. It’s literally magical!  

Hope this answered any questions you might have had. Please let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with! In case you can’t tell, I love talking about my time there.

-          Emily

 

PS there is no summer program. There is regular, and extended/”Advantage”. I had to take a semester off. I just did the DCP, however, and there are things called PI’s (Professional Internships) that you can research more if you’d like because they might have summer options available but I’m not sure. Generally, these are more competitive and apply more to your major. I might be applying for one soon myself, we’ll see!

Disney College Program 2012: Over a 4 mo time span I ran a half marathon, went skydiving, got to know Disney World like the back of my hand, visited Hogwarts, laid on a Fl clearwater beach, created Magic everyday for guests from all over the world by selling flying carpets and waking up Jose, and made countless great memories with some truly amazing people.
I’ve needed a little time to process everything but look forward to more posts detailing my experience! I CAN HONESTLY SAY I HAVE NEVER MADE A BETTER DECISION IN MY LIFE

Disney College Program 2012: Over a 4 mo time span I ran a half marathon, went skydiving, got to know Disney World like the back of my hand, visited Hogwarts, laid on a Fl clearwater beach, created Magic everyday for guests from all over the world by selling flying carpets and waking up Jose, and made countless great memories with some truly amazing people.

I’ve needed a little time to process everything but look forward to more posts detailing my experience! I CAN HONESTLY SAY I HAVE NEVER MADE A BETTER DECISION IN MY LIFE

Q&A from Anonymous

Post more!! I relate to you so much, and I'm hoping to do DCP Spring 2013! Pan Love from a DZ :)

Anonymous

I’ll try! I have so many things I want to elaborate on but haven’t had time to yet. Keep checking back, and thanks for reading :)

It Happened:

Space Mountain today, heard a man in line call an asteroid a steroid.

It Happened:

Starting a new mini-series about what I see people doing in the park called “It Happened”, whether it be from observation or experience. Most of it I find amusing while the rest makes me concerned for humanity. You can decide which is which. For example,

A good portion of my job involves blowing bubbles. Definitely saw two grown men, on separate occasions, chase after one and run straight into a pole today.

Q&A from yourethereason-the-only-reason

How did you get Misson: Timekeeper to work? I've been trying to log in, and it won't accept any of my details! I'm accepted into the College Program, paid all my dues, but it still won't work.. :/

yourethereason-the-only-reason

I’m not sure, there were a lot of kinks even when I did it. I used the number that they gave me when I was accepted for the first time, and every time afterwards it’s your usual login. I had to change my password a lot to do it though, so just keep trying.

Q&A from Anonymous

where did you send the thank you letter after the interview?

Anonymous

wdw.college.recruiting@disney.com I wouldn’t expect a reply though!

AAttractions - ATT

Where did I end up working?

I found out on my check-in day that I was assigned to Attractions in Ad/Lib (Adventureland/ Liberty Square for future reference) in Magic Kingdom. This basically breaks down into four options - Mansion, ATT, Pirates, or Jungle Cruise. Of course, I would have been happy with any of them other than ATT because they are all very well-known and fun attractions, and you are really able to get into your role. I was also happy with my odds of getting something I wanted - 75%, not bad. My leader from traditions asked what I hoped for right before she told me and I said I’d basically be happy with anything other than ATT and her face dropped as she told me that was exactly what I got. Boo. I’m not going to lie, I was heartbroken. “ATT” consists of three less-popular rides: Aladdin, Swiss Family Treehouse, and The Enchanted Tiki Room.

I moped around for a little while and just knew that I would hate it even before I began, but I did some soul-searching and remembered why I’m here in the first place. So I tried my hardest to regain a positive attitude and really gave it my all. And, I have to say, it’s grown on me a lot. I don’t especially have a role to play, unless I’m running the Tiki Room and acting Hawaiin, so I have adapted that of a tropical airline stewardess of sorts. In other words, I am as friendly as I can possibly be and smile for my entire shift (if you’re in a sorority, then you’ll know what I mean when I say that recruitment was perfect training for this role!). I blow bubbles whenever I can and play with children passing by. I wish everyone a happy birthday/anniversary/celebration of something, and complement little girls’ dresses, and just have fun wherever I can. I’m also outside for most of my shift. I love the Florida sun, it’s so different than the temperature in CO this time of year! We even have a few “magical moments” that I get to partake in - Princess Jasmine rides the Carpets every morning with a lucky little girl, and sometimes while I’m a greeter at Aladdin (meaning I tell people where to go, and again, blow bubbles) if a little girl in a princess costume walks past I can go up and ask her for her autograph as if she were a real princess. It’s amazing to see her face light up as I ask, and there’s always a “but I’m not a real princess” moment before she realizes that I actually want her signature. The parents can get involved and take pictures and I’ve had them come up to me hours later and let me know that their daughter was still talking about it. That’s probably my favorite part of the job.

Going into specific positions, there are a basic few that are repeated at each ride. Greeter, stroller parking, and operator (in simplified terms). Each has it’s perks that I’ve learned to appreciate. 

And our costumes, while still whimsical, are so comfortable! They’ve been nicknamed “Aladdin’s Pajamas”. 

I feel like it’s almost good that I got ATT afterall - it probably has the most guest interaction and while it can get overwhelming at times because we have to keep the long lines moving, it can be very rewarding.  I’ve even earned two Guest Service Fanatic Cards so far. Yay for a good record!

The Beginning (Roommates, Neighbors, Apt)

In three days, I will have been here for a month. Wow. I purposely didn’t do a check-in update, because I feel like everyone else did and there is already plenty of information about that on the internet. If anyone has questions about that process however, feel free to ask away! One tip that I learned was to get there early on the day of; my roommates and I agreed to meet at 5 to stand in line so that we could get a good apartment. It sounds like a joke, and honestly I thought it might be since we didn’t have to be there until 9, but it worked out so well and we got literally THE PERFECT apartment and I don’t know if it would have been the same otherwise.

About our apartment: we got a third-floor 3-bedroom in Chatham. I was expecting something that I could deal with living in for four months. Run-down, dingy, etc. I was actually quite blown away by how nice they are! Aside from the ugly green carpeting, we have air conditioning, three separate bathrooms, good bedroom space, a fair amount of closet space, and a nice kitchen with amenities. There were some things missing and broken when we moved in but we filled out a form and they were fixed the next day for no charge. The workout and pool area are adequate as well, except for the freezing water.

And my roommates are AMAZING! I am so happy that we picked each other beforehand because we all get along just so well. I’m actually afraid to jinx it by praising the turnout so much. Within a few days of moving in, we became fast friends with the neighbors across the hall as well (5 guys) and have since done everything together. They are great and even though it’s harder to coordinate schedules now that we all have jobs that start and end at different times, it’s really fun to hang out. The first few days were expecially action packed because we went to all of the parks and played board games every night after having family dinner together. The only downside is that because we laugh so much, we have gotten noise complaints from the people below us on multiple occasions. Whoops!

Packing Soundtrack - LOVE THIS!!!!!

- WDWCP Disney College Program Spring 2012 -, powered by Tumblr, Beckett theme by Jonathan Beckett