College Program

Yes, housing costs of $200/week seems steep when you are making $14/hour. And I imagine these are shared housing spaces?

That does seem high.

When I was in college, I was given the option of applying but thought “better” of it since I could end up making more money by working at my local movie theater.

My daughter loves Disney and I’ll incentivize her to spend a semester (or whatever time they require there) if she does it. I’d love to have the opportunity to go back and do it, even though I may not make any money out of it. Plus, maybe if I’m lucky she’ll get us CM discounts on tickets, etc! Of course, I would want her to take off, but if she was working I’d just do rides around her for the time being and wait until she could join us.

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So out of curiosity…are there actual benefits of being in the college program. If its just a job couldnt you just apply for a regular job there? Do get college credits or something? I think I would have totally done it and honestly when my daughter finds out this exists she would jump on the chance. Not sure it makes sense?

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From the site:

" Our Program: Magic is Within You

As a Disney College Program participant at the Walt Disney World® Resort, you will become part of the magic that is known worldwide, gain experience working in a front-line role at our parks and resorts, and have the opportunity to participate in uniquely Disney experiences and activities created just for Disney Programs participants.

This unique program spans four to seven months (with opportunities to extend up to one year), and allows participants to network with professionals throughout The Walt Disney Company, take part in learning and career development sessions, and live and work with people from all over the world. While you work in your role, you will build transferable skills such as problem solving, teamwork, guest service, and effective communication."

I guess the main benefit is a short term employment experience that can be in some ways (not all) like a paid internship? And getting Disney on your resume before you graduate can honestly help to unlock doors for you, depending on your path.

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This, to me, is the ONLY part of this that makes it possibly standout from any other job. The rest of the language is just a flowery way of saying you’ll be working long hours serving up food, cleaning, or perhaps working at a ride alongside other people.

It may be advantageous if you plan a career that will be directly customer facing…but not necessarily moreso than working in retail, or being wait staff, or some other such part time work.

But the learning and career development sessions? That is the detail that I think stands out as being potentially setting this apart. Of course, if you want to get into a technical field, it would be probably better to intern at someplace technical that better aligns with your chosen path.

It does seem that Disney is also expecting you to take off a semester of school to do this. That, too, seems like a disadvantage.

I remember, back in high school, thinking how cool it would be to work at Cedar Point for the summer as a job. Then, I actually met someone who had done it and they said it wasn’t nearly as fun or glamorous as it sounded. It was just a job.

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Ok so the learning and career development would be of benefit I think. Do they use their college program participates for all positions in the parks?

Note that these have not been happening since the program came back after Covid. They may be planning to bring them back with the next round of applicants though. I don’t have that kind of info :wink:

If you are taking classes (usually online) you can ask for a set day off to do schoolwork.

If a kid wants to work for Disney in the future but doesn’t live near a park this is a great foot in the door. DD has several leaders that started as CP, extended and then applied to be full time after. The job listings for current CM’s is probably twice as long as the job listings to the general public.

It is a great program and can be a lot of fun, but it is a lot of hard work as well.

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All entry level positions I believe. But they can’t apply to be a coordinator or lead etc.

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Gotcha…and I think the hard work is an experience in itself lol.

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No utilites though right? That is an par with a college dorm room I think.

Not to derail the thread, but I worked summers thru highschool and college at Six Flags in rides. It was an absolute blast. Now had I been in park service probably not so much.

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Utilities are included up to a point. If they exceed some amount (which I forget), the overage is applied equally to all residents in that unit, and it comes straight out of their check.

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There are a few events at Flamingo Crossings, but not nearly the amount that there were before the pandemic. The spots to get in are coveted, too. Woodrow didn’t make it into any of the “spend a morning with an imagineer” things during his program.

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That’s good to hear they are starting to come back. DD had a friend who finished in May (I think) He was very disappointed that it wasn’t what was sold to him at UCLA. He is not a Disney person but wants to work in the entertainment field and thought it would be a good opportunity.

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There are a few colleges and a few majors (hotel management, some business management, etc.) which give credit for “interning” in the DCP, but definitely not my child’s university. His academic advisor was pretty appalled that Woodrow applied. But Woodrow was a biology/geology major who was already teaching labs and getting paid. He was beloved by his departments; the fact that he didn’t apply to any graduate school was just a boneheaded lack of gumption. I think maybe he needed a break after all those years in academia. I get it. I was young once, too.

Anyway, the benefits of doing the DCP vary. It’s not the most practical thing. They don’t make enough to save up money; it can be just a job; the summers are hot and muggy, etc.

But even if a kid doesn’t get a lot out of working there, they often get a lot out of putting it on their resumé. I just read a post this week by a mother whose daughter had a nearly miserable program. She didn’t get a job she liked, she didn’t have a great team, she didn’t get along with her roommates, the weather was miserable - etc. There were apparently a lot of tears shed. Finally, the last month, she made some friends. The last month was OK! Then bang, it was over. Now she has graduated and is going on interviews for a real job, and every single interview – every single one – the first thing they ask about is Disney. And most of them tell her that she got the interview because Disney was on her resumé.

Every time someone posts something like this on the parents group, it feels like 20 other parents come out to say, “That was my child’s experience, too.” And 20 other parents follow up with, “Yep, Disney looks good on the application.”

Now, I don’t know about the cachet of having DCP in one’s background. My kid who didn’t dream of working at Disney ended up staying. He loves working there. Loves the actual job, loves the guests, loves his team, loves his leaders. [I’m, like, waiting for a shoe to drop. At *some* point he’s going to have to call me and gripe that something is stupid and wrong and dammit, someone oughtta DO SOMETHING.]

But if he hadn’t done the DCP, he wouldn’t have this job he loves.

By the way, something that hasn’t come up in this thread, which I think bears some thought: the housing. I have thoughts.

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Thank you for your very candid review! That is very helpful to have an honest opinion. I always feel better going into something with realistic expectations. Knowing the good and the bad. I can imagine everyone has different experiences and some people will get more out of it than others. I feel that way about many things. Even college in general. I love the idea of trade schools and trying different things when you are young…you never know what you may like…or hate. I am happy your son found something he is enjoying…even if later he changes his mind.

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Ouch…that would hurt and I can imagine it could cause some issues between residents?

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My girls both wanted to do a Disney CP. Their colleges would not let them take a semester off without losing their financial aid. They could have done one right after they graduated but the oldest wasn’t interested anymore and younger DD was heading to vet school. I’ve been trying to get her to be a vet at Disney lol (she’s currently doing a rotation at a well known zoo) but she’s not interested in that long-term. :sob:

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Speaking from the experience of one of my colleague’ children’s experiences, you can also have the problem of not getting enough hours. They were there right after the pandemic reopening and I constantly was angry when Disney said “staffing shortages” but I knew a lot of CP kids were only getting 30 hours a week, which really is not enough to cover their costs. Disney was being cheap.

In addition to hospitality careers it can be a foot in the door for people interested make up, costume, and theatre, anything zoo related etc. CP gets first shot at permanent jobs, and those with permanent jobs get first shot when the jobs in their area open up. Its risky, but my friend’s child followed this path and is now working in an area tied to their long-term career goals.

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