I am a Disney College Program Alumni from Spring 2015 where I was a merchandise cast member. When I was doing my last program I had a Disney Diary section for the Setonian. I am also happy to announce that I have been accepted back as merchandise, which is where I work in one of the stores in Disney World for the Fall 2016 program. Now I want to help you learn all about the program and see if it is for you!
Section 1: Overview of The Disney College Program
The Disney College program is a 6 to 8 month long paid internship where you work at either Walt Disney World in Florida or Disneyland in California. This internship is open to all majors and it is open to those who have graduated within the past six months. Disney offers amazing rewards to those who are accepted into the program. You get paid weekly with either a check or direct deposit; if you are in the culinary program, you are provided with your chef whites and those who will be working with food will have their shoes provided. You will also receive discounts on select dining, merchandise and recreation at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. You will also receive a discount on both resort rooms and the Disney Cruise Line. As a cast member you will have complimentary park admission to all four Walt Disney Parks and both of the Disneyland parks. Magic Kingdom is the most famous park as everyone knows of Cinderella’s castle, Hollywood Studios is currently getting a major overhaul but Tower of Terror is the popular ride there, EPCOT is where you can travel to both the future and around the world and Animal Kingdom is where you can show your wild side and meet some wild animals and maybe a yeti. Housing is available with either one to four bedrooms and rent will automatically be taken out of your paycheck. The program consists of three main factors: living, learning and earning.
Section 2: Living
The amenities that Disney includes for those staying at one of the provided housing complex is wonderful. Each apartment is fully furnished and has kitchen appliances, utensils and dishes. All of the utilities you need like water, electricity and waste disposal are included. Each apartment complex has laundry facilities, except for The Commons apartment complex, as the washer and dryer are in the apartment. There are computer labs that are open for the residents to use. There is also high-speed internet that is available to all apartments. All apartments are cable ready so you can stay caught up to your favorite shows . There are also multiple housing events that you are able to attend like welcome events, scavenger hunts, talent shows and a graduation from the program.
The rent for the apartments is between $93 and $124 per week, but your rent all depends on how many roommates you have and where you are living. There is also a program assessment fee of $150 which helps support the events that are going to be taking place. Additionally, there is a housing fee of $200 that covers your first few weeks of rent as you will be getting settled and ready to start this adventure.
Section 3: Learning
During the program you have the chance to participate in either Disney sponsored classes or classes approved by the American Council on Education. There is a small fee for some of the courses but the fee ranges from $10 to $30. An example of some of the classes that are available include: Disney Advanced Studies in Hospitality Management, Disney Creativity and Innovation, Disney Heritage, Disney Leadership 101, Entertainment Professional Development Study and for those who may take online classes during their program, Disney has a special distance learning course, which is where Disney has professionals who will help you with any homework you may have and can administer a test for you if a teacher needed that to happen.
Section 4: Earning
As stated earlier, the Disney College Program is a paid internship. You may work indoors or outdoors depending on what role you get, and you will receive an hourly rate of pay. Once you are accepted, you will find out exactly how much your role will be making. You will be working a full time schedule so you must have full work availability, which means you may work weekdays, weeknights, weekends and holidays.
Section 5: Roles
The Disney College Program allows participants to work in a variety of areas. These areas include operations, entertainment, lodging, food and beverage, retail/sales and recreation. This section will break down a few of the roles and what their responsibilities are.
Attractions: You may work at one or more of the “rides” or theater shows at the park. You will help guest on and off of the attraction as well as operate the ride system.
PhotoPass Photographer: You will assist guest with photographing all of their magical vacation memories as wall as helping out both the character attendants and character performers.
Character Attendant: You will provide guest with information about character schedules, locations and interactions. You will help the character and ensure their safety.
Character Performer: You will need to audition for this role but if you get accepted you will get the chance to portray a specific character from a beloved Disney show or movie.
Front Desk: You will help guests check in for their stay and assist them in any questions they have about the parks.
Quick-Service Food & Beverage: You will be selling food and beverage at either outdoor carts or an indoor restaurant.
Merchandise: You will be working in one of the many stores across Disney property making magical moments for guests.