Every morning I wake up and check my Timehop to look over the memories from the last few years of my life. When I checked this morning, I saw that a year ago today, I was spending my last day at the Magic Kingdom, a place I called home for 6 months. Coming across this was extremely bittersweet for me. As of some of you know, in 2015, I moved to Orlando, Florida to work as an attractions intern for the Disney College Program. I was lucky enough to work at Under the Sea & Ariel’s Grotto (aka two of my favorite rides). With the anniversary of the end coming up, I figured what better time to talk about a few tips and tricks when doing the college program.
From the minute you apply, you are going to be nothing but a ball of nerves and anxiety. I remember for me, it was quite the big step. I was born and raised in Arizona and although I am constantly traveling, I had never lived far from my parents, let alone across the country by myself. If this is something that worries you, just know it’s completely normal. It’s an unnerving step but I also believe that it is one that is necessary at some point in your life. It helps shape you as a person and helps you appreciate your hometown a bit more. At least it did for me.
You will then get an email asking you to schedule your phone interview. How exciting, right?! At this point you’re probably about to lose your mind. I know that when I set up my phone interview, I began to watch every single youtube video and read every single blog about what questions would be asked. I will admit, this is helpful but one of my biggest pieces of advice is to be careful not to over prepare. You want to come off genuine. I had actually applied to the program twice and the first time, I unfortunately did not make it in. I was extremely disappointed but I wasn’t going to let me stop from trying again. I noticed that they changed the questions the second time around. You will be asked about your job experience and conflict rather than hypothetical questions about guest interaction. I found it to be a lot less stressful. In order to help you prepare, read a few blogs, watch a few videos, but mostly focus on being yourself. Before the interview starts, listen to some Disney music and keep yourself in a quiet area away from any distractions. I also recommend scheduling your interview in the morning. Interviewers tend to be happier and you are one of the first interviews so they are willing to listen to everything that you have to say.
Now it’s nothing but a waiting game. When I applied a second time around, I waited about a month before I got the congratulatory email. Some wait a week, some wait 3 months. You never really know. If you want to hear back quickly, try to apply when applications first open. Those that first apply, tend to get a response quicker. But don’t make yourself sick with worry by constantly checking your email, waiting. I know that it’s easier said than done but trust me. Go on with your daily lives as much as possible and when it’s time, the email will come. I promise.
So you got in. Now what. First off, feel proud. Disney is nothing short of an amazing company that brings so much happiness to people’s lives on a daily basis. Celebrate! And then start thinking about living. One of the best tools that I found online were Facebook groups of people that have the same arrival date as you. Start talking to these people, get to know one another. You’re going to be surrounded by other CP’s for months and they become your family. Plus, you have the opportunity to pick roommates. You do have the option to go random however it is a bit comforting choosing the people you are going to be around most. I found 5 other girls that I hit it off with and we started our own group chat, texting every single day until move in day.
Now I will probably write about the program on multiple occasions, but I don’t want to bore you and talk for hours now. I just have to say that once you’re there, enjoy it. Take everything in and make the most of it because before you know it, you are going to be back home and you are going to miss the people you met and the memories you made. Use your discount and buy endless amounts of merch, stay in Disney hotels as much as possible, go to the parks on your days off even if you don’t feel like it, spend as much time as possible with your roommates and coworkers, and overall don’t forget that you are working at a company that prides itself in making everyday magical. The college program is a program that will forever change your life.