When I left Disney World for the first time at 4 years old I asked my Grandmother, “I’ll miss Cinderella. When can I see her again?”
Fast forward to this semester, where last week I found out I’ll have the opportunity to live and work in Disney World from May to August of 2022 with a Cast Member admission card that’ll allow me to see Cinderella herself as often as I want.
I’ll be completing the Disney College Program (or DCP). Typically, it is six months to a year-long paid Disney World internship. The process was incredibly anxiety-inducing, and because of COVID-19, the process has been ever-changing.
Historically, the program has been very competitive, with over 12,000 applicants each year and an acceptance rate of under 20 percent. This year, the process was only two steps. A traditional written application, and a web-based interview.
The written application included education history, work experience, the opportunity to add a college transcript, recommendation letter, cover letter and resume. I chose to submit all of the recommended documents.
Online, I have seen many people say Disney recruiters look for applicants to demonstrate Disney’s ‘Five Keys’ – safety, courtesy, show, efficiency and inclusion. I made sure to emphasize my use of these ‘keys’ throughout my written application and was always careful to refer to customers as ‘guests’ per Disney vocabulary.
Following my written application, I was asked to complete the web-based interview. This was the scary part.
If an applicant fails the web-based interview (or WBI) they are labeled ‘no longer in consideration’ and must wait six months to reapply to the program.
The WBI was a timed personality test. I had taken similar tests previously for other job opportunities, so I had some idea of what I was getting into. Once I received the email notifying me to take the WBI, I had three days to complete it or I would no longer be in consideration.
In preparation, I watched countless Youtube videos of people who had done the DCP and gathered their advice on how to pass the WBI. Many of them said the same thing – Disney is looking for consistency.
So, I sat down and took the WBI. Each question was timed, and there were multiple different sections. Some were agree/disagree questions and some were multiple choice. I was so nervous the entire time I was taking it, but when I finished I was met with the message that I was a strong candidate and I should be hearing from Disney in the coming months.
I knew acceptance waves came on Mondays, but I had met a few people who were accepted who told me it had taken them over a month to hear back. So, when it was the Monday of spring break, only three days after I completed my WBI, and I opened my email to clear my notifications and saw a ‘Congratulations’ subject line – I was over the moon.
I accepted my offer, selected the dates I would leave and return, and paid my first week’s rent. I’ll be arriving on May 16th and returning to Houston at the beginning of August.
The program offers over 15 different jobs, from custodial work to acting as a character, so there are opportunities for a variety of majors and career goals. But, due to park needs, this year there is no way to indicate which job you would prefer. Disney World is now assigning jobs to those participating in the DCP based on park needs alone, and I won’t know what my job is specifically until a few weeks from now.
Regardless, I am ecstatic that I’ll be working in the Happiest Place on Earth. I truly feel like it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I’ll never say no to unlimited Disney World tickets.
If you’re in Orlando this summer, come say hi! And, applications for this summer/fall still are not closed. So if the program sounds like something you’d be interested in, you should check it out.
The process was scary, but it was much less difficult than I initially thought it would be.