Considering doing the Disney College Program

Are-You-Kitten-Me

Earning My Ears
Joined
Mar 29, 2019
For a little quick context, I'm nineteen years old and am currently in my second semester of college. This is also my first time posting on these forums, so please pardon any errors that might be made.

But as the title of this thread says, I'm completing applying for the Disney College Program in Florida in 2020 when I turn 20 years old. However, I'm very uncertain of whether or not I should go through with this. I've heard many things about this program, both positive and negative (Though mostly positive). I'm wondering if anybody who has gone through or is currently going through the Disney College Program would be willing to share their experiences and what's it's been like thus far. Do you enjoy working for Disney? Would you recommend this program to people like myself who're considering applying? Are the hours and shifts as bad as many people say it is? (50+ hours a week, closing shifts, ect). How is the living situation for those of you living on campus with roommates? What's the transportation like for those of you who rely on it to get to and from the parks? Any answers would be greatly appreciated.
 
  • goofy4tink

    No tags...not needed! Transportation moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    May 2, 2002
    My dd was in the program from 9/16-5/17. Her experience was 'okay'. She was in DHS so she got fewer hours than others, because the park closed earlier. Her roommate situation was barely ok...there were issues, but as always, there are two sides to every issue. She used the buses to get to work but they sure weren't speedy. A different company is now being used, but I don't believe they're much better. Plan on leaving your Disney apt about two hours prior to your work start time.
    Hours can vary. Some kids are working 40+ hours, others only 25. Yes, I realize that they are supposed to get at least 30 but that was not always my dd's experience. She had a hard time financially. CPs tend to get the less desirable shifts...opening, closing.
    The thing to keep in mind is this....don't go into this thinking this is some great honor! A computer program 'reads' your first application. If it sees what it's looking for, it moves you to the web interview. Again, if it sees what it's looking for, you get moved to your phone interview and get to speak to a real person!!! Yes, having worked for Disney looks great on a resume, but this isn't a vacation. A lot of kids go down, looking forward to being able to spend their time in the parks, playing. They find out that they are often too tired to do this, even if they have enough free time. It's very hard to get time off. Holidays are incredibly hard...many leave right around Thanksgiving! Not cool.

    I really don't mean to paint a miserable picture. But I see so many posts from both kids and parents saying that the program isn't even close to what they thought it would be. I like to say it's close to indentured servitude that is great on a resume!!
     

    BuzzyWOL

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jul 17, 2018
    I like to say it's close to indentured servitude
    This is a common description of the program and it's really misleading. CP's in many roles do get the starting wage of their co-workers who are full or part time and while it's not a lot, it right in the average of similar jobs throughout Central Florida. Do some CP's work a lot of hours? Yeah, but in almost all cases that means the full timers will be too. A lot (and honestly most) CP's won't hit 40 hours a week though. There are times where hours are tough to come by and CP's will be the first to have hours cut back when that's the situation. Simply put, this is a paid internship and you're there to work. Your free time is what you make of it and where most CP's fall in love with the experience. Roommates and jobs can definitely ruin the program for some and that's unfortunately never going to change. Comparing CP's to indentured servants is just unnecessarily striking fear into prospective applicants though.
     

    goofy4tink

    No tags...not needed! Transportation moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    May 2, 2002
    This is a common description of the program and it's really misleading. CP's in many roles do get the starting wage of their co-workers who are full or part time and while it's not a lot, it right in the average of similar jobs throughout Central Florida. Do some CP's work a lot of hours? Yeah, but in almost all cases that means the full timers will be too. A lot (and honestly most) CP's won't hit 40 hours a week though. There are times where hours are tough to come by and CP's will be the first to have hours cut back when that's the situation. Simply put, this is a paid internship and you're there to work. Your free time is what you make of it and where most CP's fall in love with the experience. Roommates and jobs can definitely ruin the program for some and that's unfortunately never going to change. Comparing CP's to indentured servants is just unnecessarily striking fear into prospective applicants though.
    You're most certainly entitled to your opinion. But....I've had too many conversations with others who felt the program was something entirely different than what they expected. My dd, as a P/T CM, had many weeks when she worked 12 hours! Why? Because Disney had CPs working 40+ hrs. I've seen way too many posts from parents saying how upset they are that their child isn't able to spend any time with them because of their hours! That they are working close to 12 hr shifts. That their kids are being treated less than wonderfully. Why does this happen? Easy...Disney puts young people in charge of CPs..they are leaders. And many are not ready to be in a leadership position. Many are bullies, many have no people skills. My dd was very lucky..she had good leaders and coordinators. But, she still had some really bad CP experiences. She got to the point where she questioned her life long dream of working for Disney!!! And it wasn't the work or the guests..it was those above her. Even F/T CMs can be nasty to CPs. Sad to say. As a F/T CM now, my dd tries to remember what it was like to be a CP.

    I truly believe that you need all the info you can get in order to make a good decision. I'm not, in any way, saying DCP is an awful thing. I am saying that it isn't what a lot of people think it is.
     

    BuzzyWOL

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jul 17, 2018
    You're most certainly entitled to your opinion. But....I've had too many conversations with others who felt the program was something entirely different than what they expected. My dd, as a P/T CM, had many weeks when she worked 12 hours! Why? Because Disney had CPs working 40+ hrs. I've seen way too many posts from parents saying how upset they are that their child isn't able to spend any time with them because of their hours! That they are working close to 12 hr shifts. That their kids are being treated less than wonderfully. Why does this happen? Easy...Disney puts young people in charge of CPs..they are leaders. And many are not ready to be in a leadership position. Many are bullies, many have no people skills. My dd was very lucky..she had good leaders and coordinators. But, she still had some really bad CP experiences. She got to the point where she questioned her life long dream of working for Disney!!! And it wasn't the work or the guests..it was those above her. Even F/T CMs can be nasty to CPs. Sad to say. As a F/T CM now, my dd tries to remember what it was like to be a CP.

    I truly believe that you need all the info you can get in order to make a good decision. I'm not, in any way, saying DCP is an awful thing. I am saying that it isn't what a lot of people think it is.
    I agree with pretty much every word you said in this post. The experience can be less than enjoyable for some and leadership is absolutely a common factor for what causes negative experience. I simply don't like to see it compared to indentured servitude as that is not the case.
     
  • PlutosRHM55

    Pluto's Prince (Haters back off!)
    Joined
    Sep 14, 2010
    For a little quick context, I'm nineteen years old and am currently in my second semester of college. This is also my first time posting on these forums, so please pardon any errors that might be made.

    But as the title of this thread says, I'm completing applying for the Disney College Program in Florida in 2020 when I turn 20 years old. However, I'm very uncertain of whether or not I should go through with this. I've heard many things about this program, both positive and negative (Though mostly positive). I'm wondering if anybody who has gone through or is currently going through the Disney College Program would be willing to share their experiences and what's it's been like thus far. Do you enjoy working for Disney? Would you recommend this program to people like myself who're considering applying? Are the hours and shifts as bad as many people say it is? (50+ hours a week, closing shifts, ect). How is the living situation for those of you living on campus with roommates? What's the transportation like for those of you who rely on it to get to and from the parks? Any answers would be greatly appreciated.
    I've done two College Programs, one in Florida and one in California. I have strong but different feelings on both but since you're looking to do it in Florida, I will comment on Florida.

    I absolutely loved doing the College Program, both times. I did Florida first and it was the reason I went back so yes I very much enjoyed working for Disney. It was a dream come true for me and despite any misgivings I have about my experience, it was all worth it due to how many positives there. If you are not like me and have dreamed for some time of working for Disney, this might not be for you since having that mindset alleviates a lot of negatives. If you are like me, 100% go for it.

    In regards to hours, it varies by location and role. I worked at Magic Kingdom in Custodial so while generally I got around 40 hours a week, I did get over 50 hours at times and yes almost all closing shifts and know many who got the 50+ regularly, all CPs, especially once the holidays rolled around (probably would go up to 60+ for that) if you are planning to do a Fall program. As a CP, you are almost guaranteed closing shifts and honestly I didn't mind them. I'm a night person through and through so it was no bother even if it does drag at the end. Magic Kingdom is easily the most difficult place to work at WDW just on pretense so I know the worst. Parks are very similar but most will not get to the point of MK and resorts are even more lowkey than that. You are required to work at least 30 hours a week and they definitely try to bump it over so you're not just making enough for rent so it's nice to have all the hours in the end since you will have money on your days off to have fun.

    The living situation is actually pretty nice. I lived in Vista Way, which is the most infamous apartment complex for the College Program and I liked it. It really isn't as bad as everyone says it is. My roommates and I had zero issues except for an instance where we had a wasps nest right outside our door but that was taken care of relatively quickly. The few horror stories just get blown way out of proportion, it really isn't bad. If they do worry you, you have options. Patterson Court, Chatham Square and the Commons also exist and everyone has their pros and cons. I could explain all those for each one including Vista, but that would be quite the novel. I think the main thing is you have options with lots of information on each to go through to decide what fits you best. Also, roommates... it's like with any roommate situation, sometimes you get lucky, sometimes not so much. I got lucky and had great roommates and really took the time to ensure that through finding them on the Facebook group and really communicating what I expected of the apartment with everyone living there so yeah, it worked out. Honestly, don't worry about this as much, it is a surefire golden situation.

    Transportation... I have mixed to negative feelings on the DCP transportation aka the TranStar busses. TranStar is nice from the forefront since it's basically free and it gets you wherever you need to go on property. However, it is notoriously a mess. Busses break down constantly or are late or leave early or WHATEVER and the recovery on that is not always great. I luckily got around it by making sure I allotted myself more than enough time to get to work or would arrive well prior to my shift starting and hang out in Magic Kingdom. Of course, not everyone has my energy or is working in one of the parks so that might not work. Just know the transportation is not great by any means. Some bus routes are better than others, but you will have many a horror story with TranStar. Just be prepared for that and you should be fine. However, I HIGHLY recommend having a car. HIGHLY.

    If you have any other more specific questions, I'm more than happy to talk to you in my private messages. I'm very familiar with this program, with many friends who have done it before me and since. I also will be embarking on my third come June so I know how the system has changed in terms of the application process, housing process, training process, etc.
     

    billybobblockhead

    Kiiiiiiids, listen to your mother!
    Joined
    Jan 25, 2009
    I'll comment too as my daughter was did the CP program June 18 through early January 19. She worked at Beaches and Cream and loved it. Now, they are a lunch/dinner/ice cream quick serve joint and the hours are 11a to 11p, so she most definitely had some late night shifts. She lived in Patterson with 5 others and while there were some minor issues at the beginning (routines, personalities, etc..), her living situation ended up being a very good one and all 6 are very good friends to this day. She was fortunate in that we live "only" 10 hours away so we let her drive down, and she didn't have to worry about the bus transportation to work. Additionally, between the 6 of them in her room, I think 3 had cars, so when they could, they took roommates and/or co-workers to work and back, again when possible. Now, she got tired, worked hard, and she worked some weeks of 50+ hours due to others calling in "sick" or just not calling in at all. She worked every time she was asked, and was probably a reason that she was short listed for several full time jobs had she wanted to stay. But, it is what you make of it. If you want it to suck, it will suck. If you want it to be great, it will be great. There will be bumps for sure, but just roll with them and you'll be fine.

    I'd say the most valuable lesson that our daughter learned was that every job isn't 9-5 Monday through Friday. Some have to work late and some have to work on weekends. It's just the way it is, and there are a bunch of people that have an issue with that as they think it's going to be work a few hours then play in the parks for the rest of the day as a CP. Time management is a must on days off, especially if you want to go to the parks on off days. Then there are grocery store runs, errand runs, etc... Welcome to adulthood!

    I'll also agree with Plutos above: bunches of situations get overblown completely, regardless of which complex you decide to live in.
     

    Napandnat

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Apr 2, 2019
    For a little quick context, I'm nineteen years old and am currently in my second semester of college. This is also my first time posting on these forums, so please pardon any errors that might be made.

    But as the title of this thread says, I'm completing applying for the Disney College Program in Florida in 2020 when I turn 20 years old. However, I'm very uncertain of whether or not I should go through with this. I've heard many things about this program, both positive and negative (Though mostly positive). I'm wondering if anybody who has gone through or is currently going through the Disney College Program would be willing to share their experiences and what's it's been like thus far. Do you enjoy working for Disney? Would you recommend this program to people like myself who're considering applying? Are the hours and shifts as bad as many people say it is? (50+ hours a week, closing shifts, ect). How is the living situation for those of you living on campus with roommates? What's the transportation like for those of you who rely on it to get to and from the parks? Any answers would be greatly appreciated.
    It's been a loooooong time since I was in the WDWCP, but I think the general ideas are the same. For me, it was perhaps the greatest experience of my life and I have zero regrets. From what I remember, you will NOT be working more than 40 hours per week (in fact, I think we often worked 30-35 hours per week, with two days off). The pay is low, but your apartment and bills are taken care of. I believe you will also live in the same complex as other CP students, so you will all have that in common. I made unbelievable friends during my four months there, and I left still believing that Disney World is run with Pixie Dust, lol.

    But in the end, I think you have to realize that this may be your only opportunity to do something like this, and for me, it transformed me in measurable ways. Having a couple of days off each week was a great chance to either hang out at the pool, or visit the parks for free and become VERY familiar with them. I definitely recommend applying, and good luck!
     
  • Haleyheart

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Mar 29, 2013
    Former MK Attractions CP here! In my experience, doing the College Program was the most valuable experience I could have given myself. I had only ever had one job previous to Disney, and from this experience I have been able to propel my career in tremendous ways.

    Working in Magic Kingdom and having many issues with CP's terming during my semester, I was constantly working 50+ hour weeks and rarely had 2 days off. I often would even pick up extra shifts because I loved working THAT MUCH. Obviously for everybody it's different. I had great coworkers and always went into every shift with the mindset that I could have a positive experience that day, and have so many stories of magical moments that I was able to help create. My leaders and coordinators were FANTASTIC and although I consider myself an easy person to get along with, I found that the work dynamics at my attraction were very amicable.

    I would not consider myself a frugal person and I never had an issue with money during my CP, and found I was purchasing lots of merchandise and specialty food items in the parks on my days off without a second thought.

    I brought my car down for my CP so transportation was taken care of. I would absolutely without a doubt bring a car again, just because the bus system can be highly unreliable.

    I completed my CP in the Spring of 2017 during my sophomore year of college, and I truly believe that this is the BEST semester to complete it. You are still in general education level classes, are not expected to have an internship in your field of study just yet, and still have two whole years at your University post-program.

    Feel free to PM me with any more questions. I love sharing my knowledge and experience with program hopefuls!

    Best -
     

    mickeysween

    Zippity Do Da
    Joined
    Jan 10, 2006
    Has anyone seen or heard of a physically disabled person in the CP? I have a son in a wheelchair who would love to get a Disney Internship. He is a junior at University of Illinois and doing very well. He functions independently there but he has an accessible room.
     

    Reepicheep

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 28, 2014
    Has anyone seen or heard of a physically disabled person in the CP? I have a son in a wheelchair who would love to get a Disney Internship.
    My daughter has worked for Disney and lived in student housing for the past two summers, Disneyworld in 2018 and Disneyland in 2019. I just asked her if she saw any students in wheelchairs living in Disney housing, and she said she saw one person this year at Disneyland, but none last year at Disneyworld. As I understand it, there are several student housing buildings at both Disneyworld and Disneyland, so there could have been other students in wheelchairs.

    I have spent a lot of time at Disneyland, and can't recall seeing very many cast members in wheelchairs. But this past summer I did see an employee who's condition was serious enough that they were using a motorized wheelchair (spina bifida, I think, or something similar). As I recall, I saw the cast member working as a greeter at the Disney store in Downtown Disney.

    I see no reason why your son shouldn't apply for an internship. I'm not sure if it would be better to mention the wheelchair at the application stage or the interview stage. Probably better to mention the wheelchair sooner than later.

    The information I have is minimal, so hopefully some other Disboarders will respond to your post.
     



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