Disney College Program Expenses

Living and working at Disney World in the Disney College Program

I’ve been thinking it would be a good idea to post how hard it’s been try to live on a Disney minimum wage, part time “salary” for the past 2 1/2 months!

Disney pay varies depending on your role. Because both Elly and I are Merchandise, we get paid $7.79 an hour. I definitely took a pay cut coming to work for Disney in Florida because Colorado’s minimum wage is $8.04 and I was making $8.50/hr. in Boulder.

As of right now, I’m usually scheduled to work around 35 hours each week. I get paid around $270/wk, but then Disney immediately takes off $100/wk for rent. A lot of people think that it’s too high, but $400 a month for a fully furnished apartment with all utilities included (cable, electricity, water, trash, AC/heating, and a land-line phone) is considered really cheap in Boulder!  It’s a pretty good deal in Orlando.

Then there’s tax withholding. With my other two part-time jobs I had through University of Colorado-Boulder this year, I’ve been able to claim a ‘tax exempt’ status because I don’t make nearly enough money to pay any taxes working only about 12-20 hours/wk. But, since I’m working more hours at WDW, I have to pay Federal taxes. So, about $55/wk gets taken out for that.  (I don’t pay any Florida state taxes.)

The final total amount I get paid each week is about $115.

Publix: The BEST grocery store in Florida and it’s right by our apartment!

That doesn’t seem too bad until we go grocery shopping! No matter how much we buy or which store we shop at, our total bill is always $200. Elly and I like to switch off for paying since we share all our food. We are not the type of people to nickel and dime things, so it is never a big deal.   🙂

Gas in Florida
Gas in Florida is about $3.50/gallon now.

We also need to fuel up the car (Nissan Sentra) about once every two weeks. But, we like to fill it up every week even though it’s only half a tank, just to be on the safe side. It’s typically around $30 a fill, with gas around $3.50/gallon.

Even though we get into all the WDW Parks for free and we get discounts on most food and merchandise, it is still pretty expensive if we want to get lunch or a snack while we are walking around! Because Elly likes to cook, and to save on money, we generally eat all our meals in and take our lunch to work. When you’re on a budget, you can forget about going out to eat or doing anything fun like seeing a movie or playing mini-golf!

Last semester, I worked more than 20 hours a week, along with going to school full time, to save up for this program.  That was a good idea because I am currently in the hole for more than double the amount I get paid by Disney each week!

People warned us in their DCP blogs and on Facebook about how poor we’d be while participating in the Disney College Program. I didn’t really believe them until I looked at my bank account! Yikes!

Living and working at Disney ain’t cheap! But, it sure is FUN!  🙂

Friday Update:

After sending out a couple desperate pleas, our awesome relatives sent us some love in the mail!

Thank you! ❤

gift cards
Gift cards from our family!!!   🙂


chatham (2)
Our first week at the DCP in front of our apartment at Chatham Square.

We’ve written two books about our time working and playing at Disney World.

Both are available on Amazon.com: Two Girls and a Mouse Tale and Adventures in the Animal Kingdom.

Adventure Book Cover
Adventures in the Animal Kingdom
book Two Girls
Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

If you’d like to follow our daily Disney blog, here’s the link: https://collinsrace1.wordpress.com/

Have a magical day!


Castle two disney sisters
Two Disney Sisters



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