So, the email has arrived and you’ve have been accepted into the Disney College Program!
You are nervous, but above all ecstatic, because you finally get to be part of the Magic and work for the Mouse. You start packing weeks in advance, organizing work eligibility documents, thinking about whether to bring your car or not (yes!), and counting down the days until your arrival date.
FLASH FORWARD! SWOOOSH! You are settled in and you find out what role you have and go to your first costume fitting. You assume the transition to becoming the ideal cast member will be challenging but you are up for the challenge. You go through training and before you know it, BOOM! You have Earned Your Ears! You have learned so much already. You are Disney-pointing, creating Magical Moments, picking up fun facts and even some secrets of the Disney company. You are a natural.
This however was all expected. What you didn’t realize or expect to learn made your experience all the more MAGICAL!
YOU ALSO LEARNED:
1. How to Budget Your Finances
CP’s live the simple life and therefore they must live on a budget. During your CP you realize the importance of saving money and prioritizing. For many of us, this is our first time having to pay rent and buying our own groceries. It is a wake up call for a lot of us, but WE DID IT and now we are more equipped than many other college students.
Whether you are trying to work for corporate America or behind a counter, HAKUNA MATATA, you learned the art of professionalism. The “Disney Look” provides you with the tools you need to look clean cut and spiffy. You wear name tag proudly and have learned that even off the clock, you are a representation of the company. You can keep your smile and composure amid the most difficult times and/or guest situations.
You deliver long narratives at Attractions, take orders, give guests directions, and even connect with people who recognized your hometown. Speaking with so many people makes you quite the social butterfly. You are not nearly as shy as you once were. You learn a stranger is a friend you haven’t met yet. This has taught you to network with fellow cast members and build connections with many others. This is an advantage for anyone looking to further their career.
4. Body Language Literacy
You realize that you can read people better. You’ve learned the subtleties of body language. You see a guest looking around aimlessly, so you go up to them and offer them assistance. You find yourself helping guests who do not speak the same language as you. You can spot a child who has been separated from their family among hundreds. This skill often goes underrated but being able to pick up on non-verbal cues is a universal asset. It prevents conflict due to misunderstandings and can even improve your interpersonal relationships.
5. Excellent Guest Service
Be our Guest! Put our service to the test! During your CP, Disney teaches you the importance of providing excellent guest service. Our attention to detail goes unmatched. No one does hospitality like cast members. We make sure that everyone is treated like a VIP and gets the most out of their visit. You learn how efficiency can go a long way for someone. So, whenever you get bad customer service anywhere else, it drives you insane.
6. Diversity and Cultural Awareness
Whether you are rooming with ICP’s or dealing with Brazilian guests, your world has just become that much bigger. You have to work and live with people from different nationalities and some from places you have never even heard of. As a CP, you have also been lucky enough to experience a diverse workforce where people range from ages 18-79+. Your taste in music has expanded and so has that second language you’ve been working on. You have also had the opportunity to visit some of these countries. Thank you EPCOT and The Commons apartments.
7. New Climate, New Rules
Just a few days under the sun and you soon realize that it’s not all fun and games. You slather on an endless supply of sunscreen and try to remain hydrated. Your water bottle is your arsenal against the scorching Florida sun. The heat is definitely nothing to mess around with and neither is getting caught in the rain. With warm weather also comes a different type of horticulture and wild life. You have seen it all from little green lizards to grasshoppers to ducks, maybe even an alligator or two by the highway…
8. Insight on Identity
This internship has made you grow up so much, while simultaneously keeping the little kid in you alive. Many of us left home or even their coast for the first time. Being able to “Live, Learn, and Earn” has taught you what were capable of as a young adult. We learned a degree of independence that some of us weren’t sure we had in us. You also learned that happiness comes from putting others first and meeting their needs. Making guests happy was fulfilling for its own sake. You became more selfless. The CP taught us that it’s possible to ‘work hard and play hard’. Meeting so many people has even put into perspective what it means to grow up American.
9. Life Long Friendships
At check-in on our first day, we were not ready to meet some of the greatest people in our lives, who sadly live nowhere near us. You work together, play together, even get a taste of the nightlife at the House of Blues etc. together. You go to Disney University classes together, the monthly housing meet and greet events, discover the amazing southern food options, and even do your walmart grocery shopping together. You would think you have known these fellow CP interns your whole life. After your program you’ll yourself looking through old pictures, video chatting, and even planning attending DCP Alumni reunions. There are people who went through a life transforming journey with you and no one outside your program will ever understand the bond.
10. The Magic Never Ends
Lastly, after working for the Mouse for five months and understanding the inner workings of Disney, you realize that it didn’t ruin anything but made it all the more Magical. After your program ends, any Disney Park commercial makes your heart skip a beat and keeps you longing for a visit. Watching fireworks elsewhere just doesn’t seem to measure up.
You find yourself participating in “Disney Movie Nights” and going to Disney movie premieres. People look to you whenever they need advice on making the most of their Disney visit and you respond as if you were on the clock. So although your program is over, the Magic and Disney Heritage stays with you everywhere you go. The magic never ends. 🙂
Have a Magical Day!
Think about all of this when you are adding your DCP internship to your resume! You learned A LOT!
Tips for writing your DCP resume: DCP Resume Tips
Two Girls and a Mouse Tale
by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins
Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???
We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program (Fall 2013/Spring 2014) and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.
We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney. Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.
Book link on Amazon.com: Two Girls and a Mouse Tale