Disney College Program Series: The Bucket List

Our Disney College Program dates are June 4th-January 3rd. We’re in the “Fall Advantage” program, meaning we are there for the fall semester plus the summer before. With all of that time in the program, with access to various discounts and other perks, we will have ample opportunities to revisit some of our Disney World favorites and explore some new-to-us aspects of the parks.

So, I’ve come up with our Disney College Program Bucket List! Here’s what we have so far:

Disney College Program Bucket List

  • Go to All 4 Parks in One Day
  • Try a new restaurant in each park
    • Magic Kingdom- Liberty Tree Tavern
    • Epcot- Tutto Italia
    • Animal Kingdom- Yak and Yeti
    • Hollywood Studios- 50’s Prime Time
  • See the fireworks shows in each park
    • Magic Kingdom
    • Epcot
    • Animal Kingdom
    • Hollywood Studios
  • “Open” each park
  • “Close” each park
  • Spend a night at a resort we haven’t tried before
  • Celebrate our Birthdays in the parks
  • Attend “Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party”
  • Attend “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party”
  • Attend the Epcot Food and Wine Festival
  • Register for or participate in a RunDisney race
  • Go on a special tour
  • Go to a Water Park- Typhoon Lagoon
This is just the start of our list. I fully expect it to grow as we get settled in and start figuring out some other unique experiences we want to have. And we will definitely be making a non-Disney bucket list as well. 

If you guys have suggestions, I’d love to hear them! Leave a comment with your MUST DO items while we’re in our program!

How to Land a Role in the Disney College Program: pt. 4 Packing for the Disney College Program

*This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on them and make purchases, we may receive a commission, at no additional cost to you.*

Today’s video talks about our preparations for our move to Florida and the Disney College Program. Specifically, I give tips about how we are packing for our big move across the country. While we happen to be driving and plan on living in the furnished apartments provided by the program, we talk about tips that are applicable to any big move.

In the video, we talk about some specific items that we’ve found extremely helpful in our packing and preparations. I wanted to provide links to these items so you can take a look and grab some for yourself.

Space Saver Vacuum Zip Bags can be found here.

These are similar to the containers we use for our toiletries and other small miscellaneous items.

We got our large totes at Costco, but they are heavy duty like this Rubbermaid container.

We have multiple accordion files that we use at our house. These ones are so great! I always use one when we go on vacation and they’re great for keeping track of your important documents for the move!

*All Photos courtesy Amazon

Congratulations! You’re a College Graduate! Now What?

It’s that time of year! Universities all over the country are holding their graduation ceremonies! After 4 (or so) years, wide-eyed and eager undergraduates walk across the stage as the culminating action of all of their hard work! Pomp and Circumstance enjoys its most (really only) popular season and with the toss of a graduation cap, the future seems bright.


Your family and friends greet you excitedly after the ceremony, hand you cards full of congratulations and ask what your plans are, post-college. You don’t have anything concrete right now, but that’s ok! You’re young! You just graduated from college! You have a degree! People tell you all the time you can get a job, as long as you have a college degree!


THREE WEEKS LATER…


There are half filled boxes and garbage bags scattered all over your apartment. You have to be out at the end of the month, but you have no idea where you and your stuff might go. The remnants of last semester’s student loans are drying up and your parents really banked on you being independent now that you have a degree. In fact, they don’t have much cash to send you because they’ve decided to visit all of the National Parks in their new motorhome. #wishyourwerehere #butnotreally #getajobalready


It’s time to get your crap together! Summer vacation is a luxury you don’t get to enjoy in the “real world” of post graduation. The time for carefree road trips and going to the pool in the middle of the day is past. Stop having a pity party because being a college graduate hasn’t been everything you ever dreamed it would be (at least the first 3 weeks of it). Keep boxing things up and start looking for a job and an apartment.


Easier said than done, you say? Well, I’ve got some advice…


Start Taking Notes Now…


Being a recent college graduate myself, I understand the existential crises you’re struggling with right now. In fact, this is the second time I’ve graduated. My first degree is in History and Political Science. Ask me what I did after graduation. Go ahead ask…


I was a secretary. I was an administrative assistant. I was a substitute teacher. I was a voice studio accompanist. I was a private piano and voice teacher. I was a pharmacy technician. Seriously guys, I’ve done NOTHING in that particular field since graduation. The closest I came was subbing for a history class one time. #truestory


For many of you graduates, your first job out might not have anything to do with your degree. Does that make it a waste of time? No it does not. First, you have to eat and pay rent. You need money to do that. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Get yourself a job getting paid to do SOMETHING! Have a good attitude. Make valuable connections wherever you are. And pay your bills. None of that can be called a waste.


It was through the myriad of jobs that I had after my first degree that I eventually decided to go back for my second degree. I wish I could have gotten a masters, but most Masters of Music programs require an Undergrad in Music first. So back to the Undergrad courses I went. Being older (and quite frankly, wiser) this time around, I knew how to take advantage of my education and experiences. Here’s my first piece of advice…


PLAN AHEAD


If you’re reading this as a recent college graduate, it’s not necessarily too late for this one. Keep reading. It’s going to be okay.


If you’re reading this while you’re still working on your degree, lucky you!


During your coursework, you need to keep your eye out for opportunities. For me, I saw a gap in the education provided by my department and I decided to fill it with a university sanctioned and nationally backed club. I founded a student organization and wrote a grant proposal to provide our students a unique learning opportunity at a conference in San Diego. My involvement with the student organization caused the local chapter to use me as a representative there, which led to more opportunities to work with professionals in my area of interest. This was not an opportunity that any faculty member handed to me. I did the research and leg work to set up the organization with the school and national association. I spearheaded the grant writing and gathered all of the required information.


In addition to creating this opportunity for myself, I volunteered for various other projects and positions within my program, filling the need wherever I could. I knew I couldn’t expect opportunities to just fall into my lap. I needed to gain experience, so I found a way.


How does this advice help you if you’ve already graduated? You need experience, or a job, or a network? GO OUT AND FIND ONE! So you didn’t plan for your graduation. You can start planning now for your career! Take a job that might not be exactly in your field, but could put you in contact with people who could help you in the future. Get a job so you have a job to put on your resume! Do it well and your boss can be a solid reference for you in the future!


This leads to my next piece of advice…


YOU MAKE YOUR OWN SUCCESS


No one is going to walk up to you at graduation and say “Hey! Come work for my Fortune 500 company! It’s the exact job you’ve always wanted! And we’re going to pay you way more than you’re worth!” Guys, it just doesn’t happen!


I graduated at the top of my class, with oodles of experience and no one just “handed” me anything. I know what I want to do. I’ve been looking at positions with Disney for a couple of years now. I knew what the process was like. I knew about the Disney College Program. I know that after the DCP, they offer professional internships. I know that Disney likes to hire people they have experience with, and I know that if I want a performing job with Disney, I need to be in Orlando to go to auditions regularly. The roles in the Disney College Program might not be exactly what I want to do long term, but I know that it can be a vehicle to get me to where I want to end up. I don’t know people who work for Disney. I didn’t have anyone to push my resume to the top of the stack. I know I’m going to have to work my way up to where I want.


DON’T BE AFRAID OF WORK


Hard work doesn’t end just because you graduate with a college degree. Granted, your focus won’t be split between Biology, World History and your Major courses. But hard work isn’t exclusive to school. Even if you’re lucky enough to land your “dream job”, you’re still going to find a lot of things hard. Someone is going to get promoted over you. Someone who doesn’t work as hard. Someone is going to hate you. Something is going to be out of your reach. Something is going to require you to ask for help and say there’s something you don’t know. Something is going to make you question all of your life choices.


Work through it! Everything has been leading you to this moment! You’ve done your class work. You’ve worked with difficult group members. You’ve had to ask teachers questions. All of these things have given you the skills. Just don’t give up because it seems “too hard”.


DO WHAT YOU LOVE, LOVE WHAT YOU DO


I’m sure you’ve heard this before. And maybe you even took it into account when choosing your college major. Great!


What happens when you get out of college and your first job isn’t in your field?


You get to choose your attitude in any given situation. Learn what you can from the job. Do a good job. Show your superiors that you can make the best out of any situation. That’s only going to play to your advantage when you use those superiors as references down the road.


And who knows? Maybe you’ll discover you actually really enjoy a job you didn’t think was what you wanted.


DON’T OVERTHINK


Get your resume ready to go. But don’t go overboard with it. Give them the information they need. If you look on the internet, you’ll see all kinds of “creative” templates for resumes. You don’t need your own personalized font. It doesn’t need to look like a graphic design project. Make it clean. Make it organized.


And when you go to an interview, be yourself. That’s what the HR manager wants to see. That’s what your potential new boss wants to see. They want to see who YOU are and how YOU might fit into their organization. Don’t try to guess what they want. They wouldn’t be interviewing you if they didn’t see something desirable.


And if you don’t receive the offer, don’t take it personally. Remember all those people who walked across the stage with you at graduation? They’re all out pounding the pavement looking for jobs too. There’s a lot of competition. And if you’re not the one they hired, it means you weren’t the right fit. It means maybe you wouldn’t have gotten along with people there. Maybe you would have been miserable at that job.


Eat a cookie. Move on to the next application or interview.


NOW WHAT?

You’ve got this! You just need to take your future into your own hands! It’s okay if your first job isn’t your dream job! It’s okay if you answer phones and get coffee for your first year after college. It’s okay as long as you’re working. It’s okay as long as you keep your long term goals in view. It’s okay as long as you don’t give up!

How to Land a Role in the Disney College Program: pt. 3 The Waiting Game

I don’t know about you, but for me, waiting is the hardest part of an application or audition process! And the more I obsess over it, the slower time seems to pass. I find that the best way for me to cope with The Waiting Game is to distract myself with other things I enjoy.

As far as the DCP Application and hiring process, there’s really no telling how long you might have to wait. Some people only wait a few days after their phone interview and some wait closer to a month or more!

I have a few suggestions for ways to distract yourself and make The Waiting Game a little more tolerable.

1.  Coloring Book- Stress Coloring is a real thing, guys! And I love it. Because I am obsessive, the details in stress coloring books help to focus my obsession on something that is actually in my control. Just color away and before you know it, hours have passed. I love coloring and I love Avengers…so you know I’m getting me this awesome Infinity War coloring book!

2.  Get into a good TV show. Netflix is a beautiful time waster. And it’s even more beautiful when you actually WANT to waste some time. Find yourself a TV show with multiple seasons that can really suck you in. Some of my Favorites include: West Wing (7 seasons), NCIS (14 seasons and still running), New Girl (6 Seasons) and FRIENDS (10 hilarious seasons).



3.  Movie Marathon! These days there are multiple movie franchises that could take you DAYS or even WEEKS to watch. At our house, we routinely do Harry Potter marathons or Star Wars or Marvel. With 18+ movies in the MCU, this one takes some time and is a fantastic distraction from real life. (Although, there is part of me that thinks Hydra is a real thing and I need to be training for when the Avengers call me up to fight.) Black Panther comes out on May 15th! But the digital is available May 8th! Pre-order here!

4.  Read a book. Wait…a book? Did you mean Buzzfeed or Reddit? Nope. I mean a book. Find a book about something you enjoy! Or even better…find a series of books you enjoy. (Kingdom Keepers) I love Disney World and the Kingdom Keeper series are so much fun! Find them at this link. Even reading them before I had actually been to Disney World was fun because the author is so descriptive, I felt like I could see all of the different places the Keepers visited. And they’re suitable for the young and the young at heart. So read them as a family!


5.  Find a new hobby! I’m always looking to learn new things. One of the newer hobbies I’ve been trying to pick up is Handlettering/Calligraphy. There are a lot of different resources out there for you to try if this looks fun to you. But I really like this book “Hand-Lettering: An Interactive Guide to the Art of Drawing letters“. It really is hands on and interactive. And that’s the best way to learn! And you can’t forget your writing tools. These brush markers are just what you need to really get started on your way!

6.  Eat your feelings. I’m going to tell you right now, do not spend the entire Waiting Game eating your feelings. But maybe treat yo self once a week. Try a new recipe or buy yourself a cake. I have eaten many a cake as my treat yo self reward.

7.  Legos! This one is for Adam. We are lego people at our house. We have lego BB-8 and Po’s X-Wing and an AT-ST and many micro fighters. We also have many super hero Block Headz! Legos are a fun little distraction from constantly refreshing your email to see if you’ve been accepted to the DCP. Buy yourself some Block Headz friends here

8.  Exercise! Endorphins make for happier people! And happier people don’t stress out about The Waiting Game! (At least…maybe not as much!) I like to combine #3 with exercise. Watching the Avengers reminds me I need to do more squats and push ups. So drop and give yourself 20! 

9.  Take a nap! Waiting is exhausting work! Kick back and take a nap! Maybe set an alarm though so you don’t sleep through something you need to be doing!


10.  Get out of the house! Go to dinner with friends! Go to a movie! Go for a bike ride or a hike! Just get out of the house. Stop looking at your email and making yourself crazy. Keep living your life! Find fun things to do where you are. You might not be there for much longer! Enjoy your current surroundings before you start your exciting DCP adventure!


Hopefully these ideas will help you while you’re waiting to hear about the DCP or anything else in your life! The important thing to remember is that you don’t have control over when or if they accept you! But you do have control over what you do while you’re waiting. Don’t waste that time by making yourself a crazy person! Keeping improving yourself and living your life!


How to Land a Role in the Disney College Program: Pt. 2 The Interview

So you’ve submitted your application! WOOHOO!!! Now what?

There are two possible options from here. First, you get an email saying that after reviewing your application, Disney is no longer interested in you as a candidate for the DCP. Second, and far preferred, Disney sends you an email telling you that they have reviewed your application and think you might be a good fit. This email will also give you instructions for the next step.

In order to evaluate if you really are a good fit with Disney as a company, they have an online questionnaire they ask you to complete. It’s a sort of personality profile. If you’ve ever taken a personality test you’ll see some similar questions. The process takes around 45 minutes. And it’s timed. They don’t want you to obsess for 10 minutes and then answer the question. They want your first instinctive response. So you have to answer each question within a specific time period.

After you complete this questionnaire, there are two possible options. First, you get an email saying that based on your online questionnaire, Disney is no longer interested in you as a candidate for the DCP….or….You get an email asking you to schedule a phone interview. For me, after I submitted my application, within an hour I got my email to fill out the questionnaire. And within the next day or two, I had an email asking me to schedule a phone interview. Start to finish, I submitted my application and had a phone interview in a week’s time. This isn’t necessarily the same time frame for everyone.

Now…The phone interview…

I suggest you do what I did and search the internet. There’s no shortage of lists of interview questions people have been asked. But there are A LOT of different options. The recruiter will ask you questions based on the specific roles in which you expressed interest when you filled out your DCP application. Make sure you know which roles you listed and print out and know what the responsibilities are for those roles. Write out some experiences you’ve had at other jobs or in your schooling that might help you answer some of the questions from the recruiter. Prepare, Prepare, PREPARE!!!

Here are some questions they asked me:
1. Why do you want to participate in the Disney College Program?
2. Tell me about a time you worked with a difficult co-worker and how you handled that situation.
3. You expressed interest in working Attractions. What would you do if a child approached the ride and, upon measuring, was just a little too short for the ride? How would you handle the situation?
4. Tell me about a time you had to work with a team to achieve a common goal.
5. You’re working at Bibbity-Bobbity-Boutique and a parent brings their child back, disappointed with the service you have given. How do you handle the situation?
6. I was also asked specifically about experience I had as a Costumer and Photographer, since these were roles I was interested in. Be prepared to give convincing evidence of your competence.

After you have done all of your web searches and prepared your resume and experiences, take a deep breath and relax. Most importantly, smile during your interview! The recruiter does this A LOT. They can tell in your voice if you’re a happy person or a stressed person or have severe anger issues. Disney wants to hire happy people to give their guests the most magical experience possible.

Remember that you don’t have control over who Disney hires. But you do have control over your preparation and your attitude! Do what you can and then be confident with what you have to give!

How to Land a Role in the Disney College Program: Pt. 1 The Application

So you’ve read the our post explaining what the Disney College Program is and now you’re thinking it sounds like something you want to do! But you’re not sure where to start. That’s what this post is all about. And we’ll give you some tips to help you out as well!

First things first, visit the Disney College Program website here. There is a lot of information about what roles you might perform as a DCP participant or where you live or what else you might gain from your experience. We gave a brief overview on our blog, but the information on the Disney website is much more detailed.

Next, know that there are 2 times of the year when DCP applications are open. Spring/Spring Advantage program applications open in the Fall, typically in September. Fall/Fall Advantage program applications open around the beginning of February. You can sign up for an email notification so you know when the applications are available.

Once the applications are open, you’ll need to start your application process. From the Disney College Program website, you can set up a Disney Careers profile page. This is how you will apply for the DCP and any other internships or jobs at Disney.

When you are ready to fill out the application, be prepared to spend a decent chunk of time on this. The Disney College Program application is set up in such a way that you don’t need to have a personalized resume listing all of your jobs, accomplishments, education, etc. They will, however, want you to fill in some forms with all of these informations. They sort of generate a resume for you. You add job experience and education and special skills to their form so they can see what you have done. If you haven’t done much, don’t worry! Part of the reason they offer this program is so college students can gain work experience!

Just follow all of the steps and then submit! As far as job applications go, it’s not too complicated and really helps you know exactly what information to provide!

Our next post in this series will cover the interview process! If you have questions let us know! We’re happy to help!

What Exactly is the Disney College Program (DCP)?

Some of you might be wondering, “What exactly is the Disney College Program? Are you guys just going to Orlando to play at Disney World?” Today, I’m going to give you some answers!

First, the DCP is the abbreviation for Disney College Program. If you walk up to a Disney College Program alum and say “DCP”, they’re going to be totally impressed that you know the lingo! And then they’re going to tell you all about their program and how it changed their life and all kinds of other Disney tidbits you never knew you never knew. So, when you’re playing around on our blog and see “DCP” just know that we’re talking about the Disney College Program.

So what is the DCP?

The Disney College Program is for college students or recent grads. The requirement is that you either be currently enrolled in college, or have graduated within the last 6 months. You can do the program in the middle of your college degree, or you can wait and do it after graduation, as long as you apply within 6 months of graduation. In our case, we are going out right after our graduation. AND it doesn’t have to be a Bachelor Degree and you don’t have to be a twenty-something. As long as you meet the college requirements, you’re good. My husband and I don’t fit in the traditional mold of what most DCP folks might be.

Disney College Program participants gain valuable work experience for their resumes. Participants are paid for their work. Each participant is given an assigned area of work, such as merchandising (what Adam’s doing), PhotoPass photography (what I’m doing), attractions, food and beverage, etc. They are also able to take seminars and courses while working. You can work with your university and arrange to take online courses for college credit. Disney also offers seminars that focus on the Disney professional experience. There are seminars on Disney Leadership, Customer Service, Entertainment and more! These seminars are free and offer you exciting information as well as opportunities for you to network with people you might want to work with later!

Now obviously there are a number of benefits for those chosen to participate and it is actually quite competitive. I heard the acceptance rate for the Fall 2018 program was 10%! So a lot of people really want to do it!

Disney gains quite a bit for this arrangement as well. Disney needs a lot of employees to run their parks and resorts! This program helps them get the numbers they need! It also means they get to see the DCP participants work and grow in their respective entry level jobs. And what company doesn’t like to hire people they’re familiar with?

After the Disney College Program, there’s the Disney Professional Internship program or the Disney Management Internship program. Of course, you can always try to go straight for full-time regular hire too! But the experience and the networking that you get in the DCP is an important stepping stone to getting a permanent position with the company.

That’s a little overview of the program. If you have questions or comments, we’d love to read them!

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