Dreams really do come true! I finally got accepted into the Disney College Program! The craziest thing was that this was my fifth time applying. Actually no, the craziest thing was that I wasn’t even going to apply for the upcoming semester; I was going to focus on building my career as a writer without any distractions. Before we get into the current details, let me explain how my Disney College Program journey started long ago.
I first heard about the Disney College Program (DCP) during my sophomore year of high school, I believe. My friend’s older sister was about to do the program for the Fall 2015 semester. An opportunity to work for Disney and get into the parks for free? It sounded interesting. However, I didn’t think much about the program till I got to college, when I joined the Disney Ohana Club in Fall 2017. When you’re in a club that’s all about Disney, you can’t help but consider doing the DCP! The club also held a seminar about the DCP during my first semester, so that ignited my interest even further.
The Disney College Program is a paid internship program where participants can work at Walt Disney World (before the pandemic, participants had the option to work for Disneyland too) for an entire semester. Participants are provided with housing and transportation for those that can’t drive. There are two main programs: the fall program and the spring program (there’s fall advantage and spring advantage too). Both programs have their own pros and cons. To apply for the DCP, applicants must currently be enrolled in college and have completed one semester at least or have graduated within the last two years (I think before COVID-19, applicants could only apply up to one year after they’ve graduated).
I was set on doing the fall program because of the Halloween and Christmas decorations, so the first time I applied was for the Fall 2018 semester. Unfortunately, I didn’t get in. The second time I applied was for the Fall 2019 program, but with no luck. The third time I applied was for the Spring 2020 semester because I thought that my luck would turn around if I applied for the spring program (yeah, that didn’t happen). The fourth time I applied was for the Fall 2020 semester and I didn’t get in (then again, the program never happened because of COVID-19).
When the pandemic hit, the DCP stopped for a bit and I decided to focus on my future instead. I wanted to get more experience as a writer because I was only at Ka Leo for one year. If I had switched my major from Psychology to Communication during my sophomore year, I could’ve had more writing experience under my belt by the time I graduated. That’s why I didn’t apply for the Fall 2021 semester (the first program since the pandemic hit); I thought that doing the program would hold me back as a writer even further.
Then on Wednesday, October 27, 2021, I woke up at around 9:00 a.m. and opened an email from the Manoa Career Center titled, “New Jobs & Events | Careers in Intelligence Career Fair, Hawaii CARES, Disney & more!” It said that the DCP applications for the Spring 2022 semester were still open. After I closed the email, I literally spent all day watching Disney World and Disneyland vlogs debating about what I should do because I wasn’t doing much at the time. I just finished a summer internship with Hawaii Business Magazine in early August and none of the big publications that I was interested in were hiring interns at the moment. So, I was spending my weeks watching my dog while my parents went to work and my sister was at medical school.
When night time came around, I decided to apply for fun, expecting that I wasn’t going to get in (since I didn’t get in the past four times I applied). Strangely enough, I found out on Twitter that the applications were going to close two days later (on October 29), so this was a last minute decision. I submitted my application at around 10:40 – 10:50 p.m. Then at 10:52 p.m., I received an email from Disney saying I was selected to complete a web-based interview. This was big news for me because I never even got to that stage in the application process for the past four times.
I wanted to get the web-based interview (WBI) done as soon as possible, so I waited till my mom was done watching Once Again (2020) and we took the WBI together. The WBI is a timed personality test, where it asks if you agree or disagree with the following statements, are you usually on time, do you prefer to work by yourself or in groups, and if the following statements best describe you, etc. I wanted my mom to help me out with the questions because I heard that it was recommended to take the WBI with someone you know. Plus, I wanted her to give me the hard truth about what I’m really like as a person. I finished the WBI at about 1:30 – 1:45 a.m. and then, a new screen popped up that said I was considered a strong candidate and would be contacted for final updates later on.
I found out that offer waves happened on Mondays usually, so I thought I just had to wait till Monday, November 1 to hear back from Disney. When I didn’t hear back that day, I started to panic. I wouldn’t have freaked out as much if I didn’t get past the first stage of the application process, but no, this was the first time I was offered a WBI. The past four times I applied, my process was basically “thank you for applying for the DCP” and “I’m sorry, you’re no longer in consideration for the program.” Because I was offered a WBI this time and the screen said I was considered a strong candidate, I had a slight hope that maybe I would get in.
The waiting game lasted for 12 days and those were the longest 12 days of my life. I kept on checking my Disney dashboard for updates and I was going nuts, basically. Finally, on Monday, November 8, 2021 at 6:06 a.m., I received an email from Disney saying I was accepted into the Disney College Program! There were three steps I had to do within the seven days I received the acceptance email in order to accept my offer. The first step was to read the offer letter on my Disney dashboard and choose whether or not I was going to accept the offer, which I completed that morning. Then, at 11:10 a.m., I received another email from Disney saying it was time to complete step two, which was to pay my program fees on a website called DORMS.
The program fees were $425, so I wanted to tell my mom about it first before I spent so much money on a big commitment. That night, I told my mom I was accepted and we both looked at each other with shock and disbelief, like we couldn’t believe I actually got into the DCP. I paid my program fees later that night, told the rest of my family the good news and at 8:54 p.m., I received an email from Disney saying it was time to complete step three, which was to give them additional information. They asked for my date of birth, social security number, if I have a driver’s license or not, and if I wanted to be a lifeguard or not. That last step was completed at 11:39 p.m.
Before the pandemic, there were three steps to the Disney College Program application process. Before the pandemic, there were three steps. Step one was a basic application where you fill out your past job (or volunteer) experience and rank the job roles you’d be interested in (just in case your first choice isn’t available). Step two was the web-based interview and step three was a phone interview, where you’d talk to a recruiter and they’d get to know you better.
When the DCP came back for Fall 2021, Disney made some adjustments to the application process. First of all, you can’t rank your roles anymore; participants will be selected for roles based on their job experience and wherever Disney needs help. Second of all, the phone interview is gone! That’s good news for some because phone interviews are stressful, but it can be bad news for those that prefer to talk to a real human being and show off their personality better. For me, I feel like I got lucky!
So, when is this all going down? My program will be from March 14 to July 28, 2022. For those four months, I will be living in Disney World and I cannot contain my excitement! I’m a bit nervous about what my role will be (I’ve always wanted to do attractions), but I trust that Disney will select a job that works best for me. I doubt I’ll bring my CDs with me to Orlando, Florida, so that means I won’t be doing album reviews throughout my program. But, I’ll do blog posts about my DCP experience, and hopefully throw in some music posts here and there.
There you have it people! I got into the Disney College Program and I am pumped. I guess the moral of the story is, if you work hard for your dreams and never give up, anything is possible!
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