From the age of six, I always knew I wanted to do the Disney College Program. So, it was no surprise when I moved to Florida to work at Walt Disney World for a semester during my sophomore year of college. Although it has been more than a few months since I have returned, I am still often asked, “What is the Disney College Program?” To me, this is such a difficult question to answer. While I always get so excited to talk about the program, it’s so hard to describe my experience in just a few sentences.
It’s easy to look up the Disney College Program on Google and find an accurate answer. It’s a paid internship you can complete at either Disneyland in California or Walt Disney World in Florida. You are cast into one of several roles for four to seven months. You are able to attend a variety of Disney related classes and seminars, as well. Disney also provides inexpensive housing and free transportation for participants.
But to me, the Disney College Program is SO much more than that.
1. The Disney College Program is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Participants are chosen among tens of thousands of applicants. How many people do you know who can say they lived and worked in the happiest place on earth?
2. The Disney College Program is about growing up.
Just like myself, many participants have never moved so far away from home before. I was no longer living in a dorm room at Kent State with my parents just forty-five minutes away. I had to learn how to cook, clean, and manage my money on my own. In other (terrifying) words, I had to become a real life adult.
3. The Disney College Program is hard.
Sure, working for Disney is a dream come true, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy! You must adhere to strict rules, wear embarrassing costumes, and work until sunrise (literally.) You have to deal with rude tourists every single day. I would be lying if I said I didn’t cry quite a few times during my program. However, throughout the stress and lack of sleep, I learned many valuable lessons- on both a professional and personal level- that helped me grow into a responsible, hardworking adult.
4. The Disney College Program is family.
You will spend nights working until the wee hours of the morning. During this time, your coworkers will not only become your closest friends, but will feel like family. Not only will you spend time together at work, but you’ll also take many trips together to the parks during your time off. The bond and memories you share is something that no one else will ever be able understand.
5. The Disney College Program will make you obsessed with Disney.
As a cast member you get free admission to all four theme parks, so you’ll spend all your free time immersed in the magic. You’ll crave Mickey ice cream bars constantly, memorize all of the shows, and refer to Mickey Mouse as your “boss.” You’ll spend your free time listening to Disney music and watching Disney movies. You’ll cry when you leave, and as soon as you get home, you’ll want to plan a trip back.
6. The Disney College Program will change you forever.
As cheesy as it sounds, it’s true. Because of all the magical moments I was able to both witness and create for guests, I realized I want to move to Florida and pursue a career with the company once I graduate. I can truly say I left my heart in Walt Disney World, and I couldn’t imagine it any other way.
What do you think of the Disney College Program? Comment below and share this article with friends!
Featured image: and favim.com
Julianna Eicholz is studying Fashion Merchandising with a minor in Marketing at Kent State University. She loves Justin Bieber, Disney, and anything pink.