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Friday, March 29, 2019

summer alumni application experience


hey there, hi there, ho there!

today's post is a little longer, so grab some joffrey's and come back to it if you need to.  it follows my journey applying for the summer alumni dcp this year, which didn't end exactly how i though it would.  everything happens for a reason.



A few weeks ago, I posted this article: would i do another disney college program?  It was my not-so-subtle hint that I had my heart set on the 2019 Summer Alumni DCP.  I kept the process under wraps on this blog, but I had my heart set on spending this summer with a few of my DCP 2016 friends at my favorite place on earth.  This week, I ended the application process on my own terms, so I'm going to talk you guys through that.

For those of you who need to be caught up to speed: there are three main DCP seasons: Spring (January-May), Fall (August-January), and Summer (May-August).  The Summer program is a needs-based program that Disney only offers to alumni who have already successfully completed a College Program at either of the domestic Parks.  It's a more competitive program and certainly smaller, and it's something I really wanted to do this summer.  I really miss my DCP, and this program gave me the opportunity to return to Program life without having to sacrifice another semester.  Today's post is all about how I navigated the application process.

There are three parts to the DCP application, regardless of which program you apply to.  First there's an initial application you have to fill out.

Step 1: Initial Application

This initial application is the first and easiest part of the whole process!  It's just the standard stuff- your name, your past job experience, which program you're applying for and which roles you'd like to be considered for.  For the Fall and Spring DCPs, there are a lot of roles you can choose from!  For Summer Alumni, because it is a need-based program and you have a very limited time for training, only a handful of roles are offered.  This year, we had:

Walt Disney World:

  • Quick-Service Food & Beverage
  • Custodial
  • Merchandise
  • Attractions
  • Seater
  • Watercraft
  • Lifeguard
Disneyland Resort:
  • Quick-Service Food & Beverage
  • Full-Service Food & Beverage (I believe this is their version of the Seater role!)
  • Retail Sales Clerk (Merchandise)
  • Custodial
  • Attractions

On the initial application, you'll also have the chance to rank your primary program of interest-- mine was Walt Disney World, in company-sponsored housing.

Disney Recruiting posted the DCP Summer Alumni 2019 application on disneycareers in the morning on Feb 11.  I applied around 10:00 in the morning and was able to fill out my application quickly because I had prepped my Disney Careers dashboard with my most recent job experience about a week earlier.  I put interest in the following roles:

Walt Disney World:

  • Seater: High Interest
  • Merchandise: Moderate Interest
  • Custodial: Moderate Interest
  • Attractions: Low Interest
Disneyland Resort:
  • Retail Sales Clerk: Moderate Interest
  • Custodial: Moderate Interest
  • Attractions: Moderate Interest
  • Full-Service Food & Beverage: Moderate Interest

By 11:00 in the morning, I had moved on to the second part of this process, the Web-Based Interview.

Step 2: Web-Based Interview

After you finish your initial application, you may be asked to move onto the second part of the DCP application process, which is the Web-Based Interview.  However, it's possible that your app may never get out of submission, which case, you'd be considered No Longer In Consideration: it's Disney's nice way of saying "not this season."  I was given my WBI about half an hour after I filled out the initial application, so about as soon as they processed my application.  I sat down and filled it out as soon as I got it.  They told me it would take about 30 minutes to complete, I think it took about 15?  I remember the WBI being shorter this year than it was when I did the DCP back in 2016.

I think the WBI is pretty easy-- some people feel differently!  The WBI is almost like a quiz.  I'm really horrible about trying to describe the WBI, but I'll try my best.

During the first part, you're given series of general statements about personal attitude and work ethic, and are asked how you personally identify with them on a scale of 1-5.  So for example:
  • "I'm a person who others rely on."
  • "I can always see the positive side in things."
  • "I hate being late for my commitments."
And there'd be a bar at the bottom of each statement where you'd click where you identify between 1-5, with 1 being "that doesn't sound like me at all" and 5 being "that definitely sounds like me!"

The second part of the quiz is more centered around work ethic-- it's almost the same format, but instead of 1-5, it's "I strongly disagree" - "I strongly agree."  The statements here are more like:
  • "I hate working in a messy environment."
  • "When I see someone at work who needs help, I stop what I'm doing and help them."
  • "I take pride in working for a company with a good reputation."
At the end of both parts, the computer will automatically tell you that you've been either a) are No Longer In Consideration, or b) the computer has identified you as a "strong candidate" and you can move on to the final part of the application process, the Phone Interview.

Step 3: Phone Interview

I was told to schedule my Phone Interview, and I did it for the earliest time that worked for me-- which happened to be 10:00 AM that Friday, February 15.

The Phone Interview stresses a lot of people out because this is the final stage of the process, and it's the only part of the process that involves you directly speaking to someone at Disney Talent Acquisition/Casting!  For a normal program PI, you'll spend between 30-40 minutes talking extensively about your past work experience, why you want to work for the company, what your top roles are, and what I like to call the "standards" -- every PI you do with Disney should involve ~5-10 minutes questions that are just about the objective company standards, like: "Are you within the Disney Look guidelines?" "Will you be living in company-sponsored housing?" "Do you have a valid driver's license?"

I got the call at exactly 10 in the morning by my recruiter.  This time around, I had Colleen, and she was as sweet as can be!  The first thing she told me is that we'd have 10 minutes together.  This seemed really short to me, but other people in the Summer Alumni prospect FB group said that would be the standard this season, so I was prepared!

Most of the interview was, like I said, "standards."  I had two general questions about my past work experience with the company, and then she asked me two questions about my top role, Seater.  We wrapped it up at exactly 10 minutes-- just like she said we would!

Through no fault of my recruiter, I came out of the interview feeling a little unsure.  With a short interview like that, it's hard to step back and think about how you performed, especially since so many of the questions were objective things like whether or not I had tattoos and whether or not I had a driver's license.  I was not given a chance to request a role, but a few of the alumn who interviewed the day before me were.

At the end of the day, I knew I would be waiting for a while-- Christy, who I believe is the head of talent acquisition for the DCP, tweeted that there wouldn't be any offers posted for Summer Alumni for a few weeks following the initial app period.  They wanted enough time to complete the interviews and assess their needs for the season.  So I was stuck waiting with the rest of the alumni until acceptances would start to come out.

The first "wave" of acceptances went out on Thursday, March 7-- it was a really small wave, and I didn't hear anything.  Christy made it a point to tweet that it would be small and not to worry, but with such a small and competitive season like Summer Alumni, it's hard to not feel at least a little worried.

Finally, during our Spring Break week, the Recruiters started hinting that Summer Alumni decisions would be made during the week of March 24-30.

I, unfortunately, was not able to wait that long.

My Withdrawal

Usually the fourth step is to either receive an offer, or "thank you for applying, unfortunately you are no longer in consideration."  I did something a little different this time around and decided I was going to withdraw my application for the program.  Everything happened really quickly, so I'll try to explain this as best as I can.

I started questioning my participation in the program during Spring Break.  I came to the realization that if I were to go to Disney this summer, I would miss Grace's senior prom, high school graduation, and 18th birthday.  I also started to doubt I was in the right mental space to fly straight from school to Florida by myself and start working 40+ hours a week without my family.  I thought about how I was already going to the parks with my family in August, and how I had a lot of fun stuff going on at home if I decided to stay.  But I told myself that once my offer came, which would likely be Monday, March 25, my attitude would change and I'd definitely want to do the program.

Well, on Monday, Christy tweeted that there would "possibly" be "more information" for Summer Alumni applicants by the end of the week.  At this point, it had been almost a month since any offers for Summer went out, and I could feel things were going south for me very quickly.

On Tuesday, what was essentially my biggest fear for this process came to life: my other summer job needed to know if I would be back this year, and Disney still hadn't told me yes or no yet.  I received an email from my summer camp boss of 3 years that if I wanted to come back to my job, I'd need to let her know by that Friday.  Things to keep in mind: I love this camp, and this summer, my boss told me I would likely be promoted to a senior role with a higher pay, where I'd be able to get some leadership experience under my belt.  I wanted to do the Summer Alumni program with my entire heart this year, but turning down her offer to come back before I had an offer for another job lined up was absolutely out of the question.  The top priority is that I'm working this summer, and I wasn't going to let myself scramble to find a job at the last minute because I told my summer work "no" and Disney gave me my NLIC notice a week later.

At first, I gave myself an ultimatum: if Disney doesn't given me an offer by Thursday, I will withdraw my application.  That way, I knew I wouldn't get an offer after accepting my summer job, and I wouldn't have to turn it down.  Turning down a job offer from Disney was not something I wanted to do, especially because my current goal is to do the Fall Advantage 2020 program.  Also-- let's say I did get accepted with my top role after I decided against doing the program.  I would have felt even more disappointed than I would have if I just got a rejection.

But the next day, I woke up and one of the recruiters had tweeted that there wouldn't be more offers posted for Summer, but "more info" (not offers) would "hopefully" come before the end of the week.  Something in my gut told me that it was time to let the idea of Summer 2019 go.  A lot of people in our FB group speculated that maybe that one "small wave" of offers that went out at the beginning of March might have been some of the only offers to go out this season.

Instead of waiting until Thursday, I decided the best thing for me to do would be to just rip the band-aid off.   I said "yes" to my summer job back at home, emailed Programs Support to ask to have my application withdrawn.  About an hour after I submitted my request, I received the email response back saying that they'd honor my request.  They sent my my formal, computer-generated No Longer in Consideration notice alongside it.


When I saw my formal NLIC email, I was a little sad, but not for long.  I ended my application process on my terms, which I feel incredibly at peace about.  As DCP applicants, you have very little control over the outcome of your process in most situations.  After a solid month and a half of not knowing what was going to happen, the lack of control was making me super frustrated and I had to do what was best for me.  Taking control of this situation was challenging, but in the end, I don't regret it.  In the past few days, I've been surrounded by a lot of people who truly care about me and support me during this confusing ordeal, and I really appreciate all of the love my friends and family have showed me.

Before I end this post, I just want to take a minute to express my gratitude for the DCP Talent Acquisition/Casting team!  This group of individuals seriously has one of the toughest, most rewarding jobs on the planet and I'm so grateful for what they do!  I'm constantly in awe of their sheer optimism and professionalism on social media.  Having the opportunity to interact with them during the DCP application process makes me proud to have such strong ties to the Parks.  They are so amazing, and were so helpful and informative during my application process.  I can't wait to work with them again next time I apply for a Program!

Even though this summer won't look exactly like what I thought it would this year, it's important to remember that there is good in every bad situation, and bad in every good situation.  Even though I'm still a little hurt I had to delete my cute post I had drafted in case I got accepted this week, I'm really happy to be returning to camp and excited for my last summer at home before graduating!

Thanks for reading, and thanks for continuing to support tinkerkait 😊💖

cheers,








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