Explore the blog
Friday, January 25, 2019

would i do another disney college program?

While the "blizzard" every weather channel was predicting for last weekend was a bust, Tuesday brought a flurry of excitement for hopeful mouseketeers across the country.  Applications for the Fall 2019 Disney College Program are now live!

With Fall 2019 applications live, Summer Alumni 2019 applications are set to follow in the next two weeks.  As an alumn still enrolled in college, you're always tempted to go back for just three more months...

It wasn't long ago-- in fact, just three short years ago last week, according to my Timehop-- that I was applying to my first and only Disney College Program.  I can still remember flipping my laptop open late at night and filling out the application as quickly as possible.  It was a different time (before recruiters started announcing the application release dates a week in advance), so I had panicked when I saw my friend tweet about her application and realized I had missed the initial morning of the release.

It took me almost four months, but eventually, I was given an offer to participate in the Fall '16 DCP.  The next 7 months of my life were a roller coaster.  First there were the emotional highs and lows of waiting for my check-in date.  The tearful goodbyes to my college friends, the excitement of heading to Kohls to pick up new bedding and shower curtains, the anxiety of looking for roommates, and a nerve-wracking, waiting-for-my-itinerary-while-trying-to-have-fun-with-my-family week in South Carolina just before my program started were all part of the excitement.

Then came the program itself.  Everything started out really, really great.  It was everything I wanted it to be and more.  I was so proud of myself when I first went to Traditions and earned my name tag.  My training was great, and I loved my coworkers!  I loved my job.  I loved living in Orlando, and I loved being independent.  My Disney College Program was the first time in my life that I was "financially independent" with my own job.  Of course, there are a lot of strings surrounding what constituted being "financially independent" that Fall.  I was still on my family's phone plan/healthcare, rent was cheap and taken right out of my check every week, and I didn't have car payments or student loans to pay.  But for the first time, I was making my own money with a full-time job and living in my favorite place on earth, with my own income at my disposal.

Being in Walt Disney World Resort between September-December had always been a dream of mine.  When my family goes, we normally go in the summer time.  I was so eager to be in the parks for the holiday season, and while the holidays brought larger crowds, they also brought can't-miss events like the Food & Wine Festival, Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween & Very Merry Christmas parties, the Candlelight Processional, and the resort Gingerbread Houses.  All of these events were highlights of my program, and while Fall has it's disadvantages, these were definitely the advantages of completing a Fall program.  I also really liked the Winter Formal that Disney Housing puts on!  I don't know if I'd like Starlit Splash, the Spring DCP cast celebration event, as much as I liked Winter Formal.

My attitude towards the program shift by the end of it.  Things started shifting in November, when I went home to visit my family for three days and realized I didn't really want to go back to Orlando.  Then the holiday crowds started settling in, and they only got worse until my program end date.  The hours I was working per week went from 40 to 60 real quick.  I was working so hard that I was getting sick constantly, and I wasn't left with a lot of time to recuperate.  Working through Christmas Eve was very hard for me-- like I wrote in an earlier post, Christmas Eve is a special time for my family, and it was my first holiday season away from my family, so I was definitely feeling blue. I was so miserable and homesick that by the day I moved out of my apartment, I told myself that the DCP was a one and done experience for me, and that I wouldn't return.

At the same time, I can reflect on my DCP and the hardships I faced and recognize that my life is better because I completed it.  The months following my program end were great-- I became part of a sorority I loved, my GPA improved a lot that Spring semester, I had a clear focus for my future.  Getting to work full-time gave me the chance to think about my life after college for the first time since I started school.  It also gave me a great work ethic that I'm really proud of, and that I still haven't been able to shake two years post-program later.

To answer the titular question: yes, I would do another Disney College Program.  I wouldn't do it in place of the two semesters I still have to complete, but Summer Alumni 2019 is definitely on the table for me, and I've been thinking about returning to the program after I finish school, then transferring to the professional branch of Disney once my program is over.  As difficult as it was, I think now that I know how the DCP impacted me as a person, I can understand that it might be necessary for me to return there for a little bit with the knowledge I have now to get another idea of what I should do after I graduate.  And of course, there's the "D" side of the "CP:" I don't think I will ever really be happy living anywhere outside of Orlando.  The more time I spend in Orlando with access to the Parks, the better my life will be regardless of how difficult my job is.  I also just can't stop thinking about how much @tinkerkait content would come out of a second DCP.

The thing about people who leave the DCP is that no matter how hard their job was, they're always going to want to do another Program.  After a certain point, you stop remembering how hard that job was, and you start missing how easy and fun life was in the downtime.  You miss the late-night, post-close trips to Steak 'n Shake with your coworkers and the roomie outings to Jellyrolls.  You miss the DCP life, which offers a majority of college students the chance to be independent and still have that safety net of a college career back and home to return to when your program is all said and done.  People who do the DCP have a weird relationship with the program, which leaves them wanting to return to a hard job with a fun life at a place that probably owns their heart.

To anyone applying for DCP Fall 2019-- I wish you all the luck in the world!  Fall 2016 changed my life and I encourage everyone who's eligible to go the distance and apply.  If you have any questions about my application process or specific questions about my role (Attractions) or housing (Vista Way), you're more than welcome to comment down below, message me on Facebook, or send me a DM on insta!


Would you like to comment?

Latest Pins

@ig username