The Disney College Program

 

Some people may be unaware that the Walt Disney World company offers an internship for college students, called the Disney College Program (DCP). This is an internship opportunity for college students nationwide, as well as worldwide. It’s the opportunity to participate in an approximately one semester long internship in either resort located within the United States. These resorts are located in Lake Buena Vista, Florida and Anaheim, California.

These internships are typically geared toward students who major in or enjoy aspects of hospitality, business, communication, management, public relations, marketing, park operations and performing. According to the Disney College Program Overview, these internships allow participants to “meet guests and cast members from all over the world, network with leaders in their potentials future work fields, build skills such as problem-solving, teamwork, guest service and high quality communication.” There is also a special program for students who study culinary arts and would like to intern for a Disney company restaurant to gain experience while working under an array of world renowned chefs.

In order to be eligible to apply for a position in the Disney College Program, students must currently be enrolled as a full time student at a credited college or university, they must meet the required standards of their school which may consist of GPA, credit hour, and grade level requirements. Students must be 18 or older by the time they begin their program and also be fully unrestricted to work within the United States.

 

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Disney College Program participants showing off their graduation diplomas.

According to past participant, Allie Gerds, the application process is pretty simple. First, a really basic online questionnaire where applicants can select which of the many lines of work that they would or would not be interested in working such as, Entertainment, Attractions, Housekeeping, Custodial, Full and Quick-Service Dining, Guest Relations, and many others but of course, as any job application, nothing is guaranteed so it’s always best to maximize your options. This, followed by a 10-15 minute phone interview with a Disney Casting Agent.

Once it’s all said and done applicants informed of their acceptance or denial are given a window of time to select the date at which they wish to begin their program. Once the program begins, the experiences and benefits are practically endless.

The first day is also the day that participants find out exactly where they’ll be working, where they will be living and who they’ll be living with. DCP participants are put up in company-sponsored housing for a minimal fee (rent is taken directly from your weekly paycheck), where they reside under full and constant security, only minutes away from the parks. Allie Gerds said, “It might seem scary at first, to live in an apartment with up to seven people that you’ve never met before from anywhere around the world, but it’s one of the most incredible and educational experiences that a college student could ever take part in.”

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DCP roommates meeting for the first time.

Along with housing, and getting paid to work at “the most magical place on Earth,” there’s also the opportunity to take college-credit courses during the duration of the program. Some of the courses that they offer are Human Resource Management, Corporate Communications, Organizational Leadership, and so many more. Check with your institution to see if they accept these credits before you take them, but they are free for the taking.

Some of the other benefits that DCP participants receive are free park admission, a limited supply of free park entrance passes for family and friends and unlimited discounted park tickets for guests. Participants also receive discounts on dining and merchandise, huge discounts on resort rooms and on the Disney cruise line, a credit union membership, wellness programs, and more.

To apply for an internship, click here, where you can access the DCP application. Applications are only accepted at certain times of the year, so you can either check the website regularly or sign up to be notified when applications are available. According to cp.disneycareers.com, they will soon be accepting applications for their Spring (January-May), Spring Advantage (January-August) and Spring Advantage Quarter (March/April-August) programs.

 

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Photo credit: Karen McGaff and Allie Gerds

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