Make Magic for a Semester: The Disney College Program

As Hospitality, Tourism, and Recreation focus month draws to a close, I want to take the chance to speak about a popular opportunity in this field. Applications are now live for the Fall 2018 Disney College Program. If you’ve ever had an interest working in a theme park, working for Disney, taking an alternative break from school, or are looking to have quite possibly the best experience of your life, I implore you to apply!

“We make magic.” At Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, this motto is passed down to every cast member who goes through the training to be able to work at a Disney Park. Disney’s company culture is incredible. After going through training, it really feels like anything is possible, and making magic is real. Being a part of it is something I would not trade for the world.

While on my College Program, I made some of the best friends of my life, gained valuable life and work experience, and had more fun than I can express in words. I mean, I worked and played in the Magic Kingdom every day! What could be better?

As far as how my college program changed my academic career, through the School of Public Health I was not able to earn credit for the program. I was able to enroll in a “part time work assignment” (ASCS-W 498, through the College of Arts and Sciences) which was not for credit, but which kept me active as a part time student. I did count my experiences in both Quick Service Food and Beverage and Merchandise toward my 320 Hours for the THEM major requirement, however. Basically, I was taking the semester off. I was in a place where this would not put me behind credit wise, and I am glad I planned for that. Because of this experience, I’m trying to apply to Disney Professional Internships (a separate beast entirely) to return to the company!

For those considering applying, you should! There’s no harm in trying! And believe me, you will be glad you did! It could change your life!

This part is basic. You will need to provide a resume, education information and go through the rest of the application materials. Then, some decision making! All your program preferences! Walt Disney World or Disneyland? Fall or Fall Advantage (a longer program)? What role? There are a lot of roles: Attractions, Bell Services, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique & Pirates League, Bus Greeter, Character Attendant, Performer, Children’s Activities, Convention Guide, Costuming, Front Desk, House Person, Merchandise, Monorail, Photopass, Lifeguard, Quick-Service Food and Beverage, Housekeeping, Custodial, Recreation Attractions, Seater, Vacation Planner, and Watercraft! Disneyland has slightly different roles, and a smaller selection because the west coast program is overall smaller and more competitive! You rank the roles from No Interest to High Interest. If you do not want to do a role, do not put interest in it, because you could get placed in it!

Last shift in Fantasyland – a traditional Castle photo to end the night

If you move beyond the first stage, you get to do the second stage!
Web Based Interview!
In this stage, you get asked a series of personality statements and work ethic statements, and are asked to rate them on a scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree. They want to see if you are consistent and honest! In this stage, just be yourself!

After the Web Based Interview comes the
Phone Interview!
Breathe. Smile. Write yourself notes if you need to prepare beforehand. Don’t rush, don’t feel a need to fill the silence. The recruiters are super friendly and easy to talk to! Do your research beforehand and know what you want! Ask questions!

After the phone interview, it’s a waiting game! It could take anywhere from a month to four months to hear back! Join a Facebook group for this season’s applicants so you can share the experience with people!

The deadline for the Fall 2018 application is sometime in April, but the sooner you apply the better! The waiting game is not to be messed with!

Now, go forth and get ready to make magic!


Shay Harmon



Voted most likely to know too much about Disney movies.

By Shay Harmon
Shay Harmon