Hi there! Whether you’re thinking of applying for the DCP, have already applied and waiting on an acceptance (my fingers are crossed for you!) or you’ve applied and gotten accepted (CONGRATS!!), everyone’s got a different DCP story, and that’s just another AMAZING thing about this program. Mine is pretty interesting/exciting, and I really wanted to share it for others to read.
A little background: I when I was younger, I had gone to Disney World 3 times. Then, when I was a sophomore in high school, my marching band was selected to compete in Festival Disney. When we went down there, I fell in love all over again. It was magical, it was beautiful, it was where I wanted to be. That’s where I found out about the Disney College Program. From that moment on, everything I did had one thing in mind: doing this program before I graduated college.
When I applied, I was a sophomore in college. I hadn’t applied to the DCP as a freshman because I was transferring schools in the fall and I thought it would be too complicated. After I got settled at my new school, I decided to apply for Fall 2018 because I’d heard that a lot of people don’t get accepted their first time, and I really wanted to do it during the Spring of 2019. I knew going into the application that I probably wouldn’t get in, and I was ready to accept that because I wanted Spring anyway.
Fall 2018 Applications dropped on January 22, 2018, and I had no idea. I signed up for the e-mail list and hadn’t gotten anything, so I honestly wasn’t even thinking about it. I assumed it would be early February. On the morning of January 23, I was walking to the campus Starbucks to do some homework with my friend Ali, and I got a text that said “DCP applications just opened today.” I was shaking!!! When I got to Starbucks, I grabbed my drink (vanilla iced latte; basic, I know) and sat down at a table and basically RIPPED my laptop out of my bag. I forgot ALL about the homework I had to do and went STRAIGHT to the Disney College Program website. Sure enough, when I clicked the “Apply Now” button, IT TOOK ME TO THE APPLICATION. I was shaking as I made my way through each section, from just typing my name and my address, to filling out the work experience page, to filling out the preferences page. *A note for all those who are planning on applying at some point, please make sure that you take this one seriously. I basically put “high interest” for EVERYTHING I thought I could do, rather than what I really wanted to do. More on that later.*
After I had gone through the entire application (which was not as long as I was expecting it to be), I submitted it. I was so shook that I took a photo of it to commemorate the moment of my first DCP application.
There it was, done and done before 12:00pm; I got the “Thank You For Applying” e-mail at 11:55am. I didn’t have class until 1:40pm, so I sat there and started looking up DCP vloggers, bloggers, and literally anything that had to do with the DCP. I researched the HECK out of it. I honestly hadn’t done too much research before applying, although it had been my dream since sophomore year of high school, because I hadn’t really planned on getting in and going in the fall. And then an e-mail popped up on my phone. 12:18pm. “Disney College Program: Immediate Action Required: Web Based Interview.” I dropped my phone on the table and actually started crying in the middle of Starbucks. I was in shock; it was SO soon after I’d applied. However, I couldn’t do the web interview because I had wasted too much time on the application and researching everything and I really had to get the homework done for my 1:40 class. So I did the homework, went to class, and sat through the lecture SHAKING. When my professor let class out, I BOOKED it to my room, cracked open my laptop and, with my roommate as witness, had a slight panic attack. When I finally composed myself, I clicked the start button.
I breezed through the answers as you’re supposed to do, considering you only get 30 seconds to answer each one, because they’re personality questions. At the end of the interview, a message popped up. It read, “Next Steps – Phone Interview.” Cue the waterworks again!!!
I called my boyfriend right as it happened, before even scheduling my interview, crying and freaking out over the fact that I’d gotten a phone interview. It was definitely official, I was in this to win it. Originally, I’d gone in knowing that I probably wouldn’t get in. But I had gotten so far in only one day, and it was overwhelming. I was invested, and I knew I would be devastated if I didn’t get in. He stayed on the phone with me while I scheduled it: February 2, 2018 at 3:30pm.
A week and two days went by, and all of a sudden, it was February 1. I was anxious the whole day, and I honestly can’t even remember anything about it. I just remember going to bed that night knowing that the next time I’d be getting into bed, I would have had my interview with Disney. Clearly, it was rough getting to sleep. When I woke up, Ali convinced me to go to yoga with her to calm my nerves. We stopped by Starbucks to grab some breakfast, and in the middle of eating my egg sandwich, she handed me a little box, and it had an ADORABLE Mickey Mouse ring inside! A good luck charm for my interview. Get you a friend like that, my friends.
With the ring on my finger, we went to yoga and it actually helped. Not to be cheesy, but doing those Warrior II’s in the mirror made me feel super strong and confident, like I was ready for the interview. It felt like I was in the “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” scene from Mulan. Of course, that all fell apart the second yoga was over at 2:00. I got back to my dorm and got ready for the interview. By “got ready for the interview,” I basically mean “curled up in a ball of nervousness on my bed.” 3:00 rolled around, and I got up to sit at my desk. I took out my notes that I’d prepared and waited. The e-mail confirmation had said that the call could be 15 minutes before or 15 minutes after. So basically, I had a window from 3:15 to 3:45 to wait. 3:30 came around, and by then I was clutching my knees in my chair. 3:35, and I was drawing Mickey Mouse heads all over my notebook as I stared at my blank phone. 3:40, I switched to drawing flowers. 3:45, I was just drawing nervous swirls. There was STILL no phone call. 3:50, STILL NO PHONE CALL. I was terrified that maybe I’d missed it somehow, maybe they couldn’t get through to me, maybe I’d given them the wrong number. Just as I was thinking of worst-case scenario #122423454, my phone rang.
Shaking, I picked it up and answered the call.
The interview lasted around 20-30 minutes. And honestly, I didn’t feel like it went well at all.
The first thing I was asked was if I had any tattoos, and I felt like I was screwed because I do. Then came the situational questions, such as “have you ever had to deal with a rude customer at work?” and “have you ever had a bad roommate experience?” I was panicking a little, and I feel like I stuttered a bit when I tried to explain my answers. Next came the role questions, and now I’ll explain what I said earlier about taking the role section of the application seriously and putting “high interest” on anything I thought I could do. I had put “high interest” for things like lifeguard and housekeeper, things that I knew I didn’t WANT to do, but WOULD do if I had to, as long as I got into the program. The problem with doing that is that NO ONE ELSE wants to have those roles. Most people put them as low interest or even no interest. So when they see that you have remotely ANY interest in one of those, they jump on you and hope that you’ll do it. I was asked how I felt about being a lifeguard, and I was honest. Then I was asked about housekeeping, and I was also honest. Then they asked about my top role: Photopass.
I’d had a whole spiel memorized for this moment. I took photography classes in high school, participated in professional portrait seminars at a professional photography studio, and I even used to be a graphic design major before I switched to tourism. When I started talking, I had gotten to the part about doing the professional seminars, and it got awkward. They had already begun to ask me another question, even though I wasn’t done answering the previous. We let the awkward moment pass, and I answered the rest of the questions. They told me to “Have a Magical Day,” and we hung up.
Full discretion, I am not bashing the interviewer or Disney in ANY way, it was just sort of awkward being on the phone and not being able to read body language and really speak my mind. They do TONS of interviews per day, and I should have expected it to be a little robotic, and I understand that fully. But because of it, I really felt like I had blown my chances.
For the next week, I would check my phone every single minute. I was dying to hear the news. Finals were rolling around for me (my school runs in trimesters, so we have finals in February), so I began to focus more on those during the last week of classes. At the time, I was taking a class called Food and Beverage in the Hospitality Industry on Tuesday nights. So, Tuesday, February 13, I went to class, and everyone was presenting their term projects. My presentation was on food tourism in Vietnam, and the different Vietnamese staples (rice, pho, tropical fruit, even wine made of rice. But it was really just about rice.). The person who was going right before me was setting up their presentation, so I decided to check my texts for a quick second. And then I saw it: an e-mail from the Walt Disney Company. With the subject line, “Congratulations!”
So here I am, about to give a presentation on R I C E, and I just got into the Disney College Program. Ali was sitting next to me, and because the person started presenting, I couldn’t yell or even speak, so I just kept smacking her arm. I showed her my phone and we sat there having our own silent spaz attack. Before I even had a second to catch my breath, it was my turn to present. So I went up, SHAKING, and had to talk about rice. I swear I don’t remember any of it, although I think I actually yelled at Ali to stop laughing at me in the middle of it. I was a little shook, to say the least. As soon as it was over, I grabbed my phone and ran out of the classroom to see what my role was. The only problem was, I couldn’t log into my dashboard because I didn’t remember the password; it was saved on my computer. After sitting there and trying about 50 different passwords, I had to go back into class. Then, I had to wait until presentations were OVER to go on my computer and find out what my role was.
When I saw the role, I was a little bit disappointed: Bell Services Dispatch/Greeter. It was definitely not in my top 5. But then I started to read up on it, and there are a ton of perks! I’d get to be in a hotel, so it’s indoors AND pertains to my major, and I’d get to drive vans around sometimes. So I was still super excited, despite the fact that it wasn’t my top choice!
When I was walking back to my dorm from class, I called everybody I knew and told them the news. As soon as I got off the phone with everyone, I got on Facebook and looked up the social pages for the program, and got to talking with people! A little over a month later, I found all 5 roommates! And little did I know it, they’d become my best friends in the whole world.
Since the beginning of my time on this planet, I’ve lived and breathed Disney. And I finally got to work there and be a part of the magic that I love so much! Being able to be a cast member and have an impact on thousands of Disney guests’ experiences was one of the greatest feelings in the world, and I can’t wait to share the rest of my stories and experiences with you.
This photo was taken almost exactly 2 years before I got accepted! Some imagination, huh?