by Chandler Witzigreuter
The application process for the Disney College Program is fairly simple! When I was preparing to apply, I went to the College Program website and looked up the requirements for the program to make sure that I was eligible. The two main requirements are: that you are at least 18 years old, and that you must be enrolled in a college or university at the time that you apply. When I got back from Florida with my family, it was July and I was getting ready to start school in August and I officially met all of the requirements for the program! When school started, I joined a Facebook group full of people who were going to apply for the Spring/Spring Advantage 2012 Program. We all talked about the different roles that we were going to apply for, and what apartment complex we wanted to stay at, and yes, we even started finding potential roommates before we had even applied!
Finally in September the applications were posted! The first day to apply was September 5th, so that morning I woke up early and applied as soon as I could! The application was like any other, it asked for your name, your school, if you work anywhere, and some other basic questions. The application also asked you what roles you were interested in. There are tons of options for roles, some of them are Attractions, Merchandise, Quick-Service Food and Beverage, Table-Service Food and Beverage, Costuming, Character Attendant, Custodial, and a plethora of others! You go through the roles and you say if you have â€œhigh interest,â€ â€œmoderate interest,â€ â€œlow interest,â€ or â€œno interest.â€ Depending on what you say for the roles, you will be asked accordingly in the phone interview, if you move on.
After you are done with the application and choosing your roles, you get an e-mail saying â€œThanks for Applyingâ€ that has instructions to go on to the Web-Based Interview or the WBI. The WBI was like a simple survey where you answered questions by rating it between 1 and 10. They were questions like how do you rate your confidence, and you had to rate yourself between 1 and 10; easy right? After you completed your WBI, you will either get an e-mail inviting you to move on to the phone interview, or you will get one saying that you would unfortunately not be moving on to the phone interview. When you get the e-mail inviting you to move on, you have 3 days to schedule your phone interview. They tell you to set aside 30 minutes for the interview, and they also plan on having the interview 15 minutes early or late because the recruiters could be running ahead or behind on their interviews.
As soon as I got the e-mail I scheduled my interview! I scheduled it for September 8th at 10:45 in the morning, so I had time to get up and prepare myself. I was super nervous the night before my interview. The day before I looked up a sample of questions and I thought about what I would say, I felt like I was ready for the next day. I woke up on the 8th at like 7 a.m. because I couldnâ€™t sleep, so I practiced my answers for the practice questions I thought of, I baked cookies, and I tried to relax. Finally after hours of busy work the phone rang. I answered the phone, then carried my cup of water that I had and walked in to a quiet room. My recruiter was super nice and I could tell that she loved being a recruiter for Disney. She asked me how I was doing and she told me to stay calm and have fun with the interview. Knowing that, I felt a little more comfortable. The first question she asked me was â€œWhy do you want to work for Disney?â€ I took a deep breath and told her about how much I love Disney movies, and how many times I have been to Disney World with my family, and I also mentioned how I feel like Disney has helped me stay a kid and believe in magic. She laughed a little when I said that, and I also told her that I canâ€™t picture myself working anywhere else because I was meant to work for Disney. After that, we moved into talking about the roles I selected. I chose Attractions, Merchandise, Lifeguard, Photopass Photographer, and Vacation Planner as â€œhigh interest,â€ almost everything else was â€œmoderateâ€ or â€œlow interest.â€ We talked about the five I chose as â€œhigh interestâ€ and why I thought I would be good at doing those roles. After talking about the roles, we moved on to some situational questions. She asked me about how I would handle working with a customer and a fellow Cast Member asking me for help. I told her that I would take care of my customer first, because I donâ€™t want to take away any of the magic that they are experiencing, my recruiter seemed to like that. The interview lasted about 20 or 30 minutes, and at the end she told me that I could hear back from them in anywhere from around 2-4 weeks.
For the phone interview, all I can tell you is: stay calm, be honest, and smile! If you are nervous during your interview you rush yourself and you might not be understandable. Be honest, Disney wants to get to know the real you and smile they can tell! If you seem excited and enthusiastic you will have a better interview.
Ever since my interview, I checked my e-mail almost ever hour. It was the longestÂ week and a half of my life! Then on September 20th I got an e-mail that almost made me lose hope. The e-mail said that I was â€œpending a final decisionâ€ and I would hear back by December 19th! I couldnâ€™t believe it, how was I supposed to wait until December? Waiting 10 days was pure torture to me! (If you get this e-mail or even if you donâ€™t, do not freak out! There is always a possibility that someone who was â€œpendedâ€ could find out before a person who wasnâ€™t. Recruiting is just trying to find the perfect spot for you, so donâ€™t worry.) After obsessing about it for about a week, I came to terms that I canâ€™t change the outcome and that I did all that I could and it was now out of my hands. I met a bunch of other people who were â€œpendedâ€ and we formed a Facebook group that we used as a support system, it felt comforting to know that there were others who were in the same boat as me. Time went on, and some of my friends were getting accepted, while I was stuck in something I liked to call â€œDisney Limbo.â€ In â€œDisney Limbo,â€ all time stands still seems meaningless and your whole life revolves around Disney, you start to feel like the possibility of being accepted is getting further and further away. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, trust me; the tunnel might feel like it goes on forever, but eventually you get your response! And when you finally get that acceptance, you realize that waiting just made it so much more gratifying.
My advice for the waiting period is: just stay calm and stay positive. It can be hard at times to stay positive especially if you see that lots of other people are getting accepted, trust me, I know! If you are religious or spiritual, you can pray and hope and wish that there is good news soon. Everything and anything helps, but whatever you do STAY POSITIVE!!!!
I got my acceptance e-mail on November 28th, so I waited almost 3 months just to hear back! I would have to say that day was one of the best days of my life! All the waiting that I had to do made my acceptance a million times better!! I accepted my offerÂ and paid my fees that same day, then I chose my check-in and departure dates. I was accepted for Merchandise in the Spring Advantage 2012 Program, I was so happy too because Merchandise was my #2 on my list!!! I check-in on February 6th and I am scheduled to check-out on August 10th.
After you accept your offer, pay your fees, and choose your dates, you can choose classes to take while you are there! The classes are not mandatory, but many participate because some are eligible for college credit! There are also classes that are part of the Disney Exploration Series, which is more of a learning laboratory that spans across the whole Walt Disney World Resort. You cannot go wrong with any of the classes given by the Disney College Program, all of the classes are taught by actual Cast Members who have experience in that field. Some of the classes cost, but the price is very minimal compared to college classes; and some classes also require a book that you will need to buy before going to class. I signed up for the Marketing YOU! class and the Exploring Marketing class. Unfortunately, the class I really wanted was unavailable when I was able to sign up for classes, but the classes that were open were all so good, it as hard to decide. While you are participating, you can only take 2 classes because you still have to have the time to work.
If you decide to apply, or if you are thinking of applying, I would start looking at the website for information about the program and you can also watch videos about the program on YouTube. There is no such thing as looking too early. I hope this was helpful and informational.
Have a Magical Day,
You can see more information on the Disney College Program website at: DisneyCollegeProgram.com
You can follow my journeys through the Disney College Program here, or on my Tumblr: chandlerswdwcpadventures.tumblr.com
Chandler Witzigreuter is a 19 year old from Fort Wayne, IN, who has been obsessed with all things Disney ever since she was very young. She is now going to participate in the Disney College Program Spring Advantage Session starting in February.