/ Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

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 “high interest,” “moderate interest,” “low interest,” or “no interest.” 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 “Thanks for Applying” 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 couldn’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 “Why do you want to work for Disney?” 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 can’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 “high interest,” almost everything else was “moderate” or “low interest.” We talked about the five I chose as “high interest” 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 don’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 longest  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 “pending a final decision” and I would hear back by December 19th! I couldn’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 don’t, do not freak out! There is always a possibility that someone who was “pended” could find out before a person who wasn’t. Recruiting is just trying to find the perfect spot for you, so don’t worry.) After obsessing about it for about a week, I came to terms that I can’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 “pended” 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 “Disney Limbo.” In “Disney Limbo,” 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 offer  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,

Chandler

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.

19 Responses to "Disney College Program: The Application Process"

  1. Jamie says:

    Thanks for the details recap. My kids are interested in doing the college program, but they still have a few years to go before they can apply. I hope they get in!

  2. Bryan Fykes says:

    Congrats on getting in. You are going to have an AWESOME time. I was on the CP in 1997 (god, it seems like so long ago, and still like it was only yesterday) Please remember to take time to play in the parks AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE! I regret the days that I slept in on a day off, or hung out all day and did nothing. Also remember that if you are working in a park to go in early and do something fun before work, or stay late and do something fun afterwards. even just sitting on a bench on Main street and watching kids (big and small) reaction to seeing the castle for the first time can be a very rewarding experience. you will be working there during a very exciting time with all of the new stuff opening up… Make the most of it! If you want any advice from an old timer like me, find me on Facebook and I’d be happy to regale you of stories of the good old days!!!
    Bryan Fykes

  3. Hannah says:

    Hey Chandler! I just found out yesterday that I’ve been accepted for the Disney World Fall 2012 college program. I’ve been reading everything I can get my hands on, I’m so excited!! Thanks for creating a tumblr about your experiences- it’ll be really great to follow while I get ready for my own trip this fall! Have a blast down there!!

  4. James says:

    Hi,

    I had my final interview one and a half weeks ago when the recruiters came toMexico, it was for the Summer College Program. They told us we would get an answer in two weeks. Do you know if they send you an email even if you don’t get the job offer, or if you don’t get it they send you nothing?

    Thank you!

  5. Madison says:

    I just applied today, is this too late to be considered?

  6. Bryan says:

    i had my interveiw back on march 18th does anyone know how long it usually takes to get a response on the dash board of an acceptance or rejection?(they said within two weeks so its nearing that time period for me)

  7. kaylan says:

    were on facebook did you find the group of people that want to apply also???

  8. Lauren says:

    This is really helpful. I’m going to apply this year, and I was wondering, ow many times are you allowed to apply?

  9. Ashley says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! I recently interviewed for the disney college program and got the pending email from them. When I did I felt like this was just a polite pre-notice to my future email that would say I am not accepted but thank you for explaining it’s just basically a waiting list. Your detailed information really helped and now all I can do is wait until I get the final email saying whether or not I am accepted. The wait will be long but as you said if I do get in it will feel ten times more amazing because of the wait!

  10. Joey says:

    Same here Ashley, I got that notice and I won’t know latest, by December 14th. Hopefully both of us will get in.

  11. Kerry says:

    I am also being pended…I’m really hoping for the best!

  12. Kelly says:

    I’m pended also! I felt so alone, but I’m glad that there are other people in the same boat. I hope for the best for all of us!

  13. Taylor Bellow says:

    I had my phone interview on October 3rd to attend the DCP from January to May 2013 and the recruiter told me that i would find out in two weeks or less if theres an offer. Its been a week and 1 day since my interview, so i still have a little waiting. I also received the email right after the phone call saying “If i didnt hear anything by December 19th to call them” so i started freaking out bc i was told it would only be two weeks. Hopefully that email is just a back up and im just glad im not the only one in this boat lol. Hopefully we all get in! this is all i think about! The waiting game is killer but will definitely be worth it like you said! Fingers Crossed!!

  14. Hannah says:

    I just had my phone interview yesterday and I feel so good about it! I asked my interviewer “If I don’t make it in for this spring, can apply again?” and she said “Don’t be silly! You won’t need to worry about that!” so I felt that was a really good sign. Got my email today saying that I am “Pending”. I’m staying positive!

  15. Hannah says:

    I would really love to find roommates If I get accepted, so ladies, stay in touch!

  16. Francisco says:

    Do you really have to be in college to do the college program?

  17. Sean says:

    So is it just a standard application that you just fill out or do you attach a resume as well? I plan on applying for the Fall Advantage Program 2013 the applications are suppose to be out at the beginning of February!

  18. Kerry says:

    Sean, yes it is very easy. They want to hear strong answers so don’t give them weak ones! It’s the phone interview you have to be wary of!

  19. Sean says:

    Thanks! I was under the impression for some reason that a resume needed to be submitted along with the application.

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