by Billy Latta
Hello, hello everyone!
I’ve returned! It’s been a month since my arrival with the Disney College Program arrival and I am well overdue for some blogging. So let’s get going and allow me to share some of my Disney College Program experience with you, our wonderful WDW Radio family.
What is the toughest part about the College Program? It’s the inevitable and perpetual challenge of time. There’s so much to do and so little time. Does this sound similar to many of your own vacations when you visit the World? Story of our lives! There’s never a dull moment with endless spectacles to see and magical moments to experience.
The College Program gives people the experience of living in either California or Florida for an extended period of time. Programs generally run for about four to six months and instinct says, “Fantastic! So much time to see and do it all!”
If I may, I would like to revise that instinctive thought—“Fantastic! So much time to see and do a whole bunch (Disney Parks & Resorts are ever changing and a lifetime would not even allow you to experience it all—haha), but not too much that I’m rushing and not embracing and enjoying those things.”
One of the best perks of the College Program is admission and playtime in the parks. Walt wanted his Cast Members to not only perform for the show, but to also experience and enjoy it themselves. So go play! How often do you get the opportunity to drop by Hollywood Studios to feel the thrill of the Tower of Terror before work or to power walk through the turnstiles at Epcot ten minutes before closing to see Illuminations? No, it’s not an everyday thing I personally do; however, when spontaneity beckons, go with the flow (never compromising your clock in or clock out time though of course—haha).
The parks are an incredible component of your time as a CP. The rides, shows, and special events offer a world of discovery, entertainment, and memories. Nevertheless, your time as a CP is not limited to the parks. Themed housing events (e.g. the Monstrous Welcome Event, Oktoberfest, Night of Stars, etc.) bring participants together for food, fun, festivities, and the occasional meet and greets with some of our favorite characters.
VoluntEARS, Give Kids the World, and the Greater Orlando Heartwalk are names of just a few options CPs are invited to become involved with during their free days. Trips to the shore, Orlando sports team events, and other vacation destinations are also on the list of possibilities.
My top recommendations though are for CPs to take advantage of the educational courses, seminars, and professional development workshops offered. If approved by their university, CPs may receive credit for certain Disney courses offered. I enrolled in Disney’s Corporate Analysis course last fall and let me say it was 1) the best college course I have ever taken and 2) the best $24 I have ever spent (one three-hour class per week for ten weeks in which I received three college credits and learned more than I ever expected).
Career Development Workshops provide participants with two-hour, expert-led sessions focusing on competencies such as resume writing, interviewing skills, presentation skills, personal branding, networking, and professionalism. The best part—they are all free offerings.
There’s never a dull moment. How would you want to spend your time (and I didn’t even get to mentioning work)? My delay in blog posts has been a testament to how busy things can get. It’s all one giant learning opportunity. You learn to prioritize, pick and choose, and most importantly enjoy what activities and events your select. Don’t get wrapped up on what you’re not doing, but embrace what you are getting to do right then and there.
I’ve missed listening to a favorite podcast, reading a favorite story, or recording a favorite memory. Life is full of constant “to-dos.” Do those “to-dos” the best you can! But never forget to also do those things that make you sit up a bit taller or smile a little extra. That’s why we never lose sight and make sure to embrace our “favorites.” I suppose those are a few things I’ve been realizing.
I’m glad to be back! And I look forward to sharing more CP “Ah-ha!” moments real soon!
Billy is a recent graduate of Malone University in Canton, OH. He participated in the Fall 2012 Disney College Program as a lifeguard at Disney’s Old Key West and Saratoga Springs resorts and has returned in reprising his previous role in his previous location for the Fall 2013 Disney College Program. Billy enjoys keeping in touch with family from up north, spending time with friends in the parks, running, traveling, listening to podcasts, and keeping up-to-date on the latest Disney and entertainment news.