College is a big transition. It’s a lot to take in at once. Not only is life as you’ve known it for the last 18 or so years completely transplanted into a world of community bathrooms and cooperating with a roommate, there’s also a sudden pressure to discover which direction to take the rest of your life toward. Not to mention this thing called class. With so much happening at once and with so many opportunities for extracurriculars on campus and throughout the college environment, many students, myself included, do a significant amount of soul-searching during their university time. Who am I? What are my dreams? How am I going to accomplish them? As these gears begin to turn, inevitably the graduate is a bit of a different person than the freshman who began four years prior. For the things that matter most, though, students retain the core of their true selves by intentionally staying grounded in who they know they are. This could relate to family, faith, hobbies, relationships, or, yes, Disney.
Disneyphiles heading to college will have an easier time than you’d think incorporating a passion for all things Mickey into their routines. Whether you’re an incoming freshman still getting a grasp of everything or a senior looking for fresh ideas, here are the top ways to bring Disney to college with you.
Dorms can be made a little less… shall we say “sterile”… by adding bits of their inhabitants’ personalities. While you may not want to go overboard for fear of frightening your roommate (MICKEY SHEETS, MICKEY BEDSPREAD, MICKEY POSTER, MICKEY RUG), there are still noteworthy ways add that Disney touch. My school has a poster sale at the beginning of each year, and there are always a few Disney selections available. Maybe you’re a trinket person: you love little items on your desk that remind you of special memories. Odds are you probably have quite a collection of Disney items already laying around somewhere. As I’ve moved off campus into an apartment, there’s even more space for a room radiating with Disney, but still in a subtle way. My proudest “combo” of decorations is on my desk: a figurine of the Storytellers statue from Disney California Adventure sitting on top of a folded issue of The Buena Vista Bugle and accompanied by a black-and-white Mickey Vinylmation.
If you’re like me, you might be surprised at how easily college students get a hankering for a Disney movie. My freshman year, the suggestion of a viewing among friends or in the dorm lobby would always spark immediate interest. Often, a Disney movie night won’t even be something for which you have to do any orchestrating. My university holds regular public screenings of new and old films, and of the six so far this school year, three of them have been Disney. This presents the wonderful opportunity you might not have ever experienced before: Watching a Disney movie you’ve loved your entire life with a crowded audience. This adds an extra layer of enjoyment that never fails to intrigue me. Do some searching around your school’s website for an event calendar. You might be pleasantly surprised at what you find.
You might have an intrinsic need to rep Disney in your daily attire. Like with a bedroom, I prefer to go the subtle route rather than the loud one, but you do you. My favorite accessories are the ones that have a distinctly Disney mark, but aren’t obnoxious about it: those items that are really cool if anyone “gets” them, but also pass as neat attire if someone doesn’t recognize their reference. For example, my backpack has the grape soda pin from Up. This is sold throughout the Disney theme parks, and every time someone recognizes it, it sparks a good conversation. A recent find I discovered online is an entire web store that exists on this idea of subtle Disney. It’s called Whosits and Whatsits, named after the lyric from “Part of Your World” in The Little Mermaid. They started up not too long ago, so their selection is still growing, but what they have available is pretty cool. I love the Peter Pan flatbill I ordered from them.
The only thing that won’t change too much about the college transition is something that’s exactly identical at home as it is at school: the Internet. Podcasts, YouTube videos, talented Instagrammers, blogs (like the very one you are currently reading), and other online sources are a great connection to everything going on in the parks—not just current news, but also more greatly appreciated details and history. I’m always finding new sites to follow, and new nooks on campus from which to peruse them.
Disney College Program
Perhaps the most significant way your college experience can get a huge dose of Disney is to become a student intern for a semester through the Disney College Program. Offered exclusively to college students, the DCP employs temporary Cast Members in various roles throughout the parks and provides apartment housing. It’s a great way to get a taste of what working for Disney is like, whether a long-term career with the company is intended or even if your career aspirations are elsewhere. It’s also a desired first step if you plan to pursue the next league of Disney employment, a Disney Professional Internship. Over the years, WDW Radio has posted a number of blog articles written by DCP alumni. Check out the DCP tag to read them all.
Striding Toward a Career
If you’re serious about either 1.) working for Disney or 2.) being involved with a career that can apply the same principles that make Disney so special, college is a time to soak in as much knowledge and experience as you can. Use the tools that your university offers that have never been before available to you to multiply your passion and credibility about something important to you, Disney or otherwise. Whether that means taking certain classes (take advantage of those elective credits!), joining certain organizations, reading certain books, or making certain connections, there’s so much at the fingertips of the college student. It’s only a matter of which direction you will take.
(Images part of author’s personal collection.)
Blake studies Electronic Media and Film at Appalachian State University. He enjoys making his family of six watch the parade in Frontierland and then sprint to Main Street in time to see it again. You can find him on Twitter @olddirtyblake or at BlakeOnline.com.