In Fall of 2015 I stumbled upon a Facebook post that detailed a former sorority sister’s story about her Disney College Program. She gushed about how amazing it was for her, despite occasional challenges, and how she would do just about anything to go back. After reading I thought to myself that I just wasn’t enough of a Disney nerd to be able to do something like that. Sure, I’m a marketing major and geek out about the Disney brand, but I didn’t actively follow the movies or know all of the character’s names. A few weeks later I was working in my apartment’s main office. A girl walked in excited to get her package because it was a Disney Dooney and Bourke purse that she had wanted to get her hands on for a while. She then explained to me and my co-worker her love for Disney and how she was an alum of the DCP. She gushed that it was an experience everyone needed to have during their time in college. My mind immediately went back to when I had read that post on Facebook and I googled how tall you had to be to attend character auditions. At 5’10”, let’s just say I walked away from that search a bit disappointed. Then I did more research only this time on YouTube. I found vlogs all about other people’s Disney College Programs and how amazing the program was for them. That’s when I decided that I absolutely had to pursue this opportunity.
Researching the Program
That Spring I used the majority of my free time to watch any vlog or video about Disney, it didn’t even have to be about the college program. I think I watched nearly every Disney haul video on YouTube at the time. Then I brought it up to my parents. I expressed my crazy idea to take a semester off of school and move to Disney World to pursue an opportunity of a lifetime. I am a marketing major after all and who can say no to working for the most authentic brand in the world? That’s when my mom joined me in doing research. What was this program? Was it really worth taking a semester off of school? Where would we live? Where there benefits to doing the program? Over the summer though, I knew I was going to pursue the program. I was looking something up daily and constantly talking about it. I pity my parents, brother, and friends for having to hear about it every day.
Apps dropped August 15, 2016 for the Spring 2017 Disney College Program. Almost on cue as the announcement e-mail came into my inbox my mom called me asking if I’d applied yet. From my research over the summer (yes, I’m calling it research) I had heard horror stories about people’s apps getting lost after applying day one, so I decided to apply two days later. August 17th, 2016 I finally sat down and applied to the college program. Let me just say, I’ve never been more nervous to fill out a job application in my life. I checked for spelling errors, I made sure it emphasized every strength possible, and I reread over and over checking to make sure I couldn’t use any better wording. At the end, I ended up without a sign-out button and panicked. Where in the world was the button that the page told me I needed to have? I freaked out, called my dad, e-mailed tech support, and had a minor panic attack. And yes, over a sign out button. Turns out, not everyone gets a sign out button. Lesson learned.
Fifteen minutes after submitting my application I got an e-mail to progress onto the WBI. To say the least, this made me even more nervous than doing the application. I knew that as soon as I completed the WBI I would know if I was progressing to the phone interview or not. I kid you not when I say I called my mom and literally made her stay on the line until the end of my WBI so that she would be there for the end result, whether good or bad. I missed a question on the WBI because I ran out of time and immediately I was freaking out. This was Disney. And since it was Disney, surely one little mistake could completely end my chances of ever getting on with the company. Well, thankfully that mistake didn’t end anything for me, I ended up progressing to the PI. Immediately after seeing that I was progressing on after the WBI, my e-mail tinged with a new message and I was able to schedule my phone interview. I immediately scheduled it for Tuesday, August, 30th. And yes, waiting almost two weeks was hard.
The night before my phone interview I sat down and wrote out 5 sticky-notes full of information. I wrote down my top 5 preferences for roles, my park preferences, had a sticky note to write down my interviewer’s name, wrote out my questions for the end, and even had one sticky note for why I felt I was a good match for the company. Then the day of the interview came. I was a nervous wreck. My interview was at 3pm and I was dressed in professional clothes sitting at my desk at 2:30. I reviewed my sticky notes over and over and made sure my pen worked. Then I said my “God help me prayer”. Right after I said “amen” my phone rang at 2:45pm. In all honesty, the interview was a blur. I got off the phone in exactly 20 minutes and called my mom. I had just completed my Disney interview.
The Disney College Program application process is full of lots of waiting. Whether 15 minutes or 15 days, each and every wait is painful because the majority of us want answers as soon as possible. I couldn’t help but check my e-mail nearly every chance I got. I was bound and determined that I would get my reaction to my (hopefully) acceptance on tape, so I recorded each time I checked my e-mail and dashboard. I can’t count the number of clips I recorded in one day each day in anticipation of finally hearing something back. In fact, the day before my acceptance came I have an emotional clip where I start to go on about thinking I’m not good enough for the company and won’t get a job offer.
Congratulations, You’ve Been Selected
On Friday, September 23rd, 2016 I sat down at my computer after my university’s career fair. I had attended in pursuit of an internship for summer 2017 because internships are required to graduate from the business program. I hadn’t heard anything back from Disney so I knew I had to start applying for internships. I opened my computer, turned on my camera, and pulled up my e-mail. And I saw the e-mail, right as it came in. “Congratulations, you have been accepted to the Disney College Program.” So many people thought that my reaction was staged, fake, or rehearsed, but it wasn’t. I literally went from almost tears because I thought I hadn’t made it to complete and utter joy because I was moving to Disney in the snap of your fingers because I guess that’s how I react to exciting news. Plus, I’m not typically one to cry, so the fact that I even have something close to tears on camera means it’s not staged for me. What wasn’t filmed was jumping around my apartment for over an hour in utter disbelief. This was real. I was moving to Disney World. And little did I know, my program would be starting in exactly four short months.