Believe it or not, college students can live at a Disney resort for an entire semester! Of course it comes at a price, but who wouldn’t want to be given the opportunity to live at Disney World and go to the parks for free for an entire semester, or possibly longer? This magical experience is called the Disney College Program.
What is the Disney College Program?
The Disney College Program, otherwise known as the DCP, is an opportunity for college students to get away from schooling for a semester. Program participants move to either Disney World in Florida or Disneyland in California and work in the parks or around the resorts. So yes, the program is not just about living at the most magical place on Earth and going to the parks everyday for free. Depending on what you love and aspire to do for a career, the program holds many opportunities and experiences that make all of the hard work worth it. Although it is a great first step toward a possible career with the company, many students just do the program for the program’s own experience and to step away from the stress of college for the semester.
I have not done the program myself yet, but I have talked to some people who have participated in the program at least once, and they have explained to me how much the program has done for them. Janie Schlie, who began her program in the fall of 2017 as a Photopass Photographer in EPCOT and ended as a guide at Kilimanjaro Safari in Animal Kingdom, says:
“my confidence has gone up, my people skills have gone up… I’ve had a lot of opportunities here and I’ve gotten to meet a lot of people here.”
Kaitlyn Scott, who began her first program in the spring of 2018 at the Port Orleans Riverside Resort and is now on her second program working at Animal Kingdom on the Gorilla Falls trail, says: “My favorite thing was meeting people from all over the world while learning about who I am.”
Erica Lovesee, who worked at Pinocchio Village Haus at Magic Kingdom, says: “My overall favorite thing would have to be the friendships I made. I still talk to so many of them to this day and I wouldn’t trade my memories for anything.”
The roles offered in the program will more than likely not be related to your specific major, but I will explain later how it can essentially pay off. Some of the basic park roles that you may receive include:
These all involve a direct experience with guests in both the parks and resorts, and are the most common role offered to DCP participants. Other roles in the program include:
- Photopass Photographer
- Character Performer/Attendant
This is only the start of the list, there are so many more roles offered that you can check out here.
Opportunities and Experiences
Now for the biggest reasons of why the program is so worth the hard work that goes into it. First of all, you can take classes that are directed toward roles that Disney actually offers as real jobs. For instance, in the past they have offered classes in engineering, or as Disney calls it “Imagineering,” as well as communication, guest relations, entertainment production, and more. Furthermore, they offer classes just to learn about the company and the parks more, sometimes with backstage tours.
The program is also a great first step toward a Disney Professional Internship, which will directly pertain to your major. The DCP allows you to understand the highly respected company as a whole, and it is a great networking opportunity. Whether you decide to continue with the company afterward or not, it looks great on a resume! Of course, all of this is not going to fall into your lap if you do the program. It takes determination and a little bit of pixie dust to make the program what you want it to be for you.