A few weeks ago, I packed my bags and moved to Walt Disney World to participate in the fall 2019 Disney College Program. It has always been a dream of mine to work at the most magical place on Earth, and I’ve wanted to participate in the program ever since I learned about it in high school.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, the Disney College Program is a semester-long program that allows college students and recent graduates to live and work at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. It’s basically a paid internship. You can even take college classes through your school and through Disney. In addition to being a spectacular resume-booster, it’s a fun experience that allows you to be a part of the magic at the Happiest Place on Earth.
I knew that I wanted to participate in the program the semester after I graduated college, so I applied back in January. I was not expecting to receive an offer, since many people have to apply multiple times before getting in. But much to my surprise, I was offered a position in my first choice role — a fairy godmother in training at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique!
Since I’ve been accepted, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about how I got in on my first try. Honestly, I’ll never truly know. The selection process is known for being a bit random at times. But there were a few things that I was sure to include in my application and phone interview that I think contributed to me getting an offer. I wanted to share my Disney College Program application tips in case any of you are interested in applying for the program for next semester. Applications open sometime this month. Be sure to sign up for email updates so that you are notified when applications drop!
A lot of people say that it doesn’t matter when you apply — that as long as you get your application in before the deadline, you’ll have just as much of a chance at getting accepted as the people who submitted theirs on day one. However, the jobs are filled on a rolling basis. So while it might be true that your chances of getting accepted to the program in general don’t change, your chances of getting a specific role will. This is especially true for the smaller roles such as Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, vacation planner, and PhotoPass. I’d recommend getting your application in during the first week to have the best chance of receiving one of your top roles. I submitted my application three days after they opened.
Use Key Words in Application
Like most big companies, Disney uses an automated system to sift through applications. I don’t have any proof of this, but I’ve heard from many sources that using Disney language will push your application through to the second stage faster. What is Disney language, you ask? Disney uses certain words to describe business that are unique to the company. For example, customers are referred to as guests. The company also operates based on the Four Keys: safety, courtesy, show, and efficiency. These are the four basic principles that guide everything Walt Disney World does. When describing your previous work experience, try to utilize this Disney-friendly language.
Fill Up Work Experience
You will be asked to list your previous work experience in the application. Make sure to fill up this section – I believe there is room for five different previous jobs. If you’ve only had one or two previous “real” jobs, think of other things you’ve done that could be counted as experience. For example, I included babysitting and tutoring in my application. The more experience you have, the better. And if you have more experience than there is room to list, only include the jobs that are the most relevant to Disney. For example, if you have to choose between listing your experience as a nanny or a filing clerk, Disney would probably rather see that you’ve worked with kids before.
Be Smart about Ranking Roles
In one part of your application, you will be asked to indicate your interest in each role. For a complete list of roles, check out this list. While it is true that marking an interest for every role will broaden your chances of getting accepted (more roles you’re willing to perform = more opportunities for placement), keep in mind that you can be placed in any role in which you indicate interest – regardless of whether it’s high, medium, or low. So, if there is a job that you absolutely do not want to do, don’t mark any interest in it. You don’t want to be accepted for a role that you would hate doing.
Be Decisive in your WBI
If your application makes it through the first stage, you will be invited to participate in a web-based interview (WBI). The WBI is basically just a personality assessment that determines whether or not you have the qualities of a Disney employee. It’s pretty self-explanatory and only took me about 15 minutes to complete. My biggest tip for the WBI is to be decisive. The questions are timed, so you only have about 15-20 seconds to answer each one.
Additionally, you should try to answer strongly for each question. For example, lots of questions will ask you rank items from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree”, with a neutral option in the middle. I don’t have any concrete evidence for this, but I’ve heard that Disney wants you to be confident in your responses. So, try to limit the amount of times that you select a neutral response.
Finally, be sure to answer truthfully. For some of these questions, there isn’t a right or wrong answer – Disney is just trying to get a sense for your personality and your working style. And answering truthfully will reduce the risk of inconsistency. To make sure that you’re paying attention, the WBI will ask the same question a few different times, just with different wording. For example, it may ask “I am always on time” and then “I am never late.” Make sure that you mark strongly agree for both of them! Being honest will make sure that you don’t answer any of these questions inconsistently.
Prepare for your Phone Interview
Immediately after you finish your WBI, you will know if you made it to the next stage of the application process, which is the phone interview, You’ll be given a few different date/time options for scheduling. Before your interview, I recommend practicing responses to some common questions. Here is a fantastic list that I used when preparing for mine. I even wrote down some pointers and things to include in some of my responses. Just make sure to tape any notes to your wall so you don’t have to shuffle papers around!
At the end of your phone interview, your interviewer will ask if you have any other questions. Whatever you do, DON’T say no! Even if you don’t really have any questions, make up something to ask. This will show that you’re interested and are taking the program seriously. I asked my interviewer about the VoluntEARS program and about the Exploring Disney seminars.
Congratulations! After your phone interview is over, you’ve finally made it through the application process for the Disney College Program! Now comes the hard part – waiting. I got my acceptance pretty early, but some people have to wait much longer. At this point, don’t worry too much about your interview. Just remember that you’ve done the best you can do, and now the decision is in Disney’s hands.
And if you don’t get in on your first try, don’t give up hope! The DCP is an extremely competitive program, and I know so many people that had to apply several times before getting accepted.
Also, be sure to follow Christy on Twitter! She is a DCP recruiter that gives out great advice regarding applications and the program in general. Her Twitter was a a godsend for me when I was applying!
I hope that these Disney College Program application tips are helpful for you! Even though I’ve only been here for a few weeks, I have been loving every minute of it, and I am so excited to experience the rest of my program. If you have any other questions about the program, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d be happy to help in any way that I can.