|By Brittany Bell|
Since she can remember, it has been contributing writer Brittany Bell's dream to work at Walt Disney World. She recalls being just eight or nine years old telling Cast Members that she wanted to do the Disney College Program and become an Imagineer. Well, in January 2018, her dream will finally come true, as she will be participating in the 2018 Spring Advantage Disney College Program. Brittany will be documenting her journey with the Walt Disney Company through a series of articles here on Disney Avenue by sharing her adventures, challenges, and successes as she navigate through this unique program. Brittany wants these articles to be a fun read, while also being informative for those who, like her, want to participate in the Disney College Program one day. Join us as we begin her journey with the exciting application process…
I applied for the Disney College Program (DCP) on August 21, 2017. It was the very first day that applications were open for the Spring 2018 season, and I was eager to apply. Since I will be graduating from Boston University in December, this essentially was my last chance to participate in the College Program, and I was determined to get in. The application essentially asks for the basics: name, address, education, work experience, and job preferences. There are quite a few possible roles with the DCP, and you have the option to express levels of interest in each role. Note that unless you express “no interest” in a position, you will still be considered.
Upon sending in my application (“Step 1”), I heard back in a few hours that I was selected to complete a Web Interview (“Step 2”). This ‘interview’ is more of a personality test to see if your attitude and work ethics align with what Disney looks for in its Cast Members. The WBI (web-based interview) took me about 30 minutes to complete. At the end of the WBI, it identifies whether or not you are a strong candidate for the DCP. I was lucky enough to be identified as such, and was prompted to schedule my phone interview (PI), also known as “Step 3”. I scheduled my PI for Thursday, August 24.
To prepare for my phone interview, I went on the College Program website to further explore the potential roles I would be considered for. My tip is to find roles that best fit not only your personality, but your interests and skill sets. My top role going into my PI was Merchandise, as I had retail experience in one of my internships and it is a role that relies very heavily on guest interaction. Another tip I recommend is to think about and articulate (in your notes) how your experience (whether it be in school or work related) challenged you, how you grew from your challenges, and how that helps you in your work today. Another very helpful hint is to leave a space on your notes to write down your interviewer’s name--this is the first (and only, likely) time you’ll be talking to an actual person in your application process, and Disney is big on names!
My PI started about 10 minutes later than its scheduled time (Disney recommends to allot 15 minutes both before and after your PI for when it could possibly start!) and took about 20 minutes. My interviewer, Nicki, was extremely friendly and very encouraging. The interview felt more like a conversation about why I want to do the program, how my work and school experience has prepared me for the program, and where I would best fit. I also expressed that my top role was in Merchandise and articulated as to why I would be a good fit for this role. Disney does take into consideration your preferences, so be sure to express them!
At the end of my PI, Nicki asked if I have any questions, and even if you don’t necessarily have any questions, I recommend asking at least one or two—it shows you are deeply interested in DCP and that you have an “insatiable curiosity” as Bob Gurr often says, something Disney looks for in its Cast Members. After my PI, the waiting game began.
I heard back from the Disney College Program 4 weeks to the day that I first applied (I heard on Sept. 18). One really useful tip I have (that I learned by myself) is to know when acceptance “waves” are happening, follow @Disney_Oscar on Twitter. He is responsible for sending out some of the acceptances for the DCP and he was extremely responsive to questions and updated his account daily on when acceptance waves would go out. I turned on notifications for his account so I could stay updated on when acceptance waves were happening.
When I was finally accepted, I received an email that congratulated me and outlined the steps I had to take to accept my offer. First, I had to review the official offer from Disney. On the offer, I learned that I would be a Merchandise Cast Member (yay!) for the Spring Advantage Program. It also gave more details about working, living, and learning through the program. Once I accepted this offer, I was able to pay for my program fees and select my move in dates. My program will officially begin on January 29, 2018.
After the waiting game, the post-acceptance period is the fun part. I joined a Facebook group with other CPs that have the same arrival date as me. There, we post about ourselves and are able to connect with the people we will be working with! Since I will be living off-property, I don’t have to worry about finding roommates, but the Facebook group is where people have been connecting with that as well. Everyone is extremely friendly and we all have (at least) one thing in common: a love for Disney!
DCP also has what they call an “Onboarding Website” where I can go and learn more about the program, find out about important dates (such as when to submit certain forms, etc.), and find a checklist to make sure everything that needs to be done gets done! For Type A personalities like me, this website is a savior!
And for now, that is all in my Disney College Program journey. I will keep writing more articles as more happens, and eventually, I will be able to detail my experiences living and working in Walt Disney World. If you have any questions or would like to follow along with my adventures more, follow me on Instagram @bibbidibobbidibrittany! I’d love to connect and chat more about Disney. Thanks for reading, and have a magical day!
Brittany Bell grew up in Lewiston, Maine, about 45 minutes away from Portland. She is currently studying Public Relations and Journalism at Boston University, and hopes to one day work for the Mouse himself. She grew up in a Disney-loving home, and would watch Sleeping Beauty on repeat as a little girl. Her first trip to Walt Disney World was in the summer of 2000, at four years old. Ever since then, Brittany and her family take annual trips to the World, and have no intention of vacationing anywhere else. Her favorite places in Walt Disney World are the Animal Kingdom Lodge, the Grand Floridian, and the Magic Kingdom. She can’t go without seeing Fantasmic! at least once each vacation, even though she chokes up a little at the final scene. Brittany is fascinated by how one man’s dream became an empire—one that makes dreams come true every day.
Before she became obsessed with Frozen and Queen Elsa, her favorite Disney characters were Princess Aurora and Mulan. She loves everything and anything Disney, from the parks, to the movies, to the Broadway musicals. In the near future she hopes to participate in the Disney College Program and work as a “friend of a princess”.
You can find all of Brittany's articles here.