Collection of DCP Interviews

So last week, I compiled a ton of information so that I could put together an article about the DCP for Montclair State University’s student newspaper. I gathered factual information about the DCP and interviewed DCP alumni from MSU. Long story short, a lot of information got cut do to spatial constraints (which I totally understand). However, since the CP alumni that I interviewed gave such fantastic responses when I interviewed them, I figured I’d put together a blog post to showcase their awesome answers and the photos they sent!

(Each of the students interviewed is either a current MSU student or recent graduate who successfully completed his or her Disney College Program. They have given me their permission to post their responses, and each provided their own photos.)

  • Jason – attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • Lauren – attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • Rafelina – housekeeping at the All-Star resorts
  • Sarah – QSFB at Disney’s Animal Kingdom/Magic Kingdom
  • Caity – attractions at Epcot

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Learn more about opportunities with Disney through the Disney Internships & Programs blog:

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Jason, a Communications/Public Relations major, participated in the Disney College Program during the Fall Advantage 2013 season.

“I worked at Lights Motors Action: Extreme Stunt Show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Essentially, the cast members at that show do a number of jobs where we try to safely and efficiently fit 5,000 people into our grandstand, let them watch the show, and then get them out.  Since we usually only had two or three shows a day, there was a lot of downtime in between shows.  So we would talk to guests by our sign or walk around the Streets of America facades and help lost guests (they’re probably looking for Toy Story Midway Mania).  There are no shows past sunset because the headlights on the cars reflect off the other cars and the drivers can’t see where they are driving.  The show actually runs in most rainfall as long as there is no lightning or heavy wind, which definitely makes the show more dangerous exciting! I usually worked from about 10am to 5pm every day, which gives me plenty of time to go catch whatever firework show in Disney World I want.

From November through New Years, I also worked at the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, where they light up the Streets of America with 5 million Christmas lights, play great music, and make it snow! So a few days a week, after my usual day at Lights Motors Action, I would change costumes, and spend time mingling with guests, taking pictures, and dancing to music.  As someone who always goes into New York City to get into the Christmas spirit, I can say the Spectacle of Dancing Lights was a great alternative. ”

Did you take any classes while you were on your CP? How did these classes fit in with your degree?

“I took Disney’s Marketing You and Disney’s Creativity and Innovation classes, as well as Disney’s Marketing Exploration Series.  “Marketing You” was very similar to the Career Management class Communication majors take and helped me master resume writing and being confident.  Disney’s Creativity and Innovation taught me that you need to have intrinsic motivation to be productive, which means that you need to do things that make you happy if you want to be successful.”

What was your favorite part of Disney housing?

“I absolutely LOVED having random apartment inspection days.  That was a nice anxiety attack every month.  My actual favorite part of Disney housing was that I felt safe and secure inside the complexes.  Days off away from anything Disney-related are extremely therapeutic.  Spend a day doing some laundry, cooking some amazing food, going to the pool, and watching Law and Order marathons.  You’ll thank me later. I also liked how all the local food delivery places know all of the Disney apartment complexes by heart.  For extra fun when ordering pizza, fill out the special request box and request them to draw a Disney character on it!  Maybe you’ll get something good?”

What was a standout moment on your program?

“There became a point when I realized I had the best friends I could ever ask for, and I cherished every moment I spent with them.

One of my favorite magical moments was when I was working at the Spectacle of Dancing Lights. One night, I had the pleasure of choosing a family to turn on the 5 million lights. I picked a family from Texas who was visiting Disney for the first time and they had 2 adorable kids. After they turned the lights on, the family found me and the mother was crying. She told me that it was their favorite part of their entire vacation and that they’ll never forget it. That is why I chose to work at Disney World. I made magic happen.”

How did the program affect your future and your career goals?    

“It increased my passion and knowledge for working in a theme park and it definitely made a Public Relations job for Disney look reachable for me.  I would love to work for Disney in the near future.”

Do you have any advice for potential applicants?

“Make the experience yours.  Explore the parks. Explore the resorts. Explore Orlando.  Go outside your comfort zone and do thing you normally would never do.  You’ll be creating your own story that you can tell for the rest of your life, so make it the best story ever.”

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Lauren, a Sports, Events, and Tourism Marketing major, participated in the Spring 2014 program.

“My main area was at the Backlands where I worked as a “Toy” at Toy Story Midway Mania. A day in the life in Andy’s Room was fun, but very busy. Attractions is all about being efficient, but making safety your number one priority. I learned so much regarding how to handle situations with guests whether it was about wait times, fast passes, asking for secrets to get a high score in the Toy Box or talking with Make Wish families to assist them with their child’s ride accommodations. Although sometimes not every guest encounter ends magically, you learn to make the best of every situation and walk away with a smile. You have to understand Disney is indeed a dream come true for most families, but in the end it is a business and in the business world you’re not always going to have happy guests, but it’s up to you to make the magic happen. From fast passes, to prepping the 3D glasses for the Midway, and asking thousands of guests to “lower their lap bar” and then greeting their return with a “welcome back toys”  working in Andy’s Room was nothing short of a full  and long day’s work. Regardless, working with some of my favorite Toys was an awesome experience, the theming and immersive storytelling of working in Attractions in such a park as Hollywood Studios allows cast members like me to create magic for the guests and give them the best overall experience when they shrink down to the size of a Toy and get the chance to play in Andy’s room. I will never forget what the feeling of being a “real toy” and forever having A NDY written on the bottom of my shoe, I’ve learned so much and it’s an experience I’ll take with me for the rest of my life.

‘Do you want to build a snowman…?’ In JULY? The second half of my extended program I found myself in Oaken’s trading post working as a Cousin at Hollywood Studios Frozen Funlands. I was chosen to work on opening team for this brand new attraction which was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Working Frozen Funlands was considered an Attraction, but was more of an interactive walk through experience rather than an actual operating attraction like Toy Story. Frozen Funland allowed guests the opportunity to visit Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post where they could play in a snow pit, ice skate with Disney on Ice Frozen Stars and then purchase Frozen merchandise while enjoying an infamous Olaf carrot cake cupcake. I enjoyed the opportunity that I got the chance to work with all different types of cast members with different roles such as operations, merchandise and even entertainment. It was a new experience and refreshing experience for me near the end of my program which I was so thankful to have the chance to participate in.”

Did you take any Disney classes on your CP? Which classes did you take? How did these classes fit into your degree? What were some interesting things you learned?

“I took two classes, an exploratory class and a credited class through the Disney Education Program. I took a class called Exploring Disney Heritage which met once a week with a wonderful professor named David. We discussed company culture and how the Walt Disney Company came to be and learned stories about Walt and Roy and their successes and failures. Then we were lucky enough to go on tours through the parks and learn the history of them, while enjoying scavenger hunts around Hollywood Studios to test our Disney knowledge. I highly recommend this class for all the true Disney enthusiasts.

The other class which I took and earned credit for was called Creativity & Innovation with one of my favorite professors, Ellen. This class consisted of learning how to utilize your creativity and innovation skills and get the most out of them in the workplace. We learned how to use the culture within the workplace at Disney and use our knew knowledge to enhance our project management skills, our group work and team building skills and especially work creatively to solve problems. This was one of my favorite classes; despite the homework and large amounts of projects this was an excellent course and I plan on taking the skills I learned in class along with me and implement them as I finish my Senior year at Montclair.”

What was your favorite part of Disney housing?

My favorite part about Disney housing was certainly was not the buses, so learn to make friends with people who have cars! However, the ability to truly live independently, while having the opportunity to network, meet new friends and take part in special housing events on property was a dream come true. During my program I lived in both Chatham Square and Patterson Court, both which I loved and highly recommend to future DCP participants.

What was a standout moment on your program?

A standout moment on my program was when I was awarded the Four Keys Fanatic quarterly award winner for all of Hollywood Studios. I was eligible for this by receiving Four Keys Fanatic cards while at work from management or my fellow cast members. These wonderful small rewards are reminders that going above and beyond in the work place to help make magic never goes unnoticed. Although it’s nice to be recognized, the true joy is found on the face of a child or the tears of their mother’s eyes when you are able make magic for them creating a lifelong memory that they will never forget. Those are just some of my favorite reasons why I love working alongside of Mickey.

How did the program affect your future and your career goals?

My ultimate dream job has always been to work for Disney, a company who reminds us about the child inside our hearts and creates the opportunity to help make dreams come true. The Disney College Program opened my eyes up to all of the opportunities that await me after graduation. Working for Disney reassured me about my decision to participate in the Sports, Events and Tourism Marketing concentration, an emerging field with endless opportunities within the business world. I’m so thankful for to have had the chance to experience the DCP because I was able to both connect and network with several managers which could play a large role in my future with Disney and other companies.

Do you have any advice for potential applicants?

Not every guest interaction will be magical.  Some guests will yell, curse, and insult you, however, they are not yelling at you but rather the name on your name tag.  Wear your name tag with pride and as a shield over your heart and never stop making magic!  Also in Disney it’s OK to talk to strangers because sometimes the people you never expected to meet become your best friends.  The friends whose hands you hold while wearing your Disney graduation Mickey Ears watching Wishes together for the final time as a CP. And sometimes, you just may be lucky enough to find your princess or prince charming along the way.”

lauren1 lauren2


Rafelina, a recent MSU graduate, majored in Business Administration with a concentration in Hospitality Management. She was a DCP Spring 2014 participant, and is still working for Disney.

“My role was Housekeeping. I was responsible for the overall cleanliness of the guest’s room. I had the chance to interact with guests daily, responding to their requests, and assisting with directions. We also had the privilege of creating magical moments by leaving creative towel animals in the room. I primarily worked in the All Star Resorts; within all three themes.”

“I participated in the program right after I graduated Montclair State University so I wouldn’t have received any credit for courses I took. I did take Disney Heritage which was a fantastic seminar outlining the history of Walt Disney and the company just for the benefit of learning more about the company, Walt Disney, and their past.”

What was your favorite part of Disney housing?

“I really enjoyed meeting and being able to connect and bond with people from all over the world. In my apartment alone I had ladies from Michigan, Wisconsin, California, and New York! It did take a little getting used to, especially since we all had different upbringings, but it was pretty amazing being about to get to know them.”

What was a standout moment on your program?

“I actually only visited the parks once before the program, and that was only to Magic Kingdom when I was around 8 years old, so being able to experience all the parks on my time off for free was truly amazing.”

How did the program affect your future and your career goals?

“Since I graduated before I came down for my program, I actually applied during my CP and was offered a Management Internship as a Guest Service Manager for Housekeeping. I am currently on this internship and it has allowed me to continue to work for this amazing company. I can definitely say that the Disney College Program opened doors for many opportunities to the Walt Disney Company.”

Do you have any advice for potential applicants?

“Never give up your dreams. I thought I had lost my chance of being able to participate in the program since I was almost done with school, but I was able to apply in my last semester. Of course there will be tough times when participating in the DCP, but it is such a great learning experience in every type of way. I would definitely recommend students to at least give it a try.”

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Sarah, a Communications & New Media major, participated in the Spring 2014 program.

Sarah worked in Quickservice in Animal Kingdom, then transferred to Magic Kingdom

Did you take any classes on your CP?

“I got 6 credits for free elective internship credit through MSU, then took two classes online through Montclair, thus accumulating to 12 credits in total so I was not behind in my degree by doing the program.”

What did you like about Disney housing?

“I lived in Chatham, and lived in an 8 person apartment. My favorite part of the housing was pool!”

What was a standout moment on your program?

“I got a four keys card, but one of the moments I remember most was watching wishes with my roommates, or maybe when we completed the kitchen sink on my birthday.”

How did the program affect your career and future goals?

“I am now a DCP alumni, and have more connections and possible job opportunities in the future.”

Do you have any advice for future applicants?

“My advice for people interested in applying is to be passionate about something, and your interviewer will almost always pick up on that. And if you get accepted, be ready to have an unforgettable experience and make the most of your time there because it will fly by.”

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Caity, a Business Administration major with a Sports, Events, and Tourism Marketing concentration, participated in the DCP during the spring of 2014.

“I worked in Attractions Operations in Future World West in Epcot, so I worked at Journey Into Imagination With Figment, Captain EO, and the Epcot Character Spot. A typical “day in the life” started with pulling a position, so I’d either be at Journey, EO, or C-Spot throughout the day. I could be at all three in a day or at one the whole day. There are a number of different positions we rotate through. At Journey, my job could range from greeting and interacting with guests, loading guests onto the ride, and operating the ride. EO consisted of greeting guests, spieling show information to them, cleaning the 3D glasses of all of the attractions throughout Walt Disney World, and running the Show. Character Spot was mostly just answering guest questions and leading them in to meet Mickey and the gang. There’s definitely variety in having a role in attractions, you’re not stuck in one position all day.”

Did you take any Disney classes on your CP?

“I took the Disney Heritage class, where we learned about the roots of the Company and how it grew into what it is today. There’s an endless amount of interesting and exciting things I learned about the company, including projects that never came to be, fun facts about each park, a TON about Walt and Roy that I’d never known before, and SO much more.”

What was your favorite part of Disney housing?

“My roommates, for sure. I got lucky being placed with such a great group of girls from all over the country (My roommates were from New York, Texas, Wyoming, and Arizona) and we all got along fabulously. Even if you don’t get along with your roommates, there are always housing events, which are a great place to meet new people from all over the world (AND there’s free food). Housing was convenient, too. Each complex is within walking distance of grocery stores, places to eat, shopping, and other things to do. The buses weren’t the greatest, but you can definitely work them to your advantage to get out and do things on your day off if you don’t want to go to a park.”

How did the program affect your future and your career goals?

It definitely helped me narrow down what direction I wanted to go in. I was undeclared for the longest time possible, and working for Disney definitely helped pushed me in the right direction of Tourism and Sports marketing (Disney owns ESPN). I had a lot of great guest service managers in my area that can help me network within the company when the time comes, whether I’m looking to go back for a Professional Internship, or if I want to look for another job with the Company somewhere down the road.”

Do you have any advice for potential applicants?

“Be honest when you’re applying, be open minded when you get your role, and be yourself from the second you submit your application to the last time you clock out and Mickey thanks you for Making Magic. As long as you have a positive and can-do attitude, you’ll have the time of your life (trust me, take it from someone who had to watch a 3D space adventure movie musical of 80s-era Michael Jackson all day. If I can make it through that, you can make it through any role).”

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