I know it’s been a while since my last update, but the last couple of months have been very hectic. I finished my College Program and moved back home. The past week I’ve been getting settled and getting my thoughts together and to dive back into this blog. Today I wanted to give my overall thoughts on my personal experience with the Disney College Program. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Let’s get into it!
I spent about seven months working at Walt Disney World in EPCOT at Connections Café. My role was Quick Service Food and Beverage Specialty Beverage, which is a very long title for Starbucks barista. I did not choose my role, but I do have previous Starbucks experience. Some of the people I worked with, who were also on their college program, didn’t have the same experience. For previous programs, participants could rank their preference of different roles that they could be placed in. For mine, that wasn’t an option. You are placed wherever the company needs you. This means a lot of people end up unhappy with their role. I know Starbucks wasn’t my first choice but I did make the best out of the situation.
There is an unspoken understanding that when you’re a CP you’re anticipating working a ton. This can mean anything from multiple 12+ hour shifts or being scheduled 6 days a week or even a combination of both. While on my program there were only a handful of weeks that I didn’t work six days. Sometimes that was because I gave shifts away or I was scheduled that way. Over the summer, we were being scheduled six days a week as well as multiple 12.5 hour shifts. I worked long hours and long stretches without having a day off. But this had a lot to do with my specific location and its staffing issues. It wasn’t until the end of my program where my location was finally not as short staffed.
Even with the inability to choose your role and the long hours and days, I would recommend doing a College Program if you’re given the chance. Yes the days are long and sometimes having to be in a customer service role at the most magical place on earth is overwhelming and exhausting, I would still choose to do my program all over again. There are so many positive things that outweigh the negatives that I will always say do a college program. There are so many once in a lifetime opportunities and experiences that you wouldn’t experience any other way. I did so many cool things like be a part of the recording of the Christmas Day Celebration in Magic Kingdom and do Cast exclusive events like preview Fantasmic before its return to Hollywood Studios. I also met some of the most amazing people on my program. The kind of people that you’re friends with for the rest of your lives.
If you are on the fence about applying or even looking into the program, I say take the leap. I really pushed myself out of my comfort zone to work for Disney and it changed my life forever. I am truly so lucky to have worked there and met the people I did. The Disney Parks are nothing without the front line Cast Members who make magic everyday. I can’t emphasize enough how much I enjoyed my program, even with the hard days.
Until next time!