Disney College Program Gives Students Semester Off: Is It Worth It?

By Rachel Giaquinto

rachel.giaquinto@spartans.ut.edu

All you need is faith, trust, and a semester off from college. The Disney College Program (DCP)  offers college students from around the country and world to join the company in making magic at Walt Disney World. 

The program allows students to join for either their fall or spring semesters, with only summer dates for those who have already completed the program. The jobs students are given are frontline jobs, which include things such as attractions, custodial, and food and beverage. 

The program has also just recently opened new housing called Flamingo Crossing Village which is about 15 minutes away from the parks. Participants will live with other students on the program and the apartments offer many amenities such as a pool and volleyball court. Rent for the apartments is taken directly out of the participants’ paycheck. 

One of the major benefits of the program is the internship or academic credit students may receive from attending the program. Not only can this credit look good on an academic record, but gives students an internship opportunity they can put on their resumes.

Furthermore, the DCP acts as the perfect chance to get a foot in the door if a student wants to ultimately work for the company. Many jobs at Walt Disney World require that the applicant has worked within the company before, and the DCP acts as the perfect qualifier. Moreover, DCP participants will also be given the chance to extend their time on the program, apply to be a full or part time cast member, or apply for a professional internship after their completion of the program. 

When participants are not on the job, they are able to take classes offered by Walt Disney World. These classes can inform students on the process of creating a theme park ride or management in the hospitality department. While it is not required for participants to take the classes, those that wish to may not take more than two a week.  

While there are multiple benefits to participating in the DCP, there are also many challenges that come along with it. Students must take a semester off from their regular schooling to participate in the program. If not taking online courses through their university, students may fall behind in their degree program which can push their graduation date back. 

Students are also working jobs that aren’t directly related to their major. While having Disney on a resume can really help set you apart from other candidates for a job, if a student is searching for experience that correlates to their future career field, they most likely won’t get it from working the program. 

However, one must look at the future opportunities this program can offer. While there might be some drawbacks to participating in the program for some students, if working for the Walt Disney World Company is a career goal, the DCP is the perfect way to begin that journey. 

Many cast members who are now in higher up positions within the company completed the DCP themselves and got the opportunity they have now from completing it. 

So, if you want to become a part of the magic, the application awaits. The DCP is no longer accepting applicants for this upcoming year, but dates of future programs will be announced. 

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