Thursday, July 25, 2019

Disney College Program: Magic or Madness?

Magic, madness, heaven, sin... Yes, that is a lyric from Taylor Swift's "Blank Space", but it also pretty accurately describes my Disney College Program experience!

My journey with the DCP really began in August of 2018 with applying for the program. If you are curious about what that process looks like, I highly recommend reading my My Disney College Program Application Experience

However, I really wanted this blogpost to be about my DCP experience as a whole! While I enjoyed my time working for the Disney Company and practically living at Walt Disney World, at times it really was more madness than magic. From nights getting home from work at 3:00 am in the morning, to crazy guest experiences, and even bad leadership at times, being a Disney College Program participant was hard work. 

Fresh out of Traditions, I was a super eager and excited DCP participant!

By the end of it, I was just as excited and eager to leave!

I do want to include that while my program wasn't always pixie dust and princesses, I did have days that were full of joy and truly learned more than I could have ever imagined during my program. 

Breaking Disney Housing rules and celebrating my 21st birthday with sparkler candles!

I had to wait until after my program ended to share these photos online because if I posted this as a program participant I could have had my program terminated and been sent home.

My absolute favorite parts of my program were those that I did things at Walt Disney World that I otherwise probably would have never done! My biggest piece of advice to those going into the Disney College program is to take advantage of ALL of the discounts offered to you, especially the ones on experiences! 

My absolute favorite experience of my DCP, snorkeling in the second largest aquarium in the United States and swimming with over 4,000 sea creatures consisting of 60 different species in The Seas pavilion at Epcot! AMAZING!

I also did the Caring for Giants tour which consisted of going backstage at Disney's Animal Kingdom and getting to see these amazing elephants up close and personal!

Another fun experience, that is much more affordable than most on Disney property, is the Behind the Seeds tour at The Land pavilion in Epcot. This tour takes you behind the scenes of the Living with the Land attraction and is a walk through tour that explains a lot of the research they do right there on the ride!

One of the most special things about my program, however, were the people that I met! I was lucky enough that one of my roommates became one of my absolute best friends, and I had coworkers that made our terrible location so much more bearable!

Abby, my roommate turned forever friend!

My coworker Amber and I on one of our last shifts together! Miss this gal!

My sweet coworkers Becca, Jessie, and Renata!

Not a quality photo, but quality friends!
Left to right: Cassie, Joe, myself, Alex, Jessie, Becca, and Amanda!

Although I had great coworkers, my role and location in the DCP was anything but glamorous. During my program I worked as a Quick-Service Food and Beverage (QSFB) employee at The Mara located at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. Honestly, if there was one thing I could change about my program it would be my role. 

Celebrating the end of my last shift with the man who started it all! My biggest goal during my DCP was to be a Cast Member that would make Walt proud. 

If I could go back, I would change my role preference to no interest at all for QSFB. Despite it all, however, I learned a lot as a QSFB employee. I learned about food safety, performing well in a fast-pasted environment, and most of all I learned what it means to work in a guest service role at a company that is known for it's excellence in guest services! I also learned quite a bit about what good leadership and bad leadership looks like in a company as large as Disney. 

I was "wreck-ignized" by leadership at my role and earned four keys Ellie badges as signs of a job well done with the company!

Some of the best days of my program were days that I got to spend with my family and friends visiting Walt Disney World! In the span of two weeks in March, I had both my best friends visit and my family.

My best friend Chandler and her husband Josh had never been to Walt Disney World before, so getting to have them visit and experiencing that with them was such an amazing thing!

It was so special to have one of my best friends visiting me! I had missed her so much!

The next week, the fun continued with a visit from my parents, sister, aunt and uncle, and my cousin Lilly!

Enjoying drinks around the world with my Aunt Heather!

Splitting the prettiest cotton candy!

Green drinks on Saint Patrick's Day with my Dad! This was my first time having drinks with my parents because I had turned 21 in January!

Even though the DCP wasn't as magical as every Disney Instagram account makes it always look like it is, a good amount of it was. In the end I was excited to go home and start working on my Veterinary Medical College Application (VMCAS) and work towards my biggest dream of becoming a veterinarian! 

I did spend some of my time during the DCP networking with the Disney Animal, Science, and Environment team! Make sure to take advantage of that during your program if that is something you are even slightly interested in. 

I was still emotional my last day in the parks, saying goodbye to a chapter in my life that I had wanted to achieve since high school and actually got to do. Not everyone gets to say that they lived and worked at Walt Disney World as a Cast Member, and as someone that has loved Disney her entire life, that alone meant so much!

One last see ya real soon with the sweetest bosses I could have asked for. These mice mean so so much to me!

Emotional final moments on Main Street USA.

Tears may or may not have been shed! I was so lucky to have my Mom there with me in my final days of being there and to help me pack up and move everything back home.

So when people ask me about my Disney College  Program Experience, I tell them that it wasn't exactly what I was expecting going into it, and that I came out of it with so many life experiences that I wouldn't have had otherwise. I also often get asked if I recommend the DCP, and my answer is if you love Disney as much as I always have, don't mind working late night hours or working hard, and are truly honest with what roles you would be okay with working during your application, then absolutely yes! Go for it! Just make sure while you're making magic for others, you remember to make a little magic for yourself. 

If you ever have any Disney College Program related questions, feel free to follow and message me on my Instagram @TheMessyTypewriter!

The Messy Typewriter

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