Some of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) we’ve fielded over the years are noted below.  Please take a few moments to familiarize yourself as it will most definitely save you time by not having to ask on our Facebook page.

The majority of our experience is based on internships at Walt Disney World in Orlando; however, we do have parents with experience of Disneyland in Anaheim as their students completed internships there.

We always do our best to find you the most accurate information for either location.

I don’t understand all the alphabet soup (DCP, WDW, WBI, PI, NLIC, etc.). Is there a key to bring me up to speed?

Here are a few to get you started:

DCP: Disney College Program
WDW: Walt Disney World
WBI: Web Based Interview
PI:Professional Internship
NLIC: No Longer in Consideration ( Please try again next time)
DD: Disney or Darling Daughter
DS: Disney or Darling Son

Here are a few helpful web pages for all things Disney

 

Where can I get those awesome Proud Parent items you sell?

Click here to visit our store. All profits go towards helping to maintain the website and Facebook group

What is the Disney College Program?

The Disney College Program (DCP) is a highly sought-after internship program with roles offered at locations in both Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL, and Disneyland in Anaheim, CA.  There are two recruiting seasons each year – Spring and Fall – during which time applications are open for about two months.  This will explain why you may find the website will note that no applications are being accepted during other times in the year.

Full information on the program and how to apply is available at:  https://cp.disneycareers.com/en/about-disney-college-program/overview/

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Who is eligible to apply for this program?

Students who have completed one semester of school and be at least 18 years old.  They may be enrolled either full or part-time at a college or university in the United States.  College seniors are eligible provided they’re enrolled in school at the time of their interview and will participate directly after graduation.  Applicants must be eligible to work in the United States without restriction.  All majors are welcome and no work experience is required.  Foreign nationals taking classes in the United States are not eligible for the Disney College Program but they may be eligible for the International College Program (ICP) the company also offers.  Information on the ICP is available at:  http://ip.disneycareers.com/en/about-disney-international-program/overview/

Will my student earn college credit for this program?

You will need to check with your student’s school as to whether credit hours or credit for an internship will be provided for this program.  While Disney does offer classes in which participants may enroll, whether or not they are accepted is solely at the discretion of the student’s college or university.  These classes are taught at Disney University and offer a wealth of information and insight into the philosophy of the Disney organization.  Your student may be interested in them regardless of whether credit is available.

Will my student receive wages for this program?

This is indeed a paid internship.  Wages vary dependent on role and location but are in accordance with, and sometimes better than, state minimum wage laws.

 

Where will participants live while on the program?

CPs live in one of four housing complexes located near to the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts.  Each complex offers one to four bedroom units, with two to three persons sharing a bedroom.  For those arriving in Orlando without cars, Disney offers a bus system to work and nearby amenities such as grocery and national chain stores.  There is no Disney-run bus services in Anaheim but a public transportation system exists.  Participants may also opt to live off-site.

What roles are available for participants?

There are more than twenty different positions available.  The application will detail many of these areas and applicants may be asked to identify their top three roles during interviews.  There is no guarantee successful applicants will actually be placed in any of these top roles.

Currently, some of the available roles are in Attractions, Custodial, Operations, Concierge, Front Desk, Housekeeping, Full and Quick-Service Food and Beverage, Bibbibi Bobbidi Boutique/Pirate League, Costuming, Transportation, Lifeguard, Character Attendant and Character Performer.

My student wants to be a Character Performer. What do we need to know about auditions and the various roles available to CPs?

Auditions are held approximately 5-6 weeks after applications open.  Audition cities are listed on the Disney Programs Blog, the Disney Auditions website, and in an e-mail sent to ALL applicants, regardless of whether they indicated an interest in auditioning during their phone interview.

No pre-registration is required.  No resumes or head shots will be accepted.  Auditions may be limited to CP applicants only, or may include contenders for full-time positions as well.  Please read the ENTIRE CALL carefully to be sure which audition is appropriate.

It is important to understand that very, very few applicants will be chosen for Entertainment roles.  We estimate that less than 5% of CPs accepted each semester are assigned to Entertainment.  It is EXTREMELY competitive.  CPs are typically cast as costumed character performers.  It is rare to be cast as a “face” character such as a princess.  Keep in mind that face characters must not only match the character in physical traits, but also in voice, speech patterns, and mannerisms.

It is even more rare to be cast as a parade “mover”, as training for those roles may not coordinate with CP arrivals.

Now a word about Equity: http://www.actorsequity.org  This is the union that the Disney stage shows are part of.  The castle forecourt show, Festival of the Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, etc. are all Equity shows.  WDW’s Equity contract specifically prohibits CPs from being cast in those shows, so that absolutely will NOT happen.

The audition process typically consists of sign-in, height measurement (Disney is very, very rigid about height restrictions for each role), and two to three rounds of performance.  Cuts are made at the end of each round.  Applicants who successfully complete all rounds will be considered for a role.  This does NOT mean an offer will be extended.  It means an offer is possible.
If your CP has already accepted a role in another area, their offer will be modified to Entertainment if they are chosen or remain the same if they are not selected to be a performer.  If they are still “In Progress” they may receive an Entertainment offer after the audition, they may be offered a role in another area, or they may be NLIC.

They will not learn any specifics of their assigned role until after they have completed their training.

I realize our students are competent young adults, but I expected to get some sort of informational packet from Disney covering expectations, packing lists, cost of the program (including housing, entrance fees, tuition fees for classes), college credit information, etc.

Because our students are indeed adults, Disney provides them, and not us, with the bulk of this information.  That’s one of the reasons we started the Facebook parents page.  Having a place to ask these questions and receive accurate answers from experienced parents helps fill this gap.

What paperwork do we need to bring?

Disney will notify your student as to what forms are required.  Be aware that much of the information required can be completed online ahead of time but it’s a good idea to bring two forms of photo ID, Social Security Card, a voided check and proof of car registration and insurance (for those bringing their vehicles).  Your student’s name must be listed on the vehicle proof of insurance. You can usually take care of this by talking to your agent.

For those interning at Disneyland, renter’s insurance is a requirement, so a copy of their insurance paperwork should accompany them.  Renter’s insurance is not required at Walt Disney World but you should always check with your own insurance company for their best advice as to your student’s particular best interests.

Is there a time frame for how long everything lasts the first few days: Check-in, Casting, Housing Meeting, Traditions? How early should we arrive?

The first day can be a whirlwind!  You should arrive at Check-In at the time assigned to your student.  Parking is limited and those arriving early will be made to wait to enter (be forewarned, there’s no true parking area outside Vista Way).

Check-In is a relatively smooth process; from there, your student will be taken by bus to Casting to learn their role.  They will also be assigned their apartment. Buses will be available to take them to the apartment complexes or they may return to Vista Way to take their cars or ride with you.

Housing meetings may take place on the same or following day; Traditions is usually 2-5 days after Check-In.  Be aware that, sometimes, background checks are not received by Disney in a timely manner and your student may wait additional days before being permitted to do the Traditions class.  It’s all part of the process, so don’t worry.

What should my student wear at Check-In and at Traditions?

Disney expects your student will be moving in on Check-In day and the dress code is relaxed; however, be aware they must be in “Disney Look” with hair and makeup.  ID photos will be taken at Check-In, so shoulders must be covered.  For Traditions, the dress code is business attire.

Are parents allowed to go to Check-in? Is there anything for parents to do during Check-in?

No.  Effective January, 2016 parents are not allowed at check-in.  You may still accompany your CP to move into their apartment after they have completed check-in, but there is not an area for parents to wait.  Disney suggests waiting at your hotel or Disney Springs until your CP is ready to move in.

When will our CPs get their discounts? Can I use them before they start? And what about park passes?

CPs will be eligible for discounts once they have received their Blue ID card at Traditions.  Like any business discount, there is no eligibility before one actually begins working for the company.  They will receive 3 single use guest passes after they have worked 150 hours, 3 more after 300 hours, and 3 more after 600 hours.  They may not earn more than 9 passes in a calendar year.  Your CP must be present for the guest passes to be redeemed.

How do Guest Passes work?

In 2016, the CP will receive three One-Day Park Hopper passes after working 150 hours.  This is augmented by a further three passes once they’ve worked 300 hours, and another three passes when they reach the 600 hour mark.  There is a maximum of nine Guest Passes they may earn each year.

With the One-Day Park Hopper passes, each ticket is used individually.  The real silver lining appears to be that block out dates DO NOT APPLY in general. ONLY the block out dates for Cast self-admission will apply to both Main Gate and Guest Passes.

Be sure to check the Disney Internships & Programs website for the official word.  We find that the responses in the Blog will clarify what most affects families of CPs:  https://disneyprogramsblog.com/total-rewards/

Additional Park Passes may be purchased by the CP at a 10% discount.

Where should we stay when checking in our student for the program? Will we need a car?

In Orlando, Vista Way is located just South of Hotel Plaza Blvd, the entry point for Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) in Lake Buena Vista, FL.  There are numerous hotels in their area.  Check our Facebook page Files section for information on nearby hotels that offer discounts to incoming Cast Members.  Hotels local to Disneyland’s Check-In area are also plentiful and all hotel accommodations are a matter of personal preference.

If you’re flying in for Check-in, we encourage you to have a rental car at your disposal.  Taxi fares can be extremely high and having a vehicle will greatly increase your flexibility in being able to help your student shop for needed items locally.

When will my CP find out what type of shoes they need for their role?

If we had a dollar for every time we’ve heard this question, we could live at Golden Oak.  Our best advice is WAIT until your student learns his/her role.  They will be told specifically what kind of shoes they will need (in some roles, shoes are provided) and there are plenty of nationwide chain shops in the area, as well as outlet stores, where the right shoes may be purchased.

How much money will my student need on their program?

The answer to this is really dependent upon your student’s spending habits but we have found that many CPs arrive with approximately $500 to $2,000 in their bank account.  Some parents subsidize their students while others quickly learn how to manage their finances.

Be aware, out of the $350 fee requested when your student accepts his/her offer, $200 is earmarked to cover almost all of the first two weeks apartment rent.  If the rent is over $100 per week on the particular unit, they will deduct slightly more rent each following week until arrears have been brought current.

How much/little to bring? Is it possible to get my student there with just suitcases? How much storage in the apartments?

Again, this is really a personal choice.  However, we have found that most program participants need far less than they bring, clothes-wise.  Much of the time, they will be in costume.  They will undoubtedly purchase a lot in the way of wearable souvenirs during their program.  Pack light.  Both Orlando and Anaheim are areas of civilization, with plentiful nationwide chain stores easily accessible.

Where will my student be able to buy groceries? And how will they get there without a car?

Located nearby is a Publix grocery store, as well as Walmart and a number of convenience stores.  Buses are available from their apartment complexes to/from these stores.  Some are close enough to walk.  Participants may check out wagons to make the trip home easier when laden with bags of groceries.  Additionally, Disney now provides a small convenience store, The Grid, in The Commons apartment complex.  Information is available at:  https://disneyprogramsblog.com/first-ever-convenience-store-opens-at-the-commons/

 

Can I ship things down before the program starts?

This is an often-asked question and, unless you have someone in the area you can ship a package to, the answer is no.  The reason is that you won’t know your student’s apartment address until actual Check-in day. Sometimes you can ship to your hotel, but note that Disney convention hotels will charge you to pick up your packages.

What household goods does my student need to bring?

They’ll need typical items such as bedding and towels.  The kitchens are stocked and Housing provides an inventory list in each apartment.  Anything on the list not found in the apartment may be replenished by Housing.  There are plenty of nationwide chain stores within easy distance of the apartment complexes where your student may purchase any additional items they find they need.  Disney also has a newly introduced linen service to help make shopping more convenient:  https://disneyprogramsblog.com/ease-your-arrival-with-dormco-amenities/

How will I know my student’s address? And what’s the best way to send letters and packages?

Your CP will receive an informative booklet at Check-In that will list the complexes and their addresses.  Based on your student’s apartment location, they will be given the particular street address and apartment number to use in the address.

Experienced parents have found the best way to send letters and packages is via the USPS Priority Mail system.  These letters and packages are tracked and will be held in the office of each complex.  Your student will be notified when they have an item awaiting their pickup.  Too often, we’ve heard items mailed without this service have gone missing from the community mailboxes.  Items sent via other carriers are not held in the office and will be left at the individual apartment’s door, increasing the risk of theft.

 

Are there Washers and Dryers in the apartments?

The Commons has washers and dryers in each apartment.  All the other complexes have laundry facilities available.

My student is multi-lingual. How can this work to their benefit on the program?

Disney offers foreign language competency testing for program participants.  CPs will earn a language pin which they can wear with their costume to identify their ability to converse with guests who do not speak English.

What if my student has an issue with his/her roommate?

We encourage your student to try to work things out if there’s a roommate issue. In some instances, the offending roommates may be exhibiting behavior that may result in all occupants of the apartment being terminated (‘termed’).  It’s always best that they discuss such problems with Housing on-site.  A word of caution:  Housing may not appreciate hearing from parents; our students are adults and are expected to handle things as such.

My student hasn’t yet started the program and is already talking about extending. What is involved with extensions?

Many CPs fall in love with Disney and never want to leave.  They may be invited to extend their stay about 10 weeks before their program’s end date.  They will receive notification to apply for an extension.  The application is open for approximately one week, with decisions being made about 2 weeks after the applications close.  There’s no set rationale as to why some are chosen while others are not.  It is believed to work basically as a lottery system.  If they do extend, the rule is they may not be in the program for longer than one year.

What’s the best bank account for my student to have while on the program?

Disney works closely with banks and credit unions for direct deposit of CPs’ paychecks and housing deductions.  At Check-in, they will be given their various options.  For Orlando participants, some parents choose to open an account for their student with Chase.  This can work well as the vast majority of ATMs on Disney property are with Chase Bank.

We’re trying to decide if our student should bring his/her car. What do you think?

Only you and your student can make that decision.  The pros and cons vary.  Many participants arrive in Orlando or Anaheim without a car and manage the company bus system very well, while others like the flexibility that having their own car there affords them.  One thing to consider is that the bus schedules can vary and timekeeping may be off.  Many CPs find they need to leave housing an hour or more before their shift starts in order to arrive on time.  With a car, that time crunch may be able to be reduced.

How do they find out the bus schedules?

Upon Check-in, all CPs will receive information about the bus schedules.

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What are the insurance rules regarding housing and cars?

In Anaheim, participants will need to show evidence of renter’s insurance.  In Orlando, this is not required; however, you should always check with your own insurance carrier to ascertain what coverage your student will have under your own policy.  For cars, too, your first contact should be with your own insurance company.  Your CP will need to present proof of automobile insurance should they decide to bring their cars with them to the program.

Where is best place to seek medical care while away?

If your student is covered under your health insurance, we encourage you to check with your insurance company as to what providers in Orlando or Anaheim are in-network.  They will also be able to assist you with specialists covered under your plan.  Additionally, Disney provides a listing of nearby quick-care type clinics and hospitals.  You’ll also find information on practices in the Orlando area that our members have personally used.

Inevitably, many of our CPs will have birthdays while on the program. What suggestions do you have on how to send a cake, flowers, gift baskets, etc.?

In addition to sending ‘care packages’ to your student for birthdays and ‘just because’ there are services in the area that may deliver.  Note that it is sometimes difficult for these services to deliver past the security post at the front of each complex and your student may have to be available to meet them outside the gate.  Disney also offers their own service:  http://www.disneyfloralandgifts.com/home.html

 

What milestones will our CPs reach (i.e., What does it mean when they earn their ears? What do the ‘key cards’ represent?).

There are many surprises in store for your student and we don’t want to spoil all those pixie dust moments but, to answer these questions, when in training, CPs will wear a ribbon marked ‘Earning My Ears’ attached to their name tag.  Once training has been successfully completed, they will be considered to have earned their ears.

Key Cards are comment cards they may receive from guests as well as managers, supervisors and fellow Cast Members for a job well done.  It’s very exciting when a CP receives their first Key Card and many go on to amass quite a collection.

When is program graduation and can I attend?

Sadly, graduation is for CPs only and parents may not attend. Here, they will receive their graduation ears, complete with tassel, and have photo opportunities with top management and even the Boss himself!

Is there a limit to the number of programs in which my student may participate?

As of this writing, there is no limit to the number of programs; however, they may not stay in a program for longer than one year, and they must have at least a semester of college in between programs for re-applications.

How do I ship my student’s things home after the program?

Expect that your student will come home with many souvenirs!  Whatever they’re not able to fit into their suitcases and/or cars will have to be shipped.  There will be representatives from UPS on the various Housing complexes toward the end of each program to assist with boxing and shipping goods to be sent home.

What happens after the Disney College Program?

Dependent upon your student’s school situation, they can go back to school or look ahead to securing a job, either at Disney or elsewhere.  One thing for sure, having a Disney College Program Internship on your resume has opened doors for many participants.  It seems everyone wants to talk about Disney!

 

What if I have more questions?

And be sure to join our Facebook group, where we discuss questions like these – and more – every day!