After stumbling upon a random Disney College Program YouTube video in middle school, it was a dream of mine to participate in this internship someday. In Fall of 2019, I had the privilege of being selected for this Disneyland Resort College 6-month-internship in Anaheim, California. The Disney College Program offers student participants in-park work experience, networking opportunities, and Disney-centered business courses. During this time, I worked full-time as a cashier at the Hungry Bear Restaurant, right across from Splash Mountain in Critter Country.
However, getting there was not an easy task; the application process was intense. There were 2 rounds of interviews to pass, extensive paperwork to complete and of course, planning the move to southern California once you passed interview sections and were officially accepted. As a college sophomore based in Eugene, Oregon I was super determined to successfully land a position in this highly competitive program. None of my friends had ever applied for an out-of-state internship or job before, so I had to learn everything first hand with little advice or guidance. As a 2021 University of Oregon graduate, I now have plenty of tips and insight to share about how to land that prized spot in the Disney College Program.
Now, whether you’ve been dreaming of this internship for years or if you just learned about it today, these tips should help you advance your chances of scoring an internship or job with Disney as well!
My 3 tips for landing a Disney College Internship:
1. Do your research.
Over 30,000 people applied for a spot in the Disneyland Resort College Program during my term, however, only 400 were selected. I don’t think I would have landed a spot in this competitive program if it weren’t for the many hours of research and interview preparation I did. I watched so many YouTube videos and visited countless numbers of blogs by those who had completed their program or had just successfully completed their phone interviews.
These blogs and videos covered the types of questions the recruiter may ask and gave examples of appropriate answers, tips for what recruiters are looking for, overall interviewing tips, and general program and position information. Follow this link to read one of the most helpful blogs I followed while preparing for my interviews.
I believe my research is what set me apart from other DCP candidates more than anything else. The recruiters loved that I was well versed in the program basics and understood exactly what I was applying for. So my number one tip, be sure to do some research and spend lots of time studying the park position you hope to land.
2. Write out potential questions and answers.
From your research, it is very helpful to create a list of how YOU would answer the potential interview questions. I recommend not writing whole paragraphs but rather bullet point responses, as you do not want to sound like your answers are scripteds or stumble over words if you miss a line. I had bulleted pages laid out in front of me of potential ideas and scenarios I could speak on if asked a similar question.
3. Dress like you are going to an in-person interview.
This tip is always a must for me whenever I need to do something important, yet nerve-wracking. Have you heard the saying, “look good, feel good?” It’s true! Even if your interviewer won’t see you, there’s something about the confidence a new outfit or doing your hair provides that may be exactly what you need.
Also a quick side note- check your time.
You may live in a different time zone than your interviewer does; especially since Disney has major locations on both coasts. Be sure to double-check the time of your interview, paying close attention to which zone they will be calling from so that you do not miss the crucial interview. You won’t get a second chance.
I can confidently say that participating in The Disney College Program has taught me how to network and has prepared me for a full-time Disney career. This experience changed my life for the better, and an extra special bonus is that I have made some life-long friends. Thanks to my new skills and experience, I have even been able to expand my Disney family with a seasonal job at my local Disney Store. I know my Disney career journey is far from being over. I encourage anyone who has been on the fence about applying to a Disney job or internship to use these tips. You may just earn the experience of a lifetime!
About the Author:
Bella is a member of the Intern Queen network and recently graduated from University of Oregon.
You can connect with her on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bellachilton/
AND follow her journey on IG: @ilybella