Saturday, 7 July 2012

Life as a Disney College Program Cast Member

It all started with a mouse. In this case it started with a dream. when I very first came to Disney World as a five year old little girl...

On April 25th I moved to Florida to start the Disney College program. I had no idea what I was in for.

Basically in the beginning, all you know is that you will be working at Disney World (you don't know which park or resort or anything) and that you'll be in a specific area of work (I was chosen for merchandise). So after months of being so excited I packed my bags for Florida and loaded on a plane. The main reason I decided to come out is because it's my dream to work for Disney in some way someday, and in order to get a professional internship you come to do the College program first. 

Here's where I first found out and signed up for the program if your interested.

The beginning of the program is probably the most emotional, confusing exciting part of your life. First you find your apartment and roommates at the Disney Housing. I was so lucky because I got to room with all girls from my church and school. Once your settled you are taken over to the Walt Disney Casting office and you learn your specific role. I was chosen for Merchandise on Main Street in Magic Kingdom. Magic Kingdom is one of my absolute favorite places and I was more excited than you could imagine to be working right in the heart of it. I'm pretty sure I almost started crying when I first got my assignment. That was definitely the most exciting day of my program. 

The next couple weeks I took various classes about the Walt Disney World company and started my job site training. I can still remember my first day of training when my trainer took me down the middle of main street before the park had opened. I thought to myself, "I don't know when, I don't know how, but I know something's starting right now" :) 

I had dreamed about working at Disney World my entire life, and here I was right in the middle of the magic. 
During my training I learned my job and the one of thee most exciting things is trying on my costume for the very first time and receiving my very own Walt Disney World name tag. I loved my first time in my costume walking through the emporium and talking to kids and seeing them look at me like I am the most incredible person in the world. Nowhere else will you ever get to see that magic.

Now starting out at Disney isn't all super duper magical. There is some rough times too. First, you can get picked for a role you aren't super excited about. Some of my roommates were really let down when they found out they were working at a resort and not one of the Parks. Some didn't like the people they were working with. I got really lucky with my role and I am so grateful. However, even I had some rough patches. One thing about growing up dreaming of Disney World is that I always imagined everything to be perfect, the cast members were all magical and perfect, the park itself was never messy or ugly or anything. It was a little bit of a shock when I realized that the cast members at Magic Kingdom are real people and they don't actually live in fantasy land or main street. They have homes and families and problems just like everyone else. When they aren't happy all the time, and sometimes they really don't like coming to work. That was really hard for me to get used to, but after a while, you learn that the magic isn't in the cast or the park itself, but it's in the families and incredible people who come to visit the park. 

So the hours were long and I made lots of mistakes my first couple weeks. I got frustrated at times, and home sick and just plain miserable. But I stuck it out. So many people leave their first couple of weeks. Trust me it gets so much better. Now I absolutely love my job. I get to make magic everyday. I would have to say that my favorite part is talking to all the guests, especially the little kids. It's amazing to see their face light up when they tell you about their day and adventures at all the parks. Most of the time once they start talking, they don't want to stop because their so excited. I absolutely love it. I also love greeting at the door to my shop and watching everyone pass down main street. The joy on their faces when they first see the castle or when they watch the fireworks every night and the parades. You would think I would get sick of seeing the same parades every day, but I love it. 

Sure there is some down sides. I work until 5am sometimes. I get grumpy, tired and angry people. The work isn't always fun amazing tasks, but I've learned that attitude is everything here. If you say you hate work, then you will. But I've found that even on my worst days, if I try hard to love it, almost always something magical will happen to remind me why I work here. Not very many college program kids love their job, so I am glad of that.

So let me tell you right now. Most college program participants are not like me at all haha. People come here to party. They spend their nights off partying and who knows what. But I'm not one of those so I'll tell you what I do for fun. 

I have the most incredible roommates. We have all become best friends and its fantastic. On our days off we do lots of fun things.  Along with being a cast member we get free entrance to all the parks while we are here so we like to go to the parks and play whenever we can. I have a blast. The only down side is that we have to take a bus everywhere we go. Somedays I feel like I spend half my life on a bus, but we make it fun and now I'm getting used to it. I'll write another post soon about the best things to do while your here on vacation. Since we get very good benefits on a lot of the food and have access to all of Disney World all the time I'll share all the best things to do. For now  I think I've been writing too long anyways, so I'll show some pictures of all the fun we have! 

Well friends. Adventure is Out There!!! so I can't stick around and write all day, but if there is anything you want to know leave a comment and I'll write a sequel to this post, I'm sure I left out lots. 

TTFN Ta Ta For Now!

-Becca Soup


  1. I am a former CP myself (Fall 2009) and I enjoyed reading your post. I wish I would have kept a journal or blog myself so I could remember what happened when I was there and the people I met. I dream of going back to work there when my husband and I are older and "retired." We'll see if that ever happens ;)

    Thanks again for sharing.

  2. Hello! I got got a job offer for merch for the dcp. I was wondering where you're gonna get place? If you wait until you get down there to find out? I know there are some long days. Do you work all day? Are there shift changes? Does it all depend? I did get told I would get $9 an hour and I saw some people only got $8. Does that depend on where you're at or anything?