Disney College Program: How to Handle Rejection

Disney College Program: How to Handle Rejection | The Mouse For Less Blog

We all know that rejection hurts. Rejection from something you love hurts the worst. That is why so many people are truly broken hearted when they find out that they didn’t pass the web interview or their application has been given the dreaded “no longer in consideration” label after the phone interview for the Disney College Program (DCP). For the most part the people who apply to the DCP are true lovers of all things Disney. You’d be pretty crazy to apply to work making the magic if they didn’t have a passion for it. Hearing that big old NO from one of your favorite things will be tough, there’s no denying that. But dwelling on the rejection will be even worse! Here are some tips for handling it and moving on to your next step.

1) Be sad! – It is 100% okay to be upset about getting a rejection. The Disney College Program is an incredible opportunity with a company that you love. Discovering that you will be missing out on that is not fun news! Have a little cry, eat something comforting, marathon your favorite Disney movies with friends. Take care of yourself!

2) Remember: Disney didn’t reject you – This one might to be hard to keep a handle on. Disney is such a well oiled machine that it is often very hard to see the individual parts that make it work. A rejection doesn’t mean you aren’t right for the Disney College Program or that you don’t ooze Disney magic from your every pore. A hiring manager rejected you. One single person who only saw what you look like on paper or heard your voice over the phone made that decision. The magic is still there to welcome you any time you need it, through movies or music or a trip to the parks.

3) Look at other opportunities – This should be happening before you’re even finished applying. If you are looking to the Disney College Program as an internship for credit then you should know that there are dozens, if not hundreds of other internships out there for you. No, it won’t be with Disney but it will still give you valuable experiences. Talk to your campus career services office (it might have a different name, ask around) or your advisor to discover what else you can apply to. If the aspect of being away from campus appealed to you, consider studying abroad for a semester!

4) Prepare for the next application – Some people apply to the Disney College Program a few times before they’re accepted. For me applying a second time wasn’t an option since I applied to work after graduation. From my experiences getting ready for the application and working for Disney, these are my tips for prepping for to apply again after rejection:

  • Web interview: think about your answers and what they really said about you. Disney wants cast members that will smile in 110 degree heat and come back for more. You have to be self motivated and able to think on your feet in unexpected situations. If you answered a question about having nothing to do for long hours along the lines of being bored, consider what Disney is looking for. Would they want a cashier with a bored look on their face or somebody who has decided to find something else to do and is tidying up their area and talking to guests? It’s all about perception!
  • Phone interview:
    • Do some mock interviews! Your campus will likely have an office (career services or something like it) that can help you improve how you perform in interviews. You might be the best candidate ever but if you’re too nervous to share that you’ll never make it. There are plenty of lists of potential Disney College Program phone interview questions out there so grab one and work with your mock interviewer to come up with great answers to them. For sure you’ll want to focus on the why you want to work for the company. My answer to that question was really sappy. I talked about how Disney was always something my mom and I could enjoy together and I wanted to be able to give that family connection back to guests by being a part of making the magic.
    • Know which roles you want and why. Again, there are lists and lists of the roles and their duties online. Disney has their own but you can find ones that go into more detail. Read through them all and pick your top three roles and reasons why you want them and would be good at them.
    • Beef up your resume. Get involved with something on campus that you’re passionate about. As somebody who has interviewed people for positions, you will be at your best when you’re talking about something that you love. Being involved shows initiative and that’s exactly the sort of person that Disney is looking for. Be somebody who motivates themselves to get things done, to get out there and take on leadership roles.

5) Move on – It is entirely possible that the Disney College Program just isn’t in the stars for you. Sometimes it’s good enough to know you tried something. Your skills might be better suited with another company, in a different kind of job, in a different city. Who knows why it didn’t work out!? But the fact of the matter is you were brave enough to apply to this competitive program in the first place. I like to think Walt looks at each and every applicant with a twinkling smile for taking that leap of faith.

5b) If a friend got in and you didn’t: Be happy for them. Congratulate them and celebrate their accomplishment. It is not their fault that you weren’t selected. Be a good, supportive friend. They are likely nervous about moving away from home and leaving family and friends. Re-assure them that they’re going to be amazing. Tell them that you’ll come visit to bring the cheer from home (they get pretty good deals on the hotels, after all).

Getting over the hurt of the rejection won’t be easy and I’m so sorry that it’s happening to you. I wish everybody could get into the program and experience how wonderful it is. Disney only brings in about 7,500 participants each term. That number sounds like a lot, but compared to the applications that pour in it is nothing. Remind yourself of the magic that Disney brings into lives every day. Plan a dream vacation to the parks that you’ll never be able to afford and read your favorite Disney blogs. Don’t let this dull your shine in the slightest. You’ll love Disney just as fiercely as before and who knows, you might end up working there one day anyhow! Dreams come true!

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