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Have you ever noticed a Cast Member that had “University of…” as their hometown on their name badge? These wonderful Cast Members are part of the Disney College Program. This program began in 1981 and has evolved to include thousands of participants at any given time throughout the year. Here’s a quick take on what the Disney College Program looks like today.
Who can apply?
The Disney College Program is currently open to anyone who has completed at least one semester of college, or has graduated in the last two years. The graduation timeframe has changed due to Covid, to be able to include those who may not have been able to participate in 2020. There is no age limit, and there are plenty of participants who do not fall into the stereotypical college age of their 20’s. In addition, individuals with disabilities are given assignments that meet their individual needs. Disney is an inclusive employer and wants everyone interested in this program to have an equal opportunity.
What do Disney College Program participants do?
Cast Members in this program have a variety of jobs. The most common positions currently include working merchandise, custodial, houseperson (assistant to housekeeping), parking, ride attendant, and greeter at the front of the park. More positions are opening up as we move out of these strange times, so this list will continue to grow. It is important to note that while applicants were able to request certain positions in the past, this is not the case at present. If you apply for the program you need to be willing to work any position that you are assigned to.
How long is the program?
An average commitment is 5-6 months, however most participants are given the opportunity to extend their program and stay up to a year total. If participants are interested, they can apply for part or full time positions upon completion of their program.
How much do College Program Cast Members make?
Currently the average College Program Cast Member makes $14/hour. This may vary depending on their position and responsibilities.
Where do they live?
In previous years College Program participants lived in older apartment complexes. When the program returned after a hiatus due to Covid, a new housing facility was debuted. Participants are now offered the chance to live at Flamingo Crossings Village, which has apartments that accommodate up to 4 people in 2 or 4 bedroom configurations. The facility also offers pools, a large fitness center, and gathering places for its residents. One of the most valuable amenities is bus transportation for participants to get to and from work. There is the option to bring your own car, however parking is limited and parking passes are not guaranteed. If you have your own vehicle you may choose to live elsewhere, but securing these arrangements is on you. Disney does not provide housing other than Flamingo Crossings.
Why do the Disney College Program?
The Disney College Program offers people a chance to be a part of the magic. You can spend your days sharing what you love about Disney with guests. It’s also impressive on a resume if your ultimate career lies elsewhere. Many people have said that they received job offers after their potential employer saw the Disney College Program on their resume. It shows that you have customer service skills. You can work with others as a team. And it shows that you are a hard worker. The Disney College Program isn’t easy. Being a Cast Member is hard work, and often there are long hours associated with it. But if you want the experience of a lifetime, and want to help share the magic of Disney with other people, the Disney College Program may be the thing for you!
How do you apply?
The best way to be checking for when applications open up is to follow Disney on social media. “Official Disney Programs” on Instagram and “Disney Programs” on Twitter have been announcing when applications are “coming soon” and when they open up. Also watch for these applications windows to close, as applications will only be accepted during this window. In previous years, pre-pandemic, there were more consistent program lengths and times of year to expect applications to open. This process is changing, and watching social media seems to be the best way to catch when applications become available. More information can be found on the Disney Careers/Programs site.
Did you participate in the Disney College Program? Share your experience in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter!
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Hello! My husband and I both grew up in Southern California, visiting Disneyland often. We took our first Walt Disney World trip on our honeymoon, and went back when our daughter was 5. That was 15 years ago, and served as the beginning of our family's love with Disney World! In 2011 we joined Disney Vacation Club, and try to get to the World at least every other year. We've sailed with Disney Cruise Line, and have visited/relaxed at Aulani. When I'm not dreaming of our next Disney vacation, I teach Family Consumer Science to middle school kids, and write for the Mouse for Less!