Second Time’s the Charm: Why I Decided to Repeat the Disney College Program

By Melanie Kaplan

11073538_10155489300115037_2816720549312825948_oI’m going to Disney World…again!

Working at Walt Disney World is a once in a lifetime opportunity. After completing the Disney College Program in 2014, I was able to cross that off my bucket list. The Disney College Program was a lifetime dream of mine and since it ended, I have been looking for other career options for post-graduation. Since my graduation last December, I have been looking into different internships and jobs based on my interests and my degree (Media Management). Then one day I received an email about applying for the Disney College Program. Talk about déjà vu.

It took me almost a week to decide whether or not to reapply for the Disney College Program. Even though I would not be a college student during the program, I was still eligible to apply because I was in college at the time of applications. Many thoughts went through my mind. Will I feel like I am replacing my roommates? Am I going to enjoy my work location as much as I did the first time? What if I don’t like my role? Can I really move back to Florida and do it all again?

The decision was tough, but I finally gave in and decided to apply just for fun and that I did not have to accept my offer if I was accepted. This time around I made sure to put high interest in Concierge, Vacation Planner, and Hospitality, as it connects to my area of study rather than learning how to operate a rollercoaster. I did not wait long to receive my Web-Based Interview. I was not as nervous this time around because I already did the program once and knew what to expect. After passing the first round, I scheduled a phone interview for two weeks later. Two weeks after my phone interview I received my acceptance. I was jumping with joy as I did when I was accepted to my first program. However, after checking my role, I was very disappointed. I did not receive any of my top choices — I was accepted for attractions again.

I only had a week to accept or decline my offer and it was one of the most difficult decisions I had to make. Do I return to Disney World again just to operate an attraction? What if I get a ride I do not want? I didn’t request a specific attraction during my phone interview because I did not expect to receive the same role. Many thoughts went through my mind, especially since I would be going in the fall and missing many important family holidays. After much debate, I decided to accept my offer.

The main reason for accepting my offer was that I knew I would regret my decision if I did not go. Additionally, I am guaranteeing myself a job after graduation, even if it is just for 4 months. I am also able to continue my Disney College Program vlogs on my YouTube channel which has gained popularity in the past year and a half. I can also reconnect with friends from my first program who still work for Disney. All of these are personal reasons and perks as to why I am returning to Disney in August.

Nevertheless, I have a different outlook on this program than on my first program. The first time around I was ecstatic to be working at Disney World and all the perks that came with it. However, for my second program, I am going to network for a potential career with Disney and take advantage of all the resources they provide to help jumpstart my future.

Disney offers many events, courses, and opportunities to network with professionals throughout the Disney Company, such as:

  1. Disney’s College Program Alumni Speaker Series. CPASS is a sequence of panelists from different areas of the company who speak about their roles and how they arrived to where they are today. By attending CPASS, I can meet people with similar interests and put my name out there.
  2. Career Development Workshops. These range from resume workshops, interview tips, presentation skills, and more. Participants who attend 5 workshops while on their Disney College Program will receive a special professional development certificate upon completion of the program.
  3. Collegiate Courses. Participants may opt to take a course for college credit such as Corporate Communications or Marketing You. These courses meet once a week for 4 hours and involve homework and projects. Information learned in these courses can be applied directly to your work location.
  4. Disney Exploration Series. These courses are not for college credit and meet once a week for 2 hours. My last program I enrolled in Exploring Marketing, which is a deeper look into Disney’s marketing tactics in several areas of the company. In the fall I plan to enroll in Exploring Leadership.
  5. Professional Development Series. Students studying engineering, security, or entertainment show production may enroll in one of these major-specific courses. This series allows students to apply what they are studying in college to their role at Disney World.
  6. Disney Learning Center. Located in one of the apartment complexes, the learning center contains a computer lab, a library, a proctored exam room, and a writing lab for resume assistance. If you are a frequent visitor of the library, you may be able to win a spot on Belle’s Library Stars of Fame!

As a college graduate, I want to be able to walk away with substantial knowledge, experience, and possibly a career after my second Disney College Program. I don’t want to miss out on this advantageous opportunity. I already know what to expect when working for Disney, which already puts me ahead of the game. Working at Disney World is a once in a lifetime experience, but I guess for me it is twice in a lifetime.

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