Hey guys, I got to go to Hollywood! The College Program rented a huge double decker tour bus and took us around to some Disney related Hollywood/LA site seeing.
First stop on the tour was the LA Memorial Coliseum. The only place they’ve held the Olympics twice! It was pretty cool to see, buttttttt there were also some really detailed human statues (not pictured) and I was bored and ready to move on pretty fast.
Next stop on the tour was the Staples Center! There was giant statues of some athletes I didn’t really know. Except Magic! So I posed like him:
Our first Disney stop was the Walt Disney Concert Hall! I was mostly excited because Get Smart had a scene here and that means Steve Carrell was in the vicinity. I repeat STEVE CARRELL.
Then we drove around to some other smaller places. The hand painted carousel where Walt first got the idea to create a theme park was one of the stops. EXCEPT IT WAS CLOSED AND WE COULD BARELY SEE ANYTHING. So it was lame. Then we had another ‘Disney’ stop at the Walt Disney Brothers original studio! Sounds exciting and historical right? Nope. It’s just an awkward print shop now with a tiny knock off Mickey Mouse sign that says it was once the studio.
Eventually we made our way into Hollywood! Which was just as dirty as I expected, and we got just as harassed as I thought we would. But hey! It was still pretty cool. I got to take a photo with James Franco’s star, I’m basically obsessed with him. I literally have a button with his face on it. Look, happiness:
We drove through Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive. Holy cow, those places are so nice. I would love to live in that area! I would love to just go shopping there, actually. One of our last stops was a little square called Urban Lights! It’s a bunch of antique lamps all artistically placed together. Definitely a cool spot for photos.
Last stop on the tour was the Grove shopping center! It’s such a nice area and if we had had more time I know for sure I would have spent a lot of money in stores like Topshop, Madewell, Zara, etc!
If the tour wasn’t free I probably wouldn’t have done it, but it was still fun to get a glimpse of the Hollywood area and spend some time with my girl Sonjia!
Let’s just say I’ve been feeling pretty loved this Valentines Day and a lot of that is due to these five wonderful girls who I’ve been blessed to live with. My gift to them this year is words! Because I can command more power in them when written. Also because I was lame and didn’t buy anything.
This girl and I clicked the first day we met. She’s absolutely hilarious and we are just always laughing. We look at each other and make the freaking weirdest faces, for no reason. She’s quirky and outgoing, and nearly always has the biggest smile on her face. People react positively to her energy and she makes friends with everyone. A people person if I ever met one. We relate to each other in many ways, and both being PNW people brings a whole new level of mutual understanding. She makes my bed and leaves cute notes, wears sperrys and looks just as beautiful without her signature red lipstick. I LOVE YOU GURL. GURL.
Well, at first we all thought this one might be a weirdo 😉 kidding! She’s the artist among us, and a sweetheart too. Rachel puts others concerns before her own and is constantly considerate. She’s random and funny and we do the silliest things together. She’s trusting, maybe a bit too much so 😉 , and non judgmental. She’s easy to live with and never truly negative. She skips out on pants, because she can. We didn’t hand pick this one before we came but boy did we get lucky. LURVE YU RACHELLEA.
Makinna is just so admirably strong! Both mentally and physically. She’s strong in her convictions and bold in her opinion. While most might find her tough demeanor intimidating, she’s got a kind heart and protective nature. Kids light up when Makinna talks to them, making them smile with ease. Winning a laugh or smile from her is truly rewarding and her discipline in her health is incredibly impressive. We see eye to eye in many things, both being confident in who we are. She makes me feel a little bit cooler, and basically has the sweetest grandmother ever. MAKINNA, I LOVE YOU!
My fellow homie! This girl and I are always on the same wavelength. We catch each other’s obscure movie quotes and are always randomly singing along. Sonjia is optimistic and fun! She makes the most out of situations and doesn’t waste time with bad moods. She’s got all the guys chasing her because this girl is beautiful inside and out. She makes the extra effort to be kind to everyone, but is in no way a push over. She sassed her way into our hearts and always encourages us to make good choices. I LOVE YOU, SONJIA.
I did it for the blog guys, I went there, cheesy, emotional and maybe a bit too far.
When I’m not working at Disneyland, I get two glorious days off. Can you just take a guess at to where I spend them?
We also officially became roommates by buying matching leather bracelets from Frontierland that have our room number, 406, on them. How freaking cute right?
We also got Sonjia on the Fun Wheel for the first time! Well, it was also my first time, but it was a big deal for her because she had previously refused to go on it. We went on the swinging ones and it was actually really fun.
I also had a corn dog. Well, I’ve had lots of corn dogs, but this time I decided to take an ironically artsy photo of it.
Speaking of artsy, they’re filming a movie called Tomorrowland in the Small World attraction. Something to do with George Clooney and time travel? I don’t know, but it wasn’t as exciting as you might expect.
We also rode Hollywood Tower of Terror and made literally the ugliest faces we could. This is probably one of the only rides that legit makes me scream. SO MUCH FUN.
The next time I went was only for about 4 hours and yet the most amazing things happened! We got the infamous and addicting Pacific Warf chowder bowls and then rode some rides!
BUT then my roommate Bianca got us the hookup and we literally sat in the VIP section for World of Color. It was like I was seeing the show for the first time, and it was absolutely beautiful and moving.
We were just all so stoked and pumped up after getting the chance to see that. And when we went to Main Street to get ice cream, DRAKE BELL, yes DRAKE BELL, was just chilling and laughing with his friends! It was surreal to see someone I watched on tv for so long just right in front of my face! The interaction was brief, but he was really nice and all his friends were very willing to take photos for us.
And if you think all that was cool, try riding Space Mountain in three exclusive phases. It was a College Program exclusive event after hours and there was about a hundred of us who got to go! We rode it first regularly, as a sort of controlled test to compare to. And then they turned on all of the lights for the second time around. It was so odd to ride it without the pitch black and shooting stars, the inside is pretty plain. It’s basically a metal roller coaster that winds tightly in a sort of funnel down to the bottom, it also felt a bit faster that way too I think. The third ride was mostly a surprise, they literally turned off ALL of the lights and the sounds. It was really scary, we had no idea at all where we were in the ride and I couldn’t even see my hand in front of my face. Definitely fun though, I’m so glad I got to participate.
My last phase of training was finally hands on! I started my on the job training over in Tomorrowland’s Pizza Port restaurant. To explain my costume simply, it’s McDonalds in Space….I mean, I guess I can work with that. My Pizza Port trainer, Stephanie, was super cool and I even ended up joining a cast member volleyball team with her! At Pizza Port we trained as front of house workers rotating through three positions: bev tech, greeter, and pizzas. Bev tech is basically manning the beverage station in the middle of the restaurant. We make sure all lids, cups, coffee, bottled drinks, straws, etc are stocked, as well as keeping the area clean. This part can get a bit boring if you’re on the rotation for awhile, but you’re also out on the floor so you’ll get a lot of questions from people. When working as a greeter you stand at the door and greet people with awesome space themed lingo! Our standard greeting goes a little bit like, “Hey there Space Ranger, head on in to your left, grab a space tray and blast off to one of our stations.” You can also call the little girls who are dressed up princess or tell people happy birthday. It’s pretty fun, and you also get to pin trade when working as greeter! The last rotation, pizzas, is pretty self explanatory. We take pizzas out of the oven, cut them and serve them out to guests. Overall, Pizza Port was pretty fun and there is a lot of guest interaction involved. Another bonus of training in food service is that we get to try the food served at the place we’re training! At Pizza Port that meant pizzas, pastas and salads; personally I recommend sticking with the salads, they’re all really good.
Tomorrowland Terrace (TLT) was nearly a 100% different. Food service workers are back of house cast members at TLT, unlike at Pizza Port, where we are front of house cast members. The costume here is more of a chef’s outfit with these comfy pajama like pants. The only thing that sucks about it is a hat that sort of makes me look like a boy. Anyways, the comfort is necessary and the looks are less important at TLT where I learned to work the assembly line. Toasting buns, building and wrapping burgers, assembling the order and scooping fries. It sounds sort of boring, but it’s actually fun, and everyone who works there is really cool. Since we’re back of house we have a lot of fun talking and joking around. Although when it gets busy I start to have a bit of a hard time keeping up! Most everyone is usually super helpful though and willing to be patient. Practice makes perfect but I still sort of dread peak season. The food here is really good too, I like all the burgers, and there’s a super fresh veggie sandwich! We also serve breakfast here and I basically drool over the breakfast burritos.
I’ve been working like crazy and overall it’s been fun, yet tiring! I still can’t believe this is my life now, but I’m loving it!
The next phase in training is a Welcome To class. These classes are role specific, mine being Food Core Cafe. Others have classes called Park Operations, or Store Operations.
This one kicked off with our first time clocking in! I definitely nailed it. Our guides led us through a brief tour of California Adventure this time! They stopped along the way to explain the different kinds of foods service the parks have. All of which are very intentionally designed to service Guests in all sorts of ways. They have quick snacks, grab and go, sit for a bit, and even full service dining.
After our brief tour we were led to backstage classrooms for food specific information. Part of which included connecting the four keys to our food specific roles. But before that we watched a very long food handlers program, in order to all be certified to work for Disney’s food division. And once we finished up that, there was another very long powerpoint about hazardous chemicals and the communication used to use them safely. It was riveting.
And then some fun stuff! We got our work shoes, which every Food Service and Custodial Cast Member receive from the company for free. This meant heading up into the costuming area of backstage. This was so exciting! We saw people walking around in tons of different costumes, the very spacy one’s I’d be wearing next week were even hanging up in the masses. We went into the shoe room and picked our favorite out of all the seriously stylish shoes and then we were off to scheduling.
My first official schedule consists of four days of training and then a fifth of full on work. Normally there’s three days of training, but they gave me a fourth to train me not only in Tomorrowland Terrace but also in Pizza Port! I’ll get a two day break and another five full eight hour shifts. Holy cow, right. Like oh my gosh, I’m going to die. I haven’t ever worked that much in my life. BUT I’m also so excited to finally get into the park and interact with everyone. I also found out my role specifically as a Food Service Worker is also called Host/Hostess, so I’ll be greeting people into the food area, and floating/doing some other middle man obscure duties. Overall, I’m super excited to get started on Tuesday!
Traditions is the Disney coined term for their employee’s orientations.
Needless to say, orientation at Disney is extensive. We have a few days of general training and then things get more specific based on our role.
Traditions was also our first paid day, and a long one at that. It takes place at Team Disney Anaheim, a huge building with a mass amounts of Disney offices, including Disney Academy. After checking in and getting the Disney Look once-over; which is where they make sure your business casual and looking snazzy. We headed into an auditorium to kick off the information overload. Among all this someone managed to decode one of the papers they gave me to reveal I will be working in Tomorrowland Terrace (DLR TNT)! I’m really excited and grateful, along with Adventureland, it’s one of my favorite parts of Disneyland.
They kicked it off with facilitator introductions and then some spiels on integrity and it’s importance. Blah blah blah 😉 Just kidding, it was all super important legal information and I was paying attention, I promise. We were then split into smaller groups and led into classrooms for a more hands on learning. Our traditions leaders took us through a large Disney timeline, looking at the company’s rich past, successful present, and bright future.
Another disney term to familiarize yourself with is Cast Member, which refers to all employees, aka ME. Which still feels insanely weird to say. Anyways, Disney designs it’s park business as a sort of Show, one of the four keys we learn about, and we also use terms like backstage/onstage. We also refer to all of the park’s visitors as Guests, rather than customers. It’s all to preserve the Disney magic and create happiness. This is connected to literally every detail of the parks, the thought and detail that goes into it all is mind blowing. It’s one of the reason’s I admire Walt Disney so much. After all of this information and history, I really see how much Disney values the people who visit. It’s not about making money, at all, that sort of thing was never even mentioned. They are 100 percent about making everyone’s visit to Disneyland magical. In a world motivated by power, money, and selfish gain, this sort of philosophy is absolutely refreshing, and positively motivates us all to work very hard.
The three other key’s we spent a lot of the time learning about are Safety, Courtesy, and Efficiency. They all extensively build the Disney way of business. A way in which I seriously admire. Another Disney cast member mantra we were presented with was “We Create Happiness”. We, the Disney team, literally create happiness for millions of people. Is there seriously a better job out there?
We then stopped the in classroom experience and took a tour of the Disneyland park itself! It was a brief tour but we got to see some cool backstage areas and observe all the four keys in action.
We returned to the auditorium and heard a closing speech. They also brought out a very magical guest to congratulate us and present us with our official Disney nametags!
Holy cow, it’s been crazy.
I flew in bright and early monday morning to the Orange County airport and took a taxi from there to the apartment complex. As you can imagine, I was basically dying of heat by then. Moving here will absolutely be an adjustment. My sister keeps saying she’s jealous of how tan I’ll get living in California, but in reality I’ll probably just get constantly sunburned. Although, I do absolutely love seeing Palm Trees everywhere.
With my brand new sunglasses on, I waited about an hour in line outside Carnegie Plaza, my new home.
We wound through the complex filling out paperwork, getting our room assignments, keys and orientation schedules. Among the paperwork I learned I would be working in the Disneyland park! I then finally got to go up to my apartment and meet all of my amazing roommates! They’re all really nice, and we get along great. We spent most of the day unpacking, which was actually really hard to focus on.
Later that night we got to go to Downtown Disney for some food! I was so excited to be in Downtown Disney. Even though it’s not one of the parks, it still has a touch of Disney magic. It’s such an awesome shopping center, there are lights on the trees, bold architecture, and all the shops are so nice. We ate delicious sandwiches at a place called Earl of Sandwich and then made plans to do some apartment shopping.
All five of us piled into a car and headed to Target. We may have bought a bit too much and barely got it all in the car. It was quite the adventure. I was actually more comfortable than the it looks in the photo.
We spent the rest of that night unpacking and settling in, all of us pretty tired from the long day.
Tuesday marked our first full day on our own, with several welcoming activities. We started off with a ‘welcome to the program’ orientation where they inspired us to take advantage of the program and make connections with all of these amazing disney people. After hearing all these people speak and talking to some other program participants, I’ve noticed that we all have such a similar mindset that I haven’t really been able to share with a lot of people before. Everyone is really determined to do big things, explore the world and make people happy, it’s awesome.
We had some time until the big welcome party that night and decided to check out the local CVS and ‘Vons’, which were both a convenient 5 min or so walk from our apartment. Now if you haven’t heard of Vons, it’s actually the exact same thing as Safeway. Literally. Everything besides the name is the same, it’s strange right?
That night we went to the big College Program Welcome Party! It had pizza, a photo booth, and an awesome DJ! The free photo booth took great pictures and even printed out a copy for each of us.
The DJ then was so incredibly good at his job. He got a ton of us on the dance floor with a really fun partner game! He lead us in crazy dance moves, fun routines and gave away free prizes. My roommates definitely witnessed my crazy dance moves; and when the dougie came on, you know I was 253 reppin 😉
Overall it was a great party and we met some new people, danced like crazy and grew a bit closer in such a small amount of time.
Okay, so I’ve been getting A LOT of questions from friends, family, and really random people about the Disney College Program (DCP). With this post I will explain what the program entails, why I chose to participate, and the process I went through to do so.
Here’s Disney’s description they provide on the website:
As a part of the Disney College Program, participants have the incredible opportunity to advance their strengths and interests, meet guests and cast members from around the country and take part in educational opportunities students can’t get anywhere else. This truly unique program allows participants to network with leaders, take part in personal and career development classes, and build transferable skills such as problem-solving, teamwork, guest service and effective communication.
When applying you have to be a enrolled in a college and while there they offer classes, required for those participating in the Disneyland program, that your school can offer credit for. You can apply for either the program in Florida at Walt Disney World or in California at Disneyland. I applied to both, and was glad to have been accepted into the Disneyland program, which naturally, is much smaller. There are two session’s each year, Spring and Fall. When doing Disneyland the program lasts for about 8 months, mine going from January to August. With Walt Disney World, people can participate in a program that lasts for about 5 months, or the Advantage program that is 8 months. The program is treated like a sort of internship and is required for some of the professional internships within the specific divisions of the company. While the Disney College Program is a non-technical skill internship, it produces the type of skills required in the workplace. I’ll be staying in apartment complexes provided by Disney with only other DCP participants. The apartments are fully furnished and equipped with things like Wifi, etc. Participants get paid and are assigned roles within the parks and the hotel’s. A few of the roles include: Attractions, Merchandise, Quick Service Food & Beverage, PhotoPass Photographer, etc. We get unlimited free access to the parks while there as well as discounts on local restaurants and merchandise within the park. There is also a store for cast members, Disney employee’s, only that offers merchandise at a huge discount! There are also opportunities to participate in VoluntEARS. Which is a part of the program where you can do volunteer work with Disney.
Basically, you get to live in housing provided by Disney, get paid to work there, take classes, unlimited access to Disneyland, and it’s considered an internship. AWESOME right?
I applied on a whim in October. I wanted to do the program eventually, but I didn’t think I was going to get in at all this round, I just thought I’d apply every time I could. When I ended up getting the phone interview, the third round, I was so shocked! But I had another opportunity for me this summer and so it wasn’t a big deal if I didn’t get in this round. I think that definitely helped me not stress out and be really confident and relaxed for my phone interview, which went really well. I hadn’t even told my parents I’d applied because I was so sure I wouldn’t get in, it’s VERY competitive, and didn’t want them telling everyone and getting everyone’s hopes up. And so when I was accepted, I was so shocked, I still am! And my parents were even more so. Once I was accepted, however I realized that there couldn’t have been a better time for me to do this. I didn’t really have any great jobs lined up for this year. I had some interviews for Taco Time, Ross, Old Navy, etc. But nothing special to stand out on my resume. I wanted to get internships soon, serious ones, but I didn’t really have anything to help me stand out. I hadn’t declared my major yet either, which I would have done in the next two quarters. This will make for a better situation when I return. I wouldn’t want to go there, find my calling and want to come back having to change majors. Basically I saw this school year as being a bit of a waste, I didn’t see myself coming out of it with anything to show, and now I will. Now I can apply for serious internships in the publishing industry and have previous experience with something of the same sort. After the program I will return to school at Western and continue earning my degree. I may be set back and not complete my degree in the standard four years, but barely anyone gets it done in that time anyways. I’ll have a better chance of getting a job as someone who participated in DCP and took 5 years to graduate over someone who didn’t do anything like this and graduated in the expected 4 years. There has not been one person in all of the online blogs, articles, and FB groups who wouldn’t do it again in a heartbeat. This will change my life. This is a goal I had set and I went after and now it’s happening.
The application process is entirely online. The first stage is a simple form where you enter your basic information and job experience. And that’s all! Based on that alone they’ll email you if they want you to move on to the next round, the Web Based Interview. Getting this email for the next step can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few months! I received the email within 15mins. The Web Based Interview is a series of multiple choices questions referring to work scenarios and personality questions. They ask a few questions multiple times too, reworded a bit differently. It’s pretty basic. After this is completed you wait to see if they want to conduct a phone interview, which they’ll email you to schedule. This email, again, could take moments to months, and most of the time people don’t get it at all. I received an email for a phone interview almost immediately afterwards. I scheduled the interview for a few days later and then did internet research and prepared for it. The phone interview is really easy! They ask you about your job experience and a few scenario based questions, and about the roles you would want to work. The interviewers are really really nice and make the interview super easy. Mine only lasted about 15-20mins. After that, there is the final waiting game. This part can also take days to months. If accepted you generally will receive an acceptance email or it will show they are accepted at the Disney careers login page. I however, had to schedule another call. They emailed me again telling me I they had an application update that they wanted to discuss with me. This was because I was accepted under a general role and they wanted to call and tell me about what that means. It basically means that I was accepted, they just haven’t chosen a role for me yet. A few weeks later I got an email confirming my role as Quick Service Food and Beverage! You then will receive an email with several steps to confirm your acceptance, including accepting the offer, paying fees and scheduling an arrival and departure date. About 5% of applicants actually get accepted into the program so it is very competitive!
Let me know if you have any other questions and I’ll be happy to clarify!