On the fence about applying for the Disney College Program? Here’s the one reason that will make you want to apply immediately.
What is the DCP? It’s a program that allows college students to “live, learn, and earn” at either Disneyland Resort or Walt Disney World Resort. Students gain valuable, hands-on experience by working on the front line for the Fortune 500 giant. Not only that, but the students are able to stay in company-sponsored housing, attend welcome events, and take classes on their days off.
That last part is key.
But, before I get too deep into the good stuff, it should be said that the DCP is highly competitive, and tough work. Many students work 50+ hours per week, late nights and weekends, doing labor-intensive duties. It’s not easy and the realities should not be taken lightly. Additionally, on a personal note, I participated in the DCP in 2014 and was a Professional Intern with the marketing team behind the DCP in 2016. My views do not reflect the views of The Walt Disney Company, but I am fairly well-versed in the program.
What’s the one reason you should apply for the DCP? The networking opportunities.
If one of your professional goals is to work for The Walt Disney Company, there is no better program to tee you up. Here are 6 ways to get ahead and network during the Disney College Program:
Following your acceptance into the program, you can choose classes to take on your days off. These are typically 1-2 hours long one day a week for a portion of your program. There are a variety of subjects — many relating to majors such as marketing, public relations, engineering, and more. A lot of them bring in local Disney employees in these fields as guest speakers. This is HUGE. Talk to them, connect with them on LinkedIn, take them out for coffee. You won’t get this kind of relationship anywhere else!
Disney managers are often called “leaders” — and it takes a lot of work, time, sweat, and tears to become one. These people have often been around the Disney block and likely know more people than you’d expect. Be up-front and honest with them about your career goals from the get-go and they may be able to connect you to someone who knows someone in your desired field.
3. The Learning Center
If you land a spot on the program in Florida, take advantage of the Disney Learning Center. Not only do they have writing labs in which you can totally up your resume game, but they will work with you to understand your career goals and connect you to Disney employees within those.
Disney has a huge arsenal of recruiters, many of whom work with the DCP. They can be fantastic resources for finding connections within your field. One way I like to keep up with recruiters is Twitter. Check out all of the recruiters that I follow!
If you have a very specific role or person or department in mind, Disney’s (mostly) company-wide online employee directory is the place to go. Rostr+ stalking is totally a thing and I highly encourage you to try it out.
Come into the program open to making friends. You never know where your co-workers, roommates, and neighbors will end up. Treat them well, and get to know them. Add them on LinkedIn and Facebook. Walk down Main Street, U.S.A. together. They could be your ticket in some day!
While the DCP may be physically challenging and exhausting, the networking aspect can be a complete game changer for your career. As they say, “it’s a small world after all!”