Friday, October 29, 2010

Pros vs. Cons

When I was making my decision to accept or decline my invitation to join the College Program, there were a lot of factors that helped my click "accept." Unfortunately in a room cleaning purge, I accidentally threw out my actual list, but here's most of what I had on there. I know a lot of these don't apply to most people, but some of them probably apply to everyone

-Disney. Duh
-Looks good on a resume
-Post-program opportunities 
-Cool classes to take: Advanced Hospitality, Experiential Learning, Corporate Analysis, etc. We don't really have anything like these at my school.
-Make new friends (but keep the old?)
-Spring semester is usually boring anyways (no football)
-Possibility of receiving credit for an internship (required by my major)

-Time spent away from boyfriend
-Time spent away from family
-Last semester of college (well... not really,  I'll be here for one more, but it's most of my friends' last semester)
-Possibility of not getting along with roommates
-Possibility of bad location
-Possibility of not getting along with coworkers 
-Delay of graduating (once again, I'm going to be participating in a "victory lap" 5th year anyways, but it will still be a semester I'd be "taking off" unless I could convince my academic advisor to award me credit for my internship, as mentioned above)

Well that's seven and seven, but obviously some of the points weigh heavier than others. The possibility of a negative experience seemed way less likely than the possibility of an awesome experience, and since I want to work in Travel and Hospitality when I grow up (yeah, like THAT'S ever gonna happen, haha), working for the company that wrote the book on Hospitality excellence just seems like the obvious choice. And there's the whole been-dreaming-of-this-since-I-was-born thing. I know it's going to be really hard being away from the people I love for four months, but I can't wait for the experience. I know the program isn't for everyone, but I'm really looking forward to it! 

So what finally convinced me one way or another? Well actually, I was reading some articles online and stumbled upon this one: The very last line really spoke to me: "If you have a chance to do the Walt Disney World College Program, do it... you won't regret it!" Well, okay! If you say so.
Monday, October 25, 2010

Professional Internships: General Information

This is a GREAT post by Lamagique on the DISboards:
General PI Information

The official website, located at, has lots of useful information and should be the first stop for anyone considering a Professional Internship.

One exceptionally useful link is the one for the FAQ’s: 

***Professional Internship Information from Past DisBoards Threads & other resources***

Concerning PI Compensation

The pay is typically higher for a PI—ranging from $8-$18/hr. The benefits are the same as those for the College Program, as SoonerKate mentionsin this thread:“park entry, food and merchandise discounts, entrance to cast events, and access to the EAP.”

Concerning the Interview Process
It depends on what role you are applying for, but it might consist of a series of interviews, one interview, a group interview, etc. The first interview tends to be, for most people, a screening interview. Most interviews are over the phone, although some do take place in person. 

As for what sorts of questions they ask, according to rustyflwr3 on this thread: “Its hard to say what types of specific questions they ask, as it is completely different per interview and position. Mine had to do with skills, classes, and experiences that related to the position.” Woody’s Girl elaborates on this point in the same thread, saying: “Interview Specifics -- Like Rusty said, it's hard to give you advice as all of the internshipshave different areas of speciality. However, I can tell you that I had some questions that weren't job specific. They asked me why I want to work at Disney, give an example of a time when I had to handle multiple tasks, my most memorable or most proud moment...that kind of stuff.” More information about the interview process can be found on the aforementioned thread and the ones below:

Concerning PI Housing
Professional Interns can live in the housing that Disney provides or they can find a place on their own. Disney PI housing is at Northbridge Apartments, which are about 30 minutes away from the Parks and Resorts. Rent is about $129/week. Quite like the college program, the apartments are furnished and have internet access and twin beds. Some rooms are singles, some rooms are doubles. The housing is limited and works on a lottery system. 

--> More information about Northbridge:
Official Northbridge Apartments Website
Northbridge on Apartment 

Concerning PI Transportation
Unlike the college program, PIs are required to have their own mode of transportation. 

Management Internships vs. Other PIs
Management Professional Interns cannot live in Northbridge/Housing provided by Disney. It is also said that Management PIs get paid more than other PIs (about $600/week is what is reported). For more information about the differences between Management PIs and the other PIs, go to the following thread:

Concerning the Portfolio
Some PIs require a portfolio be submitted along with a resume. For tips/information about this, see the following thread:

Disneyland Professional Internships 

The Difference Between the CP and PIs

From Professional Internship to Full-Time Status

Thanks, Magique!

Professional Internships: My Experience

Before I applied for the College Program, I also submitted three applications for Professional Internships... well, technically two Management Internships and one Professional Internship. I submitted my applications for the first two on September 13 (for Theme Park Operations and Marketing Event Planning) and the third a week later on the 20th (for Recreation), even though I had my phone interview on the 19th. Well I can't say I have any sort of insight into the process, but I received an email within a day saying that I hadn't been accepted for the Recreation Management, however, more than a month after my initial phone interview, I have yet to hear back about the first two internships I applied for. I've heard a lot of contrasting opinions and experiences about the PI's, including how many interviews people have had to do, when they heard back, etc.
I was told I would hear back by December 1, so I guess I still have a while to wait. Obviously, I'm going to Disney next semester no matter what. Just as to whether it will be through the CP or a PI is unknown. I've already accepted my invite for the CP, and I've heard that you can always just "upgrade" to the PI if you are offered one. The question is whether or not I would take it. 
Reasons why I WOULDN'T

  • I'm pretty psyched about the college program. I really like my role, and am looking forward to learning more about it. It's more of a "hand-on" role than a CP would be, I'd be working in the parks (hopefully), and there's a lot of guest interaction (both a good and bad thing, haha).
  • I would not get to take collegiate courses Disney offers, and I need that credit. Not because of full-time status or anything, because I've already got the hours covered by listing the program as an internship. I need to take one or two classes at Disney to complete my supportive coursework for my major, Recreation and Leisure studies. As much as I love my major and department, there simply aren't enough of the types of classes I want to take that would guide me into my chosen field. Doing a Professional Internship wouldn't give me the same access to those classes that a college program would
  • The PI is more of a 9-5 job. I know there are wacky schedules with the CP, but I'm a college student. I'm used to it. 
  • Housing is not guaranteed. They do offer some people housing, but from what I've heard, most people have to find their own or do not live in the Disney complexes.
  • The experience. Although I'm sure a PI would be tons of fun, it just doesn't seem to have the same fun, young-hearted, we're all in this together attitude as the CP.
Reasons why I WOULD

  • Possibly better experience- I'd be doing more and have the opportunity to grow as an individual. I know I'll have this, no matter which I choose, but I feel like the PI's are less like worker bees.
  • More money? Hey, I'm just as broke as the next college kid. You can't blame me. 
  • Chance to expand and really work with the company, not for it (like the first bullet point, this is just an assumption).
  • Looks good on a resume. Just sayin. 
So obviously this huge debate is all going to be useless if (when?) I don't actually get either of the Professional Internships. However, it's nice to be prepared!
Sunday, October 24, 2010

Chip N Dale

There is one person in my life that is completely synonymous with Disney. This person is my best friend, my kindred spirit, the chip to my dale, my goofy, lovable sister. If you are fortunate enough to have a sister as awesome as mine, then you lead a good life. We speak our own language, and she is only person I know who loves Disney as much as I do. I'm sure I'll meet some other Disneyphiles in about 78 days, but with the exception of a chorus trip in 8th grade and a day trip in 10th grade, she has been there with me every time I've been to Disney... even if she was just in Mom's tummy.
So here's a shout out to my biffle! Hope you did well on the ACT, Mims! I know you aced it! Also, I'm sorry for posting the moose picture on the Hints page... but at least it wasn't the really bad one!
Saturday, October 23, 2010

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Last Wednesday I met with one of our department heads to discuss the College Program and what it would mean for me in terms of full time status, financial aid, credit, and whatnot. For my major, Recreation and Leisure Studies, we are required to complete 15 hours of supportive coursework (or 5 3-hour classes) and a semester long internship (also worth 15 hours). I wasn't really worried that participating in the College Program would put me a semester behind... let's be real, after 3 major changes (History-->Sociology-->Anthropology--> Rec & Leis) there was no way I was going to graduate on time. However, I knew that I couldn't just get away with doing the CP for funsies. I decided that doing one or two of the classes down there and trying to get credit for them as a supportive course would be the best way to make my College Program really work for me and my overall college courseload. 

However, after talking to the advisor about the program, all the awesome classes they had to offer (all approved by the ACE), and all the opportunities I would have, she cleared me not only for credit for the classes, but also is letting this count as my internship! Three birds, one stone.* 

* I do not promote animal cruelty. These are figurative birds. : ) 

What did this teach me? Talk to your department heads, school, advisors, whomever you need to. You never know just how helpful it could be. Not only did it further convince me that this was going to be an amazing experience, but I ended up getting way more credit towards my major than I would have thought. Additionally, it's possible that you could find out that you won't get any credit for those classes or the internship. At least it's still a great thing to put on your resume and you won't have to worry about taking the classes. Now all we have to do is see if I can possibly handle the 40 hour workweek AND two classes (and have time to spend in the parks).

One last thing- I didn't realize how helpful Disney was going to be on their end- turns out, they have dealt with students for the past 40 years going through the exact same thing as me... so they know what they're doing. Don't be afraid to shoot them an email, either! 
Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It's Official

I clicked "accept." Starting January 10, 2011, I will be a Walt Disney World Cast Member. It's a cool feeling : )
Friday, October 15, 2010

I got in!!!!

Dear Lisa,
Congratulations! You have been selected to participate as a Full-Service Food & Beverage Cast Member on the Disney College Program in the Spring 2011 Season.

Umm, what? How fantasmic is that?! I can't believe it really happened! I love love love love love Disney and I love love love love love love love love love Walt Disney World. Always have. (Hopefully) Always will. My bookshelf consists of textbooks (yet to be opened) and Disney books (binding worn down). My homepage is the Disney Parks Blog. There are over 30 references to Disney in my room.

So the idea that I could spend five months living, eating, breathing, working Disney World is just incredible.The college program is something I've considered doing for about five years now, but in one of those distant, surreal, fantastical, "wouldn't it be cool if I moved to Paris?" kind of ways. 

I looked at the website several times. Dozens. I finally applied September 26, got the email saying I was a strong candidate and if I wanted to schedule an interview, to call in the next 72 hours. Then I did something bad... I didn't call. I put it in the back of my mind and then it was too late. 73 hours later, I had an uh oh moment, but figured it was just an opportunity missed. Back in the surreal fantasies folder, Disney College Program! Then the fourth day came. Then the fifth day. Every day that passed by, I regretted my choice not to schedule an interview. On October 7, I called the scheduling center and told them that I had completed my online interview, but it was far past the 72 hour window, and luckily, the wonderful woman on the other end said that she would try to see if we could schedule one anyways... and we could! 

On October 11 at 11:15, (hey, hey! 11-11!) I had my phone interview with John, a great guy who might have had a cold because he was coughing an awful lot. I felt like the interview went fine. Obviously there's always that feeling of ooh, if only I'd said this! But all in all, I feel like I answered the questions well and ended the call feeling confident that I would either make the program or not, and either way I wouldn't regret it. I received my automatic courtesy email saying that I would hear back in the mail in 3-4 weeks. And I hunkered down, prepared to wait for 3-4 weeks. Granted, I'm pretty sure I checked the mail THAT day and every day after it (just in case), but I knew that most people didn't hear back for weeks. From reading the DISBoards, I learned that one girl heard back in 8 days and it was uncommon. Another said she'd heard back in 5 days and that was entirely rare. 

3 days. 3 days is all I had to wait to hear. 73 1/2 hours, actually. What? The funny thing is, I didn't even notice the email at first. I got home from class and looked through my emails, and the invitation was the last one I read. And promptly freaked out. And called my mom. And we both freaked out. And called my sister, who was surprisingly sedate (until she told her entire Latin class this morning). 

And then I freaked out in a different way... how was I going to tell my boyfriend, Kyle? He is going to be student teaching next semester, and I was planning on doing an internship anyways, but living in another state for 5 months? He doesn't have free flights like I do and I'll be working 6 days a week and I hate skype and omgfreakout. I knew he'd be cool with it, but would I be? He was, and he hugged me and I found out he's probably going to be teaching in Dunwoody next semester anyways (and if my weekly drives to DHS aren't evidence enough, I don't know what is) so he wouldn't be living in Athens but he'd still come up on the weekends. I know that something like this wouldn't drive us apart. I know that it's a fantastic opportunity. I know that it's being selfish and I really need to go out and do it. But it's like... man. I hate being apart. I don't like being separated from the people I love. Case in point: I live an hour and a half away from my parents. 

Anyways, I've got a running pros and cons list. More to discuss. More to think about. 

Shout out to Jessie: Up top. Down low. In the middle. Disney. 

Also, thanks, John! I owe you one, bud!

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