We’d like to introduce you to a new column, Kevin In Wonderland. In these articles, you’ll follow Kevin on his journey from civilian to magic maker in Disney’s College Program.

Hello, and welcome to my dream.  I’m Kevin, a member of the Disney College Program for the fall semester of 2012 in Orlando, Florida. I know from personal experience how unsure it can be starting the program, because it’s something completely new.  So, after I was accepted, I wanted to share my experiences so others would know what it’s like, and perhaps try the program for themselves.  I hope you’ll enjoy my journey as much as I’m enjoying being on it.

Kevin in Cars Land

First, a little bit about me: I’m 19 years old and studying Architecture at the University of Arizona.  I’ve wanted to be in the theme park industry since I was ten years old.  I own a Premium season pass to Disneyland and go at least twice a month (when I can).  I was a part of my high school’s improv team, the choir and I was even president of the drama club.  I enjoy the experience of theatrics and feel that a theme park is the ultimate entertainment experience.

For a long time I’ve been considering the Disney College Program, I just wasn’t sure how to go about getting involved.  Here’s some information  from personal experience and from friends who have been accepted and even completed the program:

The first thing you are going to do is fill out an online application.  To get to the application go to http://cp.disneycareers.com/en/default/ and click the “Apply Now” tab in the top right corner.  On this application you will be able to choose the positions you are interested in by selecting whether you are not interested, moderately interested, or very interested in a particular position.

Hint: most people will tell you to choose “very interested” for every position to increase your chances to get in.  I happen to think that you should be honest with what you actually want to do.  This way, you avoid being assigned to a job that you would not enjoy.  Don’t be desperate.  Your enthusiasm during the phone interview is more important than choosing “very interested” for every position.

If your application is accepted then you must schedule a phone interview.  To prepare for your phone interview write down this information:

  1. A legitimate reason for joining the college program.  Don’t just say that you want to get away or it sounds fun.  Write down your opening statement and edit it to make it flow with eloquence.
  2. Think of the top three positions you would like to work and write them down.  Record the reasons for why you would want to work in these areas and why you’d be good at it.
  3. Write down your past job experiences and what you did on those jobs that will help you in the parks.
  4. Smile.  These are Disney Cast Members.  They know what a smile sounds like.
  5. If you have some extra time at the end of the interview, ask your interviewer about their “Disney Story”.  Almost all cast members love their job, and they love to explain how they came to be a part of the Disney Corporation.

Hint- schedule your interview with 30 minutes to spare before and after.  The interviewers have a tendency to be very early or very late depending on other interviews of the day.

Keep these notes near during your interview.  They can be very helpful.  And don’t be afraid of the interview.  There will be a cast member on the other line who is just as eager to get you into the program as you are to be accepted.

Hint: If you can work it into the conversation, make sure that you prove your knowledge of the Disney Corporation.  For example, my interview was the day after Disney let cast members grow beards, and I brought that up to my interviewer when talking about dress code.  A friend of mine simply asked his interviewer if it was her unbirthday.  We both were accepted.

Once accepted, you must choose arrival and departure dates.  There is not much leeway with these so just take what you can get.  As you get closer and closer to your arrival date you will be getting more and more information about what to do, bring, and how to prepare.  With all of this you’ll also receive a large online packet of information about the company and proper cast member conduct.

I have just begun my journey in the College Program.  I started on August 20th.  Throughout this semester, I will be posting stories, pictures and videos, so you will be able to join along with me.  I’ll show you where I’ll be living, what I’m doing and even what goes into becoming a Disney employee. See ya real soon.

Have you been through the Disney College Program? Do you have any advice or stories to share? Leave a comment−I would love to hear from you!