Mouth of the Mouse: Evan Does the College Program

Written by Jeff Heimbuch. Posted in Disney, Disney Parks, Features, From the Mouth of the Mouse, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World

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Published on August 21, 2013 at 12:01 am with 22 Comments

In today’s Mouth Of The Mouse, we talk to Evan, who just recently finished a stint in the Walt Disney World College Program. With his experiences fresh in his mind, he shares some great stories.

Let’s get to it!


 

JEFF: So tell us about how you got into Disney to begin with? Were you like most people and fell in love at an early age?

EVAN: Well, it all started when my family took us on a surprise trip to Disneyland. I was 10. The place blew my mind. Specifically, seeing Fantasmic. That show stuck with me for a long time. As a major theatre nerd (which is what I go to school for) I wanted to know how it all worked. So one day several years later I decided to research it online, finding videos, and subsequently fan sites.. Namely Mice Chat, where I have been a member since I was 14. Mice Chat made my love for Disneyland grow even larger, and my middle school and high school life saw a lot of my time dedicated to the website. I finally got back to Disneyland when I was 19. It was a dream come true after so many years, and that created my drive to want to work there, which is mostly impossible for a Canadian, but Disney World had the opportunity I was seeking!

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JEFF: So how did you go about getting started working at Disney?

EVAN: Well, as a Canadian I did not really know where to start. I constantly searched online, seeking answers. I eventually found the Disney College Program website and looked into international opportunities.. It told me to email a company that deals with all the recruitment, so I did that. Sadly I never heard a word, and just sort of moved on. Well, last year on my last day of work at my Summer Job, this new employee and I were talking, and it turns out she had done the International College Program, my mind was blown! She gave me all the information, the correct website to go apply, and what to do. I raced away and did all she said. This was August 2012. Around November I was contacted and told I had a phone interview. I was then contacted and told I was accept for an in person interview. This meant I had to fly all the way to Montreal in January 2013, which is all the way on the East Coast. I am in British Columbia, West Coast. This was a costly trip, just for an interview.. But I had zero doubt in my mind that I would be hired, so I took the risk, and it paid off. I mean, after my dedication to Disney Theme Parks over the years. I had to get hired. I constantly thank the Disney Gods for sending me that new employee who I decided to talk to on my last day of work. I started May 13th 2013, and just ended August 2, so this is all very fresh.

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JEFF: What did you do there?

EVAN: I worked in Stands East at the Magic Kingdom. Essentially food stands (not outdoor foods) in the east side of the park. Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, and Storybook Circus (we work two outdoor carts there despite not being outdoor foods)

JEFF: Can you tell me a little about your day in that position?

EVAN: The nice thing about Stands East was that we had SO many locations. In Tomorrowland I could work at Launching Pad, Cool Ship, or Auntie Gravities. Fantasyland we had Friars Nook, Storybook Treats, Cheshire Café, and Gastons Tavern. Then in Storybook Circus we had the Hot Dog Cart and Pretzel Cart. This kept things fresh, as you really never knew where you would be sent when you clocked into CDS (Cast Deployment System.) I was mostly scheduled in Fantasyland. So a typical day would be clocking in behind the Winnie the Pooh attraction, and then being sent off on another magical adventure. Whether I was on Register at Treats or Gastons, cooking at Friars Nook, prepping Croissants and Warm Cinnamon Rolls at Gastons. We literally do it all in Stands East.

JEFF: Any times you can think of that you went out of your way to make a guest’s visit more magical?

EVAN: The best part about Stands East is that we get to do Magical Moments Galore. At treats we had HUGE sundae bowls we could fill with ice cream and make huge sundaes. We would do several of those a day, giving them out to random families in the park. But I think my favorite memory has to be the time I was at Circus (I rarely got scheduled at the Circus).  We are given hula hoops to play around with as the Circus can be a bit slow; we are sadly hidden in the back by the Dumbo Fast Pass. Well, we were just playing around when a couple little girls wanted to join us, so we started playing hula hoop with them, and my goodness the one little girl was own all of us! It was hilarious, their parents came over and filmed us all playing around, and it was really really fun. I’m always excited knowing I will be part of their memories at Disney forever.

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JEFF: Any other fun stories that you’d like to share?

EVAN: One stands out, and that is from my very last shift. My last shift was a bit odd. I don’t know if it was some good Disney karma, or what.. But I was working a closing shift, and in foods closing means a lot of cleaning and staying after the parks closed to make sure you location is setup perfectly for opening the next day. Well I was all prepared for this last shift, when suddenly my leader says Evan, close your window and come with me.. I was a bit confused but obliged. I was taken behind Gaston’s, and led into the Be Our Guest kitchen, where a Fire Marshall was awaiting my arrival. I guess there had been some issue with the alert system, and they needed to setup a human fire watch around the parks. So for the remaining 5 hours of my shift, I was on special assignment. I had to walk around the Gaston’s area (so that back corner of New Fantasyland) and if for some reason there was a garbage can on fire, small child, anything… I was to call 911 and they would know it was me. I was essentially a human fire alarm. Well obviously, there were zero fires.. So I essentially, on my last shift… Got to walk around and interact with guests. My manager felt bad for putting me on this assignment on my last shift, so he allowed me to eat something from Gaston’s on my break (normally something one would get terminated for.) In the end, I got to have a last shift Cast Members dream about!

But the best thing that happened was right before the fireworks. I of course needed to watch Wishes (fire duty and all) and Gaston’s is a great place to do so. There had been lightning in the air all night, so a family asked me if Tinkerbell would be flying that night, and if they could see her from back there. I explained that well due to lightning Tink may have decided to stay home for the night, but you never know. The father then decided to question me, asking me if Tink was just someone dressed up and flying on a wire or what. (We were told in training that adults would do this, and pry us for answers, it had never happened until now.) I explained to the man that of course not, it’s Tink the real Tinkerbell. His daughter then appeared out of nowhere, looking up at me with big eyes and asks “Wait, it’s not someone dressed up”, I looked down at her and said “No, no! It’s the real Tinkerbell.” This little girl started running around so giddy and excited, proclaiming to the world, “IT’S REALLY TINKERBELL, IT’S HER.”

Honest to god, it was the best last shift…ever! That moment right there reminded me why I left Canada for a summer, to work at Disney World. The pure wonder and the magic that filled the little girl, just like it filled me when I was 10 years old seeing Tink fly for the first time.

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JEFF: Do you plan on going back to work for them at some point in the future?

EVAN: I would love to go back one day, but on a longer program. Either the yearlong Cultural Rep at the Canada Pavilion or an internship. I wouldn’t want to do the summer program again, because it is so short. May 13 to August 2 flew right by! You make all these amazing new friends from around the world and leave them so soon. If I did do the summer program again, I would want to do either attentions or entertainment.

 


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By Jeff Heimbuch

If you are, or know, a Cast Member who would like to share some of their stories and possibly be featured right here on MiceChat, please email me at [email protected]. I’d love to hear from you!

You can read older columns of From The Mouth Of The Mouse here! 

Jeff can help you plan your perfect Disney vacation with Fairy Godmother Travel! Call him at 732-278-7404 or email him at [email protected] for a free, no-obligation quote for Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Aulani or Adventures By Disney.

Jeff also writes a MiceChat column titled The 626. We invite you to check it out!

Jeff also co-hosts the VidCast Communicore Weekly on MiceTube.

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About Jeff Heimbuch

Jeff has been in love with all things Disney since a very early age. He writes From The Mouth Of The Mouse and The 626 every week for MiceChat. He also collaborates on The Disney Review every weekend. Aside from that, he is one half of the devastatingly good looking duo of the weekly vid/podcast Communicore Weekly (the other half being fellow MiceChat columnist George Taylor), which you can find at www.communicoreweekly.com Jeff is also writing a book with former Imagineer and Disney Legend, Rolly Crump. You can find out more about the book at www.itskindofacutestory.com

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22 Comments

Comments for Mouth of the Mouse: Evan Does the College Program are now closed.

  1. What an amazing experience!

    You say that you were in the College Program from May to August? Do you know if they do that only for international students or for everyone? From what I have read I thought the College Program was really only offered Jan-May (or Jan-Aug) and Aug-Dec (or May-Dec). Just wondering.

    • This was an International College Program, so they are offered for summer only. We don’t have a longer option (Unless you do the cultural Rep). We can’t extend due to visa issues etc. It was an incredible experience, but short.

  2. Great story! Thank you Evan and Jeff!

    Love hearing these tales from the cast members who make the magic.

    • Special things happen to special people. I am thrilled for you Evan, that your WDW experiences were all that you wanted them to be.

  3. It was an international college program, so we are only offered a summer stint. Regular College Program has Spring Advantage or Fall Advantage. But due to visa and school reasons, we only get a summer. Amazing experience, but short.

  4. OMG! Evan waited on us this summer at Gaston’s Tavern. I totally remember him from his picture. This is such a great story, and I cant believe I actually interacted with him during his dream job.

    • DId I actually?! Mind blown!!

      • YES I cant believe it. I totally remember you. You were very nice too. I just went through my 10,000 pictures I took, but sadly I didn’t get any of the counter area inside Gaston’s. But I remember you because of your glasses, and I thought you were cute ;)

    • haha aww, that is very sweet of you.

  5. I tried to apply for this program last fall and didn’t get in because I was not participating in a degree program at the college I was attending at the time and it was one of their requirements. Do you know if they still have that requirement?

    • I am not entirely sure.. The program I am in was not a degree program.. but it was a from a degree issuing institution, and the had the possibility of me going on to do a degree?? So I didn’t encounter an issue.

      • So how did you go about applying? Could you tell me what website you used please?

      • message me :)

  6. The next step is get a job interview with Disney Corporation upon graduation. Don’t bother with working the minimum wage jobs. Start your professional career.

    • How does one do that? I am going to school for acting.. and I’m Canadian.. haha

  7. I love, love, love stories like Evan’s. Evan has a dream job opportunity and a wonderful summer. Guests have a dream vacation and a wonderful experience thanks to cast members like Evan. I read the wonderful story here on MiceChat and get a heart-warming story that reminds me there is good in the world. Thanks for making my day!

  8. Your mom must be so proud of you! Your smile says so much. Dobby (The Chihuahua) says he’d close the food shift with you any time — he’s a specialist at cleaning up stuff that falls on the ground.

    I know the Green Card stuff is different for the performing arts, so maybe they’ll need a Canadian Person to play a character. Surely you could be a Bear or a Moose?

  9. Ok you look REALLY familiar, Evan. I’m betting I’ve at least walked by you a few times (I visit WDW once a month as I’m a “local” & have an AP). Wouldn’t surprise me if you waited on me at Gaston’s.

    • I hope our paths crossed. I recalled talking to one blonde lady at Auntie Gravities who was a local, loved meeting locals!

  10. The College Program is such a great opportunity. I’m glad you had such a good time in Florida! I did the College Program at Disneyland back in 1996. That was the year they announced California Adventure, and had the “Farewell Season” of the Main Street Electrical Parade. I worked in Merchandise, on Main Street, and was able to listen to the parade twice a night through the shop doors. You meet a lot of nice people, but Evan is right, is goes by very quickly…

  11. That is too bad that Disneyland doesn’t have a program for our neighbors to the north. I am glad you had an awesome experience. I have a friend who is currently on his second program but this time he is with one of the Dinsy cruise ships. He is a Disney fanatic just like you and me. He is from California however so my understanding is he is in a longer program. He was a lifeguard and then auditioned for a character and they really wanted him to stay but he came back to Dsineyland and worked the front gate before his current gig with the cruise line. I wish you success in your future endeavors and I am sure you will never forget this experience.

  12. Just the kind of person Disney needs more of at the parks! Great interview!