Life in the Walt Disney World College Program

I totally wish I had known about the College Program when I went to school. I don’t think the east coast was on my radar yet. Disney is relying on the WDWCP even more these days as hiring enough regular cast members becomes an issue. So I’m always interested to see what life is like for program participants.

Over at themepark attractions one participant explains what life is like back at the apartment. It’s a 3 bedroom place with 6 guys sharing it. The author had 13 different roommates over the course of his 7 month internship.

I had one who got fired for falling asleep on the job.  He didn’t talk much, and spent most of his time at PI.  I still have one of his shirts in my closet if he ever wants it back.

I had one who had ADD and didn’t like to take his medicine.  He was fun to hang out with sometimes, and other times he was a bit too much.  He survived the program, though moved to another apartment because he was Career Start and not College Program.

One spent the night in jail after he got caught stealing at Universal.  He got his nipples pierced while we were there.  He left the program because he wasn’t making any money.  That tends to happen when you call in every day. I still have one of his shirts too.

There was another guy that called in a lot too.  He kept waiting for them to fire him for attendance, but they never did, so he eventually just left.

Quite a revolving door. (Read)

7 thoughts on “Life in the Walt Disney World College Program”

  1. I’m the author of that article. I’m glad you enjoyed reading it. I’ve written a few other articles about my experiences with the college program over on Overall it was an amazing experience, probably the best I’ve ever had, and I highly recommend it to every college kid. Any one who wants to know more should visit Thanks for mentioning my article, you’ve really made my day!

  2. I’m a hotel and restaurant administration student in college right now, and I have been planning on doing this internship since I was in eighth grade. Back then I wanted to be an engineer, but I never waivered in knowing that whatever career I chose I wanted it to take me to WDW. Everyone at my university, students, faculty, advisors, etc., all tell me that it’s a terrible program and I’ll work harder than I’ve ever worked before for very little pay, and that I won’t get hardly any experience. I say what internship does pay well, doesn’t free admission to the parks once a week add up quite quickly, and what better experience is there than working for the most famously guest oriented company in the world? I am so excited, and that article makes me that much more excited! Thanks for actually speaking out about how amazing the program is.

  3. Stephanie,
    You should ask your hospitality faculty and advisors why they decided to teach at a university instead of sticking to the industry. The hospitality industry *is* hard work and long/late hours. Pay fluctuates with the job level and responsibilities. That’s the nature of the beast. Teaching has much better hours and I can’t imagine pay being that much better (until they are tenured).
    Any teacher that discourages a student from pursuing any goal is a disgrace in my book.

  4. In 2005, I participated in the Walt Disney World International Program that’s very similar to the College Program, but a full year long, and with international participants. This is a pretty accurate portrayal of the mix of people that get hired into these programs… it actually amazed me some of the people made it through the company’s interviews and strict hiring guidelines–people that i didn’t really think were suited to be Disney Cast Members.

    Then again, some of the people I met were the most wonderful, caring, bubbly people I’d ever come across in my life. So they must be doing something right!

  5. Hi there people, I have a question..what is the average age of cast members living in lake buena vista?? I’m 24 years, and I’m worried I’m going to be the oldest one over there…And what is the best appartmentcomplex to live??
    Please let me know :-) kisses from Sweden

    1. I was 23 when I went into the program and my roommates were all 23 to 24. I had 5 other roommates. Don’t feel like your too old, b/c it was the best experience I’ve ever done and would do it again in a heartbeat. Go for it! It looks very impressive on your resume.

  6. hi christa,
    i am taking part in the international college programme this year and i’m 22. when i attended the interviews in london for the programme there was a variety of ages there. so i wouldn’t worry about your age. anyway disney is for big kids. enjoy the experience and have fun :-)

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