Becoming a part of the Disney College Program team opens up the door for so many different, amazing, and incredible experiences. There is always some party or event happening, knowledge to be gained, and life-long memories to be made. Based on my time working for The Mouse, I think there are TEN things every CP should do/see/encounter.
1. Go to all the special events and holiday celebrations as you can. During my program, I ate around the world during the Food and Wine Fest, saw Hanson, Boyz II Men, and Sugar Ray during the Eat to the Beat concert series, attended both of Mickey’s Christmas and Halloween parties, enjoyed the artistry during Downtown Disney’s Festival of the Masters, and so much more! I especially enjoyed Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. It may seem like this event is geared towards the little ones, but I had some of my best times during that night! But my favorite was attending the filming of the Disney Christmas Parade. Not only did I get to see all kinds of celebrities and ended up being on TV, I was 10 feet behind cutie-pants Phillip Phillips. *swoooon*
2. Pick up a random shift. I’m talking parade, screaming fan, event support staff. Just something that is totally different than your permanent role. It is a really great way to see how other parts of the resort operate.
3. Take advantage of your cast discounts. There are all kinds of money-saving perks by being a cast member, including food, merchandise, shows, and even tours. And during the holidays, your normal 20% off merchandise jumps to 40%, woohoo! (I even got to take my mom)
4. Sign up for a 5K, half-marathon, or (if you are really impressive) a full marathon. I did Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5K during the holidays with three of my roommates and we could not have had more fun. Plus, often in conjunction with these racing events are really cool expos at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. Not only did it give my roommates and I went an excuse to finally see the ESPN center, we also scored all kinds of “freeeeebies!” =D
5. Partake in the educational opportunities through the DCP. The program offers really insightful courses and often includes pretty important speakers. While I was there, famous chef Cat Cora gave a presentation!
6. Become a “VoluntEAR” and give back. Disney has all kinds of opportunities to support the Orlando community. Some examples include blood drives, Give Kids the World, and Toys for Tots. I chose to become a “Teacher for A Day” through a local Teach-In event.
7. Go to all four parks in one day…or as many as you can. On one of the last days of my program, I went to three of the parks. It was SO fun and a great way to end my program.
8. Go to as many of the DCP events as possible. They are so much fun and always include dancing, free food, and prizes. And who doesn’t enjoy all those things?! (A crazy person, that’s who. =P)
9. Take advantage of any cast previews/events. During my program, I got to see new Fantasyland earlier than the guests, won a ticket to listen to iconic Disney imaginer Tony Baxter during Epcot’s 30th Anniversary, and celebrated Halloween with an after-hours, DAK cast-only party in Animal Kingdom.
10. Head to House of Blues on a Sunday night for “Industry Night”, and on Wednesdays go to Buffalo Wild Wings. Cast members always get in for free at both of these bars and expect them to be packed with CPs. (PS: If you are into music, House of Blues has loads of concerts!)
Okay, so I said there are ten things every CP should do, but I couldn’t narrow it down quite enough. You will understand once you work there and are going 24/7 because there are so many things to do and see, ha! Anyhow, here is the final, and most important, thing every CP should do during their time at Walt Disney World:
11. Make as many magical moments as you can. There is no better feeling than making a guest’s vacation that much more special. On my last day of work, I reached a magical moment all-time high with 11 magical moments and I loved every minute of them. =)
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