The Phone Interview

You’ve made it to the final step of applying for the Disney College Program! Hurray! In this series of blog posts I’ve outlined the steps of applying and interviewing for an internship through the DCP. In the last two posts, I covered the application, and the web based interview. In this last and final installment of the application process, I’ll be talking about my last phone interview experience, and some of the tips I found to be most helpful.

First things first, you have to be prepared. I created a list of questions, which you can find here, to help me think about how I would answer possible questions and get me in the right frame of mind. It’s important to remember that neither my list nor any other list of questions floating around on the internet are definite questions your recruiter will ask. I was not asked every question on my list, and there were things I wasn’t expecting. Don’t rely on another person’s experience, be prepared for anything. In no particular order, here are my top tips for preparing your reference/practice papers:

  • Don’t write lengthy responses. You don’t want to sound like you’re reading from a script during your interview. To make sure you sound natural, just jot down some brief notes that you can skim as your answering the recruiter’s questions.
  • Write down your top three roles. Be prepared to answer any question concerning any role, but the recruiter will ask you what your top three roles are, so make sure you’ve deliberated what those are and have them written down somewhere on  your page.
  • Leave a space to write your recruiter’s name. I’ll touch on this a bit more later on, but make sure you leave a space to write down their name. They should introduce themselves when you answer the phone, and you’ll want to call them by name, so get it on paper as soon as you hear it.
  • Don’t depend solely on your notes. Go over your answers in the days leading up to your phone interview. Do a mock interview with a family member or trusted friend. Reflect on why you want to work for Disney and what it would mean to you. Get yourself practicing and in the right frame of mind so that when it comes time to have your interview you sound confident and natural.
  • Prepare your own questions for your recruiter. These could be why they wanted to work for Disney, how they started working for Disney, and why they stayed. You can ask if this is an appropriate time to make a role or location request. It could even be a specific question pertaining to a role you really want.

So now that you’ve prepared your notes and are mentally prepared for the interview, let’s talk about finding a good spot for your interview, and the best way to prepare your space:

  • A calm, quiet, comfortable location. For me, this was in my bedroom, for others it could be their (parked) car, a study room, or an office space. Whatever it takes for you to be calm and comfortable, as long as it’s in a distraction- and interruption-free zone.
  • A place with good cell reception. If you’re not taking your call on a landline, make sure you’re in a space where you know you get good reception.
  • Make sure your cellphone is 100% charged. There’s nothing worse than having your phone die in what is arguably one of the most important phone calls of your life. I strongly recommend you keep your phone plugged in while you’re taking the call, and, when you schedule your interview, put down a backup phone number just in case. They give you that option, so use it.
  • In front of a mirror. I know this one sounds goofy, but trust me. You want to make sure you’re smiling during your interview so you sound more enthusiastic. Sitting where you can see yourself is a sure way to keep that smile on your face the whole time.
  • Have a glass of water handy. Your phone interview will last about 20-25 minutes, and a lot of that is going to be you answering questions. Keep a glass of water nearby so you can take sips in between your answers.

Okay, so you’ve prepared your notes, and you’ve prepared your space. By now your nerves are probably through the roof, and you’re impatiently waiting for the call. Here are a few tips to keep in mind while you’re talking to your amazing recruiter:

  • Take a deep breath. Trust me, as soon as you answer that phone you’re going to feel so relieved. The recruiters are so kind and make you feel so comfortable. It’s that Disney magic, people!
  • SMILE! You’re talking to a Disney recruiter and you’ve made it to the last step of applying for a job in Walt Disney World or Disneyland. You have every reason to smile! Sound happy and show them that you can spread that pixie dust and Disney magic all over the parks.
  • Reference your recruiter by name. Remember when I told you to leave space in your notes to write their name? Write it down. As soon as they introduce themselves say, “Hi ___, it’s so nice to speak with you, thank you for taking the time to call me!” Try to call them by name a few times throughout the interview, and when you hang up say, “Thank you so much ___ for your time, I hope you have a great day!”
  • Speak clearly. Duh! Don’t let your nerves get to you, be clear and annunciate. You’re going to be talking to guests all day as a cast member, they want to hear that you’re good with communication.
  • Be concise. A to-the-point response is 10x better than rambling on for five minutes about what it means to be a good roommate, or how you have a ton of job experience handling cash.
  • Have fun! I can honestly say that my phone interview was such a genuine experience. My recruiter truly made me feel like a close friend. We were professional, but we also shared a laugh, and 22 minutes went by in the blink of an eye. Don’t be afraid to show your love of Disney; they want to see that passion! Being enthusiastic, having fun, and showing your Disney side will give the recruiter insight on how you’ll interact with guests as a cast member in the parks!

You’ve prepared your notes, you aced your interview, so now it’s time to take a deep breath and be positive! You likely won’t hear anything for 2-3 weeks, but don’t be surprised if you’re waiting longer. Some lucky people hear back from Disney in a matter of days, but I waited until the last possible day to get any word. Try to remain optimistic! And above all else, remember that hundreds of thousands of people apply for the DCP, and unfortunately they can only take thousands, so whether or not you’re accepted, know that you made it all the way through the process, and that means that you’re an awesome candidate no matter what happens!

Stay tuned for my next blog post about the dreaded waiting game, and some fun ways you can pass the time while you wait for your acceptance!

Until next time, have a magical day and I’ll see ya real soon! ºoº

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The Web Based Interview

Congratulations, you were invited to take the Web Based Interview! You’re one step closer to completing the application and interview process for your dream job working in Walt Disney World or Disneyland! In this post I’ll be outlining the Web Based Interview, both of my WBI experiences, and some helpful tips to making sure you pass and get the coveted invitation to have a Phone Interview with a Disney representative.

It never ceases to amaze me that people fail the WBI. Besides just filling out the initial application, I think it’s the easiest of the two interviews. It’s super straightforward, takes about 20-25 minutes, and it’s broken down into sections so you can give your brain a little bit of a break in between. Every section is timed; you’ll have 50 seconds to answer each question in Section I, and Sections II-IV are 20 seconds per question. The first section will ask some situational type questions and you’ll have a few different multiple choice answers to choose from. The rest have different ranges that could be strongly agree – strongly disagree, describes me very well – does not describe me at all, and I’m worried I won’t like – I’m looking forward to this the most (not the exact wording, but you get the point). The sections ask a lot of personality questions, questions about your work ethic, and, in the last and shortest section, personal questions about living away from home, managing your finances, being away from family and friends, and working long hours. That last section is where the worried about/looking forward to answers come in to play. A lot of the questions are asking the same thing, but worded differently. This is so they can see that you’re consistent in answering your questions. If you read thoroughly and answer honestly you shouldn’t have any problem giving consistent answers. Here are some of the best tips to make your WBI process as smooth as possible:

  • Be Consistent: If you answer “strongly agree” for the question about always keeping your space tidy, but then say “this does not describe me at all” when they ask about wanting to tidy up a workspace if it’s disorganized, this could throw up a red flag since the answers are inconsistent.
  • Read the questions out loud: If you feel like being timed could throw you off or you’re not the strongest reader, read each question slowly out loud so you know exactly what it’s asking. 
  • Try to answer only “strongly agree” or “strongly disagree”: Disney wants to see that you have a firm stance and know exactly who you are. Don’t think so much about having the answer they’re looking for; answer for you. Like I said multiple times in my last post, be honest to have the best experience.
  • Relate the questions to work situations, not personal situations. We all carry ourselves differently in professional situations than we do in personal situations. Your interviewing for a job, not a social life, so think and answer accordingly.
  • Take. Your. Time!: When you know you’re being timed it’s easier to want to rush to get through the questions to make sure you don’t run out of time. I’ve taken the WBI twice now and trust me, I’ve never once felt like I was going to time out of a question. My best advice is to not even think about the fact that it’s timed. The questions are straightforward enough that they don’t require a lot of thought. You know yourself better than anyone else, so it shouldn’t take more than 20 seconds to answer if you’re neat or messy. If you do feel yourself running out of time, read the question out loud and pace yourself.

Quite simply, it’s very easy to tell the kind of cast member Disney is looking for based off of the questions they ask in the WBI. If you’re neat, hardworking, happy, and helpful, you should have no problems acing your WBI and getting that awesome email inviting you to schedule a phone interview with a recruiter. Take a deep breath, good luck, and know that some random person in Ohio is cheering you on!

Be on the lookout for my next post outlining my phone interview experience, the types of questions they ask, and the best ways to prepare!

Until next time, have a magical day and I’ll see ya real soon! ºoº

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The Application

So you want to apply to the Disney College Program? Easy! In this blog I’ll outline for you the sections of the application, how to best word your job experience and skills, and, to top it off, I’ll debunk the rumors about how to rank the roles you’re interested in to optimize your experience throughout the whole interview process and, hopefully, your time working for the Mouse!

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So first thing’s first, when you click on the job posting it will take you to this screen which outlines the job description, basic qualifications applicants must meet, and the starting salary range ( $10.00 – $12.31 per hour), which could vary based on what role you end up in. There’s also a bold, red line that states that the Disney College Program does NOT include the culinary program. So for all you culinary students wanting to work your food magic in Walt Disney World or Disneyland, this is not the application for you. This will give you more information on the Culinary Program. So if you’re ready to apply, go ahead and click that big green “Apply” button at the very bottom of the page, and let’s get this thing started!

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The first section of the application is where they ask for all of your personal information. If you’ve already applied before, most of this is saved in their system, so you just have to review it to make sure it’s all accurate. Super simple, right? In this section they’re also going to ask you about your education history; where you’ve attended college, the years you attended, your area of study, what year you’re in, and your GPA. Then they ask for your work experience (up to 5 of the most recent), and this is where it’s important that you are deliberate in how you word your responsibilities and skills in each job…

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Pro Tip: When writing the skills each experience required, go through the Role Descriptions and use keywords from those descriptions to describe your skills. Be deliberate in how you use the keywords in your skills, but don’t lie about it. This won’t be the first time I say this in this post: never lie on your application or in your interviews about what you’ve done and/or what you’re willing to do. It’s better to be 100% honest about yourself and your experience and face the potential of not getting in, than to lie about it, be accepted, and end up in a role that you hate. Trust me. When I applied and filled out my skills I went through all of the roles to make sure I covered everything that I truly had experience with, but I focused on the roles that I have the most interest in. Be thorough, you don’t want to accidentally leave something important out!

After this section they’re going to ask some eligibility questions (are you 18 years of age or older, are you a current participant in the DCP, are you currently enrolled in an accredited institution, what school are you currently enrolled in), a few “Self ID” questions (are you a current or former employee of the Walt Disney Company, how did you hear about the DCP, are you or have you been a member of the military, gender, race), and which programs you’re interested in (Walt Disney World or Disneyland or both).

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This is what the first section of the WDW section looks like, and what I’ll be discussing in this post. I didn’t apply for the Disneyland program, so I can’t go over the specifics, but I would assume it looks the same. Last year they had us rank every single role, so I was surprised this year to see that they had Custodial, Housekeeping, Lifeguard, and QSFB as the only initial roles to rank. They set it up this way due to the fact that these are the roles with the most open positions and the most need. Be honest. Unless you really don’t care what role you get, don’t put “High Interest” for every one just because you’re desperate to get in to the program. If none of the high-need roles suit your fancy, fear not. After this section they give you a list of the rest of the roles, and you can check off which ones you’re interested in and rank them.

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These are almost all of them. I think I checked off all but 3-4 roles. Since these were roles I selected myself, they’re all Moderate-High Interest, none were Low Interest, and, since I chose them, none were No Interest. Pretty self-explanatory. Again: Do. Not. Lie. Unless you’re open to any role they’re willing to give you, be honest about what you’re willing to do. If you really don’t want to be working one-on-one with kids your whole program, but put High Interest for Children’s Activities and end up in that role, you’re likely going to have an awful program. It’s better to be honest about what you want and not be accepted, than to lie and hate your experience. I know I’m being repetitive, but you would be amazed at how many posts I’ve seen on the DCP Facebook page where people say they’re checking off High Interest on everything just to maximize their chances of being accepted.

This section is the last that requires introspection and careful consideration. After you complete ranking your roles they have a section with some “Additional Questions” (can you prove your legal right to work in the U.S., are you able to work Sun-Sat, days and nights, holidays, and overtime, what area of concentration most closely aligns with your major, are you receptive to the starting pay rate, what is your primary program of interest (Florida or California), have you lived independently), and if you speak any languages other than English, and what your proficiency is. After answering those questions you’re finished! The last screen has all of your answers listed and you have the opportunity to edit or change anything before you sign your name and submit the application.

Ta da! Super straightforward, right? Shortly after you submit the application you should receive an email that thanks you for applying and states the very final day to hear from them. This year it’s November 18th. Your dashboard will have your application status, which at this point should say “Open.” It took me about 20-30 minutes to receive the email inviting me to take the Web Based Interview, but I saw “Action Required” on my dashboard before I got the email. With applications only just opening this week the servers are super busy, so just be patient and try not to freak out too much. If anything ever looks glaringly wrong you can always contact Disney themselves and inquire. The contact information is always at the bottom of communications you receive from them.

Be on the lookout for my next post, where I’ll outline the Web Based Interview and share some helpful tips and tricks to make sure you ace it and move on to the final step: the Phone Interview!

Until next time, have a magical day, and I’ll see ya real soon! ºoº

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Take Two

This time last year I was in the middle of transferring schools, adjusting to life at a school with twice as many people, learning about my major, making new friends, joining clubs, and applying for the Disney College Program for Spring 2016. During the DCP application process this blog regretfully fell off my radar as I focused my efforts on documenting the process through my YouTube channel.

A lot has happened since then. Unfortunately, I was not accepted to the DCP for this Spring, and even more unfortunate was the fact that I didn’t find out until the very last day they were notifying people. Needless to say, after waiting months to find out, the excitement had already started to dwindle and getting the rejection email wasn’t that disappointing.

The good news is that my spring was filled with a whole different excitement: fostering a service dog in training through a club on campus! From January 16th to June 27th I was 24/7 foster mama to miss Tosca, a gorgeous golden retriever/lab mix, who is now in advanced training and will eventually be placed with a child with a disability. I miss her every day, but made some room in my heart for a new foster puppy, miss Kaydet (pronounced Cadet), a 3-month-old goldendoodle!

So, what’s the plan for this little blog moving forward?

Stay tuned for blog posts outlining the DCP application process accompanied by my YouTube videos, brand new updates on the current application process, changes, and my status, Walt Disney World updates that I find interesting, Disney recipes that I try to cook/bake, and general life updates. I promise I’m going to be a lot better about posting on here regularly, even if I only have a handful of followers!

Until next time, have a magical day and I’ll see ya real soon! ºoº

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The End of the Experience

Last week it was announced that the Walt Disney World Speedway is closing and the Richard Petty Driving Experience will run it’s final laps in June. The speedway will be completely razed to make way for unspecified transportation improvements. Many people suspect Disney will build a parking garage, as the speedway is next to the Magic Kingdom, where the current parking situation is less than perfect.

The Walt Disney World Speedway opened in November of 1995 and has been home to the Indy Racing League from 1996-2000 and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series from 1997-1998. It wasn’t until the off-season in 1997 that they began hosting the Richard Petty Driving Experience.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Richard Petty Driving Experience, it’s an opportunity for guests to experience the thrill of riding in a real NASCAR race car. Disney offers five “Experience” packages that allow the guest to personally drive the car, and the Ride-Along Experience, where the guest can ride a few laps around the track with a professional driving instructor.

For my dad’s 40th birthday we surprised him with the Ride-Along Experience. When we got to the track and he realized what he was about to do he started to get really excited. I think the whole experience was pretty surreal to him (ah, the joys of Disney magic). The first thing he did when he got there was sign a safety waver and listen to a safety briefing. Then, he suited up and went out to the car. He got to go three laps around the track at 150 mph, which went by in the blink of an eye. At the end of the whole experience he got a plaque with his picture on it to commemorate the day.

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Commemorative Plaque

 

The Richard Petty Driving Experience is a really awesome opportunity for guests, so it will be sad to see it go. I know I would’ve liked to have had this opportunity. Thankfully, there are a handful of other tracks around the country that offer the same experience, but I have a feeling they lack that special Disney touch and pixie dust.

Have you experienced the Richard Petty Driving Experience? Will you go before it closes for good?

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What’s Happening in Disney World?

Finally! I’ve had this blog for about 4 months, but unfortunately time got away from me and I’m just now getting started. So without further ado, I give you my first post! The end of 2014 and beginning of 2015 has brought a lot of new changes to Disney World, including, but not limited to:

  • Maelstrom and the Spirit of Norway movie closing in Epcot to make room for a new “Frozen” attraction (cue tears, there’ll probably be a post about that in the near future),
  • The Central Plaza, or “Hub,” in Magic Kingdom going through an expansion for more restaurant and fireworks seating, and
  • The Polynesian Resort undergoing several renovations, including the removal of the much-loved lobby waterfall, the addition of Disney Vacation Club’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows, AND a name change back to the original “Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort”

These are just the highlights that I’ve taken more of an interest in, BUT the most drastic change, in my opinion, is the removal of the Sorcerer Hat as the icon of Hollywood Studios. Some people are elated that it’s being removed, as it disrupts the story of Old Hollywood that the Imagineers are trying to tell, and I have to agree. I have to say though, I’ve only been to HS while the hat has been there, so it’s going to be pretty different to not see it the next time I’m there. Allow me to give you a little history on the ex-icon of Hollywood Studios…

On September 28, 2001 the Sorcerer Mickey hat in Hollywood Studios, which replaced the Earful Tower (the water tower with Mickey ears) as the park icon, was installed as part of the 100 Years of Magic celebration in Disney World, celebrating 100 years since Walt Disney’s birth. They began removing the hat in January. Now, for the first time since 2001 The Great Movie Ride will be what guests see as they walk into the park. The ride is now getting a bit of a facelift with small improvements here and there. Turner Classic Movies is also taking over sponsorship of the ride.

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Courtesy: @mousesteps Instagram

So it’s kind of a big deal that the hat is being removed, considering it’s been the prominent feature of the Studios for 13 years. I’ve been following the removal on Instagram, and let me just say it’s pretty strange seeing it all dismantled.

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