Applications for the Fall 2017 season opened at the beginning of this week, but now you're wondering how to get a leg up on the competition. Thousands of students apply for the program, but only 10-25% (rough estimate, depending on the season and hiring needs) of those are accepted. With so many people applying, how can you make your application stand out from the rest? Today I have 3 tips to help your application stand out and increase your chances of being accepted.
1. Put high interest in the high need and high volume roles.
On the application, it first asks you about your interest in high need roles, and then asks you to mark which other roles your interested in. The high need roles are the ones they REALLY NEED participants for. High volume roles aren't listed as such on the application, but some roles like merch, attractions, and character performer do hire a significant number of college program participants compared to other roles. On the other side of it, if you put high interest in all the hard to get roles like Boutique, Front Desk, bus greeter, bell services etc. it will really hurt your chances because between those four roles combined don't hire as many people as quick service by itself. If you'd LOVE to be a Fairy Godmother in Training (BBB) list that as high interest, but list some of the more common roles too, it'll really help you! Custodial was my first choice for my program, and I'm convinced that's why I was accepted!
Today's role spotlight is a look into the life of an attractions host. Particiapants placed in attractions can be stationed at a ride area, as a park greeter (Read more about that here.), or as parade audience control. Attractions hosts work in all 4 parks as well as Disney Springs. Today's post features the experiences of 4 attractions hostesses: Megan worked Agent P's World Showcase Adventure, Sarah worked Peter Pan's Flight and It's a Small World, Molly worked Parade Audience Control on Main Street, and my sweet friend from my program, Amber-Lynn, worked Spaceship Earth.
Megan: Agent P's World Showcase Adventure (Epcot)
Program: Fall 2015
Other Locations: American Garden Theater
Role Description: I handed out phones to secret agents so they could save the world! I also park cleared at the end of the day to make sure there were no guests left in the park. At the American Garden Theater, I helped with making sure the food and wine performances went smoothly.
Training: I had a few days of on the job training and then an assessment
Hours: 30/week, 6 hour shifts with 2 15 minute breaks
Likes: I loved it! I really liked all of the guest interaction
Dislikes: Park clearing wasn't my favorite but I loved the role anyway!
Favorite Memory: My favorite stories all have to do with park clearing or New Years. I loved the crowd and doing crowd control, and many of my stories have to do with that. I have too many to pick just one!
This is my sixth post in my role overview series, to read the rest click here. Housekeeping is listed as a high need in the Spring 2017 application. High need roles mean you have a high chance of getting accepted for them because they need a lot of them, it also means you will work lots of other CPs. To read more about high need roles click here.
Today's Interview is with Victoria, a housekeeper at the Yacht and Beach Club resort for the Spring Advantage 2016 Program. She didn't share a picture, but in most locations, including the Yacht and Beach Club, resort custodians wear the same costumes as housekeepers, that's why you're seeing a picture of me in my costume.
How would you describe your role?
"I worked eight hour shifts that included me cleaning 16 rooms a day. I usually worked 40 hours a week. Working at Beach Club as a "Mousekeeper" was a love-hate, bitter-sweet experience. If you aren't aware, housekeeping is a very physical, highly active role. I think the advantages included how friendly my co-cast members and how helping they truly were. Especially, since they were so use to seeing us Disney College Programmers come and go. In a day, I would wake up between 5:30-6:00am, I would grab breakfast, meet up with my best friend then she would drop me off at my location. I'd go to costuming (which was located inside the break room) and change quickly so I could clock in at 7:45am. I'd go to "break-out" where all the Housekeepers would get there boards for the day. I'll be honest, it was the hardest job I've ever held but it was also the most rewarding, too! It couldn't be too bad because I just accepted this role to do it again! Also, I don't want to get you future "mousekeepers" too excited but there is something called ADO and it's your best friend!"
Lifeguard is one of the most common roles for CPs and on the newest version of the DCP application it's listed as a "high need" role. (Read more about high need roles here.) Two Spring 2016 alumni, both named Morgan, shared their experiences for you!
Morgan: Typhoon Lagoon and Caribbean Beach Resort
Where did you work?
Typhoon Lagoon and Caribbean Beach Resort
How would you describe your role?
Overall, it's a ton of walking and standing in the sun. Not a lot of guest interaction but there is some. There is also a lot of yelling at guests because they can't follow simple rules (I enjoyed this because I have little patience for stupidity lol probably shouldn't have worked at Disney because of that). Working in a resort and at park are two completely different worlds. At the resort I jumped in nearly once a day while at typhoon it varied from no jumps for days to multiple jumps a day.
What did your training look like?
3 days of Ellis training then 2 days of location training. Ellis training makes guarding seem a lot more dramatic than it is.
How many hours you were scheduled per week?
It varied because hours changed with the season and the location. At CBR my hours ranged from 8hr-12 and if there was in service it could be longer. At typhoon the hours were typically around 8 but if there was an event it could be up to 12 or as low as 4. One day though I would like 16 hours. Per week, at CBR it was always under 40. At typhoon it was understaffed so it was always between 40 - 60 hours. A lot of overtime was nice money wise but I had no free time.
How long were your shifts?
30 min - 15 min
What did you like about your role and locations?
The people were nice and the bus ride was short.
What did you dislike about your role and locations?
Parents don't watch their kids who can't swim so a lot of the times you jump in and the parents have no idea. Creepy guys ask for mouth to mouth all the time.
Thinking about my second Disney College Program, Park Greeter, which is a sub-part of attractions (you'll be accepted as attractions and placed as a park greeter once you arrive and check in). Here's what Kelsey has to say about her experience as park greeter!
When did you do your program?
What was your home location?
Did you work any other locations?
How would you explain your role?
Park greeters are stationed at the entrance of each park, guarding the touch points that the guests use to enter the park. Our job was to "be the gate" and only let in guests who had valid ticket admission. It was also our responsibility to verify resort reservations for entrance into extra magic hours, and to make sure that guests didn't leave the park with alcohol or our rented strollers/ecv's. When I was there, our roles also included doing "finales" at the end of the night, in which we would clear the park at the end of the night, but I've heard that park greeters at DHS no longer have that responsibility.
Last week, we looked at what it looks like to be a quick service food and beverage cast member, today we're looking at merchandise. While not one of the "high need roles" listed on the application, they are a high volume role, which means that many CPs are cast in this role. Robert, Breanna, and Jared have helped me provide more info about this role, all three were friends of mine at Disney World in spring 2016.
"As a merchandise host I had a variety of tasks that ranged from operating the registers, stocking the merchandise around the store, and greeting guests that come into the store and assisting them with their shopping experience. In merchandise you have a unique opportunity to interact with guests not just behind the counter but also throughout the store, which is something Disney calls "Merchantaining" (merchant + entertaining). Often you will be rotated around to different positions within the same shift, including moving from one store in your zone to another. Depending on where you are located, other responsibilities may involve food handling and/or PhotoPass assistance." (Robert)
"Run the cash register, restock the floor, greet guests entering the resort, sort merchandise, occasionally participate in dance parties" (Breanna)
" I worked at Hollywood Studios at various merchandise shops. You could see me playing with BB8 from star wars which was called merchantainment, you could also see me ringing register." (Jared)
Quick Service Food and Beverage is probably the most common role among College Program participants. The application lists custodial, housekeeping, lifeguards, and quick service as high need roles. Out of these, Disney in general hires more quick service hosts than the other roles, so they hire the most CPs in this position. That's a huge perk for this job as well, you'll likely be working with other CPs and it makes it a lot easier to pick up, trade, and give away shifts. As a Quick Service host you could be placed in Outdoor Vending (food carts and stands), a Quick Service Restaurant (QSR), or in a resort food court; however you can pick up shifts in any of them even if that's not the place you usually work. Four alumni have partnered with me to be able to provide you more info on the role.
Who They Are:
Lyndsie: ODV, Epcot World Showcase, Spring Advantage 2015
Kaitlin: QSR, Pinocchio Village Haus, Spring 2015
Sami: QSR, Sunset Ranch Market, Spring 2016
Taylor: Resorts, Saratoga Springs, Spring 2015
"Every day that I worked I was either on the register, filling orders by filling drinks, making ice cream, croissant doughnuts, hot dogs, or chicken nuggets & fries, or I was cooking. At the end of the day we had to clean everything as well." (ODV, Lyndsie)
"I was trained in seven different quick service locations in Hollywood Studios, serving anything from barbecue to pizza to ice cream. It was split up into two different locations on my schedule, Sunset Market and Sunset Boulevard - if you were scheduled for Market, you'd go back and forth between two locations (or just stay at one location), and if you were scheduled for Boulevard, there were five quick service locations I could have been at, though it wasn't likely I'd be at all five throughout a shift, more like one to three a day. Though some quick service locations only allow you at the front or the back, I did everything from cooking hamburgers in the oven to being at the register to bussing tables to doing the drink orders to giving out the trays of food to guests." (QSR, Sami)
In the last two posts I talked about high need and high volume roles. These are other roles that are offered for CPs although only a handful or a few people are accepted for these roles. Obviously people are accepted for these roles every season however the odds of it are rare or uncommon. Fair warning: since these are more uncommon roles I might not know much about them, if that's the case, I'll try to include lots of references!
During my last program, a few of my friends worked bell services. The two things they usually did were working at the bell services desks and transporting bags between resorts.
Hours: My friends usually got the full 40 hours and it was fairly easy to trade shifts.
Pros: Not too much too do, where I worked they usually watched youtube videos during their entire shift, bell services isnt' open late, it's the job of Esteban Julio Ricardo Montoya Del Rosa Ramirez!
Cons: It can become boring, you work in a resort
In the first part of this post you heard about the four high need roles, in this post you'll hear about four more roles: the high volume roles. Even though these aren't high need roles, they are roles that a lot or moderate amount of CPs are accepted for so you have a good or moderate chance of being accepted into these roles.
Attractions cast members are responsible for running attractions and parade audience control, you can also be placed as a park greeter who scans tickets and finger prints. Working attractions includes running the control panel, fastpass and standby merge points, loading people into rides, greeting at the front of the queue and scanning fastpasses, and more. You'll also likely have to spiel which can include reciting the rules or reciting a full script for the duration of the ride on attractions like The Great Movie Ride or Jungle Cruise. During your shift you will rotate between positions at the ride and possibly at other rides, attractions, or character meet and greets. You can also be asked to help with stroller parking and attending the fastpass kiosks.
Hours: My friends were usually scheduled 36-40 hours, 6-8 hour shifts, they also had very active facebook groups for trading, picking up, and giving away shifts.
Locations: Parks, Water Parks, and Disney Springs
Pros: This is a super fun job! The coworkers are usually cool, you're right in the middle of the action and a part of the heart and soul of the theme parks
Cons: You can only pick up shifts at your location, some of the tasks like running the control panel can become redundant, sometimes parents and guest can become hostile because of the wait time, height requirements, or when a ride goes down, hearing a que line rope fall to the ground will make you NUTTY!
This post comes as a request from a reader, and is in three parts. As you think about applying and what roles you want to list as your top roles, or even which to put as high, medium, or low interest, it's important to know what each role entails. I'm here to help! I want to provide you with descriptions, details, and links to other resources for each role! These posts only includes roles offered at Walt Disney World, since that's where I have experience and where most people are accepted. This post will include descriptions of all the roles listed as "high need" on the application, the next will include roles that hire a lot or moderate amount of CPs, the final post will include the rest of the roles. To read the official role descriptions from the DCP website, click here.
On the new application (It's different from both times I applied before), they first ask for your interest in the "high need roles" which are custodial, housekeeping, lifeguard, and quick service. These are the roles they need CPs for the most so you are most likely to be accepted for these roles.
Obviously Custodial is the best role out there! Custodians are responsible for keeping the parks and resorts clean. This includes emptying trash cans, spot sweeping, general cleaning, and cleaning bathrooms. Resort custodians are scheduled for bathrooms and general cleaning each shift but park custodians are scheduled for either bathrooms or general cleaning each shift. In many locations custodians also get to answer a lot of guest question, pin trade, and give out stickers. Custodial is often titled "the best kept secret" or "the hidden gem" of the college program because of those fun perks and the flexibility and freedom the role offers since you're not always right next to your supervisor and coworkers. You can make magic by pin trading, giving out stickers, or giving out no strings attached forms.
Hours: As a resort custodian I was usually only scheduled for 32 hours, but many of my friends who worked in parks were scheduled 40-50 hours with many opportunities for overtime. You can trade shifts with people at other parks (if you're at a park) or resorts (if you're at a resort).
Locations: Resorts, Parks, Water Parks, Disney Springs, ESPN
Pros: Lots of freedom! Lots of experience for guest service, not too busy, if you work in parks you get to watch parades and fireworks, lots of opportunities to make magical moments
Cons: You need to be familiar with the area you work so you might not feel comfortable picking up shifts, resort custodians can't pick up parks shifts usually and vice versa. It's all cleaning!
Resources: My blog, thedcplife.blogspot.com