It’s August which means schools are starting and the traffic is terrible again. However, there is a magical silver lining: applications for the Spring Disney College Program are about to open.

Don’t know what the DCP is? Well, let me tell you a fairy tale:

Once upon a time there was a college sophomore doing her thing. She had just changed from an English major to a Management major and was mostly content with her university life. Then, one day, she heard about the Disney College Program where students from all over the world came together at either Walt Disney World or Disneyland and became part of the magic. The girl applied instantly for there was no question that this is what she wanted to do.

A couple days passed, and she got chosen for a computer based interview. She answered the pretty basic job interview questions of not stealing and always being positive. She put down her top choices for roles within the parks, and then she hit submit. A couple of weeks later she was talking to a recruiter on the phone. They had a fun conversation about Walt Disney World and her favorite parks and activities (she was so nervous, it’s a miracle she was able to speak at all). It was over in five minutes.

Then she waited.

And waited.

Until that fateful day in September when she got the email saying “Congratulations! You’re going to make magic!” (Not an exact quote, this fairy tale is almost six years old) She called her mom and her boyfriend and probably cried for the next 24 hours. She was going to work at Walt Disney World. She was going to LIVE at Walt Disney World. This was a 20 year old dream come true.

I’m going to fast forward a bit to that January. The sophomore had registered for classes that would count as credit at her university and had received her role: Quick Service Food and Beverage. That was all she knew on the drive down to Orlando. She would meet her roommates and get more information the next morning, but she honestly couldn’t care.

Of course, being the magical place that it was, she got assigned to her favorite park: Hollywood Studios (gosh, I miss that hat and Great Movie Ride and the entire back half of the park that is being turned into Star Wars land as I type this). She was going to sell ice cream and pretzels and work some nights at the Fantasmic show. On her days off she could go to the parks with her new friends and enjoy being there without planning every moment of the day.

The girl in this fairy tale won’t lie: it was difficult. The days were long and living with five other people is never going to be perfect. She missed her family (though loved texting them whenever she was about to ride Rockin’ Roller Coaster…. again) and her boyfriend, and they did come down to visit her when they could. She learned a lot and got a lot of sunburns in the process. But she would do everything all over again for the experience, the friends, and the magic. It was the best semester of her college life.

The moral of the fairy tale: APPLY FOR THE DISNEY COLLEGE PROGRAM. Do it. Even if you don’t like Disney. The experience you get from it is unparalleled. You get to create magic for so many other people on a daily basis, and your own magic does not get diminished. Apply. And if you don’t make it, apply again in January for the fall semester. Everyone should do the DCP. There are no bad roles unless you go into it with a villainous attitude. Just be prepared for the constant homesickness that will plague you once your program is done. That never goes away.

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