I’m neglecting the blog before I even get there

December 31, 2009 at 6:38 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

So I promise I haven’t died. I just really haven’t had anything to post about! I didn’t get the character performer role, which I found out about at the beginning of December I think. It’s okay – verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry few people my height got it, and I don’t have a grudge or anything. I’m officially going to Florida on Sunday (just 3 more days!) with my mom. We’re staying with my grandparents in Clearwater (near Tampa) until Tuesday, when we’re going to leave for Orlando. Then hopefully I’ll get to meet the new roomies, who all seem completely awesome and should be fun to live with. I don’t think I’m going to go to the meetup at Cici’s because my mom’s going to be with me and I don’t want to just leave her in the hotel room or whatever all by herself. She’d probably be fine with just going to Downtown Disney and shopping, but I won’t see her for a few months at least so I want to spend as much bonding time as possible. :)

So now I should really be packing for Disney (haven’t started..) or writing essays for summer internship programs (boring) or doing laundry (later) but instead I’m writing this, and then going to go see Avatar in 3d (yay!). I saw it in normal vision last week and it was amazing! I also want to see Sherlock Holmes (again) because I thought that was really good too. Too many distractions from stuff I really need to get done!

Not a very long post, but hey I haven’t posted in about 2 months, so anything’s enough right? I’m moving into my new Disney apartment next Wednesday (6 Jan) so maybe I’ll post again then, or after Traditions, which I believe will be that Friday.

See ya real soon!

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Auditions are OVER!

November 5, 2009 at 8:17 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

So yesterday was the big Character Performer audition in Atlanta! I meant to get there super early and be one of the first people in line buuuuuuuuuuuut my handy dandy GPS steered me wrong and got me lost. I had to frantically call up my mother and have her find the dance studio’s phone number. The receptionist was really nice though and she found me eventually and got me to where I needed to go. I was number 83 out of about 92ish people, having gotten there about 5 minutes before sign-in ended. I filled out my paperwork, got measured at 5’4.25″ (very specific) and got my picture taken. Now I’ve read online that Disney people tend to measure you according to what height they want you to be, rather than the height you actually are. I can’t say anything either way on this because I don’t really know my actual height. People recently have measured me as being anywhere from 5’3.5″ to almost 5’6″. I think 5’4″ is pretty accurate though.

The dance was fairly easy and kind of long. Longer than I expected. But for me the hardest part was learning the dance with so many people in front of me. The instructor was tiny! She kept referring to herself as a ‘petite flower’. She was super awesome though and her energy was contagious. After learning the dance and practicing the animation we were sent out in the hallway to be called back in groups of 6. being #83, I was waiting outside for a long time. We practiced the dance A LOT outside and I think it really helped. I was actually able to do the steps full out instead of marking them to keep from smacking the people around me. The steps individually weren’t difficult; I think what people had problems with the most was just remembering what to do.We were told over and over that the most important thing was to SMILE. The instructor said smiling and having great energy were more important than actually doing the steps right. Although that certainly helps.

I think I did fine in my audition. The animations and the dance and smiling require tons of energy! I made one mistake in the dance first time round but I didn’t get flustered or drop the smile. One girl in my group was told to stay back, most likely for the more advanced dance. I think around 4 or 5 people got pulled to stay altogether, though I’m sure about that. And on facebook I saw that one girl was pulled for face, so that’s pretty cool too. I don’t really look like any of the face characters and I’m not a dancer dancer (musical theater for 9 years def does not equal serious dance training! :) ) so I wasn’t expecting any of that. Hopefully something good will come out of this, but even if I don’t get picked I’m super stoked for Disney in 62 days!

We were told that we’d hear back by email or mobile in 2 to 3 weeks. Hopefully this is an overestimation and we’ll hear sooner – I have no patience!

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I’m still alive – I promise!

October 20, 2009 at 9:01 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

I realize that my last post was 8 September, and today is 20 October, but I swear I haven’t forgotten about this. I just haven’t had anything new to say. The parents are fully on board with Disney, I found a roommate and two suitemates, and I decided to audition for character performer. It turns out that Disney is trying something new regarding character performers, and accepted people before the auditions. Not to be a performer, but to be other roles, just in case they don’t pass the audition, so that they aren’t rejected outright because of how late the auditions are in the season.

Confused? Before this application season applicants who picked character performer as their number one role would have their applications set aside until after the auditions. If they passed, they were character performers. (Yay!) If they didn’t pass, then their other role choices would be considered. But since the auditions are so late in the season then they usually either got Quick Service (which requires soooooooo many CPers) or they just got rejected. (Boo!) This time around people got accepted for a role (like say, attractions) but if they go to an audition and pass, their role will be changed to character performer. It just works better this way I think.

Now I thought this was all fine and dandy for other people, but I didn’t select character performer on my role checklist, nor was I asked any questions about that role in my interview. A couple weeks ago I decided, hey, I want to try to be a performer too, and I emailed the CP recruiting team. They said that I could still audition and if I passed my role would be changed. Yay! So now I’ll be attending the 4 November Atlanta audition! (2 weeks and 1 day away..) Another thing they changed is that all the auditions are pretty close together, as opposed to being several weeks apart. This means that every city should have an about equal chance, where as before the last audition spot may come after all the available roles have already been taken. I think the first audition is for the extending CPs on 28 Oct, and the last audition is on 8 November. So not that far apart.

I’m pretty excited! I’ve been taking dance to brush up on mah mad skillz, and it’s been really fun. I haven’t danced since the summer, so I was kind of rusty. Hopefully I won’t look silly at the auditions. The Atlanta one is open to people looking for full-time work as well, so there’ll probably be a lot of people there. It’s pretty likely that I’m not going to be a performer – I’m 5’4.5ish” tall, so I’m in a really common height. (Actually I think all heights in the 5 foot range are common. They’re looking for shorties and giants.) But the Disneyauditions.com website says they’re looking for parade performers too, so maybe I could do that.

But not making performer would definitely not be the end of the world. I was really excited for attractions before this opportunity arose, and I’m still super psyched for it. I read somewhere that you’re more likely to get your work location request if you pay your acceptance fee early. I was accepted really early and I paid on 7 Sept, so maybe that was early enough to earn me my own Kilimanjaro Safaris truck!

Jeez.. I meant this post to just be a word or two about how I’m not dead. Instead I wrote a novel. Oh well. Happy 78 days till Disney!

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It’s Official

September 8, 2009 at 2:12 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

It is official – Spring Attractions 2010, January 6 to May 14.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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I’m in!

September 7, 2009 at 12:19 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Dear Rachael,

Congratulations! You have been selected to participate as an Attractions Cast Member on the Disney College Program in the Spring 2010 Season.

YAYYYY!!!!!! I had quite the party jumping around my room in excitement when I read that in my email. Actually I was really surprised to find an acceptance because the title of the email was Thank You for Interviewing, just like the last one. I figured they wouldn’t send me two thank you’s so this one had to be a yes or a no. And it was a yes!!

Now this blog post has been a bit delayed because I’ve been busy slash lazy. I was actually accepted last Thursday (today’s Sunday). For those of you keeping track at home, here’s the breakdown of my application process:

Thursday August 20 – ePresentation, Online Application, and web-based interview

Friday August 21 – Scheduled phone interview

Tuesday August 25 – Phone interview at 11:15 AM. Was told I’d hear back in 2-3 weeks.

Tuesday September 1 – ‘Thank You for Interviewing’ Email. Was told I’d hear back in 4-6 weeks.

Thursday September 3 – Acceptance! Spring 2010 Attractions!

I haven’t accepted my invitation yet (I have until September 19 to do so) because my parents have proved to be a sticking point. See, originally I was supposed to be studying abroad at the University College London for the spring semester. This has been my plan for a long time, but I just think Disney is a better fit. My parents do not agree. And I can definitely see their point. But the thing is, is that London is ridiculously expensive, both to pay for the program and live in the city (and American money isn’t doing so hot overseas), and also I wouldn’t be taking classes in my major. I’m an Anthropology major, but I’ve been accepting into UCL’s Anatomy department. This means the classes only count towards getting me prepared for med school. Which is fine, except that I don’t know that I could get any transfer credit for them because they don’t really fit with any classes my school offers. I think it’s also a comfort thing – Disney seems much safer than going to London for 6 months by myself. But I’m not settling, and I’m not doing this because I’m scared. I could LIVE in London for the rest of my life if I so choose, but I’m never going to get the chance to do Disney ever again. And don’t say that I could vacation there, because that’s not the same thing at all. I want to MAKE the magic for all the millions of people that go to Disney every year, not just experience it.

My dad asked me, what could I get out of Disney that I couldn’t get out of London? I didn’t have a good answer for him at the time, only that he couldn’t compare the experiences at all. But what I meant to say is that being a CP at Disney will teach me hard work, responsibility for myself and others, and will give me invaluable experience in working with people, all qualities necessary for being a doctor. And it will be fun!

And I’m certainly not giving up on studying abroad. Just not during this spring. I’ve got a full ride scholarship to my school and since the funds won’t be used in the spring I plan on using them towards a study abroad program during the summer, preferably one focused on anthropology. I’ve got my eye on two: the Malta Summer Field School, and the Mediterranean Center for Arts and Sciences. I still have to talk to my department head and see what sort of credit he can offer me for either of these, but they both seem like excellent programs where I’ll gain experience in my field.

So this isn’t set in stone just yet. I still need to get my OK from the parents and hammer out some credit details – hopefully I can get anthropology internship credit or something from the CP because Disney and anthropology are both all about people, right? And I need to figure out my summer plans for going abroad, but that doesn’t have to be completely figured out for awhile. Hopefully I can accept my invite soon – I plan on choosing the January 6 arrival date. Attractions Spring 2010 – here I come!

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Week 1

September 1, 2009 at 8:28 pm (Uncategorized)

Today marks the first week since my interview! I got an email from Disney saying:

Dear Rachael,
Thank you for taking the time to interview for the Disney College Program at the Walt Disney World® Resort.

You should hear from us again in about 4 – 6 weeks. If you haven’t received any mail from us after the 6th week, please send an e-mail towdw.college.recruiting@disney.com. Please type “Interview Notification” in the subject line of your message. Also be sure to include your full name, when you interviewed, and your current postal mailing address in the body of the e-mail.

Your feedback is very important to us!
Please take a moment to complete our online survey. It’s quick, convenient and confidential. Just visit the below link to begin.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=KWDDWm8NsUOX5iWzb_2fN1aw_3d_3d

If any of your friends are interested in learning more about how they can apply for the Disney College Program, click here to send them a special message.

Sincerely,
Disney College Recruiting
wdw.college.recruiting@disney.com

Now I’ve seen some people on the Facebook group for Spring 2010 who have received emails saying they’ve been accepted. I’m supremely jealous of these people, but also really excited for them and excited to know that Disney has already started the accepting process. I think all the people who’ve been accepted interviewed on Monday, so maybe tomorrow I’ll get an email saying that I’ve been accepted! Or I guess I’ll wait 4 to 6 weeks. It seems like a lifetime from now!!!

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The Interview (duhn duhn duhnnn…)

August 27, 2009 at 2:53 am (Uncategorized) (, )

So you’ve applied, passed the web interview, scheduled your phone interview, now what? If you’re reading this blog, you’re already on the right track. While I wouldn’t recommend planning out word for word what you’re going to say, I do think that a little preparation can’t hurt. I wrote down a few talking points to get in just so that I didn’t forget in the heat of the moment. When the time for your interview finally rolls around be sure your phone is charged, that you’re in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed, and that you’re not distracted. Even though it’s a phone interview, the most important tip I can give you is to SMILE. Smiling changes the tone of your voice and your interviewer can most definitely tell. As for the rest of your interview, I’ll tell you about mine and we can go from there.

I had my interview at 11:15 AM on Tuesday (yesterday) and while I didn’t catch my interviewer’s name, she was super cheerful, super nice, and super Disney. She told me that our interview would likely last 20 minutes (although mine only lasted 11) and that she would confirm my information, ask me a few role-based questions, and then a few yes or no questions. Now I’m sure you don’t need any help with the confirmation of information, so we can skip right to the role-based questions.

When I interviewed for the program last spring, I was asked what my top 3 role choices were. This time the question was a little different. She asked what roles I was most qualified for. Judging from other people’s interviews and questions on the web-based interview Disney is focusing a lot more on previous job experience this time around. I told her that although I was definitely most qualified for Merchandise (because I work at Kohl’s) I really really wanted to do Attractions. I gave Attractions as my number one choice, Merch as my number two, and told her that all the rest of my choices would be number three (Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique, Character Attendent, Concierge, Hospitality, Vacation Planner). The first role-based question she asked me was the infamous Space Mountain question or, What would you do if a child were too short to ride Space Mountain? I said that I would ask the child’s name, remain upbeat and positive, explain that he was too short, try to get him excited about another ride, and then give him a hug or stickers or something. She laughed at the hug or stickers or something, so I think that’s a good sign.

Next I got two questions about Merch, one about a guest being unsatisfied with something, and one with an item being out of stock. With the satisfaction question I said I would try to understand why the guest was unsatisfied and help him to be happier with his purchase and his experience. With the out of stock question I said I could offer a rain check if possible, or call another store and see if they have it, or see if I could find a similar item. I think if I’m accepted I’m probably going to get Merch. Not bad, but not Kilimanjaro Safaris.

I was also asked why I wanted to work for Disney, and how the college program would fit into my future plans. Now the first answer will be different for everybody so I don’t need to go into that, but the second is probably a sticking point. I’m an anthropology major, pre-med. I don’t plan on having a career at Disney like I’m sure a lot of other applicants do . I told her that I know this really has nothing to do with my major, but that I’m planning on being a doctor, and doctors work with people all the time. Disney means working with people all the time. I got kind of rambly because I couldn’t properly express what I was trying to say, but luckily she understood. She said she agreed one hundred percent and that she thought Disney was the perfect place to learn how to work with people. Or something, I don’t remember. The important part is that she agreed and even had a mini conversation. I take that as a good sign.

The yes or no questions basically ask if you understand all the rules and regulations that come along with the College Program, like the pay rate, the hours, and complying with the Disney Look. There were a few more questions, but I can’t recall them at the moment, so I guess they weren’t as big or memorable. She told me she would send my interview document to a recruiter who would make the final decision and that I would hear back in 2 to 3 weeks!

Oh yeah, I also asked if I could request a location. She said she would make a note of it in my file, but no guarantees. I requested Kilimanjaro Safaris! I had already said I was extremely comfortable with long speils because I have almost 9 years of theater experience, so maybe I’ll get lucky and get to work there!

Just take a deep breath, SMILE, and show your interviewer you are the right candidate to continue the Disney legacy. You’ll be fine!

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The Application Process

August 27, 2009 at 2:28 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Now you may be wondering, how would I go about applying to be a part of Disney’s College Program? (Or maybe you’re not; there’s a lot of blogs out there detailing the application process… Oh well. Mine too.)

Your first step is to view a presentation about the program. Disney offers two choices for this presentation. One choice you have is to go to a presentation at your school. Now your school may not offer one, and there is a list on the website where you can find out. If your school doesn’t accept the College Program as an internship, or offer any credit for doing the program, then your school is not going to have a presentation. My school considers Disney to be an internship, though it doesn’t offer any credit. This is good for me because I get to retain my full-time student status, which also allows me to keep my scholarships. Talk to an internship advisor at your school to find out what your school offers or doesn’t offer for the program. I can’t really give any information as to what happens in a live presentation because I have not attended one.

The second choice of presentation is the e-presentation offered online. This will have exactly the same information you would get from a live presentation, except you won’t be able to ask any questions. I chose to watch the e-presentation because I don’t know yet if my school is going to have a presentation, and if they do, when in the season it will be. I recommend the e-presentation because the whole application process seems a bit more instantaneous. After you complete the e-presentation you will be asked to complete an application, including a role checklist.

Once you send in your application (by Internet, not by mail or fax) you will be asked to complete a web-based interview. This is new for the Spring 2010 season, although the Disneyland College Program in California has been using it for awhile now. The WDW CP has been receiving record numbers of applicants and I think this web-based interview serves to cut down the number of phone interviews because I know of several people that were rejected based on their results. The questions are multiple choice, with some asking what you would do in a certain scenario, (ex: You see a kid fall down. Do you A. Help him up, B. Laugh snidely, C. Give him a cuddle, or D. Kick him while he’s down). Other questions ask you to rate on a scale of 1 to 5 how much something applies to you. The most important part of this interview is honesty – don’t lie just to tell Disney something you think they want to hear. They’re expecting that, and what’s more, if you have to lie about yourself to get in, you may find that the program doesn’t suit you once you get there. Read the directions very carefully – some questions have a time limit so you don’t have time to think. Knee-jerk responses tend to be the most honest.

After you’ve completed your web interview you will either be informed that you have not passed, or that you have passed. If you haven’t, hard luck. I know just how you feel. Don’t let this get you down and try again next time. If you passed, congrats! Now you’re on to the next step: scheduling the phone interview. The screen will give you a phone number to call. Schedule your interview and then it’s time to wait.

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Hello world! (there’s a song that I’m singin’)

August 24, 2009 at 3:54 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Hello! I’ve decided to start a blog to (hopefully) chronicle my adventures in the Walt Disney World College Program and the nervewracking antics that lead up to getting there.

First of all I suppose I should introduce myself – I’m Rachael, and I’m currently a sophomore at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. I’m an anthropology major and a pre-med student, so really the only thing I’m going to get out of the CP is a really magical experience living at Disney. My school accepts Disney as an internship but doesn’t offer any credit for taking the classes. That’s fine with me because I don’t particularly care to take the classes anyway, though a few sound pretty interesting.

I applied for the Disney CP for the first time last spring for Fall 2009. Unfortunately, I was rejected. I was crushed at the time because I had gotten really excited about it and had changed plans around. But it was my fault I guess and so now in my application this time around I’ve tried to stack the cards in my favor as much as possible. Last time I applied towards the end of March, the time when they’re mostly looking for Merchandise and Quick Service Food and Beverage people. I turned up my nose at QSFB and declined to do merch even though my interviewer thought I would be perfect for it. I’d worked at Kohl’s for 9 months at that point (a year and 3 months now). I also could only do Fall, not Fall advantage (which includes the summer, not just August to January) so I was being quite inflexible. The roles I selected were: Attractions, Character Attendant, Full Service Food and Beverage, and Photopass. Photopass pretty much got ruled out during the interview because I have no experience working with fancy cameras. Sooo… after about 3 weeks I got a small white envelope in the mail and I knew what it meant.

This time around I’m starting early. I applied on the very first day applications came out, viewed the e-presentation, passed the web interview (more on this later), and scheduled my interview the next day. (It was Thursday night when I applied, Friday I called and scheduled my interview for 11:15 Tuesday morning. It’s Sunday night now and I’m pretty excited!) I selected more roles this time, and while I’m still pulling for Spring over Spring Advantage, I’m more open to both if say I were placed in a location they needed for the summer too. I checked: Attractions, Bibiddy Bobbidy Botique, Character Attendant, Concierge, Full Service Food and Beverage, Hospitality, and Vacation Planner, 7 roles in all. What I want more than anything is to be a Kilimanjaro Safaris driver at Animal Kingdom, but I really just want to GO. My top three roles are Attractions, Merchandise, and Concierge. Hopefully my interviewer won’t immediately put me in Merch because of my experience, as I’d really like to try something new, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world, and it definitely wouldn’t stop me from going.

So right now I’m waiting to interview, then I’ll be waiting to hear back, then (fingers crossed times a million) I’ll be waiting to go. I’m taking quite the course load this semester though, so I’ll have other things to dwell on once classes are in full swing. The second week starts tomorrow.

After my interview, or perhaps before, I’ll write an entry that gives a little bit more detail about the whole application/interview process.

Have a magical day!

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