Disney College Program

Is the Disney College Program Right For You?

It is currently late December, 2019, and I am a little over two weeks away from starting my Disney College Program (DCP) at Disneyland Resort. In the past few months after my acceptance I have been contemplating how my life is going to change after I move from Washington to California.

Along with being completely overjoyed and excited about the experience I’m going to have and the magic I will get to make, there have also been a lot of terrifying thoughts going through my brain. If you have been thinking about applying for a DCP for either Disneyland or Walt Disney World, here are some things you should be thinking about.

Riverboat moon MK


DCP participants are paid for their work, albeit minimum wage, so this internship is definitely better than those that make you work for no moola. But, in all of the excitement of applying and working in Disney, you may overlook that it can actually cost a lot of money to participate in the program.

Both for Disneyland and Walt Disney World there are fees that must be paid within a week of your acceptance. These fees are for housing, participation fees, and for Disneyland participants they require you to pay the first couple weeks of rent upfront. This means that you need to have available $390 for a WDW acceptance and $940 for a DLR acceptance.

That may seem like DLR is a robbery, but honestly I’m glad it was more. All of that extra money goes to your rent in the beginning, which means I will not need to pay rent out of my bank account until I start getting my weekly paychecks from Disney. In WDW you need to start paying rent right away, before Disney starts paying you. So, all of the money I used to pay for my acceptance fees, WDW participants will need to have that saved up for their first couple weeks of rent.

Another entirely different cost for the internship is your transportation to your new magical home. Since I currently live in Washington, I will be driving down to California in order to have a car while on the program. Since being accepted (and losing all of my savings to the program fees) I have been saving up for the road trip down. I will need money for two nights of hotels, gas, and food during the trip. Since I don’t know my check-in time yet I have not booked my hotels, so i’m not entirely sure of the cost. I am guessing at least $350 – $400.

Others choose to fly from where they live to either Disneyland or Disney World. They need to pay for airfare, bags (because they have to bring a majority of their belongings) and transportation from the airport.

All of these costs should be kept in mind before deciding to do the program. I have seen many people online who are accepted, but then do not have the money saved for the fees and end up having to decline the offer of employment. Don’t be one of those unfortunate people.

Monorail sunburst Epcot


The Disney COLLEGE Program is mainly for young adults who are currently attending college to receive either a bachelor’s degree or an associate degree. Technically you only need to be enrolled in one college course, community or 4-year university, to participate in the program. With that said, many participants leave the full-time college life to spend a quarter at Disney.

I think the DCP is an amazing opportunity (obviously because I’m doing it) but I do think you need to prioritize your education over doing the program. I have completed all of the credits needed for my college degree other than internship credits, which the program fulfills. Thus, I am not missing any school or moving back a quarter in my graduation timeline because of the program. It also means that I don’t need to take any online courses while on the program.

Many DCP participants move to Florida or California, fall in love with the work or the state, and then do not want to return to school. If you think this could be the case for you, I would not recommend doing a program until you are either done with school, or capable of finishing with online classes. The last thing you want to do is spend $60,000 on school and then never finish your degree so you can work at Disney for the rest of your life.

Prioritize school!! That is your key to a successful life! The DCP will be a wonderful experience, but will always be there for when you are done/almost done with whatever degree you’re going for.

Splash Mountain night MK


When thinking about doing the Disney College Program, what you should be thinking about most is the job you will have. Most likely, (especially for WDW) your job is how you will be spending the majority of your time. WDW participants most often spend more than 40 hours a week working, and during busy periods, like the holiday season, you may run into 50+ hour work weeks.

This is one of the biggest reasons why I decided to apply with a preference towards Disneyland as opposed to Disney World. At DLR, DCP participants only work on average of 28-32 hours a week. While this is a little lower than what I would like, working 50 hour weeks sounds horrible and I wouldn’t want to do that, even if I was working at a Disney Park.

With that said, there are more options for jobs at WDW than there are at DLR. Things like Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, The Skyliner and Character Attendant are jobs you can apply for at WDW, but are not available at DLR. Since I as most interested in Attractions and Custodial (the role I received), this was not a big deal to me. But it may be a big deal for you.

Matterhorn water DL

The Disney College Program is not simply a 5 or 7 month long vacation. There is a lot of cost involved, and is a big commitment. I recommend thinking thoroughly through these topics, and others that are important in your life, to ensure that choosing the program is the right decision for you at this time, or in the future.

You will hear much more from me as I start my DCP journey! Stay tuned in on the blog for DCP posts, or listen along to my DCP Internship Podcast here for in-depth information on the program.

Are you interested in doing the Disney College Program? Do you have any DCP related questions? Let us know in the comments or send us an email at wanderingindisney@gmail.com. If you want to talk to Michaela, email her at michaelaphillipsdcp@yahoo.com. If you enjoy our blog then please subscribe and like our social media accounts. You can do both of those things on the right side of this page. Have a great day!

3 replies »

  1. Can’t wait to read more! My son is now in high school and I think this would be an amazing opportunity for him! Thanks for sharing your experiences!

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