Monday, December 21, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things...

Or favorite blogs and vlogs, rather! I'm not posting/vlogging as frequently as I'd like to, so I thought I'd put together a handy-dandy list of people who do (or did). These are either people I currently follow or people who served as excellent sources of information as I began my foray into CP obsession research. Since I can't detail EVERY fabulous blog I follow, please head on over to my profile to check out even more awesome CPers (under the blogs I'm following section or something like that)!  

First of all, I'd like to once again mention the wonder that is the DISBoards College Board. It's a wonderful community full of people who know their stuff when it comes to the CP and are more than happy to help out those with questions. It's also a very supportive community and one of the most drama-free Disney forums out there! (It's amazing how much dramarama Disney fanatics can generate, really.)

Brenna: A Walt Disney World Career
Entertainment >> PI >> Disney career woman. I read her blog from start to finish and all of it was fantastic and informative. Yay Brenna! She's also on the College Board and very helpful when it comes to answering any Entertainment questions (as much as she can answer them, anyway).

Note that many of her posts are "friends-only" - meaning you won't be able to read them unless you have a livejournal and Brenna has accepted you as a friend. This is mostly for character integrity's sake - drop her a line and explain why you friended her, and hopefully you'll gain access to her wonderfully informative posts!

Chris Saribay
FSFB (Ohana). Chris seems to have stopped writing his blog, but the informational posts that are available make up for that, because they are truly helpful.

Joanna: The Biggest Disney Fan Around
Multiple CPs - merchandise, character attendant, custodial, attractions. She's currently working Toy Story Mania and was approved to extend to the Great Movie Ride, the lucky duck.
If you're on the DISBoards or one of the Facebook groups, you'll probably recognize Joanna as that awesome person who knows everything there is to know when it comes to the CP - and what's more, she's incredibly helpful when it comes to sharing that knowledge!

Molly: Married to the Mouse
Entertainment. An entertaining and informative blog. Like Brenna, her blog is "friends only." Molly is sometimes on the College Board, too.

John: The Purple Folder
QSFB, I think? An EXCELLENT Disney blog. I always look forward to reading his entries/weekly themes/etc. Highly recommended!

Ashlie: Princess Ash's WDWCP Blog
Spring 2010 Attractions. Another College Boarder, Ash's blog is written in a wonderful storytelling style. I look forward to hearing all about her Spring adventures!

Will's Fantasmic Disney Adventures
Companion to his excellent vlog. Will has already done a program in merchandise and will be going back for Spring 2010.

And a few of my fellow fall hopefuls!
Kristin (also an alum!)
Lyanne (who has the most awesome blog title EVER)

2 words: JOHN. HENSELMEIER. : now a seasonal Jungle Cruise Skipper.
Will : former Merchandise participant, Spring 2010 participant. Also has a blog.

Ryan O's Disney Show : Spring 2010 Main Entrance Ops
Lauren : fellow Fall 2010 hopeful. Also has a blog.

I'd also like to mention The Disney Vloggers channel and the Fall 2010 channel. The latter has nothing at the moment, but hey - subscribe anyway?

Friday, November 20, 2009


My Wikipedia article on Imagineering (a seminar assignment) has officially been published! Let's hope it stays up there. :)

Here's the new lead-in section, to give you a taste:
Walt Disney Imagineering (also known as WDI or simply Imagineering) is the design and development arm of The Walt Disney Company, responsible for the creation and construction of Disney theme parks worldwide. Founded by Walt Disney in 1952 to oversee the production of Disneyland Park, it was originally known as WED Enterprises, from the initials Walter Elias Disney[1].
The term Imagineering comes from Walt Disney’s blending of the words imagination and engineering, representing the skill set embodied by the employees of WDI. These employees, known as Imagineers, are renowned for their ability to blend creativity, expertise, and technological advancements like Audio-Animatronics to create “distinctive experiential storytelling” [2].
Imagineering is responsible for designing and building Disney theme parks, resorts, cruise ships, and other entertainment venues at all levels of project development. Imagineers possess a broad range of skills and talents, and thus over 140 different job titles fall under the banner of Imagineering, including illustrators, architects, engineers, lighting designers, show writers, graphic designers, and many more[1]. Most Imagineers work from the company’s headquarters in Glendale, California, but are often deployed to satellite branches within the theme parks for long periods of time.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Info Post #5: Entertainment - The Audition!

For Spring 2010, the Entertainment role is only available through the Walt Disney World College Program, not the Disneyland College Program. The overview page on the WDWCP website can be found here. There's a cute little video and the dates and locations of auditions.

You can find out if the audition you're attending is just a college program audition or a combination audition at the Audition Calendar of, too! For example, the description of the Chicago audition is as follows:
Disney Auditions is seeking energetic performers for Shows and Parades across the Walt Disney World® Resort, near Orlando, FL. Our performers bring to life shows such as Festival of the Lion King, Block Party Bash, High School Musical 3: Right Here, Right Now! and many more!

We are also seeking Disney Princess Look-alikes. Performers develop improvisational skills, poise and grace while working for one for the world's leading entertainment companies.

College students interested in performing for the WDW College Program, may click here for additional details.
So... what actually happens AT the audition? The jist of it is basically - you go in, check in, get measured, do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight!  OK, no, not really. But you DO learn a dance routine. You'll also do an animation exercise. If they like you, they might pull you for a more complex dance routine or puppeteering or, if you're very, very lucky, FACE! (I hope to get very, very lucky...)

I'm not going to post anything regarding height ranges because a) while this blog is not widely read, it IS a public blog on the internet, b) I'm not even sure how accurate the information I've gotten is, c) that's a Disney secret, and d) they'll tell you what height you fall into at the audition anyway! I WILL say that the people over on the DisBoards are super helpful! Check out the College Board over there, or message me your questions somehow and I'll do my best to answer them. 

Two key things about height: One, special consideration is given to people under 5'0" and over 6'0". Two, your "Disney height" may be like two whole inches off your actual height, so be prepared for that. Also, apparently 5'5" is dead height so just pray that they measure you up or down if you happen to be 5'5".

I highly, highly recommend checking out Brenna's and Molly's livejournals for really great info about the auditions. Their entries are protected, so you have to get an account and add them as friends, but that also means they can go into a lot more detail than I can on Blogger!

Brenna's Livejournal. / Her vlog specifically dealing with her audition experience.
Molly's Livejournal.

So, what are some general tips to help you conquer the Disney audition and stand out as a great potential cast member?
  • SMILE! :D But you knew that I'm sure!
  • Be yourself but be a big, exaggerated version of yourself.
  • It's worth repeating a zillion times: BE BIG! GO OVER THE TOP! ACT LIKE EVERYTHING IS CAPSLOCK!
  • When dancing, even if you flub, keep smiling!
  • When pantomiming, make sure your actions tell a story that presents a problem and solves it with big, clear motions. 
  • Most importantly, have fun!!
Sorry this info post is not as comprehensive... I don't want to reveal anything I'm not supposed to know, haha! If you'd like to investigate further, I cannot recommend the DisBoards College Board enough. There are a couple of really great (and long!) threads on there about character heights and auditions... one of which was actually started by Brenna!

So that's all for now, and have a magical day!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Info Post #4: A quick rundown of the roles.

For a brief and official overview of all the roles and their descriptions, your best bet is to visit the Disney College Program site here. In this post, I'll be elaborating on some (but not all) roles based on what I've read on the DisBoards and in blogs.

Can include working traditional "rides" like Splash Mountain, Expedition Everest, etc, but keep in mind that things like Innoventions, DisneyQuest, and the stage shows fall into this as well. I've heard of people who loved their experience at Innoventions but as far as I can tell DisneyQuest is more of a toss-up.

Spieling rides like Jungle Cruise and the Great Movie Ride are incredibly difficult to get. The Haunted Mansion is one of the most-requested rides - I'll bet you're more likely to get a job at Kilimanjaro Safari than as a HM servant. However, if you'd like to work at a specific attraction, it doesn't hurt to email the program and tell them so! Nothing is guaranteed, but it certainly won't harm you! (Like if I get Attractions you can BET I'm requesting Jungle Cruise or Tower of Terror!)

Character Attendant
Whereas before, CAs could work at any of the four parks throughout their program, these CPs are now being bid at just one park. However, CAs are able to pick up shifts at any of the four parks. Duties may include things like assisting your characters, keeping the queue orderly, answering questions, and (most importantly) insuring the safety of your characters. Generally the hours are pretty manageable, from what I've heard (in terms of having really late shifts and the like).

Full-Service Food and Beverage
Keep in mind that this is a non-tipped role and you are a host/hostess, not a server! However, people who have worked in this role really enjoyed it. As one blog puts it, FSFB offers "a great mix of personal freedom, responsibility and its own share of fun moments, given its high guest interaction. Better still, a lot of these roles take place in a highly themed, fast-paced and dynamic environment."

Given the huge amount and diversity of full-service restaurants in WDW, this role offers a ton of different opportunities! Again, if you want to work a specific restaurant, go ahead and request it via email. You probably won't get California Grill though - I've heard people basically have to die for a position to open up there. (But that was in reference to the servers, so who really knows?)

Quick Service Food and Beverage
This role includes both counter-service restaurants like Pecos Bill Cafe and Columbia Harbour House as well as the outdoor snack carts and snack windows (outdoor foods). You will work both in the kitchen and at the register unless you are specifically working the QSFB - Kitchen Only role.

Vacation Planner
You know those ticket windows you pass on your way into the theme parks? The people in those booths are Vacation Planners, responsible for selling ticket media to guests. Think of it like a movie-theatre box office. Vacation Planners are the ultimate resource for the different admission options available and will also assist guests in planning their days at the park.

Given the nature of what you're selling, expect to handle large amounts of cash during your shift. Though there is an emphasis on "upselling" tickets, you'll also have plenty of opportunities to assist guests in planning their visits and ensuring they have a magical experience. Depending on the time of day, you may be working under a fair amount of pressure - lines can get long and guests are rearin' to go, so be prepared for that as well. From what I understand, there's also a certain quota you must meet each day as a Vacation Planner CM.

This role covers Entertainment Costuming, not regular Costuming where all CMs pick up their costumes (uniforms). You will be assisting Entertainment CMs, working with parades and possibly shows, and doing laundry.

Hospitality CPs can work three different "sub-roles": Front Desk, Lobby Concierge, and Runner. Front Desk involves checking guests into the hotel - which I think sounds pretty cool because you get to kick off their whole Disney vacation experience! Lobby Concierge is pretty self-explanatory - you are stationed in the lobby to answer guest questions, sell tickets, make ADRs (or whatever Disney's calling them now), etc. Runners ... well, they run items at guests' requests.

Hospitality has the potential for weird shifts because the resorts never close. It's also more difficult to get, especially if you're not a hospitality major/don't have prior experience in guest service. I'm going to try for it anyway though! (See Vlog.)

Well, that's it for this entry! If you have any further questions I'll try my best to answer them, and if I don't have an answer I'll lead you to someone who does!

The next info post will feature...
Entertainment!!! Yay! 

Sunday, September 27, 2009

D23 Expo: Recap and Geeking Out

In the Studios...
A Toy Story 3 plot that sounds like it will make me CRY.
A Cars 2 plot that sounds decent and means I might have to see the first one.
A NEW MUPPET MOVIE WRITTEN BY JASON SEGEL!!! And maybe featuring Gonzo, my favorite Muppet! (He is severely underappreciated.)
Concept art from Pixar's next project, The Bear and the Bow - the first Pixar film to feature a female heroine (Reese Witherspoon) and a female director.

In the parks...
A HUGE expansion of Fantasyland featuring more princesses and a Little Mermaid attraction!
An upcoming Star Tours refurb. I'm a big Star Wars fan and I'm honestly not sure how I feel about this, as I think the original trilogy is far superior to the silly new movies.

Oh, and did I mention Johnny Depp showed up in full Jack Sparrow mode? Though honestly, I'd be just as (if not more) excited to see the Imagineering legends presentation featuring X Atencio, Marty Sklar, and Alice Davis, among others.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Info Post #3: The Phone Interview

So you've submitted your written application, passed the web-based interview, and set up a time for your phone interview. Whew! For some applicants, this is easily the most nerve-wracking part of the process. I've heard of interviews lasting anywhere from 10 minutes to upwards of half an hour. Generally they fall somewhere in the middle. Disney says to expect a 20-30 minute length.

Disney also provides the following tips for interviewees:
  • Limit noise and distractions. 
  • If possible, avoid using a cell phone because of possible issues with weak signal, etc.
  • If a "Blocked" or "Unknown" caller calls around the time of your interview, make sure you answer because it's probably Disney!
  • Prepare for your interview!
    • Familiarize yourself with the roles and which ones you'd be comfortable performing.
    • Check your availability and familiarize yourself with the time frames of the program seasons!
    • Be prepared to discuss your background and interests. As Disney puts it, "You will be asked about the one topic that you know more than anyone else, YOU!"
    • Make a list of questions for your interviewer.
    • Be prepared about 5 to 10 minutes ahead of your scheduled interview time.
  • But at the same time, be sure you're at least somewhat relaxed. That might mean something as simple as taking a few deep breaths.
  • Take notes.
  • Take your time - a moment of silence while you collect your thoughts is perfectly okay!
It's also helpful to have your application handy, since you will be going over it during the interview. And, if you're slightly OCD like I am, it might help to jot down a few things you'd like to mention about your strengths, especially in guest service. If you like, it might be nice to have a copy of your resume with you as well.

A tip I've heard over and over again is to smile during your interview. Sure, it sounds dorky, but it really does change the tone in your voice and your interviewer will probably notice a more enthusiastic tone. Try to answer the questions completely yet as succinctly as possible - not an easy feat for a chatterbox like myself. It’s okay to take a moment to think about your answer, and remember that silence is preferable to “um,” “uh,” and “like!”

Generally, interviews follow a pretty similar pattern:
  1. Review application and role checklist.
  2. Why are you interested in the CP/why do you want to work for Disney?
  3. Probably some questions about work flexibility and handling a difficult situation or person, and how you resolved the conflict/situation.
  4. Some kind of question regarding previous work experience.
  5. The interviewer will then move to asking questions about specific roles on your checklist. Some great advice I’ve heard repeatedly is that if you’re unsure, err on the side of guest safety and happiness. I’ve collected a bunch of previously asked questions from people on the DisBoards, so if you’re interested let me know!
  6. You may be asked about the best guest service you’ve ever experienced, Disney or otherwise.
  7. Something about how receptive you are to living with others - basically you should be receptive to whatever living situation Disney has available, I think. The interviewer may include a question about dealing with roommate conflicts.
  8. Finally, it’s your turn to ask questions! And be sure to thank your interviewer!
Up next... (hopefully next week but don't hold me to it!) Info Post #4: The Roles!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

D23 Expo: Ariel's Adventure

So I really really really really really really wish I could be at the D23 expo in Anaheim this weekend - but alas, I cannot. I was pretty busy yesterday, so I've just started to follow what was going on there. A DisBoards/LJ friend brought this to my attention:

"Fans of Disney's animated classic, The Little Mermaid, will journey under the sea to meet Ariel and her friends on an exciting new musical adventure. This new attraction will take guests through beautifully rendered scenes featuring classic songs from the popular animated feature. The attraction will be part of the expanded Fantasyland that was announced at the D23 Expo on Saturday by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Jay Rasulo."

OMG YAAAAAAAY!!! I wonder if the attraction will bear any resemblance to the one they featured on the Platnium Edition DVD release of The Little Mermaid. Also, if you enlarge the picture, you'll notice that the concept art has two lines - one for Ariel's Adventure, and one for her grotto. So maybe it'll incorporate elements of the old 20,000 Leagues attraction. We shall see!

I may post more about the Expo soon, or just do my second info post. I will be updating a LOT for like three days, and then it will get less frequent as I will FINALLY leave for Kalamazoo on Wednesday! (Yup - haven't even started yet!)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Info Post #2: So You Want to Do a Disney College Program.

Or, The Application Process.

First of all, it's an excellent idea to make sure you meet the application requirements before going forward with your application. You must:
  • be enrolled as a full-time or part-time student and taking classes. High-school seniors with dual enrollment are not eligible to apply. You must have completed one semester of school. As long as you are taking classes at the time you apply, you can do the CP - so graduating seniors can apply while still in school and do the program immediately following graduation.
  • meet your school's requirements for participation.
  • be at least 18 years old by the time your program begins.
  • have unrestricted work authorization.
More information, especially about the first point, can be found here.

Okay, then - on to the actual application process!

Step One: View the online E-Presentation.
I recommend the E-Presentation as opposed to the campus presentation because it is almost always available before the first campus presentation, and the sooner you apply, the better. Let me repeat that, because it's important: The sooner you apply, the better! As far as I can tell, acceptance to the Disney College Program is done on a rolling basis. If you want to view a campus presentation as well, you can always do so after your application is in - personally, I'll probably do both myself, because I've heard the live presentations are fun to go to and there's a chance to win Disney swag!

Step Two: Complete the Online Application/Role Checklist
The following roles are available: Attractions, Bell Services/Dispatch, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Hostess, Concierge, Character Attendant, Custodial, Full Service Food and Beverage, Hopper, Hospitality, Housekeeping, Lifeguard, Main Entrance Operations, Merchandise, PhotoPass Photographer, Quick Service Food and Beverage, Recreation, Resort Hopper, Transportation, Vacation Planner, Costuming (backstage role), Quick Service - Kitchen Only (backstage role), Character Performer, Culinary Assistant - Cook II, and Culinary Assistant - Baking and Pastry.

The Culinary Program differs slightly from the "regular" program. I'm not in culinary school, so my knowledge of the culinary aspect of the CP is limited to what's available on the WDWCP website!

So, that's a grand total of 24 roles available! Another valuable piece of advice: Checking off more roles greatly improves your chances of getting into the program - especially if you are willing to do QSFB or custodial. (From what I've heard Custodial can be loads of fun, actually.)

I'll talk more about the different roles and their descriptions in a later entry - and Entertainment will probably get a separate entry talking about the audition process and whatnot.

Step Three: Complete the Web-Based Interview
Ah, the dreaded new step: the Web-Based Interview! Sadly, this simple survey/GALLUP poll can make or break your college program dreams. It's something a lot of employers are using these days, and thanks to the DisBoards, I've been able to find some great tips to help you pass! Unfortunately, some Spring 2010 hopefuls learned this the hard way, as they were the first to take the "web-based interview."
  • Take a deep breath! Read the questions carefully. There are very few trick questions.
  • Avoid "neutral," "agree," and "disagree" - pick stronger answers. However, they might throw in a negative question after a bunch of positive ones, so watch out for that.
  • Make sure your answers are consistent with each other. Some of the questions will be the same, just phrased differently, so make sure your answers are the same/similar.
  • Think about yourself in a work environment, even working at Disney if it helps. Don't picture yourself in a school or social environment as they may handle things differently.
  • It's timed, so make sure to answer all questions.
Step Four: Notification
You will be notified immediately whether or not you passed the web interview. If you did, you will be invited to set up your phone interview. After the phone interview, you will receive notification regarding your acceptance into the program in approximately four to six weeks.

Ah, yes, the phone interview. Considered by some to be the most nerve-wracking part of the process - personally I'm afraid the entire thing will be completely nerve-wracking, but that's just me!

Luckily for you, I will be updating shortly with...
Info Post #3: The Phone Interview!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Info Post #1: Overview, Dis-Speak, and Acronyms

I'm a Planner. Some might call it anxious and ... well, anxious, but I call it well-prepared. I don't remember exactly when I first heard about the Disney College Program - I think it was back in junior high. Well, around this time last year I started really looking into it, reading blogs and lurking on the Dis Boards College Board. I thought it might be a good idea to post some of the information I've gathered in one place for others to easily view - that, and it should give me at least a little something to write about until next year!

For those of you who may not know exactly what the Disney College Program is, I'll just go over it briefly. You can find more information at the program's official website. I'll be applying for the WDW program - there is a program available at Disneyland as well, but it's smaller (and thus more competitive to get into) and, from what I've heard, less structured. The WDWCP people have it down to a science! Plus, with a much larger complex, there are that many more opportunities. And - though this is purely word-of-mouth - apparently it's a lot easier to get into Entertainment as a CP in WDW.

The Disney College Program began in 1981 and has grown in leaps and bounds since then. It's an opportunity for college students to spend a semester working for and learning from the Disney Company - and it's a paid internship to boot! Disney bills it as "a one-of-a-kind, Disney-designed combination of education and work experience," emphasizing the Earning, Learning, and Living components of the program. Granted, it's also a way for the parks to get cheap labor easily, and participants will be performing front-line hourly jobs. But for someone like me, whose ultimate goal is to work for Disney, it's an excellent way to get your foot in the door. There are plenty of networking opportunities available. Like any job, it's all about the attitude with which you approach it. And, given that I'm a full-fledged Disney nerd, I think I've definitely got the right attitude.

And, dear (imaginary?) readers, if you've found me through the Dis boards or somewhere else, you'll know about this next bit too: Disney-speak and acronyms. Gotta love the acronyms! I don't think there are too many associated with the CP (well there's one), but I'm probably not thinking of them because I know them, if that makes ANY sense.

CP = College Program
WDW = Walt Disney World
...thus, WDWCP = Walt Disney World College Program
CM = Cast Member
PI = Professional Internship. Sometimes Pleasure Island, but seeing as it's CLOSED I doubt I'll be using that one very much.
FSFB = Full Service Food and Beverage
QSFB = Quick Service Food and Beverage
EPCOT = Every Person Comes Out Tired, Every Paycheck Comes on Thursday, or Evil Polyester Costumes of Torture.
FA/SA = Fall Advantage/Spring Advantage

MK = Magic Kingdom
DHS = Disney's Hollywood Studios (it will forever be MGM to me!)
DAK = Disney's Animal Kingdom
Many rides and resorts are shortened too... Pirates of the Caribbean becomes POTC, Grand Floridian becomes GF, etc.
Those are all I can think of off the top of my head - if I use another, I'll define it in context and try to remember to add it to this list! There's also a nifty list of acronyms available here.

Finally, people who love Disney tend to speak in what sounds like a foreign language to the average person, and it gets worse when you start working for the Big Cheese himself! Dis-Speak, Disney-ese, whatever you want to call it, it's definitely a language all its own! And, since I don't yet work for Disney, I don't use as many terms as a current CM might, but I still might say some confusing things - unless, of course, you're a Disney dork like myself. Which you probably are. Regardless!

A lot of Dis-speak has to do with shortening things - which is why we like acronyms so much! Often, things without acronyms will end up with shortened versions of themselves... Splash Mountain becomes Splash, and the Polynesian Resort becomes the Poly.

Most of the Dis-speak I'll use will probably have to do with working and the Entertainment side of things. As an entertainment company, Disney uses terms like "Cast Member" instead of employee and "Role" instead of job. The tourists in the parks are "Guests" instead of "customers" - even Target uses that one now!

Secondly, since my first choice role is Character Performer, I'll be talking a LOT about the Entertainment division of WDW. They are (understandably) HUGE on Character Integrity and keeping the magic intact. No one "plays" Mickey, since there's only one Mickey... instead, you get to be "friends with" Mickey. There are different height ranges for the characters, things like duck height, mouse height, munk height, Pooh height, etc. The range is named after a certain character, but that doesn't mean that's the only one you can be friends with. There's also some overlap - like you can be friends with Daisy and Mickey, etc etc. I'm not sure if "Princess Height" is actually a range but luckily I fall into that one because I'm dangerously close to what's affectionately known as DEAD HEIGHT! Oh no! I think I might be Munk Height, but who knows what Disney will measure me as? (Disney height tends to differ from real height. Who knows why?)

Then there's the Face Characters - my ultimate little girl dream. (But then again, isn't it everyone's?) Pooh, Mickey, etc are "fur characters" - that is, they are completely costumed. Princesses, princes, and some villains are face characters - that is, you can see their faces. Not too tricky to keep straight. :) Disney in general has very strict standards for their face characters, and I've heard DLR (Disneyland Resort) is even stricter than WDW when it comes to this.

Entertainment CPs also have the opportunity to be trained as parade performers, but it's very rare. I'll talk more about that in a later blog, when I discuss what I've learned about Entertainment, color codes, etc.

Look for another personal blog soon and some more information posts! The next info post will probably be on the application process - seems like a good next step, don't you think?

Well, that's all for now. Have a magical day!
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