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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