What's The Deal With The Disney Internship? Here's What You Need To Know

Photographed by Yuki Mizuma.
If you're a recent graduate, soon-to-be college graduate, or full-time college student and are looking to score an internship at the Happiest Place On Earth, then this article is for you.
Disney's college program has some great offerings and looks great on a resume. But there are a few things you should know before applying.
What is it?
Established in 1981, the Disney College Program is a national internship program run by the Walt Disney Company, based out of the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida and the Disneyland Resort in California.
The program recruits students of all majors for a one-semester paid internship working at one of the aforementioned Disney sites. The program is open to students 18 and over studying in any discipline. Interns are paid by the hour and wages vary.
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What do you do during the internship?
The five- to seven-month program is a dream for Disney fans. It's designed to give participants valuable professional experience working in Disney parks and resorts. Interns also participate in university-level coursework, and get to meet, live, and work alongside participants from all around the country and even the world. Additionally, participants have the opportunity to network with leaders, participate in personal and career development classes and workshops, and build numerous skills.
It's important to note that each student is assigned a specific role once they are accepted into the program. Once a student accepts, they are committing to that position for the entire program. For this reason, it's important that applicants are open and honest about their preferences and areas of interest during the application and interview process because, once assigned, the roles can't be changed.
Who can apply?
In order to qualify, applicants must be currently enrolled and taking classes at an accredited institution and have completed at least one semester or have graduated within the last twelve months. Grad students are technically eligible to apply, though the program is designed with undergraduates in mind.
In some cases, students may need to meet extra criteria required by their institution, such as a certain grade or GPA level, for this reason, Disney recommends that students who are interested in applying for the program meet with an advisor first.
Lastly, in order to apply, international students must be currently enrolled in a college or university in the U.S. and has work authorization. Disney also recommends that international students contact an international advisor to go over eligibility requirements for the program.
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How much does it cost?
Though the program is paid, there is some cost involved in participation. Specifically, for the Florida program, there is an initial $375 deposit due at the time of acceptation of the offer, which includes a $240 program participation fee and a $135 housing fee.
For the California program, a total of $940 is due upon acceptance of participation in the program, this includes a non-refundable $150 program participation fee, and a refundable $150 security deposit. Beyond this, housing rates are $160 per week. Additionally, there is an ongoing weekly housing payment which ranges between $103 and $200 a week, depending on the size of the participant’s room.
What is the housing situation?
Accommodation is provided through the program, though as you read above it is not free. Apartments and roommates are assigned by gender and apartments may include a maximum of eight residents. All of the apartments abide by Community Codes, including the rule that no overnight guests are permitted on the premises.
More information about housing, specifically room assignments and transportation, is available on Disney’s website.
When can I apply?
Applications are currently closed, as Disney is currently in-between recruiting seasons. But worry not, Disney will start accepting applications for 2019 Fall programs in late January or early February.
If you are interested, you can request to be notified when Disney College Program when the application becomes available. The program is extremely competitive, so if you're thinking of applying, it might be a good idea to start getting your application order and reach out soon!
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