Most people correlate Disney and magic. Whether you’re a kid singing along to your favourite movie, or an adult belting out the lyrics like you were 5 again, you know Disney is a place where everything you ever imagined becomes real. So that is why Disney programs are truly the things dreams are made of. The moment you embark upon a 4, 6, or 12 month program, you become a part of people’s happily ever afters, and their new adventures. You become part of one of the happiest places on Earth and of something so much bigger than yourself. You become part of Disney and Disney forever becomes a part of you. With that in mind, doing a Disney program is a HUGE decision and not something that can be taken lightly. So if you’re thinking to yourself “should I do a Disney program?” well here are things to consider before doing a Disney program, from someone who did a Disney international program.
Are you able to take the time to do a Disney Program?
I’m going to kick this off with a biggie, because as much as you want to throw caution to the wind and board the next Monorail to Disney World, you need to think about if you can fit a Disney Program into your life. This is because, whether you are there for a year or a summer, it will put the rest of your life on hold, literally. You may delay graduating from college, or getting a career you love. You also will make less money than working a lot of places which can delay things even more.
I think that a Disney program gives you skills, experience and imagination to take yourself further, but sometimes you have to realistically look at if you can do a Disney Program. You can make it work if you really want it, but you have to decide if you really truly want it.
Can you afford to do a Disney Program?
This might be a touchy subject, but doing a Disney college program or Disney international program is far from free. If you take into consideration the cost of moving to Florida alone, you already need a chunk of change to get you started. From there, unless you have will power of steel, you will need more spending cash then you are making.
Depending on what role and what location you are at, you will most likely work between 30 and 50 hours. Even if you’re paid a higher amount, like $10, that only amounts to $350 a week, minus applicable taxes. From there, you will pay around $110-$120 a week for housing. This means that you have to budget all your food and expenses and Disney merchandise / food / desserts… which all add up.
Do you think you can smile all day every day?
This might be a loaded question; but before you work at the happiest place on earth, you need to think about if you have the personality and the stamina for working for Disney. You are going to be surrounded by people whose dreams are coming true, but you also are going to work long hours through rain, blisters and constant fireworks. If the first part completely appeals to you, then you are in for the ride of your life.
Working at Disney leaves your face in a smile and an inability to point with one finger (can you say Disney point!). You will also find the least happy people in the happiest place on Earth. This is because Disney vacations cost a small fortune and many people feel they are entitled to everything. As cast members you try to make magical moments for everyone, but you also have to deal with really angry, rude or downright stupid guests sometimes.
Can you handle the environment in Florida?
This might be one of the most basic things to think about; but the whether in Florida is hot and humid with frequent thunderstorms and crazy lightning. Many roles in Disney require you to be outside in these conditions and you have to be able to handle it. So when you have the offer letter in your hand and you are taking time to consider before doing a disney program, you need to think of the weather. For most, this won’t even be a factor. But if you can’t be outside in the heat for hours at a time, or you are really scared of thunderstorms (I almost got hit by lightning on a pool deck), you might want to reconsider.
Can you live with up to 7 other people, and share your room?
I am sometimes a little bit of a home-body who loves my personal space, but I can handle being around people constantly too. When you do a Disney program in WDW, you will be rooming with at least 2 other people, if not 7. Most rooms now, no matter which housing complex you choose, are split between 3 people, which means you don’t have any space to yourself!
For some, it’s just like a college dorm, and for others this is absolutely unimaginable. I had a roommate who was a little difficult to say the least, though we still managed to share a room through the summer.
Are you ready to change your life?
A Disney program is one of the most life changing experiences in the world. If you have the opportunity to travel across the world or the country, you will definitely not be disappointed. The moment you start your Disney adventure, your life and the way you think of things will change. You will forever have Disney engrained in you.
You have to also be prepared for the sadness and “Disney depression” that comes when you leave Disney! The day that you say goodbye to your team, fellow cast members, your housing complex and to your program, you will leave changed and forever dreaming Disney.