On this day July 17th, 1955 Disneyland was opened to the public by Mr. Walt Disney himself. It’s been exactly 60 years since the park’s grand opening, and while many changes have happened over the years, Disneyland still has that special touch of magic. Maybe that magic comes from Walt Disney himself. Disneyland was the only park Walt Disney was able to see built from the ground up and the only park he was able to visit in his lifetime (he unfortunately passed away in 1966 and was not able to see the Walt Disney World Resort come to life when it opened in 1971).
60 years later and Walt’s dream of the happiest place on Earth is alive and well. To celebrate this day guests will be treated to some awesome opportunities to show off their 1955 side! Here are just a few things that will be happening today:
- Show Your 1955 Side – Guests are encouraged to travel back in time and dress as if they were from 1955 to celebrate the day.
- 1955-themed photo locations – Images from Disneyland in 1955 are used as backdrops and can be found throughout the different lands in the park.
- Celebration cupcakes – To honor the day, guests can enjoy celebratory cupcakes throughout different areas of both Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure (While supplies last though!).
So yeah, if you’re going to be heading out the parks today make sure you take advantage of all those goodies because the 60th Anniversary only happens once!
But now onto the Disney College Program!
To give you an overview the Disney College Program is a paid internship where college students have a role at the parks and also attend Disney classes that may count as credit at their school or university. There are two programs for students to choose from: Fall or Spring. Within these two programs are different start dates depending if you live locally to the parks or not. For example, I am currently participating in the 2015 Fall Advantage Program at the Disneyland Resort, where “Advantage” means I’m a local and I do not need housing. It also means I start the program earlier in late May/early June versus the 2015 Fall Program that begins next month in August.
To apply to the Disney College Program head on over to CP.DisneyCareers.com to find out more general information about the program. The application process is all online and you’ll be notified if you’ve been accepted into the program 2-3 weeks after you have submitted your application. Initially, I submitted my application in late February for the 2015 Fall Advantage Program and I was rejected from the first round of acceptances. However, I was told that my application would be held onto and if I got I role, I would be notified by June 1st. June 1st rolled around and I got a phone call saying that I have been offered the role of Disney Desk and that I could choose to accept it or not. Of course, I said yes and here I am today!
After saying yes over the phone to my Disney recruiter, I had to fill out a bunch of paper work online. I had to fill out the general W-4 tax information form, a background check form, and a whole of other basic information-type of forms. I also had to register for the class I wanted to take. Because I was accepted so late, I could only choose the Blended Learning Series class, which is a seminar-style class where students learn about Disney heritage and applying what they learn in class to their roles in the parks. I’ll talk more about this class later!
Now, after you complete all of your paper work and you register for class online, you actually meet with one or two Disney College Program cast members to fill out a few more forms in person and to take your picture for your cast member ID card. I actually got to meet Becca, who is a professional intern with the Disney College Program and Paul, who is an instructor for the Disney College Program classes and who also happens to be my instructor for my Blended Learning Series class. I also got to meet my two new friends and fellow cast members in the program, Natasha and Sara, during this sign-in meeting!
Now, I don’t guarantee this will happen to you, but after all the in-person paper work was filled out, Paul treated Becca, Natasha, Sara, and I to ice cream and we actually got a chance to talk about the program and ourselves. This was completely new for me because I never had the opportunity to sit down with an instructor in a such a causal manner. We all asked questions about the program, about Paul and Becca personally, and we even shared why we chose Disney and what we were looking to get out of the program.
From there we were given a pamphlet about when our Disney Traditions ceremony will be held. Disney Traditions is basically a welcoming to the Walt Disney Company and its unique culture. It’s an all day event that begins in a classroom, then you have the opportunity to walk backstage at the Disneyland park, and then you finish Traditions in the classroom you began at. You receive a classic pair of Mickey ears, your name tag, and your physical cast member ID card, along with a little Mickey figurine if you answer questions in class. This may sound cheesy, but Traditions was one of the most magical events to ever happen to me. Like, I was seriously tearing up throughout most of it (especially when we read letters from parents and families that applauded particular cast members for their awesome customer service during their visit).
I feel like this post is getting a bit long, so I’ll continue it in another entry about the “Welcome to Operations” orientation, my first day of class, my first day of work. If you have any questions about the Disney College Program feel free to leave a comment down below and I’ll answer you to the best of my ability! See you in the next one!