All is not so magical in the Disney College Program – UNIVERSITY PRESS

In May 2019, while working at Magic Kingdom on the Peter Pan’s Flight route, Lindsey Cartwright and other employees walked across the route and saw a grayish white powder on the ground. Upon closer inspection, they realized that it was the ashes of a deceased person.

They must have checked it when the ride stopped and called the fire department. The ride stopped for three hours, went up for two, then an hour later it stopped again.

Cartwright, currently a graduate in interdisciplinary studies from FAU, said a cyclist had to sprinkle the ashes during the ride and employees had to sweep it up.

This is not what Cartwright had considered doing when she applied for her internship at the Disney College Program.. She and others FAU students who participated say that while there are several perks to registering – like free admission to parks – they were taken aback by the expense of living and the mistreatment of the guests.

What is the Disney College program?

According to them website, the Disney College Program is a five- to seven-month internship program designed to give students work experience in parks and resorts, attend college courses, and meet and live with different people from around the world in business. sponsored housing.

It also says program participants can network with leaders, take personal and professional development courses, and develop hospitality skills.

Cartwright applied in August 2018 and started January 28 – May 16. She said interns are given a role in a park and can extend their time up to a year if they wish. Although she extended her time, she resigned during her overtime due to mental health reasons and was ready to return home and school.

Although she wanted to be an artist, she was turned down and instead got a role in the attractions, which are basically all rides and shows.

Madalynn Ralston, a psychology student at FAU, said she was accepted into the program on October 9, 2018 and started on January 14. His program lasted four months until May 16. However, Ralston said the FAU does not offer internship credit. .

She has worked at Mickey’s Philharmagic, Prince Charming’s Regal Carousel and Princess Fairytale Hall.

Make ends meet

Participants are paid $ 10 to $ 12 an hour, according to the Anonymous Job Review site glass door. Ralston said it was barely enough money for her to live on her own and pay for her housing.

“We are very underpaid and overworked,” she said.

When Ralston needed money, she decided to take shifts on her days off and ended up working 31 days in a row because she couldn’t afford lunch and car payment.

Cartwright said that even though she lived in the cheapest accommodation, half of the money she made went to renting. What was left was used for food, and she got to a point where she had to dip into her savings, even when at one point the pay went up by a dollar.

“I didn’t see a difference because I was still struggling to make money when I was still up there,” Cartwright said.

As for the hours, Cartwright said her schedule would change to the point where she worked once for eight days in a row. The shortest hours she ever worked was six hours and the longest 13.

Cartwright said she overworked herself to the point where work was no longer fun.

Ralston worked five days a week for about 30 hours, but had few hours due to her workplace. She said they were guaranteed two days off during the week, but sometimes they gave her time off on the weekends and it felt like the week would never end.

According to a DCP spokesperson, all DCP applicants, including those who choose to live in their own accommodation, must be “fully available seven days a week to participate in the program.” Full availability includes the ability to work mornings, nights, holidays, weekends and overtime, with different days off each week.

The spokesperson added that participants’ weekly accommodation costs include utilities, transportation to and from work and other local shopping areas while enjoying local discounts and privileges – but did not respond if accommodation costs and exposure to hostile guests were as advertised.

What is a typical DCP day? There are not any

Cartwright and Ralston both had to deal with difficult guests while working at Disney.

“Sometimes we had guests congratulating us on our work, but that was rare,” said Ralston. “We had a lot of ungrateful guests and even a couple who cursed at us. “

One of Ralston’s strangest encounters was when a guest called her a “racist” for doing her job.

Each park has “Extra Magic Hours,” where guests who stay at Disney resorts have early access to the park. One day, Ralston’s job was to make sure that guests entering during the extra magic hours stayed in the complexes using a scanner.

A guest refused to tell him which resort he was staying at – and started to get angry. He argued that he should just come in with his pass to enter the parks, but she explained to him that that doesn’t mean you stay on Disney property. He started screaming, telling her he was making a lot more money than she was working at Disney.

Ralston then looked for her coordinator so she could calm the guest down. As she was still letting the guests up, she heard, “She won’t let me up because she’s a racist,” and it upset her.

She told him curtly, then her coordinator told her to calm down, then she ran backstage.

“Our executives had to get involved and at the end of the evening I found out that this guest had been rude and started these things with cast members all over the property,” said Ralston.

Cartwright said that in March, a guest riding a disabled scooter in the Magic Kingdom nearly broke his foot while trying to board the Peter Pan’s Flight. Since the ride does not allow scooters, guests had to be transferred to a wheelchair, but instead of doing so, the guest went to the FastPass entrance. The actors chased him and tried to stop him.

Cartwright managed to catch up with him and put his foot on his scooter. They argued for 10 minutes as he continued to hit her foot to get her to move, but she didn’t move. Security was called but he left before they could show up.

“It’s pretty hard to work in a Disney park without getting yelled at at least once,” Cartwright said.

But everyday was not bad. Cartwright also spoke of a happy time when she helped a lost 2-year-old boy reunite with his family. The mother was crying and screaming when he was lost, and Cartwright eventually found him with an actor and brought him back.

While this has been rewarding at times, students should keep in mind that there is always the possibility of facing challenges when taking a job.

Ralston and Cartwright still believe the challenges of the program should have been discussed further before taking the job.

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