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Frequently Asked Questions

Disney College Program FAQs

Any CMU student (or Guest student from another institutions) who is at least 18 years old and will have completed one semester before they attend the program can apply online to Disney. So, students can range from Freshman-Senior year and be from any major.

Disney recruits one semester before the start of their next program, meaning that they will recruit in early fall (Sept-Oct) for their spring programs and early spring (Jan-Mar) for their fall programs. We suggest you apply the semester before, at the very beginning of a semester, when Disney opens their online application process for the program. Once open, they will recruit for approximately 6-8 weeks and then close it off.

No, we have not seen any favorable pattern in more than 30 years that shows a better time to experience this program. Freshman students have received just as much out of the program as our seniors. Students will want to confer with their parents and academic advisors to look at more favorable academic schedules when they consider which Disney program to apply for.

Yes, we have seen the experience and skills that are developed from this program be a benefit to any student and any major. The transferable skills and maturity gained and developed from this opportunity are immeasurable. Developing better communication, problem solving, leadership, time management, teamwork, and guest service skills to name a few, will all benefit any student in any career choice. And employers echo this sentiment telling us they prefer skills and experience than merely a degree from a particular major.

In some cases yes, and others no. Every student’s situation is different than the next when it comes to their major, year in school, career goals, and requirements. We will be happy to point out credit options for students but some students by their own choices find that while credit may be taken, it may not help them towards graduation requirements. Bottom line, every student situation is different than the next. Even if no credit is earned, the experience is definitely going to help students gain valuable experience that future employers have recognized during employment decisions. There is no substitute for gaining valuable experience and skills (small or great) from a model company as Disney.

Disney is clear, these are not supervisory or managerial positions. These roles are entry level, seasonal employment positions with very high guest contact, and more responsibility and expectations than a normal entry level position. The training, work, cast member relationships, cultural and living experience and educational opportunities are what sets this program apart.

No, Disney’s educational offerings are in a seminar, workshop of fieldtrip format. These offerings focus on either Disney topics (learning more about Disney) or Career Preparation (professional development). These can be found on Disney’s college program website.

Disney offers two types of courses, Disney Collegiate Courses and Disney Exploration Series Seminars. Both offer different learning styles. See the Disney College Program website for a listing of both types of courses along with explanations and syllabi.

The Disney Collegiate Courses meet once a week for 4 hours, for 11 weeks and are very similar to a regular college class with a Disney (academically credentialed) professor, with course rigor including lectures, books, projects, assignments, and tests. These courses are not specifically about or related to Walt Disney (the company), but they are focused on the subject matter of the course title.

The Disney Exploration Series Seminars meet once a week for 2 hours, for 4 weeks and are just that--seminars focused specifically on Disney. These seminars do not have any course rigor to them. No tests, no books, no homework. They are meant to give students the opportunity to learn more specifically about Disney areas of expertise and interest than they would learn just from their jobs and training. Disney leaders will come into the class to speak, present panel discussions or take fieldtrips behind the scenes to see current projects or work areas. Many students have wanted to learn more about Disney (behind the scenes) that the rest of the world would like to know and these seminars have been very popular with students.

It’s a supervised work experience and training in a recreational/tourism facility for academic credit. The credit is earned like an independent study class or internship type of experience. Credit is earned primarily for the work experience.  There are no Central Michigan University classes that you attend while participating in the Disney College Program. Each student earns credit for the entire Disney College Program experience at Disney, which include work, education, and living components.

Any student admitted to a college/university in the United States of America is eligible to register for fieldwork credit. This includes any major or year in school, freshman through senior year. 

Students may take one credit for each week of work (40 hours per week) up to a maximum of 15 credits. Each student determines how much credit they would like to take within the 15 credits available.

Most CMU departments and other institutions accept our credit as “general elective” credit. Please check with your school advisor before registering.

Fulfill your job commitment to The Walt Disney Company, and complete several educational requirements specified on the “Fieldwork Assignment Form” link on either the CMU Student or Guest Student webpages.

Yes, by the Commission on Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. In 1982, CMU’s Department of Recreation, Parks and Leisure Services Administration was recognized and fully accredited by the National Recreation and Park Association in all undergraduate programs and such accreditation still exists today.

Yes, (for Guest Students) more than 250 other schools around the country have done so to date.

Yes, check with your school, bank, or insurance company to find out their requirements before registering.

For students participating in the Disney College program at the Walt Disney World ® resort, each living complex has their own computer lab available to students.

For Assistance 
Dean Wallin
Director, Center for Leisure Services
Department of Recreation, Parks and Leisure Services Administration

College of Education and Human Services | Central Michigan University | | 195 Ojibway Ct | EHS 426 | Mt. Pleasant, MI 48859 | (989) 774-3079