Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Kyra and I’m a Disney College Program Alumni. I’ve been a Disney fan for as long as I can remember and wanted to work for Disney more than anything growing up. I started visiting Disney when I was 7 years old and have gone ever since! I was accepted for the Fall Advantage Program and started June of 2016 in Attractions at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. In October I moved to Disney Springs Merchandise and wound up extending my program until May 2017 in Tomorrowland Merchandise. Because I got this amazing opportunity to be in the College Program for almost an entire year, I wanted to share some of my favorite aspects of each season!
Alright! Let’s start with the summer since that’s when I started my program, honestly not a ton of stuff happens during the summer…. BUT over the past years and over the next couple of years, Disney’s expansions will be opening in the summer! No expansions opened like planned in the summer of my program (River of Lights 😭😭) but in Summer 2017 Pandora opened and Toy Story Land is scheduled to be opening Summer of 2018.
Concept art of Toy Story Land AHHH IM SO EXCITED!!!!
There might be a little hiatus coming up for Summers 2019-2020 since some opening dates have yet to be announced (Outer Space Restaurant in Epcot, Guardians of the Galaxy Attraction in Epcot) but we can look foreward to Summer 2021 as being filled with tons of cool new attractions including Tomorrowland’s new Tron Coaster based after the one in Shanghai and a new Ratatouille attraction, similar to the one in Disneyland Paris!
The above concept art is for the Tron Coaster in Magic Kingdom and the Ratatouille ride in Epcot.
Let’s move into the fall season. Starting in September marks the beginning of Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival!!
If you love to explore different flavors from around the world, then this is the festival for you! (It’s my personal favorite festival followed by Flower and Garden but we’ll get to that later)
Above photos were taken by me during Food and Wine at the Japan And Italy pavilions, as well as The Artistry of Chocolate Wine booth.
The Food and Wine Festival lasts until mid November, a little past the Halloween season… AND SPEAKING OF HALLOWEEN…Also starting in August, the Halloween season at Disney parks begins, and how awesome is that?? Two whole months of Halloween… yes PLEASE!! As cast members you’ll have the opportunity to not only attend Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) at a discounted price, but you may also be lucky enough to work a treat shift or a wristband shift.
The parties are so much fun to attend or work, I think I almost liked working them more! At the parties there are tons of exclusive treats, trick or treating stations, exclusive meet and greets and special party parade and fireworks! Not to mention the fact that lines for your favorite Magic Kingdom attractions are much much shorter!! Now as I mentioned before, you might have the chance to work a treat shift, especially if you already work in Magic Kingdom. Because my work location was an attractions, I would get randomly assigned treat shifts. The other way to get shifts for treats is to sign up on the Hub or through shift exchange groups on Facebook where people are looking to give away their treat shifts (this is a little more rare and harder to get because EVERYONE wants them 😢 )
The last Halloween party is usually October 31st and from there it’s immediately the Holiday season!! (Two months of Christmas???? YES!!) Again, you’ll have the opportunity to attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP) at a discounted price and if you work at a Quick Service location in Magic Kingdom you’ll be getting cookie shifts!! ( If you work QSFB in other parks you can potentially pick up these shifts if anyone is giving them away!) There are wristband shifts for MVMCP as well. If you work in Tomorrowland Merchandise during the Fall DCP lucky you!! You’ll have the opportunity to wear the Christmas Party outfit if you are assigned a shift during one of the parties since Tomorrowland Merchandise is the only Merchandise location that does this costume change.
Above is a photograph taken by me at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party from the train station.
Now, something that is especially unique to the Disney College Program in the Fall season is the Winter Formal! In either late November or early December, the DCP will host a winter formal for the DCP participants at the Coronado Springs Convention Center. They always do a really cool theme with tons of food, dancing, decorations, and unique character meet and greets!! This is a really fun opportunity to dress up and celebrate with your new friends you’ve made on your program!!
Christmas time and New Years is when things start getting reaaaalllyyyy crazy!! You’ll be working long hours with huge crowds because, honestly, who doesn’t want to be at Disney for Christmas and to ring in the New Year? Yes, you’ll be exhausted, but you’ll be surrounded by your wonderful friends and co-workers who know just how you feel and you’ll all be there supporting each other the whole way!!
The Fall DCP end date is usually January 3rd, and that’s when I was supposed to leave. I received news of my extension in mid October that I would be moving into Merchandise (I didn’t find out it was Tomorrowland until December) so when January came around I had about a week off so I flew home to visit my family and pets! (A nice opportunity if you do extend).
In January the newest Epcot Festival also begins, you may or may not have heard of it, it’s Epcot’s Festival of the Arts!! It’s a phenomenal new addition to Epcot’s festivals celebrating artists from all over the world from mid January until mid February.
Above is a mural painted by number by Epcot guests during Festival of the Arts!
Now, I’ll be honest, as much as I loved my Spring extension, my preference goes to my Fall experience. Why? Well because there is A LOT more going on in the Fall. In the Spring, January marks the beginning of “off” season for guests and the parks aren’t terribly busy (for a Disney Park, aka it’s still busy) and there aren’t any Halloween or Christmas parties to work or attend. There is one huge bonus for CPs in the Spring though, and that is STARLIT SPLASH!!!!
What is Starlit Splash you might ask? Well, I’m glad you asked! It’s a night in April where Disney rents out Typhoon Lagoon to DCP participants for a night of free food, dancing, and playing in the water park. There are no guests, JUST CPs. The wave pool is open, so are all the water coasters and the lazy river. There aren’t any character meet and greets but there are some rather curious pirates walking around trying to figure out why there are a bunch of 20 year olds in their lagoon.
And how could I forget my second favorite festival?? Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival is an absolute spectacle of flowers, butterflies and springtime celebration that runs from mid March until the end of May.
Above photographs taken by me at the 2017 Flower and Garden Festival. You can make friends with butterflies in the butterfly tent just outside of Future World! Be gentle and make sure not to touch their wings!
Not to mention that like the Food and Wine Festival, there are food booths found all around the World Showcase where can you can explore springtime flavors from all over the world (make sure you try the violet lemonade!!!)
Pictured above is the violet lemonade! Did you know violet’s are an edible flower and make a lovely addition to both beverages and salads?
Two other smaller holiday celebrations that take place are for Earth Day and Easter! On Earth Day, you can visit Jiminy Cricket at Rafiki’s Planet Watch which is a very cool opportunity since Jiminy is hard to find these days!! In the week approaching Easter you can visit Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny in Magic Kingdom, as well as some of their other bunny friends who sometimes come to join in the fun. There is also a gorgeous Easter Parade to watch come down Main Street!
I didn’t get the chance to meet Jiminy but I did get to have a mini photo shoot with Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny!! Pictured above.
And those are my favorite parts of each season of the College Program!! I hope you all enjoyed reading and come back for my next post on January 23rd! Until then, keep spreading pixie dust!! ✨✨
TTFN! Ta ta for now!
p.s. If you liked the photos above, feel free to follow me on Instagram! You can find my account link on our “Get to Know Us” page!