Older is Better: Erica's DCP Experience

Where to even begin this article?! I’ve been wanting to share with you all my overall experience during the Disney College program for a while now. I can’t think of many other times in my life (so far) when I’ve enjoyed myself so thoroughly and so much!

I feel like I have to start from the beginning in order to really demonstrate how wonderful this opportunity was for me.

Growing up, my family has always been a Disney family. We hardly were TV watchers as kids, all we wanted were Disney movies over and over again! And it was always a big deal when mom and dad would announce that we were going to Disneyland! We’d go for one day, one park only. Though this made each trip quick, it made each one so special. Which, before my DCP, I’d only been to Disneyland 5 times. All those vacations are treasured memories for me. I believe it’s because of this that going to a Disney park, even now after having gone many times, continues to be incredibly sweet and magical to me.

These memories, along with many others, are the reasons why I knew I’d someday have to do the College Program. I knew I’d always regret it if I didn’t.

As I said in this article about my role, I was in one of my final semesters of college when I decided to apply for the Disney College Program. So I was older, and had more experience with work, traveling, living with roommates, finances, etc. This made the whole process for applying much easier, as I was very confident in my abilities, and in my likelihood of getting the role I wanted: PhotoPass Photographer.

A month or so after my very positive phone interview with an amazing and warm Disney Cast Member, I received my acceptance letter! I was thrilled and grateful, but not too surprised that I landed the role I hoped for! My mind was immediately made up that this was the right place for me to be after my last semester on campus (I had one semester left to complete online).

Once in Florida, I was beyond thrilled to be finally living out this dream of mine! Not only did I enjoy my role in making magic, but I was blessed with the best. Seriously, my roommates were the best part about my program… obviously, as here we are! At first, I was worried maybe I wouldn’t bond with them, as I’m quite a bit older than the rest of them #ApartmentMom. But that was quick to change as they made every day a delight! We got to know each other quickly, and bonded over such the incredibly unique experience we were having.

Without my roommates, my program would have been completely different. Yes, I would have still had the role that nearly brought me to tears everyday (yeah, I’m an emotional wreck when it comes to people hugging Mickey). And yes, I would’ve been a part of making magic for a job (what?!). But without my roommates as the people that I shared all these times with, my program wouldn’t have impacted me in the same way at all.

And man, I am so grateful it was what it was.

So do I really think that being older on the program was better? Yes. At least it was for me.

I turned 25 on my DCP! Most doing the program generally range in ages from 18-23, like my roommates. But, because I was a little older than most when doing the DCP, I got more out of it. I didn't have to worry about what living with roommates would be like, what moving to another state would be like, how to shop for one, etc. because I'd already experienced those things several times. Instead, I simply enjoyed. 

For me, the Disney College Program was life-changing in a way I wasn’t expecting. It taught me to take new chances in life that maybe I wasn’t planning on. It reminded me that though I want to be responsible and successful in life, I need to allow myself time to play, to laugh, to just savor who I am in the world around me.