Pre-College Program anxiety


Next month I am going to be starting the college program. I am so excited about this because working for Disney has been my dream since I was three years old. It still doesn’t feel real to me that this is about to happen.- I am starting to have to some major anxiety about it though and this is why. When I was typical college age (18-22) I was not ready or financially able to go to school then. I have been working and supporting myself since I was 20 years old. I had to grow up quickly and sometimes I feel a lot older than my 27 years. This year I went to back to school majoring in Hospitality and Tourism which is one of the best decisions I could have made for myself. I’m 27 now and I am worried about fitting in with all the younger students on the college program. I know I’ll only be a few years older than most of the people there, but I am no longer into partying etc. For me this opportunity is about establishing my career and being at Disney, and following my dreams. I want to have fun too!! I am just so nervous about fitting in with the other students, I want to make new friends, but I don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb.


I know exactly how you feel because those were the concerns I had when I started my degree at the ripe old age of 48, people assured me there would be lots of ‘mature’ students however this was not the case. I found the other students to be just as welcoming to me as they were to the younger students, I was always included in the ‘partying’ invites and no one ever minded when I politely declined-I also found that although the younger students appeared confident and assured they actually were just as nervous if not more nervous than I was- dont forget those of us who have worked have lots of experience and knowledge in other areas apart from education. I am convinced you will be absolutely fine and I think its terrific you are now ready to complete your education-Good luck and enjoy!!!


Hi Valerie,

My ds Stuart is there now and I hope you will look him up. He will be happy to talk whenever you want. He will be 20 on Oct.1 but he is much as you are. He loves Disney, has wanted a career there since he was 3 and is very focused on what he does at WDW. He is not a partier either, instead he loves to hang out in the parks and watch what’s going on. He is working at the Haunted Mansion and is living in Chatham. I will be happy to tell him to look for you when you arrive if you would like. At lease it can be one friendly face with a name you know.

He has made the transition very easily and is really loving everything he’s doing, even the really late hours!


Thankyou both for the nice words of encouragement. It is nice to hear about someone else on the program who is there to enjoy being at disney and to start a career. It gives me hope that not everyone is not just there to party.


I am sure that you will fit in just fine. Not everyone at the “college age” is about partying. You will find a group of great friends that are there to do the same thing as you are. I’m sure everything will be fine!!!:mickey:


Hi Valerie,

I had lots of pre-CP anxiety before my CP 6 years ago too. I have never been a real partier in any sense (even at 20 which is how old I was on my CP) and I was worried that I would not fit in at all. I had an absolutely amazing time on my CP and never really felt out of place. I don’t know if they still have this option or not, but I stayed in a “wellness” apartment which meant that there was no drinking or smoking in the apartment and all the roommates agreed upon it. My roommates were all great, really fun people but if we wanted to go to a party we just went to someone else’a apartment, that way there was never any craziness in our place. It worked out really well for me.

To be honest with you, there were folks of all ages on my CP and everyone seemed to get along really well. There is definitely a large party contigent with parties going on somewhere every night, but I made it through my CP with only one visit to Pleasure Island and just had a great time enjoying my Disney experience.

If you want to chat anymore about all this stuff, you can PM me, I’d be glad to answer any questions as a non-partier past CPer!



I have no personal experience for you, but my close friend did the CP, and she was not a crazy partier. You will find your niche, and fit in just fine!
I believe Tessa just said that they were welcoming a 39 year old CPer!


Hey one of my exroomates friends was a CP and she was 32,she made friends with all her roomates and was like the den mother there because all the other kids were a lot younger than her but she still had a blast.
She whent to parties when she felt like it and she whent out with the other roomates all the time and she never felt out of place. She had the same anxiety you have and after the first couple days they were gone,she even moved to FL and stayed with WDW and still works there.
Good luck and invite me one day to a party in Vista Way. :laugh:


Thank you everyone for helping to ease my concerns. I am starting to feel better about it, and now the excitement just keeps building.
Karen I would love to meet you if you are coming to Disney while I’m there. You sound so nice!! Thankyou!!


Valerie you will have a great time! I considered doing the college program at one point, but bowed out because I never considered myself a partier. At the time, I don’t think I had enough self-confidence or motivation to live in that kind of environment. I was just terrrrribly afraid of the peer pressure. I wanted to concentrate on working for Disney, and I was afraid I just wouldn’t be able to do that in that kind of environment. That’s why I took my chances out in Anaheim and hired on directly with Disneyland.

I’m still a normal “college age” now, but what I’ve learned in Life 101 has taught me a lot more than I’m sure some of those CP students have learned in school. So I feel like if I did the CP now, I would be able to concentrate on starting a career. I’m sure that you have the same kind of focus, motivation and maturity. I know you’ll be able to enjoy yourself and make a lot of friends. You’re a friendly person, and the fact that you CARE about this so much is a big deal! I betcha you’ll find some kindred spirits in the program too. :tongue:

In conclusion, if I dare say so, I imagine that some of those CPers will end up looking up to you. Because they may not have as much to show for their time as you do when the CP is over! :happy:


I’m glad you’re feeling better about it, Valerie! I am sure you will have a great time. I still look back on my CP as one of the best times of my life - it was amazing to have Disney World just outside your apartment door for months not days! And I am still using what I learned in my training there in my “real life.” I just started a job as the visitor services manager at a museum and am incorporating some Disney style training into the training I am designing for my new employees. So even though I didn’t start a career at Disney with my CP, it still affected my career!

I am sure you already posted it somewhere else but do you know what you will be doing on your CP yet (operations, merchandise, food and beverage, etc)?

I will be in WDW in August. You will have to let me know where you are working so I can stop by to say hi!



Thankyou so much! I hadn’t thought of it that way. Having to work, learning to live on my own, and developing a strong work ethic has really helped me to take college so much more seriously now than when I was 19. I really feel like I am up to this. I am at a point in my life where I am I really ready to go after what I want. I have also learned to be more assertive as I get older. A few years ago it was a lot more difficult for me to stand up for myself, I’m getting better at that. Thank you for your encouraging words. I feel like I have met some nice people here at Mouse Buzz.


I’m doing Merchandise. I’m glad about that. I have several years of retail managment experience, so I feel like that was a good fit for me. I am also looking forward to getting Disney’s training, because everyone speaks so highly of it. I am really hoping to be place in Magic Kingdom, but really any of the parks would make happy. My major is Hopitality and Tourism, so working for Disney should really help my career. I am hoping this could lead to a career with Disney.
I check into the program Aug. 21st. I’ll PM when I get down there so maybe we could meet when you are there!!!



You are going to have the time of your life - I did! I categorize my life into two sections: Before the College Program and after.

Though it was a blast, at times, being a CP was no walk in the park. You will work long hours (overtime even) and holidays. I worked Halloween, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Years Eve. CPer’s are the low man on the totem pole when it comes to working shifts and getting holidays off. We also do not qualify for holiday pay~

As far as training goes, many people expect the CP exerience to be more like an internship. It is not. You will go through housing Orientation, Traditions, and then Orientation and training at your work location. My training was all hands on. Most of the training prepares you for your job - not to work for Disney in the future. However, if you continue with the Disney experience and move into the Advanced Intership - then you will recieve more indepth Disney training.

One thing I suggest is to take the classes offered to CPer’s at Disney. I took HR Management and Communications at Vista Way. These classes are where you can get some valuable knowledge for the future.

CP Fall Advantage 2003


Well I am moving to the Disney area in September and I am very far from a “partier”. Got that out of my system quite some time ago. We’ll have to keep in touch, I would love to meet as many MBer’s since I know no one in Orlando!


You will love merchandise. I worked merchandise on my CP at Disney MGM Studios and had a great time!


I think I will love it too. When I’m there I spend a lot of my times at the stores & carts. I love to shop disney. I am really into disney pins and charms. I hope to be a pin trading cast member. Karen what do you think my chances or getting to work at MK or MGM are?


Hmm, most of the merchandise CMs I knew on my CP were from the Studios or MK or Dtd. (One of my roommates worked MGM merchandise like me and one worked MK) I think it really depends on the timing of your arrival - it all seems to move in waves. So that when I arrived, most of the need for CMs seemed to be in MGM.

Working at the Studios was great because even during the busy times of the year, we generally closed at 10:00 pm so I was never really home too late. Some of the people I knew from MK would work until all hours of the night. Of course during the Xmas holidays, I’m sure even the Studios will be open later than 10.

I worked at Keystone Clothiers on Hollywood Blvd - we worked in the shop or out on one of the carts. And we did often wear those pin trading lanyards. I am sure you will have no trouble getting to pin trade - the managers were always looking for people willing to wear the lanyard.


Becoming a CP was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I know it’s a new start, but it’s a great one if you make it one. Good luck.


Valerie, sorry it has taken me so long to respond! First of all, do not worry about the age thing! My sister-in-law is 28 years old and having the time of her life. She has a roommate the same age as her. Keep in touch and I will make sure to introduce you! My brother (same age) arrives in August. I have met 18 year old and 30 year old CPs. Age really doesn’t matter, you will find the people that fit with your personality. You really will have the time of your life. The parks don’t get old for me. It’s like an addiction now, I go through withdrawl when I can’t go for about a week (pathetic, I know).

Everyone I know in merchandise LOVES it! I hope you get the Studios, one of my roommates also is in “merchantainment” on Sunset and is having the best time of any of us. She works all over and just got trained at Sweet Spells Candy Shop! I also know a lot of CPs who work at Downtown Disney. You could also be in a Resort Gift Shop too!

It is going to be hard work and sometimes you are going to get upset and frustrated, but trust me you are going to have such a great time! I hope that your anxiety is turning into excitement!! We can’t wait to have you here!