Going the distance: How to start your Disney Program on the right foot

Starting your journey with The Walt Disney Company is extremely exciting, but can be a bit nerve wracking. As you unpack your bags and begin your role, you might find yourself overwhelmed with your new environment and with the idea of working at the most magical place on Earth. Whether you miss home or you’re already thinking about how you can continue with the company once your program ends, there’s lots of resources that can help you go the distance!  

Whether it’s your first program or your fifth, beginning your Disney journey can be a bit stressful. Between getting settled, getting to know your roommates, attending Disney Traditions and learning the ins and outs of your new role – there’s a lot to handle. Luckily, you’re not alone! If you’re feeling homesick or unsure about your new home, make sure to spend some quality time with your roommates and the friends you make during your program. They will become your extended family and the shoulder you lean on during those less-than-magical days. Another way to not feel overwhelmed is to set time for certain activities. Head over to the Disney Learning Center at Vista Way for a quiet and spacious space to read or complete homework, have a self-care day and spend time lounging in your apartment, or take a trip to the parks – no matter what you do, taking time to do what’s best for you will help ease your stress. 

If you’re just starting your Disney journey, but your heart and soul are set on continuing the magic once your program ends, there are plenty of ways you can make your dreams come true! Whether you’ve been onsite for two days or 30, now is the time to start networking. Networking may sound intimidating at first, but you’ll become comfortable meeting fellow Cast Members in no time! One of the best places to start networking is at a Disneysponsored event. It can be an event hosted by Disney Programs or something you sign up for on the HUB! Networking may not be your first thought when heading to a fun event, but building relationships can help you feel more welcomed in your new home, assist you in learning more about new roles and locations, and cultivate friendships. If crowds aren’t your forte, you can start in a more familiar place with someone you know – like a leader in your work location! Since you work with your leaders on a variety of tasks, you’ve already established a relationship. They’re able to provide you with advice on how to continue moving forward in your career, as well as suggest who else you should network with.  

Another great place for networking and to learn more about other areas within Walt Disney World is the resource fair hosted by Disney Programs. The resource fair allows you to speak with representatives and partners from a variety of roles and you’ll be able to learn about the many resources available to help you during and after your program! Keep in mind, when you network with others or request a meet-and-greet, make sure to be the best version of yourself. You want to present yourself in a manner that not only showcases your professionalism but gives whomever you’re meeting with the opportunity to see why you were hired and who they should help you meet with next.  

As you network and find resources to continue propelling your career, there’s still one thing you need to help make you shine and stand out – your résumé. But don’t worry – there’s nothing to fear when résuméwriting classes are here! Courses are offered frequently throughout your program at no cost; all that’s required is registration. These courses can be beneficial in helping you improve your résumé and your role as a professional.  

Whether you’re networking, brushing up your résumé or spending time with your friends – remember to take advantage of every opportunity you have. Stay up-to-date with the various communication channels offered through Disney Programs such as our social media channels, weekly email, monthly newsletter – The Communicator and the HUB, to see what events could help you reach out and expand your horizons. Stay in touch with those you’ve networked with and ask questions whenever possible. Remember, you’re on the journey of a lifetime and there are plenty of people who want to help you reach your goals. After all, this is where you’re meant to be! 

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