One of the great perks of being a Disney College Program participant is the events that are provided for you outside of going to the theme parks. As awesome as it is being able to go whenever you want for free, spending all of your non-work time hoofing it at the parks can be exhausting, and sometimes it’s nice to enjoy the other amenities offered to you as a CP. The Housing Events team puts on a wide variety of exciting programs and excursions throughout the year, and it can all seem a bit overwhelming when you’re trying to decide what might interest you. I have broken the seven main types of events down for you, in the hopes that it will aid you in finding some new, exhilarating adventures to partake in!
Welcome Events, as I’m sure you can guess from the title, are parties that are held a few times a year to celebrate all of the new CP arrivals. A lot of times, these are your first chance to spend some quality time getting to know your roommates and neighbors, and the rest of the people you will be spending the next five to eight months with! Welcome Events always have really great themes—for my most recent CP, it was jungle-themed and we had the opportunity to meet Jane and Terk from Tarzan—and there’s often a delicious spread of food. There is always a DJ playing pump-up music to get everyone out on the dance floor, and he or she will usually host trivia, games, and contests to keep everyone in high spirits. These parties are your first introduction to all of the fun your CP has to offer, so you should definitely attend if you’re able!
There’s no better way to enjoy the hot Florida sun than with a dip in the pool, and Housing makes sure CPs get plenty of opportunities to do just that, with pool parties! The housing complex hosting the pool party changes from month to month, but they all provide equal amounts of fun. A DJ is often present spinning tunes and keeping things going, and similarly to the Welcome Events, he or she will host activities throughout the party too. Each pool party is themed to a different movie, character, or even holiday, and food and drinks are usually provided as well.
If you’re hoping to explore more of Florida than just the theme park areas, the Florida excursions are just for you! There are a wide variety of day getaways throughout the year, everything from trips to Florida’s many beaches to catching a professional baseball game or Broadway tour. There are even some local trips to farmer’s markets and cute nearby towns like Winter Garden, which will give you a chance to escape the tourist trap for a little while. For these trips, a coach-style bus transports you to your destination, and snacks or a small meal are often included in the price as well. I had the opportunity during my most recent CP to go swimming with manatees in Crystal River, Florida and I will never regret it—it was an amazing experience!
Grocery Bingo is a classic that every CP should experience at least once during his or her program. It’s your classic game of Bingo, but with a twist—if you win, you get to take home food, toiletries, and other sundries courtesy of Housing. They don’t just call regular “five across/vertical/diagonal,” however. There are all different shapes you are required to make to win—X’s, T’s, blackouts, and even the infamous “Stinker Bingo” for those who have the unluckiest cards. They typically theme these games to Disney topics, and will sometimes throw in random trivia to make things a little more interesting. Large crowds come out for this one, so if you plan to attend, make sure you arrive early to snag a seat.
Mystery Character Meet and Greets
One plus to being a Cast Member is all of the special experiences you get to enjoy that regular Guests don’t. One such perk is the opportunity to meet rare, unique characters. At Mystery Character Meet and Greets, you will get the chance to see characters who rarely—if at all—make appearances in the parks. They may show the character’s movie prior to the meet and greet, and snacks are often provided. This is a great opportunity for those who enjoy character hunting, because it allows you to make some special memories and have interactions that few people get to enjoy. This is another event where the line gets long quickly, so get a spot early!
Fall End-of-Program Event
There are two major End-of-Semester events that have happened every year as far back as I can remember, and they have always been the same fun activities. If you’re in the Fall or Fall Advantage Program, your event is typically a Winter Formal. On my first CP, our formal was held at Coronado Springs in one of the conference ballrooms, and we were provided with fun music, lots of line dancing, and really great food (including a nacho bar!). As well, it was themed “Good Vs. Evil,” so there were both hero and villain character meet and greets. Perhaps the best part of that whole evening was Snow White waltzing throughout the ballroom to “Hip Hop Hooray” by Naughty by Nature. I had such a great time dancing and stuffing my face with my roommates, and it was certainly an event to remember.
Spring End-of-Program Event
If you happen to choose the Spring or Spring Advantage Program, your event is known as Starlit Splash, where the Internships and Programs team rents out Typhoon Lagoon for an evening and only CPs are invited. You have the opportunity to ride some of the waterpark’s attractions, splash around in the wave pool and lazy river, and enjoy some delicious food as well (who doesn’t love unlimited Mickey Premium Bars!?). As per usual, there is also a DJ there keeping things lively with entertainment. Although quite different from one another, both End-of-Program events are exciting in their own way, and if you’re like me and decide to extend your program, you’re one of the few lucky ones who have the chance to attend both in the same year!
Although Graduation can be a bittersweet time, it is a memorable time as well! During this event, you receive your coveted DCP diploma, along with a few other fun surprises as well! You also have the chance to take a picture with Mickey and Minnie in their graduation gear, usually along with a few other fun characters as well. It wouldn’t be a CP event if food wasn’t provided, so there’s usually a great spread to enjoy, plus pictures galore to be taken! This is one that a lot of people dress up for, so if you enjoy getting spiffed up, this is your chance to shine! It’s a great way to spend a last few precious moments with the friends you made during your program, and end your semester with a bang!