An age-old question that is asked time and time again by Disney-enthusiast college students everywhere: Would Spring or Fall be a better time to do my CP? Both the Spring and Fall College Programs have their advantages, but everyone who has the chance to experience both times of the year will say they preferred one over the other.
I was one of those lucky ones who got to try both program semesters, so I have compiled some pros and cons about each season to hopefully make your decision a little easier. All in all, both programs offer a lot of shared experiences, like housing events and classes, and it may come down to what works better with your school schedule and the things going on in your life, but here are my thoughts on the Fall season. (Check back later for a rundown of the Spring season!)
One of the biggest benefits of doing the Fall or Fall Advantage Program (in my opinion) are the holidays at Disney and all of the perks that come with them. You get to experience both Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party with a discounted ticket rate for Cast Members. You also have the opportunity to pick up Treat Shifts if you find yourself looking for extra hours. These nice little, short shifts give you the chance to put on one of the holiday’s signature costumes and hand out snacks or candy to Guests, which is a lot of fun and can be a nice change of pace from your usual role.
Even if you’re not able to attend one of the parties, you can still enjoy the decorations and a lot of the merchandise sold during the holidays.
Speaking of merchandise, Cast Members get their discounts bumped up during this time of year, too. From roughly the end of October through the beginning of February, CM’s can enjoy higher discounts on merchandise and food, as well as a coupon book only offered at the beginning of the discount period. If you do the Spring Program, you can still enjoy the discount period as it’s wrapping up, but you can only receive the additional coupons if you’re a Fall CP.
There is another really neat way you can participate in the holidays at Disney. If you’re on the Fall Advantage Program specifically and you enjoy singing, you can audition for the Candlelight Processional Cast Choir. Candlelight is an event held at EPCOT that involves choirs, a celebrity narrator, and a 50-piece orchestra. If you’ve ever dreamed of performing at Walt Disney World, this is an easy way to do it. While you don’t get paid to perform, you do earn a comp ticket for each performance you do. It’s a great way to get involved with the holidays if your schedule allows.
In addition to the holidays being one of the most magical times of the year in the parks, they can also be a drawback for some roles. The parks become absurdly busy toward the end of the Fall Program, and CPs are often given long shifts and 6-day weeks, sometimes up to or even over 60 hours. If you can handle the parks being packed and the long days, this may not be a cause for concern. If you’re more like me and you don’t handle being stressed or overworked well, however, this may be a deciding factor for you. Also keep in mind that not all roles will have to deal with the craziness as much as some. When I worked in Recreation we actually had less people than usual since it was wintertime and chilly outside. It will vary role by role.
There are a few other benefits to working your CP in the fall months. Food and Wine is a festival that takes place in EPCOT throughout September-November. If you’re a foodie and/or of legal drinking age, it’s a fun way to taste lots of different cuisines and drinks from around the world. There are also concerts that take place periodically that feature a variety of bands. In terms of housing events, the capstone party is different depending on which semester you participate as well. In the fall, a winter formal is held, where CPs can dress to impress, meet characters, enjoy a buffet, and dance the night away. It’s a blast!
Enjoyed hearing all about the Fall and Fall Advantage season? Stay tuned for the pros and cons of the Spring College Program semester in a future post!