Disney University 101 – What It Is and Why You’ll Love It
When you go on vacation to the most magical place on earth, you probably wonder how all of the cast members you interact with got so good at their roles. Just like any other job, cast members do go through extensive training before appearing ‘onstage’ to help make your vacation as magical as possible, but it’s very different from any other job training because employees of The Walt Disney Company attend something called Disney University.
You may be wondering what exactly Disney University is and why it is significant. Luckily, we have some answers for you:
7. Disney University is an actual university – Disney University is located on Disney property, behind Magic Kingdom, and is utilized for welcoming and training new cast members coming into the Disney Ohana. There are many classes that are taught for incoming cast members going into the variety of roles offered by Walt Disney World, including food and beverage, merchandise, attractions and entertainment.
6. Your facilitators are other cast members – One of the coolest things about taking classes at Disney University is that you are being taught by fellow cast members! Many of them work among the people they are teaching as they teach classes in addition to whatever role they play in the resort on a regular basis. This actually makes the experience more personal and special in my opinion. It just goes to show you that everybody starts somewhere and that someday, you could be teaching a class at Disney University, too!
Why will you love Disney University? There are many different reasons why you will love DU, but here are just a few:
5. This is the beginning of a magical journey – For starters; it’s where EVERY cast member’s journey begins. Your first day of work will be at Disney University when you partake in a class called Traditions. You may have heard of this before as it is something that every future cast member looks forward to attending. This is where you are welcomed into the family and taught about the legacy that you are now responsible for upholding. It’s a 5-6 hour class that will leave you, well, speechless! You will laugh, you will cry and you will feel the magic deep down inside of you—I promise. There are some surprises too, and a Disney surprise is always the best kind.
4. Company D – Another reason why you’ll love Disney University is because there is a Company D located inside the building. Company D is a cast member’s only store that has cute lanyards, t-shirts, cups, magnets and other little cast member goodies. As a cast member, you can also purchase discounted theme park and special event (Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Mickey Christmas Party) tickets there. Also, if you’re into pin trading/collecting like I am, there are cast member exclusive pins!
3. Hidden characters – If you are a fan of hidden mickeys, you will love looking for hidden characters throughout Disney University! Many of them will be popping out of the ceiling, waiting to greet and surprise you, including Goofy and Pluto. A few of them can be found on the ground floor of the building, so happy character hunting!
2. You take actual classes – Any classes that you need to take before starting your on-the-job training will take place at DU. One class that is mandatory is Welcome to Operations, which will be your second day of class following Traditions. Welcome to Operations introduces you to your respective line of business and gives you an overview of what operations cast members do to ensure guests have a safe and memorable trip to the Walt Disney World Resort. Then, based on which section of operations you are working in (attractions, entertainment, custodial, etc.), you may have to take another class or two before you begin training in your location.
1. It’s rich with history – One of the best things about Disney University, by far, is how rich in Disney history it is. From pictures to quotes and everything in between, DU is a haven for Disney lovers. Do not be surprised if you feel inspired while walking down those magical hallways—it’s a unique experience.
Disney University aids in shaping the future and present cast members that bring the magic to life everywhere at the Walt Disney World Resort. If you ever have the pleasure of becoming a part of the team, your first day as an official cast member will be nothing short of magical, and if working at Disney isn’t in the cards for you, you’ll always have DU to thank for the cast members making your stay comfortable and pleasant at the most magical place on earth!
Photo Credit: Disney.
BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best Walt Disney World deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!
Monet is a senior majoring in journalism at Florida Gulf Coast University. She is a Disney AP holder and a Disney College Program alum. You can find her covered in pixie dust singing along to the Festival of Fantasy parade soundtrack while dreaming about dole whips and blogging her life away.