The Suspension of the Disney College Program – Spring 2020
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The Suspension of the Disney College Program – Spring 2020


March 14th of 2020 all Disney College Program participants received an email announcing the suspension of the Disney College Program The announcement was sent out via email first to all the Walt Disney World participants and then a couple hours later we here in Disneyland received the same email the email starts with a passage about the closure of the Disney parks in response to the Pandemic with COVID-19 about protecting the safety and well-being of our cast members and guests and follows up with this statement based on these Factors, we will be suspending the Disney College Program We were requiring all college program resident participants to collect their personal belongings in depart by March 18th at 11 a.m All participants will continue to be paid through the end of the month and weekly housing deductions will be waived immediately Each of you will be given a successful program completion Certificate to ensure the opportunity to pursue future roles with the company. What does this mean? First, What is the Disney College Program? In short, The Disney College Program is an internship where you get to go work at a Disney park You can be a part of various roles I was a PhotoPass photographer at Epcot at my first program last fall and in this program I was a parking attendant at the parking lot here at Disneyland You can be an attractions operator, a travel agent, park greeter, pretty much anything you can do during the Disney College Program. Your program has a set start to date and a set end date, you are working for that period of time. At the end of your program if you choose to do no action, you are no longer an employee of the company. However at both locations you have an opportunity to either apply to be a part-time or full-time cast member or to extend your program and to an extend it for another few months of temporary employment. Along with being a part of the Disney College Program and working at a Disney park you also have the opportunity to live within “sponsored housing”. Disney refers to this as sponsored housing however I would like to say organized housing because Disney does not pay for any of the housing, any of it costs, anything like that it. It is organized in the sense that we do not have to go find our apartments. There is one apartment building or in Florida multiple apartment complexes that they organize who is going to live with who they accept payment all that fun stuff. And the last thing to add about the Disney College Program is if you are a part of it, you have full availability with the company So you’re not a full-time cast member, However, you are expected to have full time availability unless of you are currently in a class at your university. You have to be either a current college student or a recent college graduate in order to be eligible to be a part of the Disney College Program. And that’s all you need to know to give you context for this story. The suspension of the Disney College Program. What does this mean? Every Disney College Program participant on both coasts is now not only without a job, but a majority of them are also without homes. It is not a requirement to live on Disney property. However, a majority of people take that option We have been given four days notice to vacate the premises. On March 14th in the afternoon is when we were informed that by March 18th at 11 a.m We would have to vacate the premises with all of our belongings Here are some things that we know, and that I am personally grateful for. We will be paid till the end of March. All of our currently scheduled shifts, we will be paid for. When Disney announced that they were closing all the Disney parks They also announced that cast members would be paid during this closure This is something that Disney is still holding up to with all of the cps that have now been let go Secondly housing payments have been stopped effective immediately. This is important to note because if we had ended our program ourselves we would rent till the end of our program For instance; My program started in January ended on August 1st If a month ago, I would have quit and ended my program myself, I would owe weekly rent until August 1st This is also important to note because this is only effective in California Florida does not have this continued paying your rent until the end of your program Even if you leave policy. It acts like a lease but it is not a lease. And thirdly, like I mentioned, we are being given a program completion. This is important because if anybody ever wants to go back to the company again We are not marked with a “no rehire” status. Essentially, this is a positive mark on our record. Not a negative. I’ve been updating social media either post on my Instagram stories or posts on my twitter and my facebook as I learn things as well as I get new thoughts about this whole situation. There are a couple of reasons as to why I think it is so important to share this story. Not only just to update my friends and family on what is happening in my life during this very dramatic and life-changing situation, but along with that this is an event, a major event, that is happening with one of the largest companies in the world that I feel like nobody probably knows about. Although Disney is a huge company something that I feel like flies under the radar the Disney College Program most people do not know about the Disney College Program and I guarantee you if you’ve ever been to a Disney park you have interacted with somebody who is a part of or has been a part of the Disney College Program. The three ways that you know about the DCP is if you are, in it if you were in it Or if you know somebody who has been a part of it. Disney does not advertise the Disney College Program It’s all by word of mouth the other thing that I feel like people really don’t know is that the Disney parks are run by CP’s. Here at the Disneyland Resort, the program is much smaller with maxing out at around 350 people. However in Florida the numbers are in the thousands CP’s run the festivals in Florida. CP’s are everywhere. Along with the college program there is the International College Program, where college students from other countries outside of America can come and work for either six months to a year, depending on the extension of their program, and work in the Disney parks just like the standard Disney College Program participants. The reason why I’m mentioning this is not only are there hundreds and thousands of people who have just lost their jobs, as well as their homes, there are also dozens. If not, hundreds of ICPs (International College Program participants), who have now lost all of those things and are left stranded in a country where they have very little connections, probably very little money, because Disney world pays substantially less than Disneyland, and they are not allowed back in their home country. Countries that ICP’s come from are places like China, Japan, Morocco, Germany, and the place that I cannot stop thinking about is Italy. Italian ICP’s are stranded in this country while their country is on lockdown and they’re not allowed to be here legally So what are they to do. Disney has stranded hundreds of people and they knew exactly what they were doing. People are literally stranded, they are not allowed to stay here. They can’t go home. They have very little to no connection to America What are they supposed to do? This is the reality that hundreds of people are now living with due to the actions of Disney and the Disney College Program. During the announcement of the closure of the Disney parks that Disney made, mind you they made a public announcement first. There was no word for at least 24 hours on the Disney internal company website, When they announced this, they announced that all the cast members would be paid during this closure. Which I think gave them a huge pat on the back from the public, which I think was rightly deserved. However, I think something that is sliding under the rug is the fact that yes, they are supporting thousands of cast members by keeping them with their jobs and paying them during this time of closure. However, they are also firing thousands of people. And yes, they’re paying them for the next two weeks But after two weeks is over, when the heat and the momentum of this pandemic has reached potentially it’s peak, or is going on its way to its peak. People are without jobs and without homes. So, yes, they did a great thing for a lot of people but they also royally screwed over a lot of people and people aren’t talking about that. Not only did they leave us CP’s jobless, but they left us homeless and that is the thing I want to emphasize. Of course losing your job is devastating. But losing your home is even worse There are people who do not have a home to go to or their home is on lockdown and not letting them back in. It has always been very clear to me that ever since I started the college program and even before I was a CP that Disney did not value their CP’s as much as they made it seem and this whole situation solidifies that. I’m not telling this story for sympathy. I just do not and cannot let it fall by the wayside People need to know. Prospective CP’s need to know that this could happen to them. Disney does an EXCELLENT job and making CP’s believe that they care about them so deeply, about their development about their well-being About how much they value them as just a standard cast member, and they want them to stay on with the company. But at the snap of a finger and at the sending of an email that has all changed. All the people who are giving Disney praise for their actions during this pandemic also need to be criticizing what they have done to so many people. How they acted in regards to the Disney College Program and how they treated vulnerable employees who depended so deeply on Disney and Disney very well knew that. I understand that Disney is a business at the end of the day, and they need to do what they need to do to support their business. However, that does not excuse their actions and how they affect the lives of human beings I understand that there are people who are in a way worse situation than I am, and some of those are my fellow CP’s. We are all hurting. We are all struggling. CP’s are not the only ones who have lost their job during this and they will not be the last. We are all dying here. Regardless for how bad somebody’s situation is, that does not diminish the hardships that somebody else is experiencing, and we need to remember that. We need to support one another instead of tearing each other apart in this time of need. I want to end this video with three things. Firstly, Don’t forget about this or the Disney College Program class of spring of 2020 and how we were wronged. Share this story. Let people know. I’m not saying to boycott Disney or cancel your Disney Plus subscription, or never be an annual pass holder again But don’t let Disney get away with this without at least letting people know what has happened. Secondly, Don’t let the loss of our jobs, and our homes, and this devastation be in vain. Please do not go to Downtown Disney. Do not go to Disney Springs If you don’t need to leave the house, don’t. Stop going to bars. Stop going to restaurants. We were just a matter of weeks away from the situation that Italy and many other countries like it are in. Without taking our personal steps of trying to stop the spread of this we will be there sooner than you think. And lastly please, Stay safe. I’ll continue to update my social media as I get updates or as things happen to me in my particular situation but I just want to say thank you so much to everybody who’s reached out to me for your support your well wishes and offering up your couches. Your kindness and generosity are something I value so much in this tough time. So, thank you. And most importantly, Thank you for your time and thank you for listening. This is how I always in my youtube videos , Stay Beautiful and Have a Marvelous Day And I’ll chat with you in the next one

4 Comments

  • L J

    Annelies, I know you have the gifts to stay and work in your chosen field or find work in your second favorite field. Find a quiet space, tune out the negatives and listen to your heart. You will be okay. You have got this and we have got you!!! We love you! ~Aunt Linda~

  • Mpiewizard

    I'm a DCP alum Fall 2019 FL and I've tried explaining to how horrible this situation is to friends and family but the sad fact is that because so many people don't know about the program or haven't done it, they don't understand it. I think all CP's throughout their program slowly realize that Disney doesn't treat them very kindly from being paid less to having little to no say in their hours…etc. Not to say that it isn't an amazing experience overall but I'd like to see Disney treat them with a bit more respect because as you said, CP's absolutely run those parks. Especially in Florida.

  • Letia Carlson

    I agree with everything you said and more I wish people could understand how the thousands have been stranded especially during the lockdown and Italy I can't imagine not being able to be legal in Florida and they can't go back to their home country and Disney doesn't want to help them I know how it feels to be termed and have less than 24 hours to leave the premises as I was asleep e in 2004 For All Star Resort I have felt so much pain this week because I feel like all my feelings are judged back up again because I feel resentful angry hurt betrayed by the company and what's more Joshua Morrow showed up at the closing at Magic Kingdom last night when he's the one that fired all those kids he had no business showing his face there that was not a time for him to show himself he may say a while I had a heart they don't have a heart all they care about is the dollar green I'm at the point where I no longer support Disney and I'm tired of it I'm tired of the lies manipulation brainwashing I'm tired of Disney covering up everything everything is one big secret I wish all the CPS would boycott I wish all the universities would stop letting Disney recruit in their schools that way more kids wouldn't have to go through this and end up hurt stranded jobless and broke please do not do the college program I beg of you people this is not a good program for college kids to have a good experience to look back on I'm sorry to say it but Disney needs to fall and fall hard and file bankruptcy and lose everything for them to realize you can't treat people like that

  • My Opinion Matters

    They should check with local laws. Most states require 30 day eviction notice regardless of how it’s done. No one can make you leave where you live before 30 days. Those people should contact local housing authority

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