Thursday, 1 December 2011

The beginning.

So I have officially began my Disney journey! I'll recap the process that I've been through so far...

Firstly, to those who don't know me, I am Ashleigh and a first year geography undergraduate at the University of Nottingham in the UK. I am a huuuuge Disney and generally Orlando fan - and a massive lover of all things theme parks (which you may recognise by reading my other blog 'MyOrlandoFix' ;)). I have read everything I can about the Disney theme parks and I'm an official Disney nerd. 

Initially I found out about the year long Cultural Representative Programme (CRP) when I was about 13/14 years old and even sent some e-mails to YummyJobs (the website looked a lot different back then!) asking about what I should do to make me a good candidate for when I applied. At this time I even joined the forums (by far the best source of information for the International College Programme (ICP) and CRP) which would explain why my name is MademoiselleMinnie - what was I thinking!! I knew about the ICP and for years just kept visiting the forum every now and then to read up about the current ICPers. 

Fast forward to August 30th when I returned from two weeks in Florida - major 'Florida blues' sunk in and I was missing Orlando like crazy! Whilst I was away, I knew that applications for the ICP would be opening as soon as I got back and I wasn't sure whether to apply or wait till my second year. Upon arrival back to the dreary, cold and non-magical UK, I knew immediately I had to get back - then on the 1st of September I sent in my application to YummyJobs. I eagerly awaited a response hoping that I had been invited to a phone interview and on the 28th of September it arrived!

My phone interview was some time in mid-October with Becky. The interview was pretty informal but I was so nervous! As I live in halls of residence with paper-thin walls, I was praying that people wouldn't suddenly start screaming or playing loud music, which oddly enough occurs at the most random times (7am dubstep - really!?). She asked why I wanted to do the programme, how I'd cope with the heat and long hours. Nothing too strenuous and the interview only lasted about 5-7 minutes. Though according to the forum, my interview was nothing unusual. She also said I sounded enthusiastic which made me a teeny bit hopeful.

Then on the 1st of November I received my invitation to a face to face interview in Hammersmith. I was happy - but this mood was slightly dampened by others that did not get a face to face interview who I think would've been brilliant! However, it seems from the forum that your chances are higher if you attend a pre-screening event at a University where you meet some of the YummyJobs team in person and the phone interviews 'make up the numbers'. So I was extremely lucky and fortunate to have been given an opportunity to try and persuade Disney that they wanted me...

On the 16th of November, I left my University to catch the train back home where I would be staying the night before my interview. As I left halls, I dropped - and broke - my phone. So a much stressed evening took place where I was having to use dreaded and EXPENSIVE pay phones to call back home and let family know I was safe and on my way home. After a dreadful 3 hour long journey of changing trains and getting my travel bag kicked off its wheels by literally every commuter in London, I arrived back home in beloved Essex. After an emotional and stressed out return, and a rubbish phone replacement later, I had to shop for a new pair of trousers and pair of black shoes... in just one hour. 

The next morning I woke up at 5.30am... yes 5.30am!! After getting ready, my Dad picked me up at just before 7 and we drove up to Hammersmith. I arrived at the building and was in awe. The building was amazing! As you walked in, there was Disney EVERYWHERE. A huge Mickey with silver glitter inside this big transparent box in the corner and a LOT of lion king posters. Our presentation took place at around 9.30am which was a video about the international programmes which I hadn't seen before (there was no Valerie!). Even the room itself was pretty amazing with little star type lights on the ceiling. The presentation made the programme seem AMAZING and I remember thinking that if I don't get the job, I'll be so disappointed.

So after the presentation and a little quiz type thing (I didn't get a chance to answer the questions :(), we went back out of the auditorium and the staff from YummyJobs read out the interview times. I think mine was at 3.30 so I had a lot of time to kill! I ended up going to a shopping centre and had a coffee and some lunch with a couple of girls I had met at the presentation. Before I knew it, it was 3pm and I was being taken upstairs to wait for my interview. There were lots of people waiting and it seemed like they were running behind schedule. 

Eventually my interview rolled around and Tammy, my interviewer called out my name and the other girl who was interviewed at the same time. I hated this aspect of paired interviews! I felt that I was being compared and worried if my answers didn't sound as good as the other person's. I really didn't think I came across very well at all! I was asked what I think I'd gain from the programme, my employment history and the roles I would like and why. I did say I wanted attractions but didn't talk about it for that long. Instead I went on for ages about merchandise saying about how I'd love it because of the guest interaction and helping the guests out with my knowledge of the parks etc. So I think I talked myself out of an attractions job right there and then! After the interview, I went home feeling very disappointed with my interview. But I needn't have worried...

They said we would find out at the end of November and even though it turned out to be just under a two week wait, I was SO anxious to hear back and checking the forum multiple times a day! Then on the 29th of November, at just before 5pm people were posting on the forum saying they'd been offered a position. My heart sank. I genuinely thought I had been rejected and kept refreshing my inbox hoping I was wrong. No e-mail. I took a shower to try and distract myself, and when I returned I saw that I had 1 new e-mail. I just knew it was Disney and when I saw the title 'Disney's Summer Work Experience' my heart began racing. As I opened the e-mail I saw:

I had been accepted!!! I let out a little scream and rang my mum and the rest of my family who were all so excited. Ever since then it has been very hard to think about anything but the ICP!

So that's the blog all up-to-date! Please also check-out my other blog at for updates about the parks themselves! Now I must really go and do some work!