The Disney College Program is coming back this summer, restoring a program that has long provided cheap labor across Walt Disney World’s theme parks, shops and hotels.
The program has been on hold since March 2020, when the resort shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands of young workers saw their semester-long internships end abruptly and were given just days notice to vacate Disney-owned housing and make arrangements to return home. When Disney World began reopening hotels in late June 2020, it relied on its unionized workforce — and has kept the college program suspended throughout its pandemic-era operations.
In a blog post announcing the Disney College Program’s return, the company said previously accepted applicants were given the first notice of its return.
“Applying to the Disney College Program will be even easier with a simplified application process, a concierge team of recruiters you can engage with on social media, and year-long arrival dates,” the blog post said. “We have temporarily modified some of our eligibility requirements so that many of you can still apply, even if you’ve already graduated. We’re also developing new ways for participants to shape their future careers, exploring a variety of roles and connecting with Disney professionals as they make magic.”
Like so much else during the pandemic, the program won’t return in exactly the same form.
New college program residents will be housed at a 1,300-unit complex at Flamingo Crossings, located to the west of Disney World off State Road 429. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, face masks will be required in all common areas, and those who have been fully vaccinated will be given “the opportunity to live with other fully vaccinated participants,” according to Disney.
For now, the program’s restart affects only interested college students inside the U.S. who want to work at Disney World. Programs for international students or for those who want to work at the Disneyland Resort remain suspended.