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Disney International Programs

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Disney International Programs
Disney International Programs logo.svg
Former names
  • World Showcase Fellowship Program
  • International Hospitality Program
  • Waterpark/Sports and Recreation Trainee Program
  • International Culinary Trainee Program
  • African Cultural Representative Program
  • International Management Program
  • Walt Disney World International Program
TypeInternational internship
Established1982; 41 years ago (1982)
Parent institution
Disney Programs
AffiliationThe Walt Disney Company
Students500+ per semester
Location, ,
Monthly newsletterThe Communicator
US-basedDisney College Program

Disney International Programs (previously named the Walt Disney World International Program) is an international internship program operated by the Disney Programs division of The Walt Disney Company at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, in the United States. These programs recruit participants and college students (18 years and older) from outside the United States and its territories for year-long cultural exchanges with paid positions and summer-long paid internships, working at the Walt Disney World Resort. The programs are designed to attract international workers and students and share many similarities with the US-based Disney College Program and its philosophy of Living, Learning and Earning.

Previous programs

Originally, Disney International Programs operated several different types of programs. Program length, work locations, job responsibilities, living arrangements, pay and required qualifications varied depending on the program which was applied for. Once all the programs were merged, they became one Walt Disney World International Program, now the Disney International Programs. Previous programs included:

  • World Showcase Fellowship Program: similar to the Cultural Representative Program but with a structured educational program and community involvement.
  • International Hospitality Program: aimed to students fluent in Japanese, Portuguese, French or German, pursuing a career in hospitality. Participants were able to experience different work roles all over the resort.
  • Waterpark/Sports and Recreation Trainee Program: training and development opportunities in Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach water parks as well as recreation locations for students interested in the recreation/leisure industry.
  • International Culinary Trainee Program: for participants with 2-3 years of experience in the kitchen area of the food service industry, aiming to develop skills in Disney's food-service locations.
  • African Cultural Representative Program: for African participants working at Disney's Animal Kingdom and/or Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, similar to the Cultural Representative Program.
  • International Management Program: primarily for students who had completed one of the above programs, considering experience in management at Walt Disney World Resort.

Application process

Eligibility is open to applicants who reside outside the United States or their territories and are not American citizens. Applicants contact one of the contracted in-country agencies that assist with international applications or the International Casting office with a résumé and cover letter. Some countries hold a preliminary phone interview before issuing an invitation to a scheduled Disney International Programs presentation and interview. Qualified candidates receive an invitation approximately four weeks prior to the presentation and interview and in some cases, an invitation is issued at the end of the phone interview. Presentations outline key components of the program and provide further information on the program's offerings. In some cases, applicants may have to travel abroad to meet with a recruiter from Disney Worldwide Services.

Current programs

Over the years, several International Programs were operated and subsequently suspended, a new one was created for Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park and ultimately in 2004, all the Walt Disney World International Programs were combined into two new all-encompassing programs, namely the Walt Disney World Cultural Representative Program and the Walt Disney World International College Program. A new seasonal worker program has also been launched which initially required applicants to have previously completed an International Program in order to be eligible, but this requirement was soon waived due to insufficient applications.[1] The locations and positions available to participants on International Programs vary according to program and preference in that order.

Cultural Representative Program

The Cultural Representative Program (CRP) showcases participants' culture and customs with guests visiting the Walt Disney World Resort, over the course of approximately a year. To qualify for this program, applicants must "authentically represent" one of the countries or regions recreated at a Walt Disney World theme park or resort. During their interview, applicants fill out their role preferences from most interested to least.[2] The applicant's employer may not be Disney once a position has been offered, but an "operating participant" instead, trading within Walt Disney World, in which the participant would not be eligible for the same benefits as regular Disney Cast Members.

Participants in the Cultural Representative Program perform their roles at Epcot's World Showcase, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, or a combination of them, while for guest relations positions, participants are assigned to one of the four theme parks or Disney Springs. The Cultural Representative Program has different options open to applicants during their application process, depending on the pavilion's offerings.[a] The exact location for positions varies according to the country the participant represents.

International College Program

The International College Program (ICP) is a program similarly based on the Disney College Program, designed for international students who are currently enrolled in an accredited semester-program college or university, pursuing a 3-to-4 year degree. Applicants must be between academic years and as such, the program will run during their summer vacation, varying in length.

  • Summer International College Program: students participate in a program similar to the Disney College Program's summer program, which coincides with their summer vacation/holiday from their college or university. This program, with a duration of two to three months, is reserved for students currently enrolled in an accredited semester-program college or university and are pursuing a 3-to-4-year degree.[3]
  • Academic Exchange International College Program: students participate in a program which also mirrors the Disney College Program but may spend up to a full year working at the resort while taking coursework through the DCP and distance-learning at their U.S. sponsoring university. Alternatively, students may spend five months studying at their U.S. sponsoring university and seven months working and taking classes at the Walt Disney World Resort. This program is available to current students and recent university graduates.

During their interview, applicants fill out their role preferences, from most interested to least, for their International College Program, often assigned to roles based on seasonal need and may be rotated based on peak time operational needs. Participants in the International College Program may work in any of Walt Disney World's four theme parks, two water parks or on-site resort hotels and are often rotated based on peak-time operational need and may be cross-trained as such from position to position and park to park.

H-2B Alumni Program

The H-2B Alumni Program allows participants to work at the resort on an H-2B seasonal work visa as a seasonal employee while in the United States. Candidates must complete their current program successfully with a confirmed rehire status and return to school for one semester in their home country before returning on an H-2B visa. The available options for H-2B participants, in regards to available roles, are similar to those for the International College Program.


Entrance to Chatham Square
Entrance to Chatham Square

From the beginning of the program until 1988, almost all international program participants resided along Disney College Program participants in Snow White Village Campground, an off-property mobile home park and the remainder of Lake Vista Village apartments in Kissimmee. In 1987, a new apartment complex, Vista Way, was opened for both international and college program participants nearby Lake Buena Vista, located much closer to the Disney property. By 1988, all participants were fully relocated out of Snow White Village Campground, which was later converted into a vacationing site.

Three additional company-sponsored gated-community apartment complexes, The Commons, Chatham Square and Patterson Court, opened as the Disney College Program expanded to accommodate more participants, all adjacently-located in Little Lake Bryan, less than three miles away from Vista Way. International Program participants were housed along Disney College Program participants, until the four housing complexes were closed in March 2020 due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.[4] Initially, The Commons was the only complex where all international participants were housed in after it opened. Though the Disney College Program allowed participants to reside off-site, international participants were not allowed the same due to conditions in their visas.

In June 2021, Flamingo Crossings Village, a new and more modern apartment complex located in Winter Garden, about four miles from Disney's Animal Kingdom, became the new home of all Orlando Disney College Program participants.[5] Though its original opening was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, it opened in June 2021 along with the return of the Disney College Program to Orlando.[6][7][8] The relocation of all Disney College Program and Disney International Programs participants to Flamingo Crossings Village was originally planned to take place mid-2020, when the four existing housing complexes were scheduled to close.

Coronavirus impact

On March 14, 2020, the Disney International Programs were suspended due to the ongoing worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and its spread to Florida.[9][10][11] International participants actively enrolled during this time in company-sponsored housing were asked to vacate in a short period of time, as well as Disney College Program and culinary students, providing full credit and completion of the program in return. Shortly after, the Walt Disney World Resort closed operations, initially until April 19, 2020. On April 6, 2020, the suspension of the program was extended to those applicants with May 2020 arrival dates,[12] after The Walt Disney Company extended the closure of its resorts until early June 2020.

On July 2, 2020, the Disney International Programs and the Disney College Program were suspended for the rest of 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic further impacted operations of both the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort.[13][14] On July 14, 2020, less than a week after the Walt Disney World Resort reopened during the coronavirus pandemic, the Cultural Representative Program was suspended indefinitely, impacting those who were actively participating at the time and future participants who were accepted for the Fall 2020 semester.[15]

On March 9, 2021, at the Walt Disney Company's shareholder's meeting, CEO Bob Chapek expressed interest in resuming operations of the Disney College Program by the end of 2021. He also expressed interest in inviting back those participants who were impacted by the closure of the program in 2020, so they can properly experience and fulfil their programs.[16] On May 3, 2021, Disney Programs announced a June 2021 return of the Disney College Program in Orlando,[6][7] though no announcement was immediately made for the International Programs.[8]

On March 25, 2022, Disney Programs announced the Disney International Programs would return to Orlando with the Cultural Representative Program for August 2022.[17][18]

On April 11, 2022, Disney Programs announced the return of the Cultural Exchange Program for June 2022 for select countries.[3]


  1. ^ For example, Norwegian applicants may apply for attractions operator on Frozen Ever After at the Norway Pavilion at Epcot. However, this would not be the same case for British applicants, since the United Kingdom pavilion does not have an attraction.

See also


  1. ^ "Disney International Programs overview". Disney. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  2. ^ "Job Roles for Disney's Cultural Representative Program". Mouse Unleashed. January 3, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Dan@Disney". Retrieved January 23, 2012.
  4. ^ Barton, Rebekah (October 20, 2020). "Furnishings Removed From Disney College Program Housing". Inside The Magic. Retrieved December 24, 2020.
  5. ^ Storey, Ken (March 27, 2018). "Disney is building 2,600 new apartments for its College Program and that could mean bad things for Vista Way". Orlando Weekly. Retrieved June 25, 2020.
  6. ^ a b "The Disney College Program is coming back!". May 3, 2021. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  7. ^ a b @DisneyInterns (May 3, 2021). "The #DisneyCollegeProgram is returning, and our 2020 participants will be the first to be invited to reapply. We also have a brand-new look!" (Tweet). Retrieved May 3, 2021 – via Twitter.
  8. ^ a b Tuttle, Brittani (May 3, 2021). "Disney College Program returning to Walt Disney World this June". Attractions Magazine. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  9. ^ Carter, Ashley (March 14, 2020). "Disney College Program to be Suspended, Participants Sent Home". News 13. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  10. ^ Russon, Gabrielle (March 14, 2020). "Disney suspends college program, tells students to go home by next week amid coronavirus closures". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  11. ^ Brieskorn, Katlyn (March 14, 2020). "Thousands affected after Disney temporarily suspends college program". KIRO-TV. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  12. ^ Carter, Ashley (April 6, 2020). "Disney to Suspend Remaining Disney Internships and Programs This Month". News 13. Retrieved April 9, 2020.
  13. ^ Coffey, Kelly (July 2, 2020). "Fall 2020 Disney College Program Officially Cancelled". Inside the Magic. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  14. ^ Tuttle, Brittani (July 2, 2020). "Disney College Program suspended until further notice at Disneyland, Walt Disney World". Attractions Magazine. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  15. ^ Sheetz, Janelle (July 14, 2020). "News: Disney World's Cultural Representative Programs Have Been Canceled Indefinitely". Disney Food Blog. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
  16. ^ Coffey, Kelly (March 9, 2021). "CEO Bob Chapek Shares Hope For Disney College Program". Inside the Magic. Retrieved March 9, 2021.
  17. ^ "The Disney Cultural Representative Program Returns this August". Disney Programs. March 25, 2022. Retrieved March 25, 2022.
  18. ^ duBois, Megan (March 25, 2022). "Disney's Cultural Representative Program Will Return This August At Walt Disney World". Forbes. Retrieved March 25, 2022.

External links

This page was last edited on 20 May 2022, at 12:12
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