by Brittany DiCologero and Dustin Taylor Thomas
This Disney College Program role interview features Dustin Taylor Thomas, who worked on Magic Kingdom watercraft in the transportation role during his program.
Q: What made you want to do the Disney College Program?
A: I wanted to do the Disney College Program because I was ready to get out and see the world different than my home state. I thought the idea of working for Disney would be so magical. One of my best friends did the program and she talked me into it because she thought it would be a good experience for me.
Q: What was your role and location? Was it your first choice? If not, what was?
A: My role was Walt Disney World Watercraft Transportation. That includes all of the boats that have a connecting route to the Magic Kingdom. This role does not allow CPs to drive the boats, but lets them deckhand and gives them time with the guests. This was not my first pick. I wanted to work as a character attendant because I wanted to watch people get excited about meeting their favorite characters.
Q: What was your training like?
A: The training for this role was a long process. Because of the fact that it is transportation and in the water so I did not have to just train with Disney– the state has laws that I had to learn about when it came to laws in the water. I even had to get a Florida Boating License. I spent a week training and half a week learning about the laws in the state of Florida.
Q: What did you like most about your role?
A: What I liked about my role was that I was that I was never in the same spot all the time. In watercraft, you would get a 15 minute break every 2 hours. After a break, you would be sent to 1 of 10 different spots to go and break someone. It was always fun to move around and get to see different parts of Disney.
Q: What did you like least?
A: I had two things that I did not like about this role. I did not like the fact that I would only have a few minutes with the guest when on the boats, and I never got to see them inside of the park all happy. It was also always hot on the boats, especially in the control room!
Q: Would you recommend this role to a friend?
A: Even with what I did not like it was a lot of fun and was not a hard job and it has some really fun moments inside of it. Also, it was a good 40 hours a week all mornings, so I loved the hours.
Q: What advice would you have for new CPs in this role?
A: For new CPs that go into this role the best thing that I can tell you is to never get tired of getting on a boat that will go from the campground to the Magic Kingdom. When you walk to the front of the boat and a family of 4 that had never been to Disney comes around the island and gets to see the castle for the first time it’s amazing.
Q: What have you been up to since your program ended?
A: After the Disney College Program, I came back to North Carolina and started working for an IT company and also help manage an attractions company that has escape rooms, zip line, Haunted House, Escape Rooms and more. It helps me keep my memories for Disney and put them in place at home.