The Disney College Program: All You Need to Know About Dorms, Roommates, and Housing Costs

Disney Cast Members, Disney College Program recreation, Disney College Program dorms, So you think you might want to work for the Disney Company as part of their College Program? Great choice. Not only will you gain experience unlike any job you’ve had before, but you can play at the theme parks for free when you’re not at work, and the accommodations are pretty cool as well.

Disney College Program participants will live in housing complexes located near Disneyland or Disney World Resorts. Here’s a list of amentites:

  • Fully furnished apartment
  • Kitchen appliances, utensils, and dishes
  • All utilities, including water, electricity, and waste disposal
  • Maintenance of the apartments
  • Computer labs are offered at Walt Disney World
  • High-speed internet access, and cable ready set up in all apartments

Remember that each complex and apartment layout is unique, and your amenities may differ between apartments.

I found a lot of useful College Program information on the Disney College Program Guide, an unofficial College Program source but written by a former participant. There are three housing complexes for the College Program Participants, each with unique features. We’ll start with the newest accommodations.

Patterson Court dorms, Patterson Court photos, Patterson Court Disney College Program

Patterson Court photo from

Patterson Court

Completed in 2008, Patterson Court is the newest and most luxurious of Disney College Program housing. Located in Little Lake Bryan near the Chatham Square dorm, this is the only complex without a bus stop. So unless you bring your own car, you will need to walk the 15 minutes to the bus stop at Chatham Square.  Patterson Court is the most expensive of all the College Program facilities, so if you are looking for more upscale accommodations than a regular college dorm room, this maybe the place for you.

Chatham Square photos, Chatham Square College Program, Chatham Square College Program information, Chatham Square Disney

Chatham Square photo from

Chatham Square

Chatham Square is the mid-range of the College Program accommodations. If you do not have a car, this is apparently the best place to live, because the bus stops directly outside the security gates.

Don’t feel like going to the parks on your day off?  Chatham Square is right across the street from “Mickey’s Retreat,” a recreation complex used only by Disney Cast Members. On your day off, you can enjoy activities like tennis courts, tether ball, sand volleyball courts, soccer nets, pools, boat rentals, BBQ grills, hammocks, and table tennis.  Or you could just relax in a hammock or do some fishing.  All those activities vs. Space Mountain – it would be a toss-up as to which one to choose.

Vista Way, Vista Way College Program, Vista Way college Program photos, Vista Way College Program rules

Vista Way photo from

Vista Way

The Disney College Program Guide, points out that Vista Way housing was built during the early 80’s, about the same time as Epcot. So while it is the oldest of the housing, it is also the least expensive.

Internet rumor has it that some wild parties have taken place at this particular housing unit, but that probably varies with participants, and everything I read indicated that security is quick to break up loud parties and maintain order on all the properties.

Some housing complexes are close enough to Publix and the Premium Outlets to walk, but others were far enough away so that participants needed to take a bus. Participants without a car seem to have the most difficulties, but between the buses and bumming a ride with a friend, you can get to where you need to go. Offering gas money is a sure way keep your new roommates behind the wheel.

Let’s Get Down To Dollar$.

You are paid weekly with the College Program, and rent is taken out through payroll deduction. Your rent is based upon the number of bedrooms each apartment has. So the lower the bedroom count, the higher the price you will pay.

Your rent will range from $80-$105 depending on which complex you live in and how many roommates you have. So for $320-$420 each month, you’ll cover your rent, electricity, utilities like cable hookup and waste disposal, local phone service, bus service, and the resort-style ammenities featured at the housing complexes. The more roommates you have, the less you will pay for rent.

  • One bedroom = Two people
  • Two bedrooms = Four people
  • Three bedrooms = Six people
  • Four bedrooms = Eight people

Are there any additional fees?  Yes.

  1. A $300 Program Assessment Fee and Housing and Administration Fee will be due when a participant accepts their invitation to participate in the College Program. This fee must be paid by credit or debit card in one single payment.  There is a minimal processing fee that will be applied. No other forms of payment, including cash and personal checks, will be accepted. Once this payment is received and the online acceptance process is completed, the Disney Company will officially reserve the participants’ place in the program.
  2. A $100 Program Assessment fee helps support the events and activities scheduled in the housing complexes throughout the program. This is a one time fee and not refundable
  3. A $200 Housing and Administration fee will be applied to the participant’s housing costs during the first few weeks of the program. This is not refundable.

These costs are for Walt Disney World College Program in Orlando. You can click here for fees at Disneyland.

Can you get to know your roommate before you move in?

Yes, if you want, though you will generally not know all of your roommates until you check-in on your first day.  Upon accepting your invitation to join the program, you will sign up for the “roommate notification program.” This randomly matches you with a roommate, and this way you can communicate before your arrival.

You can also request to room with someone as long as they are of the same gender, but not if you are a married couple. You can also request to room with someone if you have the same arrival and departure dates, you agree to live in a Wellness ( no alcohol) apartment, and you agree to live in non-wellness apartment (which allows alcohol.) If you are under the age of 21 when you arrvice, you will automatically be placed in a Wellness apartment, which means no alcohol is permitted.

Price Management, the company that maintains the Disney Housing Security Team, is very strict in regards to rules and regulations. If you commit serious policy violations, you will be terminated from both housing and The Walt Disney Company. This certainly would not be good for a resume, but I believe parents out there will breathe a sigh of relief knowing their now-grown children are living and working in a safe environment. Partcipants should as well.

Disney College Program Perks, Cast Member benefits, Disney College Program Benefits, Disney College Program jobs,

Work or play…you can do it all with the Disney College Program

Some other details that you might need to know.

  • As I stated earlier, if you are under the age of 21 when you arrive, you will automatically be placed in a Wellness apartment,which means no alcohol is permitted.
  • All apartments, courtyards and hallways are designated non-smoking.
  • No one under the age of 18 is permitted to live in Disney housing.
  • Guests are always welcome to visit a participant’s apartment complex, but overnight guests are not allowed.
  • Cast Members in the Disney College Program who live off-site must provide their own means of transportation to and from work.
  • All College Program participants who operate a vehicle on property must have valid automobile liability insurance issued by an insurance company registered and authorized to sell automobile liability insurance in the United States. .

So there’s some housing information that can be helpful as you make your decisions about the Disney College Program. It’s always good to know what you’re getting into before you get there. The college program has sent many outstanding individuals into the workforce. Maybe you’ll be one of them?!

Thanks for coming along for a photographical ride, and we’ll see you in the parks!


Love Disney World photography? For a virtual Disney vacation in pictures, join Mouze Kateerz on Facebook and Mouze Kateerz on Pinterest.  If you have some fabulous Disney photographs you’d like to share, send an email of your favorite Disney location to

See ya soon!


  1. What if you are 20 when you arive but will turn 21 less than a month later?

    • Typically they will offer to move you for free into a 21+ apartment for free, whereas apartment transfers usually cost $50

  2. Which dorms are 21+?

  3. If you want to live somewhere else, no with the housing program, do you still have to pay the $200?

  4. Deb Weimer says:

    Ive found great info on the CP but have a question about when the students first arrive. When does housing start. on the first day students arrive, or are they expected to stay in a hotel until they are placed. Also are parents allowed to help students move in while getting situated. Our son plans to come Aug 2013 if he is accepted. We will drive him down w vehicle and fly back.

  5. When he gets accepted the DCP page will open a new set of instructions including details about family members in the first day. I am going in August 2013. Family members are accepted, in most arrival dates, to even help move students in.

  6. If I were to choose to live off site, are there any safe places Disney recommends for a participant who only needs housing for the duration of the program so I wouldn’t get stuck in a lease?

  7. If I were coming from out of state to stay only for the duration of the program and choose to live off-site, are there any safe places Disney recommends so I wouldn’t be stuck in a lease after the program ends?

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  11. Patrick says:

    What if you’re not in the Disney College Program but you’re an employee can you still apply if not then are there any other apartments near Disney that I might be able to be in I just moved to Florida and need a place to stay

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