Did you know college program participants can also be in charge of the FriendShip boats between EPCOT and Hollywood Studios? Jeremy took the time to tell us all about his experience in transportation with these lovely boats!
I was transportation at the FriendShip boats! These are the boats that are in the World Showcase and they run the route between EPCOT and Hollywood Studios, with a few resorts along the way.
What was a typical day like at work?
At the FriendShips, you were lucky if you didn’t have a closing shift. I usually started somewhere between 3pm and 5pm and get off anywhere from 11pm to 2am depending on Extra Magic Hours. I’d clock in and then sign up for the next available boat. Sometimes I’d get the one scheduled to arrive next, sometimes I’d have to wait up to an hour. While waiting, I just stood at the entrance/exit gates and talked to and helped guests.
Is this the role you originally wanted? If not, are you happy you got it?
Concierge was my #1, but I didn’t think I’d get it since I’m not a hospitality major. Transportation (specifically FriendShips) was my realistic #1.
What are your favorite and least favorite parts about your job?
My favorite part was piloting the boats. They aren’t on any tracks or rails or anything. The captain has full control of the boat at all times. I loved fine-tuning my docking style to get to smoothest and best dock I could get. I also loved timing my lagoon (World Showcase) shifts around Off Kilter’s show times. I got to work on a boat and listen to Off Kilter; it doesn’t get much better than that! My least favorite part would have to be working in the rain and Hollywood Studios Extra Magic Hours nights. When the Studios has EMH, the docks get really busy and you have to anticipate how many people are going to be at each stop so you don’t fill up the boat too soon.
Any specific magical moment you want to share?
During Christmastime there is a special ending added to EPCOT’s fireworks show. You can actually see it from the Yacht and Beach Club boat dock and some other areas out there. One night my deckhand and I were way ahead of time and due back just after IllumiNations ended. We were going between Yacht/Beach Club and the Boardwalk when the holiday tag started. Since we had so much time, we stopped the boat and just floated for the rest of the show. It gave the guests a chance to see the show that they would have otherwise missed from a different perspective.
What made you want to do the DCP? I love Disney and WDW is my second home. I had heard about the program several years before I started college and knew I had to do it. It gave me my first opportunity to live away from home and really find out who I am. I met my best friend during my program and wouldn’t trade the experience for anything! Is there something you wish you would have known before doing your program? I don’t think so. I spent a lot of time researching so I had a really good idea of what to expect. What advice would you give to those who want to participate in your role? Go in with an open mind. Training may be overwhelming at first, but it is so worth it! If you can, work a few opening shifts too. Opening is such a different experience from closing and is worth getting up before sunrise. What advice would you give to people who are interested in doing the DCP? Do it! It is such a life-changing experience. The opportunities you have on the program are incredible. Also, if you can, take your car! The buses are notoriously unreliable (to say the least).
If you're a current or past college program cast member and would like to share your experience, email your name and role to email@example.com to participate!