UPDATE: The Disney College Program has announced that it is working with the students and that “no one will be without accommodations.”
The Walt Disney Company made the decision to close its Walt Disney World theme park late last week in the face of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The decision to close the park means temporarily suspending the Disney College Program and other affiliated programs effective March 16. That includes the Disney Culinary Program, the Disney Cultural Exchange Program, and the Disney Academic Exchange Program and includes International Cast Members in Guest Relations.
Disney College Program participants were informed of the decision on Saturday, March 14, and were notified that they would need to vacate the Disney Program housing by Wednesday, March 18 at 11 a.m.
The decision affects “several thousands of participants,” according to a Disney College Program spokesperson who wished to remain anonymous. Disney will be waiving the weekly housing deduction it charges the students to live in staff accommodations (they actually must live in staff accommodations to participate in the program) and will continue to be paid through the end of the month.
Those students will not be invited back to complete their set programs and will have to reapply to return. A new cohort of college program participants is scheduled for May, so Disney will refrain from filling the roles left vacant by the suspended program.