My Disney Journey

My sister and I during a 24 hour event at Magic Kingdom. This photo was taken before 6:30 AM, and is my favorite picture with “the boss.”

I love Disney. More specifically, I love Walt Disney World. Ever since I visited the Florida parks as a freshman in high school, I knew I wanted to work there. Since that trip back in 2008, I am lucky enough to have made that dream a reality.

I was able to complete a Disney College Program in 2013. After that internship, I stayed on as a seasonal Cast Member, working on summers and school breaks. In the semester after my graduation from undergrad I got the incredible opportunity to work as a Professional Intern in Guest Relations. And now, two years later, I am going back again for my dream role. It has long been a goal of mine to work in Walt Disney World’s Internal Communications department. Last week I got the most amazing phone call offering me a Disney Professional Internship in that very department.

Quick break to explain Disney’s internship programs…

The Walt Disney Company has a couple of different avenues for college students to work for them, including the Disney College Program and Disney Professional Internships.

Disney College Program

Myself and my roommates Melanie and Jen. The day this photo was taken we met over 25 characters at Magic Kingdom.

The Disney College Program is an internship that focuses on working inside Disney’s US parks and resorts. On the Disney College Program, or DCP, students have the opportunity to work at either Disneyland in California or Walt Disney World in Florida. As a CP, students work in roles like attractions, merchandise, foods, and so on. The program focuses on the aspects of “living, learning, and earning.” College Program participants usually live in housing provided by Disney, and are able to take advantage of college classes, special events, and more.

I participated in the DCP in Spring 2013. From January to May, I worked as a Parking Hostess at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I drove the parking tram and directed guests to their parking spaces. Even though the role was not super glamorous, I had the most incredible time on my CP. My roommates became lifelong friends, and I learned how to hold a full-time job and live on my own.

Disney Professional Internship

Myself with the three other Guest Relations PIs at Animal Kingdom. This was taken on our last day working together.

While the Disney College Program is more of an entry-level internship, Disney offers Professional Internships for upperclassmen and graduate students. College Program students only work at Disneyland or Walt Disney World, but Professional Interns, or PIs, can work for many of Disney’s different US entities. There are PIs with Marvel, Pixar, ESPN, ABC, Parks and Resorts, and so much more. Within those entities, there are internships in engineering, communications, public relations, animal sciences, accounting, payroll, management, etc.

In Spring 2015, I was a Guest Relations PI at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Guest Relations usually handles complex guest situations, like ticketing issues, Fastpass+ complications, or just general guest questions. Guest Relations was such a fun role because I quickly learned how to diffuse difficult guest situations, as well as how to make magical moments for guests when they least expected it. I learned so much about Walt Disney World in general during my PI, which I definitely think helped me get my most recent PI.

Fast forward to the present…

Now, I am preparing to go back to the Walt Disney Company again. I will be starting my Communications PI in June, and it will last until January. During that time I will be writing content for internal communication modes, specifically for Epcot. In other words, I’ll be creating things that Cast Members will see, not the public.

Watch this space for updates on my time at Disney. I will be documenting it in a couple of different ways, but I will keep you updated on my blog. Have you worked for Disney, or maybe always wanted to? Let me know about your experience!


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