When applying for the Disney College Program, I remember memorizing the phrase “living, earning, learning,” because these are the three main things the program advertised I would gain. What I didn’t know is that these three things would introduce me to some of my best friends, even two years after my program. I have roommates all over the U.S. who I get to visit. I made friends in my leadership seminar who I still Facetime. I met one of my best friends at work, and since she lives in Hong Kong, we are planning a trip to Hong Kong Disneyland. Thanks to the College Program, I can honestly say I have made some of the best friends in the world.
Conflict management skills
Although I’d love to say everything was perfect on my program, there were definitely times that challenged me. These opportunities to fix problems, whether with guests, coworkers, or even my roommates have given me invaluable skills in resolving problems. No matter what career you’ll end up in, conflict management and problem resolution are great skills to have, and while on my program, grew exponentially.
My role on the College Program was in merchandise, and I didn’t think the skills I learned would be directly applicable to my major in college. I was definitely wrong! There are so many different seminars related to your major. Your leaders love introducing you to their connections in your field of interest. Even in my role, I got to learn about the business side of Disney, which is applicable to my major in college, Marketing. The skills I learned helped me land a management internship after my program ended. The Disney College Program helped me build my resume with a Fortune 100 company. Not many people can say that!
If you’re interested in a post-program career with Disney, people around you will tell you network, network, network. This is so important to do, and I am so thankful I took advantage of it. I met with over 30 people on my program in roles including recruitment, marketing, communications, and management, and they all helped me land my current professional internship. That knowledge I gained is invaluable, and I still talk with them today.
I knew I was moving to Walt Disney World® Resort, and I would get to play in the parks on my days off. Of course, I was excited but had no idea of what was to come. I had the ability to do numerous incredible things on my program ranging from backstage tours, meeting characters I grew up adoring, spontaneous day trips throughout Florida, even more spontaneous trips to Disneyland® Resort in California, and more. No one can prepare you for the magic you’ll get to experience while on your program.
I remember the moment I received my “Congratulations!” email; it was 9:25 a.m. on a rainy Tuesday, and I was watching Grey’s Anatomy. I can still feel the way I felt in that moment – so excited but also nervous for what was to come. Little did I know that my program would help build me into a much more confident version of myself. From solving guest problems to receiving recognition from peers and leaders I respected to networking, I suddenly found myself with newfound confidence. I’m now so much more comfortable in my own skin and am so thankful that this program did that for me.
A new passion for The Walt Disney Company
I grew up on Disney movies. I wasn’t lucky enough to visit the parks as a child, but I loved Disney. By the end of my program, I truly felt the Disney magic. By being in a guest-facing role, I was able to see the magic through a new perspective, and that transformed my experience. I was the one creating tangible memories for Guests. I created unforgettable experiences. On my days off, other cast members created these for me, too. I could list everything that happened, but it would go on forever. What all of these experiences did was create a new passion and respect for the Walt Disney Company. We are truly a company that makes magic happen for everyone, whether guest or cast member, and I am more appreciative that I am a part of that than ever.
Moving to Florida from Pennsylvania and being away from home the first time was not easy. In the beginning, I was nervous and homesick, afraid that I wouldn’t be able to succeed. Disney made not only succeeding but truly thriving possible. Fast forward two years after my program has ended, and Florida has become a permanent home for me. Disney has made me feel welcome since day one. I’m so excited to see how my journey will continue