Over the past few months of the fall program, College and International participants have been participating in a brand new offering from our Education team: Disney Showcase Sessions. These individual sessions offer a unique opportunity to gain deeper insight into select topics related to The Walt Disney Company such as our company’s heritage, how we create memorable experiences, technology, guest service and specific teams or departments at the Walt Disney World Resort. They offer a great alternative for those who do not have to take college credit courses or were unable to sign up for other courses while on a program but still want to learn more about our company.
I was able to attend several of these sessions, along with our Professional Intern, Caroline, and caught a glimpse first hand of what our participants are experiencing in the classroom.
First up was Disney Heritage: Disney in the 1950s. As somewhat of a Disney history aficionado, I was excited to learn more about our company during such a great time of technological and creative development. This was also, of course, the decade in which Walt realized his dream of opening Disneyland. Michael, an area manager at World of Disney at Disney Springs and a freelance journalist, focused on all things Disney, spoke about the company’s development from movies and short animated films in the 1930s and 40s to television shows and theme parks in the 1950s. Included in the presentation was rare video footage from television specials and the opening day of Disneyland Park – definitely something any Disney fan will want to check out.
Our next stop was, fittingly enough, Disney Heritage: Early Milestones in Theme Park History. Led by David, a Disney Education facilitator, attendees watched footage from the opening day of Disneyland Park and reviewed the events around and on that historical day. Also discussed was the impact that the 1964 World’s Fair had on Disneyland and the later development of the Walt Disney World Resort. Thanks to David’s amazing storytelling abilities, everyone in the room was paying close attention and taking plenty of notes. What a great way to remind everyone why we do what do by delving into what inspired the creation of the very place where we now make magic every day!
Moving on, we switched gears a bit and attended Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Technology. This session was focused on informing participants about how technology affects our parks and resorts and how these departments operate within the company. Charlotte and Frank, both cast members within technology, spoke with students about the recent addition of MyMagic+ and future innovations that will enhance the guest experience. They also opened the floor to questions about their roles and professional internship opportunities with technology. Also on hand to answer questions was John from professional internship recruiting. He emphasized that even though you may be an intern, every cast member on our technology teams (and all teams!) makes an impact through their work.
Last, but certainly not least, Caroline was able to attend a special session held right in Magic Kingdom Park. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend and, alas, had to live vicariously through her retelling of the session at the office later. Disney Heritage: Florida Project Phase 1 takes participants right into the heart of where it all began. Facilitator David walked and talked about Walt’s final dream and the milestones along the journey to the completion of the park, including little known facts, attractions and resorts that almost were, and details behind the building of iconic structures. For those of us who still feel the magic that Walt left behind with his theme parks, this session is a must-do.
Believe it or not, these are just a few of the sessions offered for participants! Also available are sessions about our entertainment offerings, animal care, the history of Walt and his brother Roy’s relationship, and a look into Guest Relations. With so much offered, there is something for everyone to learn.
As for us? We hope we can make it back to another session soon!