When I participated in the Disney College Program in the fall of 2015, I really didn’t want it to end. I made lifelong friends, learned more than I ever thought I would and I never wanted to leave. Little did I know, it was only the beginning of my Disney journey.
When I was getting ready to graduate from college, I began looking for opportunities where I could share that same magic I had experienced on my program. It had been a year since I received my Mickey service celebration ears, and in that time, I experienced a lot of professional growth. With college graduation on the horizon, I knew I wanted a new challenge, and if I could return to Disney, that would be even better.
Then, I saw the posting for the Disney College Program and Events Professional Internship at Disneyland® Resort. Reading the description and qualifications for the role, it practically had my name written all over it! I applied for the internship, interviewed, and now here I am. This internship has been everything I imagined and a whole lot more.
As a Professional Intern on the Internships & Programs team, I get to be on the other side of the Disney College Program experience. Instead of making magic for guests poolside, like I did as a lifeguard during my Disney College Program, I get to make magic for our Disney College Program lifeguards, as well as everyone else on the program. There are many different ways that I create magic in my role and make the overall Disneyland experience even better, but it can really be broken down into three parts.
A large part of my role is assisting with housing operations at Carnegie Plaza, the building about 200 participants call home for the duration of their Disneyland College Program. When participants walk into the Programs Office, I am the first face that welcomes them in, which is extremely important because our office is located in the apartment complex and easily accessible to our interns.
Some of my daily tasks include renting out DVDs and games, sorting mail and packages, collecting and tracking everyone’s renters insurance, making flyers to highlight upcoming activities and events, updating the bulletin boards around the building and maintaining accurate records of our housewares inventory. I’ve even helped out with housing inspections.
One of the perks of being in the Disney College Program are the exclusive events that are only available to participants, and part of my role is coordinating several different events for the program. Every month, I coordinate three different events: Grocery Bingo, Movie Night and a networking event called Cast Members, Assemble! All three of these events take place at Carnegie Plaza where our residents can simply walk downstairs to attend and our local participants can stop by.
Additionally, there are other events I coordinate that only take place once a program, such as our Disney College Program/Professional Intern Mixer and our Mid-Program Celebration. Both of these events take place on property at the Disneyland® Resort and are always special and rewarding for our participants.
The best part about planning some of these events for our participants is I not only plan the event, I get to work at the event, too. This internship really gave me an opportunity to get a hands-on experience with events, and the team does a great job of allowing me to use my creativity and make it the best event possible.
Building relationships with the participants and creating unforgettable experiences for them are what I consider to be the most important part of my role. My goal every day is to make sure they have the same magical experiences that I had during my Disney College Program.
One way I do this is through posting content on our social media platforms and creating conversation (follow us on Instagram @dlrcollegeprogram and Twitter @DLR_CP). We’ve even had participants become friends on Twitter before becoming friends in real life!
There are a lot of other little things I do to make the internship experience even more magical for our participants, like learning all of their names (even when they’re not wearing their nametags). I hope this reminds them that they are a valued member of our community. Within a few weeks, our Disney Internships & Programs team usually knows every participant by name.
Every day is different in my role, but every day brings new and exciting challenges. Through my time as a professional intern, I have gained valuable experience that I can take to any role or job that I embark on next. The experiences that I’ve had with the Disney College Program and Professional Internships have truly been life-changing for me and I am proud to be a part of the Disney Internships & Programs team to create those experiences for new and returning participants.
My amazing experience is coming to an end soon and we’re currently looking for our next professional intern to assist our housing team in California. Who knows, maybe it’ll be you!