The Disney College Program is a great way to gain experience, fiscal responsibility, independence, and professionalism. As an alumni of the program, I strongly recommend the Disney College Program to anyone interested in working in the themed entertainment industry and other related recreational and entertainment industries. Walt Disney Parks & Resorts is renowned for its global success with parks in North America, Europe, and Asia. Regardless of your major, the Disney College Program will develop many important life skills that cannot be taught in a classroom and is a wonderful opportunity for networking.
As a brief introduction, the Disney College Program is a unique opportunity provided by Walt Disney Parks & Resorts for current college students. The program allows students to gain experience working full time in the themed attraction industry while working a role (or job) as a Cast Member (or Disney employee). Different from an internship with Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, the roles available are not career or major related. The roles range from Attractions Host/Hostess, Food and Beverage Server, Character Performer, Custodian, Front Desk Attendant, and many more. There are various professional development opportunities available, and fellow Cast Members are very welcome to meeting students and providing information on career opportunities related to the student’s major. The Disney College Program is available only for the Spring and Fall semesters, although students do have an opportunity to extend their program into the Summer semester; both Disneyland (Anaheim, CA) and Walt Disney World (Orlando, FL) accept applicants.
As a result of my personal Disney College Program experience, I developed many professional relationships in the themed attraction industry. Although I am a mechanical engineering student, the Disney College Program developed my overall business sense and gave me an idea of what it is like to work at a Fortune 500 company. I may have just been an Attractions Hostess, but learning the work culture at Disney was indispensable to my professional development. The Walt Disney Company is famous in the business world for its unique work culture, and many companies use The Walt Disney Company as an example of ideal work culture. In my personal experience, recruiters for large companies have shown much interest in my experience with Disney because of their reputation for professionalism, guest service, and excellence. As a student in a largely technical field, this provides strong evidence of my professionalism and communication/teamwork skills in the work place and has benefited me greatly when pursuing internships and career opportunities.
Walt Disney once said “You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” This could not hold more true for The Walt Disney Company – its success is a result of its people. Many Cast Members have wonderful career advice. While on the Disney College Program, I had the opportunity to network with people from all different departments – engineering, Imagineering, you name it. The people I spoke to gave me excellent support and career guidance. Forming professional relationships with Cast Members from various professional departments at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts actually opened up an engineering internship opportunity for me as a Safety Auditing Intern this past year. All the advice and support I received from Cast Members while on my program has helped me immensely in determining my ideal career path and further developing my technical skills.
In summary, the Disney College Program is a great opportunity for students to develop professionally and prepare to have a career after graduation. It will provide invaluable life lessons and provides the opportunity to discover possible career paths within The Walt Disney Company. The Disney College Program allows students to work in place of great cultural diversity, with people of all ages and nationalities. Students will become part of the Disney family and will emerge from the program confident in their abilities in the work place. For more information, visit http://cp.disneycareers.com/en/default/ for more information. To apply, visit http://cp.disneycareers.com/en/search-jobs/jobsearch-Results/?co=Disney+College+Program&c=US|CA. Applications for Spring 2017 were just released! Talk to your school academic advisor for more information about how the Disney College Program will work with your coursework. Best of luck!