Disney continues to offer great opportunities for more students
By Elissa Thompson
Almost every American child, teenager and adult knows how magical Disney World or Disneyland can be on each visit.
But think of how much more extraordinary it would be to work there.
The Disney College Program offers students internships that can enhance their opportunity for a future job.
This also gives students a chance to work with a Fortune 500 company.
The literature for the Disney theme parks and resorts professional internships said they try to offer students practical experiences they can add to their resumes.
The university has placed several students in the program and four are now interning in the program.
A student can get up to 12 credit hours from the university by completing a semester or up to a year, depending on the major.
Disney College Representative and UMHB student Courtney Gerome said, “It’s going to sound cheesy, but it is magical. It is the most amazing experience, and it’s life changing. You learn so much from being there.”
Students can go to either Disneyland or Disney World, but they send the majority to Disney World because it’s bigger and has more opportunities.
And when not working, they get to play.
Students get a free ID card to spend time in the parks.
The jobs that a student can have range from lifeguard, food and beverage, merchandise, ride operator, hotel, cooking chef and even character performer.
Who wouldn’t want to be Cinderella, Prince Charming, Flynn Rider or Belle?
Sophomore performance studies major Kristen Kitchen said, “I auditioned while I was down there and was so blessed to get a character look-alike role. I was ‘really good friends’ with Cinderella.”
Gerome went in spring 2011 and was employed in the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.
“I worked in the castle, and I did princess makeovers. It was such an experience to be able to do that for a little girl,” she said.
Gerome and Kitchen both agreed that working at Disney World was one of the best experiences they have ever had.
“You work a lot, and it’s not always easy, but the work is so rewarding, and you will make friends from all over,” Kitchen said.
Doing the internship allows students to experience what life would be like at a campus.
“You meet so many people. You definitely get a college feel,” Gerome said.
Interns live in apartments similar to the ones on campus.
A student can have one roommate or up to six. The corporation provides the Internet, cable and free movie rentals.
The college program also offers classes that are not required, but will help a student experience more of Disney.
They have graphic design classes, marketing classes and others that help students understand what Disney is about and some of the secrets that go on behind the scenes.
“The application process is really simple,” Gerome said. “All a student has to do is go online to disneycollegeprogram.com and click Apply Now.”
Dr. Diane Howard, professor of communication and media studies has been an adviser for the Disney Paid Internship Program for about 10 years.
She said, “There is much to gain and nothing to lose by applying for this outstanding program.”