By Julianne Minervini
Instead of sitting in a classroom, you could be gaining college credits while living in the most magical place on earth.
The Disney College Program is a paid internship that provides opportunities to work in many different areas such as sales, food service and acting as one of the characters in the multiple parks of Disney World.
Junior Emily Edelman took part in the Disney College Program in the spring of 2019.
“I gained so much from this program. It has sincerely pushed me out of my comfort zone in countless ways, in both professional and social aspects,” said Edelman.
The Disney College Program website states, “As a Disney College Program participant, you’ll become part of the magic that is known worldwide. Gain valuable, on-the-job experience working in our parks and resorts, participate in college coursework, and have the opportunity to meet and live with people from all over the country and potentially the world in company-sponsored housing.”
“My least favorite part of the program was probably handling difficult guest situations. Not every single interaction was filled with happiness and magic,” said Edelman. “Even now, looking back these experiences helped me grow as a person and I would not want to let my experiences discourage anyone from participating in the Disney College Program.”
Kiersten Keating, a junior, is currently participating in the Disney College Program. Keating works at the Big Top Souvenir at Magic Kingdom while also taking three online classes.
“I met people from all over the world and hearing their stories of how they got to the company is amazing. One of my favorite things about my job is the guest interaction, especially with the little kids,” said Keating.
The Disney College Program has three key components as part of their internship: living, learning, and earning. One of the key aspects of living in Disney is meeting people from all over the country and the world. Students attain college credits while learning important skills and also gaining professional experience in an area of their choice.
Junior Maria Serpineto had a positive experience with her Disney College Program.
“I appreciated that this was a different experience than the typical study abroad opportunities. I enjoyed the balance of work hard, play hard. I had a responsibility to work, interacting with my managers and other cast members within the resort, but I also met some of my lifelong best friends by participating in this program,” said Serpineto.
Each student goes through an application process that consists of filling out an online form for your previous work experience, an online personality test and a phone interview.
“Don’t be nervous and trust the process. Let the program take you to new experiences and new people,” said Serpineto. “Entering the program has a lot of uncertainty, but trust it because although I didn’t know what I was walking into, I met the best roommates, best coworkers, and overall best friends I could ever imagine.”
Samantha Lodato, a junior, gained vital experiences through the Disney College Program.
“Enjoy every second,” said Lodato. “You may be working more hours than you feel like you can handle, especially around the holidays. There will be times where you feel homesick. But, like anything, it becomes easier with time.”