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Disney experience not a ‘boring desk job’

Photo courtesy of Katherine Hunt

To say that the only internships offered to Drake University students are boring desk jobs that are only in the Midwest is a blatant mistake.

After all, at least five Drake students, myself included, have undergone the internship of a lifetime. When someone asks what I did this summer, I smile and say that I worked at Walt Disney World. Now, I’m sure students are wondering the five W’s as well as how did students land a job literally thousands of miles away without a face-to-face interview?

Who: The Walt Disney Co. offers internships for undergraduate and even graduate students. The main internship is called the Disney College Program that is offered at Walt Disney World or Disneyland. If someone’s interested in other subdivisions of the company, such as ESPN, plenty of internships are available there too, but the College Program is a great way to network to get into those elite areas. Also, the Walt Disney Co. welcomes all years and majors to apply, even first-year, first semester students.

What: Disney offers internships in every area from custodial to culinary to entertainment to marketing. It really all depends on what someone’s interested in. Furthermore, if a person is a finance major, but they really want to work more with the entertainment side of things, that’s not a problem. During the application process, there’s a section where different areas of interest are marked.

When: There are four different options to choose. There are Spring and Spring Advantage, which run from January through May and January through August, respectively. The other two options are Fall and Fall Advantage. Fall Advantage is offered from May through December. Fall is offered August through December. Once a person has successfully completed this internship, they can go back for a second program or try out a more “corporate” internship. There are also summer offerings available for alumni.

Where: Internships are mainly offered at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla. However, the College Program is offered also in Anaheim, Calif., Disney does provide housing at both locations for the duration of the program. Most of the corporate internships operate in Burbank, Calif., or Lake Buena Vista, Fla. There are other locations internships available, but these ones are the main internships and locations posted for The Walt Disney Co.

Why: Not only is this a paid internship, the benefits are endless. From getting discounts at Payless Shoe Source to getting into the Disney Parks all over the world for free, the benefits start the day a person gets their cast ID. For a more professional outlook, there are numerous networking events, and The Walt Disney Co. is a Fortune 100 company. Imagine putting Disney on a resume. Since Disney is a household name, it adds grandeur and impresses employers. However, the absolute most important reason to do anything is because it’s fun!

How: The application process may seem a little long, but it’s completely worth it. First, there’s a required video to watch that’s maybe about 20-30 minutes that explains in further detail about working at Disney and the living, learning and earning components. Then, there’s the general application online that asks all the basic questions as well as a few fun ones. Then, the general application gets sent in. Within about 36 hours, Disney may ask for a person to complete an online interview. Consider it to be mainly about checking morals and ethics. At the conclusion of the online interview, depending on the answers given, there may be a prompt to schedule a phone interview. The phone interview is the main portion of the interview process. It’s half an hour long and is just Disney making sure that its potential new cast members are excited and ready for the job.
There are some factors to consider that are mentioned above, such as having to “be off” a semester to do this internship. However, Disney understands students don’t want to be in college forever and have various educational offerings, especially for particular majors such as finance and theater. Disney also allows its cast members to take online classes and will give a person time off from work to do so. Overall though, given all the benefits and drawbacks, this is definitely the opportunity of a lifetime and the chance to make everyone’s dreams come true.


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