STAFF BLOG: The Inside Scoop on the Disney College Program

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Elysabethe Brown, Staff Writer

Flyers for the Disney College program flood hallways and classroom bulletin boards around our small campus. Maybe it’s something that has been on your to-do list to check out or maybe you haven’t even given it a second thought.

Disney, for many, brings back fond memories of watching Bambi and Cinderella as a child, going to one of their theme parks for a family vacation, or browsing through the Disney Store at The Mall at Steamtown. But, as I have learned through the Disney College Program, this company is much more than pixie dust and Mickey Mouse.

I decided to participate in the college program because I knew a few people who had done it and they highly recommended it. Plus, I had gone to Walt Disney World for family vacation every summer, and I love the company itself, so why not? It looks great on a resume and I needed an internship as well.

My journey began on the internet when I applied at disneycollegeprogram.com. Within days I was through round one and had to complete a phone interview. Before I knew it, I was on my way and set to arrive in Orlando, Florida on January 14, 2013.

I chose to stay at a Disney-owned apartment complex (which is much simpler and safer than finding your own housing). They offer bus transportation around Disney property, security, pool, recreation area, and classrooms within walking distance.

When you first move in, they give you a couple of days to unpack and settle in, and then the whirlwind begins. You go through training, classes, meetings, and cast events. There is so much to do and see you barely have time to actually realize what is going on and that you are actually a Disney Cast Member.

A cast member is Disney language for an employee.  Your first round of training is “Traditions,” where you learn about the Disney company. Here, I learned that Disney not only owns The Disney Channel and theme parks around the world, but also ESPN, ABC, ABC Family, Hyperion Books, and much more. This was exciting news for a photojournalism student like me.

Disney offered me great opportunities to network. I also learned so much through taking college courses through Disney, training in my workplace (I was a Photopass photographer at Disney’s Animal Kingdom), and just getting to talk to people who worked for and knew the company. My manager set me up on a “meet and greet” with a cast member who is in charge of Communications.

While I may have to work a little harder to graduate on time (summer classes, anyone?), and it did get expensive living on my own ($91 a week for rent alone), it was an incredible experience I will never forget.

For more information about the Disney College Program, visit disneycollegeprogram.com or contact your Campus Representative by emailing [email protected]