Rosalie DeAstis // Features Editor
Thousands of students apply every year to earn an opportunity to be a part of the Disney College Program – an internship where you can work at a Disney park while gaining many valuable life skills.
For about 15 years now, Disney Careers has been partnering up with the college to give students the opportunity to participate in the Disney College Program. For four to eight months, a student can go to Disneyland in Anaheim, California or to Disney World in Orlando, Florida, where they take part in a job at the park, while having the option of incorporating educational opportunities into the program.
Graphic design student and one of five COD campus reps for the program, Janelle Wisniowicz, participated in the program in 2011 and says it’s definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“You not only get to work for a Fortune 500 company, you also gain a lot of valuable skills like time management and budgeting.”
Students, or “cast members” as Disney calls them, reside in an apartment complex near the park with up to seven roommates where they pay their own rent, cook and clean. Every student receives two days off work every week, and free transportation is provided for students to get to work, a grocery store, or anywhere they need to go. In their free time, students can take advantage of their free admission to all the park attractions, or their apartment pool and fitness centers.
There are a variety of different job positions available, but some include retail/sales, operations, lodging, recreation, and entertainment positions. Certain roles qualify for college credit, such as house keeping could go towards a hospitality degree, or a having a character role could count as credit for a theatre major. A student can express what area they are most interested in on their application.
In addition to their job, students have the option of participating in two educational opportunities through Disney Careers, making the program more than just a work opportunity. Courses available range from interactive exploration classes, to collegiate offerings that have required textbooks to read, projects, and papers to write.
Sara Kirby, Assistant Manager of Career Services, and says the Disney College Program is one of the top internships available at the college.
“This internship makes you stand out. Employers know Disney,” she said.
“I also like how the program is focused on helping students grow into professionals.”
Applications are available until late Oct. to participate in the program Spring 2014 and will re-open again the beginning of February for the fall program. Any full-time or part-time college student can apply. The college requires that a student has completed 12 credit hours before applying, and has a 2.0 GPA. The first step is to visit disneycareers.com to fill out your application. The program receives 30-40,000 applications every year from all the colleges/universities it partners up with.