Category Archives: Disney Professional Internships

Work Hard, Learn Lots at Your Disney Internship, PI Alumna Says

A few weeks ago, I shared a Q&A with Disneyland PR Intern Jessica Pineda. Today, I’d like to share another Q&A I completed with a former Disney Professional Intern (PI): Alyssa Slayton. Alyssa completed her PI as a Disney Institute account coordinator in the fall of 2014. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in adult and higher education and intercollegiate athletic administration at the University of Oklahoma.

Alyssa PI GraduationFull disclosure: Alyssa is ALSO one of my Disney College Program roommates, and I’m so glad we’re working through grad school at the same time!

Q: Why did you decide to do a PI?
AS: I wanted to work with the Walt Disney Company again but in more of a professional role than my DCP working in merchandise.

Q: Can you describe the kinds of tasks you would perform on a normal day during your PI?
AS: My role was very office based. I handled daily phone calls and emails from clients. I was the initial contact in Florida for our clients as my manager was regionally located in the Boston area. I worked directly with other departments within Disney Institute and with our partners throughout the Walt Disney Company in the Florida area and also in Anaheim.

Q: What can students or recent graduates expect to learn if they do a PI?
AS: There is not a real way to know what to expect. The roles vary so widely, depending on the area you want to work in. My role was a Monday through Friday, 9-5, working in an office area. There are others that work different kinds of hours and on different days because of park or restaurant hours and handle different responsibilities. Just come in with an open mind, be prepared to learn as you go, and be prepared and unashamed to ask questions.

Q: How did your PI help prepare you for grad school (if at all)?
AS: My PI didn’t really prepare me for grad school specifically. It did give me experience to talk about when I began interviewing for a graduate assistantship. The phone and email skills I used and learned while at my PI have really helped me in my new position as a GA.

Q: What advice would you give someone who wants to apply for a PI in the future?
AS: The advice I would give is if you accept a PI, be prepared to make the most of it. Not everything is pixie dust and magic. There is a lot of hard work and there are difficult moments, but if you try your best to enjoy your work and your fellow cast members, the role can be very rewarding. When applying, be sure of yourself and know what role you want most. Look on the Disney Intern website at some stories from former interns to get an idea of the roles and experiences. There are hundreds (if not thousands) applying for each position, so if you do not get one right away, do not be discouraged. If you get one, congratulations! and enjoy every second.

Disneyland PR Intern Dishes Out Tips For Future PIs

Southern California native Jessica Pineda is one of Disneyland’s Fall 2015 public relations professional interns. The other day, I asked her to share some of her advice and experiences with all of you. Read our Q&A below!

Full disclosure: Jesi was my roommate during my Disney College Program, and I’m crazy proud of her.

Jesi at D23

Q: Why did you decide to do a Professional Internship (PI)?
JP:
Like most of us, Disney stories have played a huge role in my life since childhood. As a frequent Disneyland guest growing up, the parks became my happy place. As I studied communications in school, I also began to appreciate Disney’s dedication to detail and storytelling—two things I truly value in my professional writing as well. Advancing my career as an aspiring public relations professional for a company I have connected with my whole life seemed like a perfect fit.

Q: What was the application process like?
JP:
It actually took me three tries to get a Professional Internship! The first time, I applied my freshman year with little experience to prepare me. Inevitably, I didn’t even get a phone screening. I applied for a few the following year (even made it all the way to the final round for one!) but ended up without an offer. However, I did not come out empty-handed. I received valuable feedback about how to grow a bit more before I could get a PI.

The third time around, I started preparing the semester before I applied! I printed out the job descriptions of the PI’s I was interested in applying for the following semester and sought opportunities to align my experience with the necessary skills. Once applications were out, I spend days perfecting my cover letter and resume!

After my general phone screening, I was asked to do several time-sensitive public relations writing samples. Then, I was asked to conduct Skype and in-person interviews.

A week and a half after final interviews, I was blessed to receive an offer! Phew. A lot happened in the two months between submitting my application and receiving an offer!

Q: How did your education and your various internships help prepare you for what you’re doing at Disneyland now?
JP:
I earned my bachelor’s degree in Communications + Public Relations, and everything I learned from writing basics and Associated Press Style to basic photography and public speaking have prepared me for my current role! It is absolutely important to have previous internship experience when applying for Professional Internships.

Getting experience outside the company helps you bring fresh perspective to the team and helps you practice similar tasks in a different setting! For example, some of my tasks include captioning photos, drafting press materials and helping with photo shoots—all things I had experience doing by the time I applied because of previous internships and extracurricular activities.

Q:How did participating Corporate Communications Groupin the Disney College Program impact your PI experience?
JP:
Participating in the Disney College Program is actually one of the reasons I chose to pursue Public Relations! The Corporate Communications collegiate course and offered by the Internships & Programs Education team opened my eyes to the industry, and I would not have even known about my internship if it wasn’t for that class.

The DCP also provided me with the opportunity to learn from leaders within the company that could serve as mentors and familiarize myself with the culture within Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. Having a working knowledge of Disney’s brand such as product offerings, proper nomenclature and current campaigns/projects are important to know.

I learned great resume writing tips, personal branding tips and more from the free Career Development Workshops held in Vista Way too! Those are extremely valuable resources I know a lot of CP participants pass up, but those tips help no matter where your future takes you.

Q: What’s your favorite part of your PI?
JP:
My favorite part of my Professional Internship program is the countless amount of growth opportunities I can take advantage of. Just within my role, my team allows me to delve into many different parts of PR, from writing and coding to photo/video shoots and planning tour itineraries. As a community, the Professional Internship Events team sets up speaker series, resume reviews, socials and a variety of other offerings throughout the season. There’s so much to learn in such little time!

Q: What is the most challenging part of your PI?
JP:
One of the most challenging parts of my Professional Internship so far has been coming to terms with the fact that because my career is only in its early stages, I will make mistakes. With the anxiety of graduating from college and how competitive these positions are, I falsely pressured myself into thinking I had to be the best and know how to do everything already. That is far from reality.

I have been blessed to have managers that challenge me but also help me when I am stuck and listen to me when I feel troubled. They don’t expect me to know everything. I have made plenty of mistakes during my internship, but the important thing is to learn from them.

Jesi & Jungle Cruise ElephantQ: What advice would you give someone who wants to apply for a PI in the future?
JP:
Be patient. It saves you so much unnecessary anxiety. There are many applicants, and recruiting interns is not super high on the priority list when teams have so many projects going on.

Have confidence. Don’t compare yourself to others. The application process can be scary, but know that you can bring unique talents and ideas to the table. Stand by that statement when making your case as to why you should be hired.

Get involved. Do what you love. Preparing for a job application starts long before you even think of drafting a cover letter or resume. Take classes, jobs and volunteer opportunities that can sharpen your skills and shape you into the perfect applicant for your dream role.

Be a “Yes Man.” Do not turn down an opportunity to go the extra mile if you have the time and effort to spare. Ever. Taking on extra responsibility not only exemplifies model work ethic but also gives you experience you may not have gained otherwise. Not to mention, it’s a great attitude to have as an intern. Accepting—and excelling—at even the not-so-glamorous assignments (with a positive attitude!) will make you a desirable team member and well-rounded professional. It really says something when you are the one who will gladly do a necessary task when everyone else shies away.

The Dos and Don’ts of receiving a NLIC

NLICDisney’s deadline for sending out job offers for Professional Internships has come and gone, and a lot of us are out there with a big, fat “No Longer In Consideration” on our dashboards. But guess what? THAT’S OKAY.

Yes, you read that right. It’s okay that we didn’t get offers. That goes for everyone out there who has ever applied for a Disney position, whether it’s full-time, part-time or seasonal work, a Disney College Program or a Disney Professional Internship. An NLIC is not the end of the world. You know why? Because Disney will always be there. You can always apply again, and you have the opportunity to beef up your resume so you have a better chance next time.

I’m looking forward to applying for more Disney positions in the future! As such, I’ve compiled a list of dos and don’ts for those of us who are trying to work through our NLIC.

Do

  • Keep your chin up
  • Apply again next time
  • Congratulate others who have received offers
  • Try to contact a recruiter to see what you can do to improve
  • Gain more relevant experience to better your chances
  • Network with Disney employees in the area you’re interested in

Don’t

  • Be too gloomy
  • Give up on your dream to work for Disney
  • Complain about your NLIC on social media
  • Bring others down or make them feel bad for receiving an offer

At the end of the day, you’re still awesome! Don’t let your NLIC get you down. Share any of your dos and don’ts in the comment section below.

Application Tips for Disney Professional Internships

As some of you may know, I participated in the Disney College Program (DCP) last spring. There’s one question I always heard from friends, professors and advisors because of it: Why? Why would I want to take a semester off from school to work as a front-line employee at a Disney resort? What was that going to do for my future?

The DCP is only one half of Disney’s programs for college students, and I participated in the DCP so that I would have a better chance of participating in the second half: Disney Professional Internships (PIs). PIs allow college students or recent college graduates to work in their career fields with The Walt Disney Company. For example, as a public relations major, I could work in PR at Disneyland through the PI program.

I recently applied for two different PIs: publicity with Disney Theatrical Group in New York and field marketing and publicity with Disney Studios in California. At this point, I’m still in consideration for both internships, so fingers crossed!

I joined a group of PI hopefuls on Facebook, and that’s where I met Rebecca Muck, a costume design major at Columbia College Chicago. She applied for a few costuming PIs at Disney, and she’s going through the interview process now. This past weekend, I met up with Rebecca on Google Hangout to talk about things we wish we would have known before applying and while we were applying for PIs. Watch the video below to learn some of our tips and tricks for the application and interview process!

If you’re looking for some more PI advice, search through the official Disney Internships and Programs blog; they have a great post on application anxiety that I read through at least once a week to calm my nerves!