Tag Archives: internship

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.


Disney College Program Application Tips 2.0

The application process for the Disney College Program can be STRESSFUL. Trust me, I know. I’ve been through it.

Now, a year and a half after I completed my Disney College Program, I’m watching my little sister try to navigate through the application, interviews and waiting. I posted some of the tips from my experience, but I think times are changing. Observing from an outsider’s point of view this time, here are my Disney College Program Application Tips 2.0.

MadisonUse your resources.
Do you know people who have done the Disney College Program before? TALK TO THEM! They’ve gone through it, so they know what it’s like. My sister asked me tons of questions while she was applying and before she interviewed. She also asked for tips from two of her friends who have done programs. If you don’t know anyone personally, ask bloggers. My email is always open to anyone interested in the DCP!

Keisha & KirkCHILL OUT about the phone interview.
Yes, you always want to do your research for any job interview, but you don’t have to go as far as writing out your answer to EVERY question. If you do that, you might sound like a robot in your interview, reciting what you wrote down earlier. You don’t have to go so far as to look up the questions, even. It’s a good idea to have a general idea of what roles you want to talk about, do a little research on those roles, and trust in your personality to shine through. Just smile, be yourself, and you’ll be fine.

Join Facebook groups AFTER you’ve been accepted.
I know, I know. That sounds weird. Why wouldn’t you want to be connected to a bunch of other people who are in the same boat as you as soon as possible? Because you’ll go crazy, that’s why. You’ll see what other people are doing and might try to copy them. Also, when other people start freaking out, it might rub off on you, too. That’s a no-go. Be yourself!

Look for roommates AFTER you’ve officially been accepted.
Trust me. You don’t want to be that person who counts his/her chickens before they hatch.

Go forth and prosper! I wish you all the best luck in your application process. Don’t forget to look at some of my other application tips!

“I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.” – Walt Disney

Disney-isms That Stay With You After Your College Program

Are you ready for a huge wave of nostalgia? Today marks the one year anniversary since my last shift working for Disney as a College Program intern. I remember it like it was yesterday: I was hanging out with Baloo and King Louie in Camp Minnie Mickey at Animal Kingdom. I was determined to get through the day without crying, and I almost made it…until two of my friends showed up as the last guests of the day.

On the left is my friend Last daySally. She’s from Australia, and she was in entertainment. (Read about her most memorable magical moment here.) On the right is Tony, one of my fellow Animal Kingdom attendants. Like I said, I was totally NOT going to cry until Tony started singing the Mickey Mouse Club Alma Mater…Let’s just say my eyes weren’t dry at all that night, especially when I went to see Wishes at Magic Kingdom for the last time on my program.

So what’s the point to all of this? I wanted to share five Disney-isms that are still applicable to my everyday life in good old Akron, Ohio.

1. Safe D Begins With Me.
Trust me, you’ll never get that out of your head. It’s almost annoying how often I use crosswalks.

2. The two-finger point.
It’s impossible to point with one finger now. You’ve been brainwashed. Sorry.

3. When speaking to children, get on their level.
Always a good rule of thumb and great to remember if you’re teaching, babysitting or hanging out with young family members.

4. Offering to take a picture for someone struggling to take a selfie.
Look! There’s a couple in front of a ridiculous monument or local attraction. They look like they’re having a hard time fitting both themselves and the attraction in the photo. You look over, not wanting to get involved, but…”Hi folks! Would you like some help taking that picture?”

5. Code speak.
If you had access to radios at work, you know what I’m talking about. You’ll be 10-4ing and Code V-ing more than you’d like to admit.

What Disney-isms still speak to you after your DCP? Leave them in the comment section below!

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.


  • 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


  • 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!

Leaving Your University: Four Things To Check Before You Do the Disney College Program

When I participated in the Disney College Program (DCP) last year, I used the DCP website to guide me through a lot of my program-related questions about packing, check-in and housing. That was great; I really needed guidance for that sort of stuff. But I had a really hard time figuring out what I needed to work out with my own university before I left. There’s no guidebook for those sorts of things, so I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get everything ready.

I thought I’d share with you some of the things I had to think about and work out before I left for the DCP.

Kent State Disney

Information Sessions

If your college offers information sessions about the DCP, make sure you attend! Not only are you able to hear from DCP alumni at your university, you are also able to meet an actual Disney recruiter. If you haven’t applied yet, it’s a great opportunity to pick the recruiter’s brain about what he or she looks for in a DCP hopeful. If you have applied and have been accepted, it’s a great opportunity to ask alumni for any packing, housing and transitioning tips.

Financial Aid/Scholarships

I am at Kent State University on scholarship, and I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t lose that money when I did the DCP. I went in and talked to my financial aid advisor several times both before and after I applied. My university’s financial aid policy says that students must attend school full time for an entire academic year in order to keep their scholarships. For me, that meant I had to take at least 24 credit hours a year. I took some summer classes to supplement my fall classes to reach that number before I left. If you receive financial aid, make sure you have this discussion with your financial aid advisor so you don’t lose your scholarships.

Disney Courses

Disney offers a wide variety of collegiate courses, and I really recommend taking at least one of them during your DCP. Before you sign up for a Disney class willy-nilly, do a little research. Chances are, if people from your university have done the DCP before, your university may have a list of transient credits you can earn. Transient credits are classes you take at another learning institution that are equivalent to classes at your home university. For example, Kent State allows students to take Disney Communications in the place of Introduction to Human Communications. Make sure you double check that transient credit list first, though. I accidentally took Disney Corporate Communications instead of Disney Communications, and it caused a mini crisis I could have avoided if I was more careful when registering.

Here’s the kicker: Disney classes are only $10, and you are provided with a binder, notebook, pens and any other learning materials your professor decides to hand out. Let me repeat: A class at Disney – something you could get credit toward graduation for at your own university – only costs $10. Let’s break down the math here: According to the Kent State website, one undergraduate in-state credit hour costs $447. Introduction to Human Communications is a three-credit-hour class. If you took Introduction to Human Communication at Kent State, it would cost you $1,341. If you take Disney Communication during your DCP instead, you’ll only pay $10. That’s less than one percent of the price at Kent State. So what am I saying? Take a class at Disney!

Additional Credit Opportunities

Sometimes your university will give you credit for participating in the DCP without taking classes. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to count the DCP as my official internship for my major, but I found a loop hole so that I could still receive credit; I asked my Honors College advisor if I could count my experience as an honors credit. Sure, I had to write a three-page paper about my work, but it was well worth it for a much-needed opportunity for credit.

Top 10 Reasons To Apply For The Disney College Program

Name TagsWorking for The Walt Disney Company was the best experience of my life. Last spring, I participated in the Disney College Program, a program that allows college students or recent college graduates to intern at Walt Disney World or Disneyland as frontline employees. I was a character attendant in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and the semester I spent there changed my life.

Applications for the Fall 2014 Disney College Program have been posted, and I encourage anyone who is interested in a career with The Walt Disney Company to consider participating. Here are the top 10 reasons I think you, as a college student, should apply.

10. You get to work for Mickey Mouse.
I mean, come on. How many people get to say that?

9. You get to experience some awesome seasonal celebrations.
Ever been to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party? Have you seen The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Hollywood Studios? What about Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade? The Candlelight Processional at Epcot? If you apply for the Fall or Fall Advantage program, you can see it all!

8. You get to see what happens behind-the-scenes at Walt Disney World or Disneyland.
Did you know there are tunnels beneath Magic Kingdom? You could see those with your own eyes.

7. You get free access to Disney Parks.
Have a day off of work? Chill out at Magic Kingdom. Or Animal Kingdom. Or Hollywood Studios. Or Epcot.

6. You receive college credit for the classes you take through Disney.
Ask your advisor to see a list of transient credits you could earn by studying in Disney. Disney classes only cost $10, a whole lot cheaper than taking a class at your own university. When I did the Disney College Program, I took Corporate Communications and received three credit hours toward my graduation.

5. You can put a unique experience on your resume.
Even though you’ll only be a frontline employee in the parks and resorts, you can say you worked in a Fortune 100 Company and have observed the way it successfully runs its business.

4. You can network with professionals in a Fortune 100 Company.
During my college program, I went to a panel discussion about social media and marketing. When I was there, I networked with several marketing professionals that work in the parks and resorts who then helped me network with the digital media manager for Disney On Broadway. Disney Theatrical Group public relations is my dream job, and I was able to set up a tour of Disney’s New York City offices after my program ended.

3. You get to make magic for other people and thus experience magic yourself.
One time, I asked a group of teenagers some Disney trivia questions to help make their wait time to meet Pooh, Tigger and Eeyore faster. By the time they got to the front of the line, they not only asked the characters to sign their autograph books, they asked me to sign as well. You can experience something like that, too.

2. You make lifelong friends. Roommates
I still talk to my DCP roommates and friends on a daily basis. One is a performer at Walt Disney World, one is a Photopass Photographer at Disneyland, and several are back at their colleges across the country.

1. Your life will be changed.
You can’t help but be changed by the magic of Disney, the amazing guests and your fantastic fellow Cast Members.

But don’t take my word for it. Watch Kenny’s Work Hard Play Hard documentary about the Disney College Program to help you decide if you should apply.

Have you ever participated in the Disney College Program? Share why you think college students should apply in the comments below.