Disney offers students jobs, experience

Are you scrambling to find the perfect internship – one that provides you with real life experiences and, let’s face it, enough pay to survive on?

How about one that is warm, sunny, and filled with smiling faces?

NKU students can have a job worth putting on a resume, earn credit toward graduation, and amass a wealth of knowledge by participating in the Walt Disney World internship program.

There are approximately 3,000 students from around the country who live in Florida and work at Disney World for a semester, according to Nicholas Wagner, sophomore, undeclared.

Wagner is one of three NKU campus representatives whose job is to promote the Walt Disney World (WDW) College Program.

The program provides students with a paying job, customer service skills and life experiences, Wagner said.

Senior Rebecca Hensley, organizational studies, is also a campus rep for Disney.

“Students should get involved in the WDW College Program because it is a great learning experience,” she said.

“You get paid to work for a Fortune 100 company, you meet wonderful friends, and you get a chance to network and job shadow, as well as volunteer opportunities. All while having fun!”

While in the Disney program, students live together in apartments located inside the WDW resort land.

They have a choice of jobs inside the parks.

There are about 20 different jobs to choose from, such as custodial work, food service, merchandise, lifeguard or character role-playing, according to Wagner.

Not only do students get to live in sunny Florida for about five months, but they also get outstanding benefits.

These benefits include: a paycheck, discounted merchandise, free access to parks, free shuttle rides from apartments to parks, and a chance to attend educational classes.

The classes offered during the WDW internship are “recommended by the American Council of Education,” said Hensley.

There are a wide variety of classes available to students, such as hospitality management, experimental learning, the Disney Marketing U, and the Disney Practicum course.

(Before signing up for any courses during this internship, see an advisor for possible co-op credit.)

The internship consists of living, learning and earning components, according to the WDW College Program Web site.

Constant interaction with the public will help students strengthen their communication skills and build a network of personal contacts.

For example, when Wagner left for his internship in the fall of 2002, he was a shy, quiet kid who had never held down a job.

“I have completely changed: I’m a thousand times different,” he said.

After working in the WDW program, Hensley said she now has “excellent customer service skills” that she uses everyday.

She said this internship offers adventures to all students who choose to work at Disney World.

It introduces students to real-life experiences and gives them the chance to meet new people.

Wagner said the most important thing he took away from his Disney experience was his new friends.

“The best part is now I can talk to people all across the country,” he said.

Now Wagner, Hensley and Julie Maggard are representatives for WDW at NKU.

Six hundred schools are involved with this program, and at each campus the Disney representatives promote the internship.

Students participate in an interviewing process to become a campus representative.

Once a veteran internship student becomes a representative, they hold that position until they graduate or resign.

Each semester the representatives work at motivating students at their university to attend the WDW presentation.

At this presentation, a group of WDW employees speak with students about the internship program. They address issues such as what to expect, what jobs are available to choose from, where living quarters are located, and which classes students can attend.

NKU will host a WDW presentation Thursday, Feb. 26 at 5p.m. in room 11 of the University Center.

After the presentation, interested students can set up interviews with one of the WDW presenters.

These interviews are real job interviews and determine which lucky students will travel to Orlando, Fla.

Wagner urges students to come prepared by bringing their resumes and a copy of their application.

Applications are filed online only and can take up to 40 minutes to complete.

Visit the WDW College Program Web site at www.wdwcollegeprogram.com for more information on the program.