- Professional internships with the Walt Disney Company are unlike any other internship programs out there.
- You get the chance to actually work in your field and network with many different people.
- There are lots of magical perks included, like behind-the-scenes tours and getting to test out new Disney experiences before the public.
I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to participate in two professional internships with the Mouse, and they were life-changing.
Here are my top four reasons why I loved interning at Disney:
You actually do work.
There is a stereotype that many internships only consist of making copies or getting coffee. This is the furthest from the truth with the Disney Professional Internship program.
My first internship was with the Disney Vacation Club. On the first day, I was assigned a massive ongoing project to spearhead. There was never a dull moment. I was consistently doing research and conducting cross-channel focus groups. The learning never ended.
My learning experiences continued the next year when I switched gears and interned with a different team at the Disney Cruise Line. Part of my daily routine was to compile and create reports on critical confidential topics for senior management. I had the chance to learn new systems and programs.
These opportunities let me grow and improve the skills I had learned in the classroom to become a master of my craft. Many internships don’t allow you the freedom to — excuse the cliche — spread your wings and soar. Disney does.
You’re a valued part of the team.
Let’s face it, sometimes being an intern can be lonely. You’re only there a couple of months —a year at most — and you don’t feel 100% part of the team.
During both of my internship programs though, I never felt like an intern. I felt like a part of the team. There was an authentic sense of community and care for one another. I was welcomed with open arms, invited to lunch, and given the opportunity to bond with many of my co-workers.
On the professional side, my leaders supported me in joining meetings and hopping on conference calls. They encouraged me to speak up. I felt like my opinion, and my thoughts were valued. I felt like I had a team to count on who also counted on me. These experiences made me feel like I was more than just an intern.
You’re given the chance to network with a ton of people across the company.
Every intern knows that networking is one of the most crucial aspects of internship programs. In a company as vast as the Walt Disney Company, I really had no clue how to start.
Thankfully my leaders set me up with several meetings — lovingly called “meet and greets” — to get me started. From there I could request additional colleagues to meet with, then ask those people for additional contacts, and so on.
As you could imagine, I met with a lot of people. I had over 75 “meet and greets” within the Walt Disney Company, across many channels, and segments of the company. Although this may sound exhausting, these chats helped open my eyes to all the opportunities within my field. I learned more about positions I felt passionate about and discovered different roles I had not considered initially.
I walked away from each of these individuals with nuggets of information and advice that continues to help me as I create my career path.
There are a lot of perks that come along with an internship at Disney.
One of the more unique benefits of interning with Disney is the many perks that come with it. Beyond receiving admission into the theme parks, the company offers magical moments offered from time to time.
Team-building exercises can open doors to some behind-the-scenes magic. For example, my team at the Disney Vacation Club went on behind the scenes tours of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It was fascinating to learn all the ins and outs of the attraction, and it made team building way more fun than the norm.
There are also more exclusive perks depending on your role, your department, and the timing of specific projects. I was fortunate enough to be a part of the Disney Vacation Club team while they opened Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows, and I received a test stay in one of their brand new hotel rooms. I also had the incredible opportunity to board a test cruise on the newly renovated Disney Wonder while interning with the Disney Cruise Line, which was a “wondrous” experience.
Overall the experiences I had during both of my professional internships not only taught me a lot about the business of the Walt Disney Company, but taught me a lot about myself. I highly encourage anyone who meets the requirements to take look into the different programs and give it a try. I promise you won’t regret it.
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