Every college student has an inner child. And when that inner child finds out the Walt Disney Company offers paid internships at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fl., the college student on the outside can’t help but get excited.
For the past 22 years, the Walt Disney World College Program has given college students worldwide the opportunity to live, work and “do it Disney.” During the past semester alone, more than 7,000 college students – or cast members, as they are referred to when they enter the world of Disney – took part in the college program.
Once in Florida, the cast members are given the opportunity to network and earn school credit. The requirements include being 18 years of age upon arrival in Florida, full or part-time status as a college student and good academic standing. Students of all majors are accepted into the program.
All cast members receive paid internships at the Walt Disney World Resort, earning $6 an hour for a schedule of 30 to 45 hours per week. Internships range from merchandising and hospitality to quick service food and beverage. Each position has its own uniform, or costume, as they are referred to by cast members.
In addition to the internship, college student cast members are encouraged to take at least one class during their stay in Florida. There are seven main courses to choose from including Human Resources Management, Hospitality Management, Experimental Learning and Organizational Leadership.
Of course, there are a good number of perks that accompany the paid internship and free classes. The Walt Disney World College Program offers Disney Discounts, which are valid at locations on or near the Resort. In addition to discounts, college student cast members are allowed free admission to all four Walt Disney World Theme Parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park.
Another big perk is the living arrangements provided by the program. The apartments where students live are located on the Resort and transportation is provided to and from all four theme parks. Apartments include one to four bedrooms, a kitchen, dishwasher, utilities and phone service. The apartment complexes have access to clothes washers and dryers as well as a weight room, pool, Jacuzzi and computer lab. Rent ranges from $67 to $79 a week depending on the number of people living in each apartment, but rent is payroll deductible. And for those students under 21 years old, there are alcohol-free wellness apartments.
Temple University communications major Kristin Delussey participated in the program in Fall 2002.
“I loved it,” Delussey said. “I worked as an outdoor food vender in the Magic Kingdom. I worked all over the entire park, and I got massive practice in my field of communications every day. I met great people – I came back with tons of friends.”
For more information or to fill out an application, visit their Web site at www.wdwcollegeprogram.com.
Marta Rusek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org