Disney will recruit students from Mesa Community College(MCC) throughout March 22nd for paid internships at Disneyland and Disney World. The internship allows students 24/7 access to the park, provides college credits and enables networking opportunities inside some of largest theme parks in the world.
“We started this little over 15 years ago here at Mesa Community College, and since that time, we’ve had over 350 interns participate,” Dr. Linda D Collins, Disney coordinator for MCC, said.
Students accepted in to the program must travel to either California or Florida for one of the many jobs available at the parks. The size of Disney world is 40 square miles, the same size as San Francisco, California, so internships can vary widely from one student to another.
“You can either be a custodian, or retail, or fast food… we always tell our students, ‘don’t check all of them because the one you don’t want is the one you’ll get offered for,” Collins said.
The first year of internship to get students familiar with the day-to- day operators of the theme park. Professional marketing, management and business internships are available to participants who complete their entry level job straining. This style of training traces back to Walt Disney himself.
“Walt always wanted everyone to start at the foundation and really learn about the business,” Collins said.
Participants in the Disney leadership program often change their career after the experience. Originally a veterinary sciences major, Shane Siebold changed his career path to public relations after his experience at Disney.
“Professionally developing myself through networking and resume building,” Siebold said. “Those were the things that really impacted me to pursue a professional career.”
Siebold now promotes the internship program with another former MCC student, Kaylynn Watson. Watson has completed one internship and had almost completed a second before a family emergency occurred and she could no longer continue. The experiences she garnered during her time with Disney built her into the person she is today.
“I used to make my mom ask where the bathroom was before going to Disney. I was that shy,” Watson said. “But now I don’t have a problem with any of that, and that all comes from having to be open to guests.”
Watson and Siebold both attest to the power of networking at the internship. Disney CEOs place their personal business cards on boards near the dorms for any intern interested in shadowing, learning or just having lunch with a superior.
“They’ve been in the same spot as you,” Siebold said. “Being able to relate to them, I think that’s what really drove me.”
Interns at either Disney World or Disneyland also gain access to the parks anytime outside their working hour. They receive up to six credits at MCC for their participation in the program, and honors students can use the internship as part of their requirements for graduation.
The application process to join the Disney leadership program is open until March 22nd, 2019. Individuals who are interested in learning more about the program can contact Jessica Bradford or Dr. Linda D. Collins in the library. You can also find the program on the MCC website under the business information systems division.