Walt Disney World Resort®—the stuff that dreams are made of. But the happiest place on earth isn’t just a destination for visitors. Students from all around the world apply to the Disney College Program (DCP) for the chance to become part of the magic. For Nicole Andrews (M.A., Design Management), participating in the DCP led her to a Professional Internship with the Worldwide Safety Communications Department at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
Here’s Andrews with more on her journey:
SCAD: The Disney College Program has been around since the '90s, offering paid internships and opportunities to participate in career development workshops. What drew you to the program?
NA: One of my dreams has always been to work for the Walt Disney Company, whether for ABC, ESPN®, or Walt Disney Studios®. When thinking about working for Disney, I knew where I needed to start: Walt Disney World. I applied to the DCP as a way to fulfill my desire. I sought to better understand what it was like to work as a frontline Disney cast member. I wanted to understand how to make magic happen for thousands of people all over the world.
SCAD: The Professional Internships cover many areas, including engineering, business, finance, communication, marketing, human resources and several others. What part of the magic are you in charge of making?
NA: As a Professional Intern with Safety Communications, I am responsible for producing internal communications collateral that reaches 100,000 cast members each week to promote a culture of safety. I create infographics, which are shared internally via the Disney internal network for cast members. Unlike my role in the College Program, my current role is more internal and does not directly involve guests. I also help create communication plans and develop articles that are printed for the internal Disney magazine. My skills in design management and graphic design help me to effectively communicate topics around safety to cast members through Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
SCAD: After the DCP, the a Professional Internship is the "next step" in building a career with Disney. How did you take that step?
NA: Normally, one completes at least one DCP as an undergraduate. After that, one can apply for Professional Internships with Disney. These roles are more for the Disney cast to help the company backstage or to create new guest experiences.
I did not do a College Program while I was an undergrad. I previously applied for Professional Internships, but did not receive offers. So, I acknowledged I had a better chance of obtaining a professional internship with Disney by participating in the DCP.
Then, in one of my SCAD e-learning classes, I connected with a classmate who had participated and placed in the Walt Disney Imagineering Design Competition. She and I exchanged several emails until she invited me to meet her to learn more about what her department does for Disney. A couple weeks later, she told me she had an open spot for another professional intern and asked if I would like to interview. After, I received a call from the recruiter who worked with my classmate, offering a Professional Internship in Worldwide Safety Communications. I accepted the offer and transitioned to the new area.
SCAD: Sadly, the intership will eventually end. What's next for you?
NA: When my Professional Internship ends, I hope to receive an offer for a full-time role with the Walt Disney Company. I love working here and the culture that is built around each role and team. Every team plays an integral part in creating magical experiences for guests. Whether it is the newest Marvel® film or simply a custodial cast member providing directions to the nearest attraction, each role represents a part of the magical experience. But regardless when my internship ends, I know I developed skills that will help me in the future.