Hello Knights! My name is Kaitlyn Corrigan, I am a rising Junior at Mount Saint Mary College, majoring in Information Technology with a concentration in Elementary Education. I recently completed a Disney College Program (DCP) internship in Orlando, Fla., with the Walt Disney Company.
I have always wanted to be a part of the DCP since I was in middle school. When I applied in early October 2021, I didn’t really think I would get in because there is only a 20% acceptance rate. Then I got to go through multiple WBIs, Web Based Interviews. Soon enough, I got the email that brought the awesome news that I was accepted!
Internship role and duties
Once I got accepted, I had no idea what location I would be working in. About two weeks before you move in, you find out your role. An internship with Disney requires that you are able to work in any role without issues or complaints. I could have been placed in locations like Food and Beverage, Custodial, Quick Service, Entertainment, Attractions, Hospitality, among others.
I ‘made magic’ as a safari guide at the Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction in Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World. I was so excited and surprised to be able to get this role! Being a safari guide is a little bit different than most internships. I drove a safari truck during a 20 minute tour that meanders through 40 different species of African animals. During this tour I acted as a guide, educating three dozen guests about the giraffes, hippos, lions, baby rhinos, and other animals we encountered along the way. The safety of my guests was my paramount responsibility while navigating over rough terrain, in a less-than-agile truck that weighs over 10 tons. I did all of this for up to eleven hours a day.
In addition to my driving duties I also pitched in where needed. I helped group guests onto the truck, welcomed guests into the attractions, and maintained technology such as the Lightning Lane hardware. I also had to manage and navigate sensitive topics and tense interactions always with a calm and respectful demeanor. I learned how to be comfortable in a fast-paced environment while focusing on multiple aspects at once, to ensure a successful and entertaining operation. I was responsible for memorizing and recalling long portions of scripts, regulations, safety procedures, and guidelines as well as being able to teach others. I also learned how to be able to comfortably speak to very large groups of people. Everyday I went through a different experience because “no two safaris are the same and the animals make sure of that.”
What I have learned
In the Disney College Program, participants can take classes of their choosing. There are many to choose from, but I decided to take classes in leadership and networking. These classes last for weeks at a time and I have benefited so much from them. The classes are taught by high up leadership positions in the company, on the education team. I learned a lot, but the main purpose of the classes is to provide dedication, confidence, compassion, advocacy, and of course to create happiness anywhere you hold a leadership position.
While working the long hours for a couple months, I have really learned the importance of connections with other people. This could be coworkers, leaders in Disney, or Disney guests. You never know where an opportunity will come from and you just have to keep going. As Walt Disney once said, “If you can
dream it, you can do it.” I even got to have a quick meeting with Jeff Vahle, president of Walt Disney World, and he gave me advice for my future careers.
How I will use what I learned in the future
My internship has opened my eyes to so many different positions and pathways I want to take for my future career. I have had a full time job opportunity to fully understand and educate thousands and thousands of guests about things I am passionate about, creating happiness for them.
In my classroom I want to do the same thing: Create happiness, inspire imagination and wonder, and do the impossible. I want to teach my students all about the possibilities they can accomplish.
I have been very passionate about leadership, especially in college. I love to be involved and pursue higher positions in leadership. Being in the leadership class I have learned how to contain my passion.
I took this internship to have a unique experience. I have made life long friends across the country, and around the world. Having this internship opportunity has created so many unique memories that I will never forget. I lived in Disney, and got to go to the parks everyday, on and off shift, seeing the magic that is created.
This is a paid internship with lots of benefits such as free park admission and discounts on other Disney parks, cruises, merchandise, food, and hotels! The internship hours ranged between 30-60 hours a week, while working multiple days in a row with possible days off. Also, housing is offered for Disney College Program Interns at Flamingo Crossings Village, it is a dorm style apartment suite with 41 buildings, many hosted activities, community centers, and four pools and hot tubs!
Disney provided me with a world-class internship experience. I have learned so much from this internship that I will cherish forever. Disney was where I wanted to be; maybe you have another place in mind. Regardless of what your dream is, my advice for anyone considering any type of internship is to go for it. The best way to predict the future is to create it. An internship in college will help bring you clarity to what your future may look like. Internships will help you find out if you’re on the right path for what you want your future to become.
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths,” Walt Disney.
See ya real soon, Knights.