Walt Disney World is regarded as one of the most magical places on earth. It’s a place “where dreams come true.” For one Notre Dame of Maryland University (NDMU) graduate, that dream involves experiencing the magic through the Disney College Program (DCP).
Communication Arts Major Jean Jun, a December 2017 graduate was lucky enough to be accepted into the DCP, and that is no easy feat. Formed in 1981, the DCP accepts students from all over the world, offering semester-long internships. The program is extremely competitive with more than 50,000 college students applying annually, with just 12,000 being accepted. The lengthy application process begins nearly five-months before the start of the program. For students in the United States they must have a resume, and complete a personality quiz and phone interview before being offered a position.
Jun says her acceptance process took about six weeks. In some ways, the program is similar to college life. The DCP provides housing and transportation to and from your internship and pairs you with roommates. With multiple areas where the students can work, the interns are able to experience a variety of jobs during their stay. However, just like college, it’s not always easy, “a difficult aspect would be the training. It was an all day, vigorous, two weeks with a 50 question test we must pass. We not only learned Disney's Four Keys (Safety, Courtesy, Show, Efficiency), we learned how to protect ourselves, and we learned all the rules of guest services such as the two-finger point,” says Jun.
Working as a merchandise cast member at one of the resorts, Jun was able to apply her communication skills taught at Notre Dame to her internship experience. She engaged with customers from all different backgrounds and experiences to provide excellent customer service, something Disney prides itself on. Some of the most memorable experiences for Jun were engaging with the guests and helping them create life-long memories. “I’m the Cast Member and I have the power to create magical moments for others. There was nothing better than seeing kids with the biggest smiles and parents with equally big smiles because they were both genuinely happy to be with each other.”
Everywhere Jun looked she could find a magical moment. Working at Disney surrounded by the characters creates experiences where one can interact with their favorites. Jun truly enjoyed seeing the behind-the-scenes part of the park, since cast members could witness, as she calls it, “magical moments backstage like Pluto comforting a stressed cast member after a rough day or Buzz Lightyear waving after a show.”
The DCP, which was recently ranked number 7 on Dice Insights Ideal Employer Ranking credits the company’s financial stability, strong corporate values, and being a leader in their industry for making it a success. Jun is just one of a handful of Notre Dame students to ever take part in the Disney College Program. As for her experience, she summed it up by simply saying, “I absolutely loved it and definitely want to go back.”
In addition to the actual internship, Disney offers free seminars and courses for its interns. Jun took part in the Environmentality (Environment + Mental) seminar, in which Cast Members talked about how they influence and work with others to save the world. At the end of the seminar, attendees receive a "Mouseters Degree" certificate.