UCF student lands internship at the Happiest Place on Earth
For hospitality event management major Jordyn Sleek, Walt Disney World has always offered a lifetime full of magic. Her first visit to Disney World was at eight months old; since then, she has visited well over one hundred times. Now, Sleek will be visiting more often because she is an intern in the Disney College Program.
“I’ve only been a cast member for a little over a week, and working for Disney is already a dream,” Sleek said.
According to Disney Careers, the Disney College Program is a way for students to live, learn and earn. Participants have the opportunity to live in housing located near Walt Disney World while attending Disney University and exploring the details of how Disney is operated as a business. Throughout their time in a diverse learning and working environment, interns are also paid for their work.
Every semester, thousands of students from all over the world apply, but only a small fraction are selected. Feeling shocked and lucky from her acceptance, Sleek is looking forward to being a cast member of Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom.
“Since I grew up in the parks, I experienced so much of that special Disney Magic; I was ready to be a part of creating that magic for guests,” Sleek said. “I can’t think of a better company to gain experience and learn from…than Disney World.”
Unlike Sleek, Sam Hamilton, a former Walt Disney World cast member, never dreamt about working at the “happiest place on earth.” As a hospitality major at the University of West Florida, Hamilton was only seeking an internship for her upcoming sophomore year.
“[Most incoming applicants] have been dreaming about this as a child. I only knew about it when I read it in my textbook and I applied the next day,” Hamilton said.
Despite having to sacrifice a lot of her time, Hamilton believes the Disney College Program has changed her life and taught her important life lessons.
“It taught me not to take life for granted… I saw a lot of kids with the Make a Wish Foundation and it made me appreciate life so much more,” Hamilton said. “Also, a lot of the families I was with probably were on their first and final trip, due to how much Disney costs.”
Hamilton successfully completed her internship in May of 2016 and says it was a magical experience.
As for Sleek, she hopes to continue working for Disney as a part time cast member after her internship ends. When she graduates from UCF in December, she wants a professional internship with Disney Fairytale Weddings, so she can continue to make magical memories for other Disney-goers.
“I don’t know where or who I’d be without Disney. There’s no words to describe my love for Disney, and it’s something most people never understand unless they feel that magic,” Sleek said. “Disney is so much more than just meeting the characters and riding rides… I think my love for Disney makes me a more positive person and makes me want to create magic every day.”
By Rachida Harper