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CWU student interns at Disney World

Charlene Wilson, Staff Reporter - January 23, 2013

Central Washington University student Connie Wood is making her dreams come true.

Wood, senior nutrition major, lives in Orlando, Fla. working as an intern for the Disney Company. A lifelong fan of Disney, Wood learned about the Disney internships program from flyers around campus and in the Student Union and Recreational Center (SURC).

“The application process takes a few weeks,” Wood said.

To work as an intern, a student must be enrolled full time and maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0.

Once the main applications are sorted through and applicants are chosen, the next stage is a web-based interview, followed by a phone interview.

Out of these finalists, only 8 percent are selected to live in the happiest place on earth for one quarter.

Wood remembers when she received her congratulations email.

“I was so overwhelmed with shock and excitement that I screamed and dropped my phone to hug my friend right next to me,” Wood said.

After flying to Orlando and living with three other interns in Disney housing, Wood is still in the training part of the program.

“I’ve been going to training, then to Downtown Disney in the evening,” Wood said.

Disney interns get free admission to parks and rides, as well as other discounts and perks in the parks’ food establishments and merchandise shops.

University of Washington senior Lindsay Baumann attended the program in Florida last year.

“Depending on what your specific interest or major was, we would work right next to Disney’s employees and learn under their teachings,” Baumann said. “Working with the other fashion majors, we learned what goes into all the pajamas we wore when we were young.”

Interns must adhere to strict appearance regulations, which include no bright nail polish or facial piercings. Wood said she has even taken princess lessons from Aurora, the princess in “Sleeping Beauty.”

According to StaticBrain.com, The Walt Disney Company currently employs 133,000 people in 40 countries, and all of its employees must remain up to company standards on visual presentation.

Wood said the company goes to great lengths to keep the magic alive for everyone.
Interns also receive a behind-the-scenes view of Disney World, including tours of the park and meet-and-greets with characters.

Interns have the opportunity to play games with Alice, dance with Pluto and learn inside facts about the park.

Wood said she has seen how many of the classic and modern movies were produced, as well as daily operations of rides and the amount of work which characters go through before they are allowed into the park.

In a world where interns join Mickey Mouse for a pancake breakfast or share a cup of hot chocolate with Aladdin, it’s hard to imagine Wood ever wanting to come back to Ellensburg.

“It’s been warm, so any time we have free time we’re outside doing something,” Wood said.

Although she loves being able to wear shorts year-round, Wood does miss the snow and hiking in the Ellensburg area. She will be returning at the end of the quarter.

“Hearing about the program has opened up a lot of doors for me for possible employment with them in the future,” Wood said, although she does not plan on returning to Florida once she completes her internship.

After returning home, Baumann said she has applied much of what she learned to her schoolwork as she prepares to graduate in the spring.

“Living in Florida, on the opposite coast, and learning so much with my best friends was the greatest part of the internship,” Baumann said. “Everyone always says to do something you love, and I was fortunate to start my career with such a prestigious and successful company.”

The internship is available for students of all majors or fields of studies. For more information about the Disney internship, visit: www.disneycareers.com.



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