To summarize DCP’s mission: “We saw your potential, and we’re going to make you see it when you leave.”
By Alexander Huynh, communication studies and critical diversity studies major
Going into my senior year, I have the opportunity to connect and learn from my peers thriving in their internships. I enjoy listening about to my peers about their experiences, so future generations of students can learn how to network in their roles. Students have the opportunity to learn how passion, education and work are interconnected in an internship. This is why I interviewed Meghan Rice, who participated in the Disney College Program (DCP). I am glad I wrote about Rice’s experience in the following interview.
Rice and Allie are sisters of Kappa Alpha Theta from two different chapters, and they found each other at DCP.
Q: Could you tell me about yourself?
A: I am a senior in the communication studies program, and I have an emphasis in public relations. I am a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, women’s club soccer and the Honors Program in Humanities. After completing the Disney College Program, I worked at the Disney Store.
Q: When was the first moment you realized you had a passion for Disney?
A: It really started with my parents because they have been going to Disneyland at least once a year since they were in high school. They raised me and my sister on Disney, but I realized I wanted to work for the company during junior year of high school. First, I thought I wanted to go into the Navy, and then I wanted to be a movie director. It was a weird jump, but I realized I wasn’t that passionate about film. I had been talking to my dad, and he said that I am passionate and knowledgeable about Disney, so I should do something with Disney.
Q: What did the application process look like?
A: I researched the program until I was eligible to apply. I read blogs and watched videos about working at Disney. I applied August 2016. The application required basic information. There was an online component, which was a 40-minute questionnaire, and I had about 20 seconds to answer each question. These responses demonstrated decision-making skills and if candidates would consistently stand by their decisions. The last part was a phone interview. I can remember how excited I was when I got accepted into the program, and I can say this one of the best days of my life.
Q: Could you describe your experiences from moving and working full time?
A: It was terrifying because I was accustomed to living in Northern California, but at the same time I was already familiar with Anaheim. My family helped me move in, and I met one of my roommates, who was in the same sorority as I. A couple of days later, we had Traditions, which is Disney’s version of orientation. We learned about how cast members made magic in the parks and what they have contributed. Our Traditions leaders asked us what does being a Cast Member mean to us. They emphasized in the beginning that this program is going to change you, and you are not going to be the same person as when you first entered. Lastly, they said, “We saw your potential, and we’re going to make you see it when you leave.”
We worked morning shifts that were eight hours. I worked in Autopia, so my main responsibilities were doing safety protocol checklists, preparing the attraction and interacting with guests. My classes helped me understand different people better and how to communicate with them.
Q: What is your biggest takeaway from DCP?
A: My biggest takeaway was working on the Guardians of the Galaxy opening campaign as a communication, public relations and media representative. Only five college participants were selected. I worked with the press and escorted them through Disney California Adventure. I got them the footage they needed and answered their questions. I realized I had to be detail-oriented, and I connected this project with what we learned in our public relations classes. It was nerve-wracking, but memorable.
Q: What is your advice for people applying for the DCP?
A: Do your research, ask questions and use your network. You can contact me if you have any questions about DCP too. Remember, it will be worth it at the end.
I think Rice’s experience shows us how diligence and networking can get you into your dream internship. Rice is an inspirational peer and leader. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for her.