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A Comprehensive Guide to the Disney Internship

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Walt Disney Company, Disney in short, is the best purveyor of legendary family entertainment experiences since the 20th century. It also holds one of the country’s largest internship programs.

The Disney internship gives opportunities for participants to work at Disney World or Disneyland.

Knowing the ins and outs of this program is vital for interested high school and college students.

Hence, we put this comprehensive guide for your reference.

Does Disney Have an Internship Program?

Walt Disney Imagineering has an incredible internship program that allows participants to get paid and earn academic credit.

Interns will work alongside Imagineers to gain experiences and insights about the company.  

Types of Internships Program Offered by Disney

Three of the programs mostly available for students are:

  • Disney College Program: It offers front-line roles throughout Walt Disney World Resort and other guest-facing locations. A Disney College Program participant may work on attractions, food and beverage services, and more.
  • Disney Professional Internship: This type of internship is more career-oriented. It spans multiple backstage support roles, including marketing, engineering, sales, and more.
  • Disney Culinary Program: Culinary arts students can take part in this program. They’ll work in areas such as quick service, catering, fine dining, and even annual festivals at EPCOT.

How Many Interns Does Disney Have?

According to NBC News, around 8,000 college interns come to work at Disney World each year.

The number may differ depending on the job availability.

Disney Internship Positions

Disney programs offer a variety of opportunities for interns. Here are some of the positions they can fill:

  • Entertainment
  • Lodging
  • Food and beverage
  • Operations
  • Recreation
  • Retail/sales
  • Broadcast journalism
  • Business
  • Disney Parks Animal Program
  • Engineering and technology
  • Finance
  • Graphic design
  • Marketing

What Does an Intern at Disney Do?

Interns at Disney do shadowing, seminars, and real work experiences in and out of the parks and resorts.

Often, they work a full-time schedule. Then, they get to enjoy the Disney experience on their off days.

What Does an Intern at Disney Usually Focus On?

Since there are hundreds of opportunities at Disney, the task of interns can vary.

Yet, the one thing they focus on is ensuring that guests will get the best experience during their stay.

That includes ensuring the safety and comfort of the guest and creating magical moments with them.

Who Does Disney Target for Internships?

Disney targets currently enrolled students and recent graduates within the past six months.

They should be taking courses or have finished their studies at an accredited school.

The Disney internship is also open for former participants of the Disney College Program.

What Is a Disney Internship Like?

An internship at Disney is short yet meaningful.

Interns will take part in career development programs and learn from experienced professionals.

They’ll have on-the-job experience that’ll help them develop relevant skills like communication and problem-solving.

Disney Internship Process

Here’s a quick look at what you’ll go throughion the Disney internship program:

  • Application: Select your preferred internship and complete the application process.
  • Acceptance: Review the offer and indicate acceptance.
  • DORM Registration: This is required whether or not the intern plans to stay in the company-sponsored housing.
  • Training: Interns will attend career training courses.
  • On-the-job experience: Interns will do actual work on the roles assigned to them.

Is It Hard to Intern at Disney?

Internships at Disney may be hard, especially for roles that require interns to stand on their feet for hours while serving guests.

Disney interns do actual work, so just like regular jobs, their roles may be difficult and tiring at times.

However, the majority of interns enjoy what they’re doing, so they don’t think their internship at Disney is hard at all.

What Notable Projects Can Interns Potentially Work On?

Projects differ per department.

Technology interns can work on designing websites, for example.

Some engineering interns can take part in designing the profiles of new machinery.

Interns at Animal Science and Environment may film the behavior of animals. Then, content production interns will have opportunities to film special events.

How Many Hours Do Disney Interns Work?

Interns may work 30–50 hours per week on regular days and more than 50 hours per week on peak seasons.

Hence, all participants should have full work availability.

Disney Internship Benefits

Every Disney intern will get complimentary admission, discounts, and exclusive sneak previews of new attractions and events.

You also get to experience magical moments from time to time.

Plus, you’ll meet leaders, build connections, and learn a lot from the career and professional development programs.

What Do You Learn in an Entertainment Internship?

Being an intern at a world-class entertainment company like Disney gives you unique learning experiences vital to your future career.

You’ll learn to become independent, imaginative, and creative.

With the huge scope of the entertainment industry, it can give you the best internship opportunities.

Are Disney Interns Paid?

Yes, the Disney program is a paid internship.

Aside from the discounts interns get, they also get paid at an hourly rate, and it’s usually sent every Thursday.

How Much Are Disney Interns Paid?

Disney interns get an average wage.

For those working in communications, they get $10–$15 per hour.

Interns in the marketing department get $18, while technical interns get around or above $20.

Requirements for Getting an Internship at Disney

Here are the requirements to become part of the Disney internship program:

  • At least 18 years of age with an unrestricted U.S. work authorization
  • Currently enrolled, taking classes, or have recently graduated from an accredited U.S. college or university
  • Complete at least one semester
  • Meet the school’s requirements

Disney Internship Acceptance Rate

Of the thousands of people applying for an internship at Disney per year, around 20% are lucky to get accepted.

It’s important to prepare well and give your all from the start of the application process.

Suggested Areas of Study for Disney Interns

If you’re searching for an internship opportunity, we suggest these areas of study:

  • Technology: Work on technology projects that fuel the innovation at Disney Company.
  • Marketing: Design campaigns that’ll drive market success.
  • Communication: Research and manage ad-hoc projects.
  • Data Science: Develop data structures.
  • Operations: Work on projects and build positive relationships with clients and guests.

Does Disney Care About GPA?

Disney doesn’t care about GPA since it’s not included in the list of requirements.

However, you’ll have to meet your institution’s requirements, and this may include getting a cumulative GPA.

Recommended Skills for Disney Interns

Generally, Disney is looking for interns who are energetic, self-motivated, and with a high sense of responsibility.

You’ll also need to have strong written and verbal communication skills to effectively deal with various types of people.

Does Disney Background Check Their Interns?

Yes, Disney requires interns to take a background check when hired.

Interns will go through a digital fingerprint to save their fingers from getting inked for the rest of the day.

Does Disney Drug Test Their Interns?

Disney requires drug testing for specific roles.

Participants will have their drug screening pre or post their arrival and will need to complete it on the deadline provided.

Do Disney Interns Get Hired?

Some interns who took part in the Disney internship program have been lucky to get hired full-time.

Whereas, others chose to pursue higher education and different career paths.

How Likely Will an Internship at Disney Turn Into a Full-Time Job?

Disney interns have a good chance of getting a full-time job since they’ve already gained experience and have built connections inside.

However, it’s not guaranteed because professional job vacancies can fill quickly.

It’s important that you network with the people you work with. Then, aim for the right timing.

How Do I Get an Internship at Disney?

To get an internship, you’ll have to be diligent in searching for opportunities, apply in your area of interest, and prepare to ace the interview.

Here’s a more detailed preview of how to get an internship at Disney.

Where to Find Disney Internship Opportunities

You can find Disney internship opportunities on Indeed and LinkedIn. Yet, the best way is to search for jobs on Disney Careers.

Internships are available based on school terms and business needs. If there aren’t openings in your area of interest, you can sign up to receive job alerts.

Interview for a Disney Internship

You’ll have your interview over the phone or via Zoom.

During the interview, they’ll ask questions about your life experiences and how you can contribute to the role you’re applying for.

So, do your assignment—learn more about yourself and the company.

What Should I Wear to a Disney Internship Interview?

Just like other interviews, you’ll have to dress smart and professional.

Plus, it’s important to wear a pleasant smile. After all, you’re applying for a company that provides guest service.

How to Answer “Why Do You Want to Work at Disney?”

Show your motivation, interest, and affinity with the company.

Express your knowledge about Disney—that Disney is more than just movies and the parks, it’s also about creating magical moments.

Show how you love to take part in that purpose and pass on the magical spirit to the next generation.

How Do I Prepare For a Disney Internship?

First, manage your expectations.

The salary you’ll get working as an intern at Disney may not be enough to make a living. Hence, you should prepare some extra money.

Then, plan flights and accommodations ahead of time.

Get acquainted with the culture and learn more about the company and the role you’ll be playing.

Is Disney a Good Internship?

With Disney’s high standard of employment and world-class image, interns can get a competitive edge when they apply for other jobs.

This enough makes Disney a good internship.

Plus, you can take part in career workshops and make the most out of your stay in the magical world of Disney.

Is an Internship at Disney Worth It?

Depending on how you manage your expectations, a Disney internship may be worth it.

Many who have finished their internship are beyond grateful for the learning and experiences.

However, due to the low hourly rate, cost of participation, and weekly housing payment, others think otherwise.

Similar Programs to Check Out

If you’re not certain about applying for an internship at Disney, you can explore other opportunities.

Getting insights about externship vs. internship, for example, can help you decide whether a short-term or longer-term experience is better for you.

Facebook Internship

Facebook, one of the leading social networking sites in the world, also offers internships lasting up to 12 weeks.

To apply for a Facebook internship, check the listed opportunities on their Career page. Then, click the Apply Now button to apply.

Salesforce Internship

Salesforce is a big enterprise software company, similar to Google and Microsoft. It also offers a wide range of opportunities for interns.

You’ll see open opportunities for Salesforce internships on their website.

You can also reach out to a headhunter from the company, or get in touch with recruiters via LinkedIn.

Nike Internship

The Nike internship program provides a world-class experience for summer interns.

The company’s internship program allows interns to explore the intersection of Nike businesses.

This includes fashion, design, retail, e-commerce, technology, finance, legal, sustainability, and more.

To apply, go to Nike’s page, click on Apply Now, and submit your resume.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here’s a quick answer to two frequently asked questions about Disney’s internship program:

Does Disney Hire International Students?

Yes. An international student studying in the United States is welcome to apply and participate in the Disney College Program.

Securing proper visa sponsorship from the college or university is a must.

Interested students outside the United States can also apply via the Disney International Program.

Does Disney Require a Cover Letter?

Most of the positions don’t require a cover letter.

However, you may include one as it’s a great opportunity to add up to what you’ve stated in your resume.

Communication-type roles, such as journalism, will have to submit a cover letter.

Wrapping Up

A Disney internship is a one-of-a-kind experience, especially for people who have a strong affinity with the company.

However, this internship may not be worth it for some who are looking to save money.

Luckily, there are other internship programs out there—like the Facebook internship—that offer quality internships and better pay.

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