The Most Magical Internship on Earth

The Most Magical Internship on Earth

"My degree exposed me to a variety of worldviews and new paradigms, and the subsequent examination of each course topic from those perspectives drove me to develop critical thinking skills that I sincerely wouldn’t have developed otherwise.”

With an acceptance rate between 1 and 3%, it’s one of the most competitive and coveted internships around. But for many students, an internship at Disney Parks is a dream come true. And that dream has come true for several UVU communication students and alumni.

Communication alum Amelia Thorn initially chose to pursue a communication degree based on the recommendation of her father and found that it was, indeed, the perfect fit for her. She loved her professors and praised them for pushing her to learn, asking her difficult questions, and motivating her to work hard.

When looking into internships to help bolster her resume, Thorn heard about a Disney audition coming to Salt Lake City. “I always wanted to work for Disney,” she said. “It was a silly little goal that I wrote down when I was 12 and stayed on my list for years and years. I was there, at the audition, shaking and nervous. I didn't know what could possibly happen, but then the best thing did. I was glad I was brave and went for something that scared me.”

During her time interning for Disney, Thorn found her education invaluable. “A communication degree will help you in ANY role, position, or job that you will ever have,” she said. “My role at Disney involved talking to families or groups of people for 30 seconds to one minute. I had one chance and limited time to give people a full experience, to make them feel the Disney magic, and then remember that interaction forever. I had to use very powerful communication skills in order to do that.”

To students interested in interning at Disney, Thorn recommends, “Be brave. Don't let your fears of not being good enough or not knowing enough get in your way. Know that if you carry magic within you, and you want to share that, then Disney is for you, and let that show in your interview. And know that working at Disney can also be difficult. It's still a job. Remember your motivations for working there daily, and you will have the best time possible.”

Brooke Fisher, another communication alumna, initially wanted to pursue an exercise science degree in order to become a nutritionist. As she got further into the program, she realized that the coursework bored her, especially with her outgoing personality. She decided she wanted to pursue a career in a creative field that would allow her to interact with a lot of people, “So, I switched to a communication degree and never looked back,” she said.

Fisher expressed a similar love for all things Disney from a young age. “I grew up loving Disney, and that hasn't slowed down. I like that Disney is a place where you can escape the real world for a day, and all is well. Even when things don't go right on your day at Disney, cast members always find a way to change that.”

Assigned to a guest interaction role during her internship, Fisher was able to implement communication principles. “As a cast member, saying, ‘I don't know’ to a guest was unacceptable. Walt Disney said it best himself, ‘You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.’ Cast members make the customer experience magical; it's not all about the special effects, no matter how awesome they are.”

Fisher highly recommends taking advantage of all the additional courses and resources Disney has to offer interns. “You can do some serious networking with Disney executives that no one else has access to. Look up emails for your specific dream job and reach out to them while you are interning. They respect interns because they once were interns for Disney!”

Current UVU communication student Glen Graham was also motivated to work for Disney, thanks to years spent frequenting the parks and seeing the magic they created. He said that his fascination with all things Disney extends to the history of the great man himself. “Walt Disney was a fascinating man, and I learned a lot about him and his legacy in animation, film, theme parks, and entertainment as a whole. Disney has been a passion for me my entire life.”

Thanks to the strong recommendation of several family members, Graham decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree at UVU after finishing his associate degree at Salt Lake Community College. “I really enjoy writing and discovered an interest in communications as I began digging into my classes,” he said. “A communication major presented a good fit with my strengths and interests. UVU provides a welcoming environment, with students who are dedicated to success in their degrees. The faculty and staff I have interacted with are one of the biggest benefits of an education at UVU. I have had a couple of professors take me under their wing and care about me as a person and not [as] just another student.”

Applying for internships and building connections was something that each Disney intern emphasized. “The benefit of doing an internship while at UVU is, and UVU pushes this so, so hard, is that hands-on experience is everything,” Thorn said. “An internship, unpaid or paid, is proving to somebody that I’m here, I’m learning, I’m willing to grow, I’m willing to learn from you, and someday I’m going to run this place.”

“Join PRSSA,” Fisher said. “I know that the fee might seem a little steep when you sign up, but the payout is worth it. My communication degree is so versatile, but ultimately the networking I did in college because of my degree was the most valuable. I was able to intern for a couple of companies solely because of UVU and PRSSA.”












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