“I’m going to Disney World!”

Black Hawk College was the first community college to participate in Disney’s College Intern Program twelve years ago. Since then, Bruce Storey, from Career Services in Building 1, has helped nearly 140 students make their way through to the ‘Happiest Place on Earth’.

Each semester there is a short application period of about six weeks, which consists of an online application, an internet questionnaire, and a phone interview. Storey will walk the applicants through these first two steps. While he cannot sit with the applicant through the final step, he does prep them for it, knowing approximately what will be asked and how the student should act and respond during the phone interview.

The success rate for applicants to get in via Black Hawk College is higher than the national success rate for getting in, Storey maintains. Annually about 50,000 to 60,000 students apply for about 4,000 positions.

This semester, 14 BHC students applied to the Disney College Intern Program. Eight of those students will be going to Disney next semester.

Storey pointed out that the work there is very difficult, with interns working a good 40 hours per week. However, when not working, they can participate in any of the park venues for free, and can even have passes for family and friends. The program also offers free college classes while there. One of the best aspects of Disney training is that it looks fantastic on the resume. Students rarely have trouble finding a job when they have the Disney internship listed with their experience.

Another advantage of being a Disney College Intern is the opportunity to learn from one of the best companies in the world, as Storey puts it. He explained that it is a broad company, encompassing ESPN, ABCtv, and other entertainment organizations. In addition, only former college interns can go back and apply for the Professional Intern Program.

Does all of this sound too good to be true? Okay, there is a small catch. Students who go will delay graduation by a semester in order to go to Florida. But Storey exclaims, “It’s so worth it!”

A personal fanatic of Disney, Storey has visited there 29 times, specifying that their above-and-beyond customer service keeps him going back.

“The funniest thing to do,” he commented, “is to stand in the middle of Main Street and look confused. A cast member will be with you shortly.”

He explained that part of the training all Disney staff members receive, including the college interns, is to see a need and act on it.

Among their strict guidelines, Disney does not want interns with visible tattoos or piercings (girls can only have one piercing in each ear) or hair that has been colored. Other than that, they seek any applicant who is friendly and outgoing, is personable, and of course, loves Disney.

Former Disney interns from Black Hawk report that their favorite experience is getting to meet people from literally all over the world. Their cultural horizon is broadened, and as Storey puts it, “They all get to make magic!”

Hailey Turner is a current student at Black Hawk College. She had never been to Disney World before, so when she saw the posters around campus about the Disney Intern program, she made her way to Career Services to talk about the opportunity. She applied on a whim, was accepted, and spent last semester at Disney working in quick service, or in other words, fast food.

“It’s hard work,” remarked Hailey, “but the guest experience is like nothing you find anywhere else.”

She recommends the Disney Intern Program for everyone, commenting that the training revolves entirely around the guests. “You don’t get training like that at any other job around here.”

Hailey enjoyed her experience so much that she applied again and is among the eight BHC students going down there in January.

The application period for next semester is already closed, however, be ready in January to apply for the following semester. Mr. Storey encourages students to get in and apply early rather than late to ensure the likelihood of securing a spot at the “Happiest Place on Earth”.