HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — It’s one thing to experience what’s known as the most magical place on Earth. But how would you like to be a part of making Disney magic? Applications are now open for the Disney College Program, an opportunity for college students and recent graduates to live, learn, and earn money at Walt Disney World in Florida.
The program allows participants to live at Flamingo Crossings Village, next to the Walt Disney World resort near Orlando, Florida for four to seven months. Students receive paid, on-the-job experience at the theme parks and can also sign up for classes to enhance their professional skills.
Alumni Brandon De Hoyos remembers the day he saw an advertisement for the Disney College Program while working for his campus newspaper as a journalism major in 2003.
“As someone who grew up really loving Disney storytelling, I knew I had to take that chance. Nothing can prepare you for the excitement or the advantages you get from this program until you’re there,” said De Hoyos. “Even if you don’t get the role that you necessarily desired, you’re going to get transferable skills that will last a lifetime.”
De Hoyos spent most of his time working in food and beverage at Magic Kingdom and said the experience exposed him to a diverse spectrum of cultures and perspectives.
“You have people from all walks of life speaking multiple languages, and they all kind of come together in this one place. You all are working together for the same goal, and that’s really to create magic each and every day. It’s a really special experience,” he said.
One of those people that De Hoyos met while in Florida and still keeps in touch is Heather Luckey, who now lives in Houston as well. She worked in hospitality and tourism management while participating in the Disney College Program, and now owns her own travel agency.
“The program had taught me the different skills that I needed to be successful in sales specifically but also in customer service. The training that we received is just top notch and it’s known all over the world,” said Luckey. “But you don’t have to be specifically going into hospitality and tourism. Disney gives you life skills. I knew a lot of parking lot attendants who were studying to become lawyers.”
De Hoyos made a full circle back to Disney in 2015, the parent company of ABC13, where he now works as our director of community engagement.
“One of the things that I really took away from the program is how to talk and build rapport with people in a really quick way. That’s really important, especially as a journalist. You want to learn how to make those connections,” he said.
Applicants for the Disney College Program must be at least 18 years old, enrolled at a college or university, or have graduated in the last 24 months. The deadline is April 9 for arrival dates between May and October.
To apply, visit the Disney College Program’s application page.
The Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of this ABC station.
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