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Disney Internship a Dream Come True

Zhane Adams is spending the spring semester of her junior year living a lifelong dream. She is participating in the Disney College Program, working at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

“I have always loved Disney, from the movies to the music and, of course, the parks, so I had a dream to be a Disney cast member for a long time. It was the reason I applied to Mitchell College in the first place. The Disney College Program requires at least one completed semester of college, and I had heard amazing things about Mitchell’s Hospitality and Tourism program. The classes set students up to learn about different areas of the hospitality field to find out what does and doesn’t interest them,” Zhane said.

While her quest to experience working for Disney landed her at Mitchell College, her Mitchell coursework has set her up for success as she works in her Disney internship.

“One class that I apply every single day is Quality Service. Especially at Disney, you learn from Day 1 that you are part of a show. Every single cast member, whether on stage or behind the scenes, helps the show go on. Guests come to Disney for the experience and to have some magic brought into their lives. Our motto at Disney is ‘We create happiness!’ I was already familiar with creating experiences for guest because we learned about it in my class – often using Disney as an example because they do it best!”

Zhane typically works 40 hours per week as a houseperson, supporting the housekeeping process and making sure it’s “in tip-top shape to ensure safety to all of our Walt Disney World guests and cast members.” She also works as a runner, doing pick-ups and deliveries of items like towels, cribs and luggage racks for housekeepers and guests. Occasionally she is “deployed,” or assigned to other locations around Walt Disney World to work.

“Deployments can be a challenge and nerve-wracking because you feel like you are starting over again,” she said. “I have been sent out on two deployments so far, but if you go in with an open mind, every deployment is a learning experience and a great opportunity to see more of Disney and the way other resorts run.”

Another challenge for Zhane, who is a commuter student at Mitchell, has been getting used to doing an internship so far from home.

“Connecticut is definitely not in Florida’s backyard, but nobody does hospitality like Disney does, and I knew when I started Mitchell that this is where I wanted to do my internship. I love getting the opportunity to meet and network with new people and gain knowledge in resort life at a beautiful place like the Wilderness Lodge. I have met a lot of great friends at my home resort, and I enjoy going to work.”

“Of course,” she added, “working for Disney comes great employee perks, like getting into the parks for free! So, on days off being able to explore the parks is an amazing opportunity. There are some days I can work in the morning, and as soon as I clock out I can be in the park 30 minutes later. It’s the definition of ‘Work hard, play harder’.”

Zhane said that she has found parallels between some of the Mitchell Abilities that she has practiced in her Mitchell coursework and The Five Keys that Disney cast members follow: Safety, Efficiency, Show, Inclusion and Courtesy.

“Courtesy and Inclusion are the two Disney keys that remind me the most of the Mitchell Abilities. Working for Disney is an endless opportunity to work with people from all over the world of different cultures, ethnic backgrounds, ages and abilities. Problem Solving, Diversity/Global Perspectives and Social Interactions are Mitchell Abilities that I use every day, whether I am interacting with guests, making a plan to answer five runner calls at once or dealing with other last-minute changes in my job.”

Zhane is grateful for the combination of the small class sizes at Mitchell that helped her focus on her goals and the relationships she made with professors and advisors who encouraged her to pursue her internship dream.

“This internship has made clear that I am in the right field and has opened my eyes to how many options there are for a career in hospitality. Mitchell is an amazing stepping stone in a student’s journey to the rest of their life. It’s somewhere you can find your passions, while building professional relationships along with friendships that can last you a lifetime! “