For most, having the opportunity to be a part of the Disney Internships and Programs family in any capacity is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For Kim, it has been a “three in a lifetime” experience thus far! Beginning her journey on the Disney College Program as a merchandise cast member, Kim has participated in two Disney College Programs prior to her current role: a Disney Professional Intern at the Disney Service Center! Throughout all of her experiences, Kim has been given the opportunity to see The Walt Disney Company from different lenses. The insight she has gained along the way is nothing short of excellent. Kim’s Disney journey has been nothing short of magical, and she is just getting started!
Tell us a little bit about your Disney College Program roles:
My first internship was Fall Advantage 2014 in Merchandise. I was lucky enough to be placed in the Emporium on Main Street, U.S.A. Yes, the hours were so long and late, but they were all so full of magic. You get to see the excitement on everyone’s faces when they see the castle for the very first time, and you get to help them pick out their last memory before they leave. It was such a rewarding place to work, and I became so close with the other program participants. How could you not when you were working so late together? I also had the opportunity during this time to work for the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. It was such a treat to be able to work in more than one place during my time here because that usually only happens if you decide to extend your program. I met even more wonderful people that I still stay in contact with now.
My second internship was Fall 2016 in merchandise as well. I was placed in Future World in Epcot. It was completely different than my first program. Instead of working in a really large, compact, busy place, I was spread all around Epcot in multiple, much smaller stores. It was still just as rewarding though! Nothing is better than having a guest come off of Soarin’ (because who doesn’t think Soarin’ is amazing?) looking for a shirt because they had such a good time. Or when someone is scared to ride Test Track, but come off (the attraction) proud that they were brave enough to go on…and they wind up purchasing their picture to save the special moment.
Both programs were unique and have special places in my heart for different reasons.
What did you learn during your College Program that made you feel more prepared for your Professional Internship?
One of the most important things I learned throughout my program is how to be flexible and just go with the flow. That’s something that I’ve taken with me to every job I’ve had since. When I was approached to do the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, I was a little apprehensive but said yes anyway. I am so glad I did, it exposed me to a whole host of different styles of teaching, managing, and even with guest interactions. Whenever I was asked to extend a shift or come in on my day off, I would say yes. Doing this helped strengthen my relationships and trust with my leaders and coordinators, who were able to guide me in the right direction for my goals. It also provided me with more opportunities to learn, which is always important – you can never learn too much! Having that flexible and open mindset has helped me conquer challenges that I’ve been exposed to now in my professional internship, which in turn has helped me able to treat each participant and problem individually.
Is there any advice you would give to those who hope to move from the Disney College Program to a Disney Professional Internship?
Be open to everything, accept feedback, and keep trying. It’s competitive, and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t. Letting yourself be vulnerable is part of the experience, which can be so scary, but don’t let your fear hold you back. Something that will definitely help you stand out is being open to feedback. Ask your leaders what you can work on, and then actively work on those things. It’s one of the best ways to grow! Finally, be willing to try again. Sometimes you may want something so badly, be qualified for it, and it just doesn’t work out. Take a moment to reflect on everything, and then work toward applying again. This company has so many opportunities for you, never give up your chances for success.
Where would you like to see yourself going next in your Disney journey?
That’s a question I’ve been getting so much! I’m always up for an adventure. I really love what I’ve learned so far from the Disney Service Center and the cast here. I really hope to keep learning and growing over the next few months of this internship and see where that takes me. There are so many opportunities to work for Disney and its affiliates all over the world, so I’m keeping all options open! While I don’t know where I might end up, I’m so grateful for what I’ve been able to experience so far.