Spotlight on Peter, Disney Hospitality Leadership Program participant
Meet Peter, a participant of the Disney Hospitality Leadership Program working at Disney’s Riviera Resort. Prior to this role, Peter completed a Disney College Program where he took part in many of the learning offerings available to participants. Learn more about Peter and how his Disney career was kicked off with a Disney Program!
When did you do the Disney College Program, and where did you work?
I started my College Program in June 2021 and extended my program through May 2022. I initially worked quick service food and beverage at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts. Then I applied for and received an offer for a College Program extension opportunity with Disney’s Premium Services: VIP Tours.
Why did you do the Disney College Program?
I chose the Disney College Program because it was a good stepping stone into the company. My dream is to be part of Disney’s creative marketing team, so I believed it was the perfect start to bridge my studies and what I would learn as a Program participant.
I admire the company’s values and mission of creating happiness. As a Disney College Program participant, I hoped to spark inspiration for others – whether guests or other cast members – and share the magic I grew up with.
What’s a favorite memory from your College Program?
My favorite memory involves going on a VIP Tour at the conclusion of my program! Bonus special memory: I had the opportunity to meet and greet so many celebrities during my time in the Disney Special Activities department, but one in particular stood out – it was great meeting Darren Criss, known especially for his role in the television show Glee as Blaine Anderson.
Tell us about your current role.
I am a merchandise and food and beverage leader at Disney’s Riviera Resort. I oversee the La Boutique merchandise shop in addition to the quick service locations: Le Petite Café, Primo Piatto and Bar Riva.
How did your program experience help you in your current role?
The College Program helped lay the foundation of what I know now as a leader. I developed not only hard skills but soft skills as well. Knowledge of Disney’s Five Keys help me daily to assist both my cast members and resolve anything that may come up for guests.
From experience, I also know how hard participants work, day in and day out. I can empathize and genuinely relate to my cast members, especially if they are having rough times. I’m a Program Champion now, and sometimes participants come to me with difficult concerns. Many things I can relate to, and therefore I’m able to discuss effective resolutions to such hardships. Having met so many people during my Program, I’m also able to help cast members effectively network.
I believe an attribute of a true leader is someone who can help others to achieve their goals. This is a difficult task, but one that is necessary in any company to continue thriving and advancing. With new ideas, I hope to continue daring to dream, create, and inspire others.
Tell me about the learning offerings you participated in on your Disney Program?
I took part in several learning offerings during my Program including networking opportunities, career advancement, resume building, practice one-on-one interviews, and so many more. One of my one-on-ones was with Jarel on the Programs Experience team. He helped me get back on my feet when I began losing hope in the direction my career was going. These were all very helpful resources, leading me to where I am now.
I also learned that networking and creating a brand for myself makes a huge difference. My social media pages, namely LinkedIn, have helped me advance my career. To this day, I make it a goal to reach out to two people a month to set up personal interviews. These interviews helped me learn how someone got to where they are and ascertain if certain roles fit me.
What advice would you share about the learning offerings on a Disney Program?
Register for all you can! There is so much value in what you learn. Who knows, you might one day be leading a class yourself – you can use what you learn to teach others as well.
What advice do you have for participants that want to build a career at Disney after their program?
Finish your degree and studies first. It will be useful and help you stand out. Disney is a company that is can be competitive – anything that sets you apart will help make a difference, including soaking in the skills and knowledge gained from the learning offerings.
This is a longstanding company, and it isn’t going anywhere. It will still be here for when you decide to apply for your dream role in the company.
Finally, look at your unique Disney name tag, and always remember why YOU decided to be a part of the magic. Always help others to dream, create, and inspire! Those memories, coupled with such a vision, will take you far.
We always say that the Disney College Program is just the beginning and a great way to start a career with Disney. It worked for Peter and can work for you, too! Visit DisneyPrograms.com to learn more about the Disney College Program and apply today.