My Time at the Happiest Place on Earth

Everyone’s college experience is different. You have the ability to take chances and experiment. The possibilities are endless.

An essay by Emily Hammer, WilmU student and career services assistant.

Emily Hammer at Florida’s Walt Disney World.
Emily Hammer at Florida’s Walt Disney World. Courtesy of Emily Hammer.

I took a leap of faith by participating in the Disney College Program at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts in Orlando, Fla., for the Spring 2016 semester. A variety of roles were offered, and I acquired a position in sales. That qualified me to work at any merchandise location in Walt Disney World. This was the first time I had experienced life away from my home in Maryland.

The Disney College Program allows participants to earn college credit while they work for Disney. They’re given the opportunity to network with leaders, build transferable skills such as problem solving, teamwork, guest service and effective communication, and develop solid connections with peers.

My favorite part of the program was working with fellow cast members and guests from all over the world. I remember one day, an elderly woman approached me like she needed help. She couldn’t speak English. That’s when I started doing my own version of sign language, trying to help her as best I could. We both ended up laughing — at me. Working as a Disney cast member taught me how valuable diversity is to our society. We’re all different, and that’s what helps create the magic.

A few more of my favorite takeaways include the lifelong friends I made, my work leaders, and just being able to work for one of the most highly respected organizations in the world.

I returned in May to continue pursuing my bachelor’s in Media Communications at WilmU.

I’m extremely thankful for this once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I encourage any student who loves change and adventure to apply. You never know where a little magic can take you! WU