Disney internships await 13 GCU students in spring semester
By Rachelle Reeves
GCU News Bureau
As his friends sat in a stark classroom, Phoenix native Ryan Perkins was adjusting to the humidity of spring in Orlando, Fla. And still going to class.
Perkins, a Grand Canyon University transfer student from Paradise Valley Community College, had the chance to see the inner workings of Walt Disney World during his freshman year at PVCC as part of the Disney College Program. Since then, he has helped bring the internship program to the GCU campus.
Now 13 students will be the first directly from GCU to spend their spring semester as Disney interns.
The four-month internship provides an up-close look into Disney through career development courses, mainly in business. Interns have the opportunity to build a network with leaders of the company and to work inside the park in a variety of roles, from characters to food service employees.
Each course taken at Disney is worth three transferable credits, enabling students to graduate on time.
“This internship gives valuable experience you can’t get in a classroom,” Perkins said. “The classes taken while at the park are specific to the worldwide Disney Company, which teaches you a strong business model from the real world.”
Marquis Scott, director of internships for the Ken Blanchard College of Business at GCU, recommends that students focus on their studies for a year and a half before applying for the internship, which is offered only through accredited colleges.
“The program is aimed more toward business-related careers within the classroom aspect of the internship,” Scott said. “The program gives an opportunity to be exposed to the process and abilities of a worldwide company.”
Interns will live on the Disney park property either in Orlando or Anaheim, Calif. The choice of apartment- or dormitory-style housing gives students a chance to meet other Disney interns from around the world. As park employees, interns are able to work from 35 to 40 hours per week.
Celene Meraz, a sophomore majoring in business management, will attend the program in the spring in Orlando.
Meraz decided to apply for the internship to learn how a business such as Disney became successful.
“I knew that this internship would help me become a better business person and experience the beauty that makes up a company like Disney,” Meraz said. “I’m excited to see what God wants me to learn through this exciting journey.”
For GCU’s first year of Disney College Program interns, the humidity in Orlando figures to be the smallest part of the learning experience.