As students filed into Trustees Theater on February 19th and Disney’s “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride” song hummed through the speakers, the room exploded with claps and cheers as the screen lit up with “Disney Professional Internships.”
Just a few minutes later, at 8 p.m., the music was cut and the lights were dimmed as three women took to the stage. Peter Weishar, SCAD’s Dean of Entertainment Arts, stayed on the main floor, starting off the event with a few little questions.
“How many of you have watched a Disney movie?” Hands flew up. “How many of you have been to a Disney park?” This time, people yelled in excitement.
“Disney,” Weishar went on, “Is the most successful entertainment media the world has ever known.” He called it an “incredible creative force,” and plenty of like-minded students agreed. With that kick-start of enthusiasm, he handed the floor over to the guest speakers.
The women on stage introduced themselves – Kathy O’brien (Disney Recruiter), Carol Boyle (ESPN Creative Director), and Melissa Bruehl (Disney Recruiter).
Melissa Bruehl, a graduate from the University of Iowa, starting working for Disney right out of college in 2002 when she moved to Florida and got a job at the front desk of the Polynesian Resort. Why go to so much trouble?
“What better place is there to work than Disney?”
Now Bruehl is a recruiter, looking for talent from the next – from our – generation.
“It’s an entertainment company. It’s not just about the theme parks, not just about the cruises.” Bruehl stressed that Disney wasn’t just looking for artists, but for every major and every field. “We’ve got marketing internships, internships for engineering…”
She explained that Disney internships range by season, and they can last as little as three months or as long as 12. You have to be flexible – be ready to work late hours and skip holidays with the family. She reminded the audience that Disney is open all year long, 365 days a year.
Kathy O’brien, another Disney Recruiter, explained that she focuses on selecting interns for the Walt Disney Imagineer Internships. These typically run from June to January, and they’re open to students up to twelve months after graduation.
“The ‘story’ runs through everything that we do and everything that we touch,” O’brien said. In an Imagineer internship, students are responsible for the concept, from concept initiation to the actual installation. Recent projects include Carsland, Aulani Resort, The Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy cruise ships, and Golden Oaks.
“When people see ‘Imagineering,’ they think ‘engineering.’ This is a misconception.” There are 140 roles within Imagineering, roles like ‘writers’ and ‘architects.’ Sadly, while there is a role for everyone, there isn’t nearly enough room for everyone.
“I choose one intern out of every two hundred applications or so,” Obrien answered when a student asked about the selection process.
But hey, don’t let that stop you. Maybe Disney’s ESPN has room for you. Carol Boyle, who joined ESPN “15 to 10 years ago,” commented that she currently works “with six to seven SCAD alumni.”
As ESPN’s Creative Director, Boyle overseas strategic design and “keeps ESPN on brand.” She works hand in hand with Production Development, a department that specializes in things like production teasers and music videos – lots of brand identity go into it. And with “Graphic Design all over” the place, this might be the right workplace for the artistically inclined.
SCAD, meet ESPN.
As the lecture drew to a close, the Q&A started, earning students some exact answers about Disney Internships:
- All Disney internships are paid
- Internships require you to physically be on location
- You’re required to have reliable transportation (get a car)
- There is no busywork – just work to help get the project done
- New internships “pop up” every semester
If you missed this lecture, don’t fret! You can always go to the Disney Professional Internships website, or come to our next meeting and chat with SCAD Mouseketeer members who attended. See you there!