Making Magical Moments: My Disney College Program Experience

jackie bassey pooh characters

By Jacqueline Bassey

I have always had a set plan in life: finish school as fast as possible at the top of my class so I could start being successful young. I was focused on getting internships, going to every networking event I could find, and making connections. Taking a semester off to work at Disney was never in my plan. One day I saw an advertisement online for the Disney College Program, and I decided to apply for fun. I had heard it was extremely competitive, and people I knew who applied waited weeks or even months to hear back from the recruiters. I went through all three interview stages in two weeks, and was accepted. My parents had never heard of the program and thought I was going to drop out of school for good and ride Space Mountain all day. After conducting a lot of research and convincing my parents and myself that this was a good idea, I made the decision to enroll in the Disney College Program this fall.

Everyone gets a role in the program. Because I am a Marketing major, my first choice was to work in sales and merchandise. I was accepted into this field but I did not know where I was going to work until a week before the program began. I am located in the Emporium on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom; specifically, the Emporium is on the left side of Main Street and is that gigantic strip of stores that are all connected. My costume is very familiar to me. I wear a plaid skirt, which was my uniform in Catholic school from kindergarten through 12th grade. I did have to adjust to a new schedule. My location is the last place that closes in Magic Kingdom, so getting home at 4:30 am is now normal for me.

The second part of the program is the school. I take two classes: “Organizational Leadership” and “Creativity and Innovation.” The course load for the four-hour classes is time consuming, since I also work 45 hours a week. However, my classes are very interactive, and I get excited to go each week. My teachers have had several different management roles throughout Disney with years of experience. The best part is the field work: I get to go into areas of Disney and observe how businesses run and the different consumer behavior styles that guests exhibit. I am learning leadership skills that can only be taught by leaders of a Fortune 500 company with excellent guest service.

The final component of the program is the fun! I have made friends from all over the world. I have a roommate from Puerto Rico, one from Texas, and one from the one and only Long Island. When we are not working, we go to the parks as much as we can. We also have opportunities to attend special events. We got a backstage tour of Fantasmic and sat in the front row for the taping of the holiday parade.

My absolute favorite part of the program is making magical moments for guests. I have been part of proposals and birthday celebrations, and I make little girls become princesses for a day. It does not matter how old a guest is; they came to Disney for the magic, and it is my job (with the help of my boss, Mickey) to create homemade magic with a little pixie dust. In the words of Walt Disney, “Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, dreams are forever.”

Euroweek: The Opportunity of a Lifetime

From May first through fifth, eight Molloy students and two Business faculty, Meryl Rosenblatt and Kisha Chandler, attended the 2017 Euroweek Conference & Competition in Coimbria, Portugal. We asked some students to share their experiences from the conference.

To be perfectly honest, I’ve never been in a more diverse, welcoming, or fun environment than the Euroweek conference. We started back in January when we met our international teammates, and we were assigned our project topics. From there we worked together with our colleagues from other countries to compose research papers and a presentation that we delivered at the actual conference.

Aside from all of the aspects of business that I had to study up on for this trip, I learned a lot about working with people from other countries. We had to be respectful of each other’s cultures, and learn from each other’s differences and experiences. We learned to how to laugh at our own quirks and habits. And we made connections that I know will last a lifetime. Because of Euroweek, I have friends throughout the globe. And I’m proud to say that, so far, I’ve been keeping in contact with them and staying close!

I think Euroweek is one of the most unique experiences available to students, and I highly encourage anyone who wants to travel to experience different cultures to go on this trip. It is truly special.

Chloe Chappa, sophomore Molloy/CAP21 Theatre Arts major from Oxford, Conn.

Euroweek is an incredible undertaking, bringing students together from many countries throughout Europe. I was honored to represent Molloy College, the only American college present, with my classmates. Preparing for Euroweek, I was amazed, thinking about the possibilities that my development team’s business project could have. I was fascinated by how the team’s different academic disciplines united to create something truly amazing. Upon arriving in Portugal, my classmates and I were greeted by cool breezes, sweeping hills, and celebrating university students, which made for a beautiful setting to begin a new journey together. At one point, a student let me try on his long black cloak, allowing me to partake in praxe or university tradition. I was excited to meet my team partners for the first time in person after working with them over Skype for many weeks. We supported each other throughout the conference, and my final “Cheers” with them to celebrate our time together is still vivid in my mind. Euroweek inspired me to think about industry, innovation, and creativity in new ways, and the friendships that I made during these days are everlasting. One memory that I will continue to cherish is dancing in traditional Greek style at Global Village, an international buffet followed by a party, with new friends. The remarkable food and the welcoming atmosphere were just what I needed. At the conference’s conclusion, I felt blessed to win “Best Business Idea” to the cheers of the assembly and leave Portugal with expanded horizons.

John D. Cronin, senior Business major from Bellmore, New York

Along with students from Belgium and Italy, John Cronin and I won the “Best Business Idea” award at Euroweek. Our project was a collaborative effort by students from three different countries to provide affordable 3D printed prosthetic arms to African children in the ECOWAS region of Western Africa. The research and business model we proposed allows for an affordable, high quality alternative of the traditional prosthetic limb to be made available in the target countries.

By attending this conference and formulating this project with peers from other countries, I learned the positive and negatives associated with teamwork. It was more difficult collaborating through different time zones with individuals of varying cultural backgrounds. Moreover, the entirety was done in English, which is a secondary language at best for every country in attendance. In our project, this led to miscommunications as well as a need for an extensive editing process. On the positive side, we had key access to alternative resources, as well as differing points of view in research. This allowed us to have a more complete paper and have the greater potential for success in our start-up.

The conference was one of the best experiences of my life. I was able to meet peers from countries across Europe and establish contacts that will last me a lifetime. In my opinion, attending Euroweek is an essential aspect of the college experience and the opportunity to study abroad should be taken advantage of by as many students as possible.

Gabe D’Orsi, sophomore Biology major from Massapequa, New York

Euroweek was a life-changing experience that one could only begin to describe through the emotions I felt that week. From the excitement, stress, and determination that followed me and my team throughout the competition, I found a drive in me that I did not know existed. I never would have imagined a business conference would change my life the way that it did. I was emerged in the culture of Portugal while meeting people from across Europe who had one goal in mind: Innovation. I learned from the experiences of students from Austria to Finland that this was not a competition but a cultivation of ideas yearning to be spilled out into the world. Not only getting to know the students in a professional manner but also relating to them outside of the work we did made Euroweek an intimate yet competitive atmosphere that pushed everyone to succeed. Through the countless number of sleepless nights, Euroweek created a family and a sense of unity with an extremely diverse group of people I could never have imagined possible. While those nights were stressful, I would re-live them a thousand times over.

Marsha Verghese, freshman Business major from Floral Park, New York