ISU students share experiences with Disney internships

Each year, ten ISU students are allowed to take place in a chance of a lifetime by interning at Disney Parks in Florida.

Jared Raney

Each year around ten ISU students are chosen to participate in an opportunity that is not only considered one of the best resume builders in the country, but also the dream job of every ten-year old.

Martese Hoffman, senior in mechanical engineering, and Kelsey Duff, junior in marketing, are two ISU students who have received internships at Disney.

These internships, which are through the Disney College Program, place the students in a low-level position related to their area of interest at one of the Disney parks.

Duff, who has been in the program for three weeks, said the experience has already changed her.

“It’s changed me a lot. It just broadens your view of other cultures,” Duff said. “I’ve just seen how happy you can be working in the real world.”

Students in the program are placed in apartments reserved for the program. The apartments feature swimming pools, hot tubs, basketball courts and tennis courts. The rent cost is taken directly out of their paycheck but coupled with a zero-tuition semester. Hoffman said she didn’t miss the money.

The apartment complex is right next to the park. For Duff in Florida, she is one hour away from the beach and three hours away from Miami.

“This is so much fun. I feel like I’m constantly on vacation down here,” Duff said.

Working for Disney comes with several perks, not the least of which is free, unlimited access to the park. Not only do the students get in the door for free, they also have the opportunity to go to special events such as the opening of a new ride.

“I actually got to go to the cast preview of the reopening for the Star Wars ride,” Hoffman said. “There was a big blowout party and everything was Star Wars themed. Mark Hamill and George Lucas came up and were ordering hamburgers from where I work.”

Two years after her internship at Disney, Hoffman still acts as a representative for the program at Iowa State. She enjoys the benefits of life as a Disney employee.

Hoffman said she still gets discounts on all kinds of things, from Apple products to her wedding dress, all because of her time at Disney.

“It’s a big shock, being from Iowa and coming here [in Florida]; there are a lot more languages here,” Duff said. “There’s a culture shock … but it’s amazing getting to see all that.”

Around 22,000 students apply annually, out of which 8,000 are selected to participate in one of two sessions — spring or fall.

“I definitely recommend it,” Duff said. “You don’t know what it’s going to be like until you do it … It’s totally worth it.”