Katy Beth Boyers / Arts and Life Editor
The Disney Company is famous for creating magic for people through their movies and theme parks. Samford alumna Gracie Donoghue said she always wanted to work for Disney, and now, she is living her dream by participating in the Disney College Program this fall.
Now, sitting in her six-person apartment in Orlando, Florida, where she is surrounded by a couple of Minnie Mouse ears behind her and a small quote board with a Walt Disney quote, she tells her story of working for Disney and how the application process was for her.
Donoghue said her mother remembers her once saying she wanted to work for Disney when she was only 5 years old.
“My mom said ‘Gracie I remember when you were a little girl and I asked you what you wanted to be when you grow up,’ and I said ‘Mom, I wanna work for Disney!’”Donoghue said .
The Disney College Program provides college students from all over the world the opportunity to work for the Walt Disney Company for anywhere from three months up to a year. The application process is competitive according to Donoghue, but one she said she recommends for students in order to stand out and be persistent.
Throughout her high school and college career, Donoghue continued to know she wanted to work for Disney, but said she wasn’t sure what part of Disney she wanted to work for.
“I saw the College Program as my backup plan because Professional Internships were even more competitive than the College Program. I applied to 20 and only got a phone interview for one. With CP it’s still competitive, but they take more people,” Donoghue said.
When asked why she wanted to work for Disney, she said that Disney “taught [her] a lot of things about life,” and she wanted to give back to other people.
Donoghue applied a week after applications for the College Program opened in February, and a few days later she took the Web-Based Interview, which is a timed personality test. A week later, she had a phone interview, which lasted roughly 30 minutes. After about a month of waiting, she received an email from Disney saying that she had been accepted to the college program.
“I remember running out of the gym and calling my parents, especially calling my mom, and saying ‘Mom, you’re never gonna guess what happened? I got accepted into the college program!’” Donogue said.
Since she moved in on Aug. 5, she now lives in a six-person apartment and works food quick service at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. One thing she loves about her job is being able to meet people from different states and countries.
“I think the beautiful thing is that I’ve really met all kinds of people, and that’s been very different between Samford and Disney, where you really get all types of different languages, different ethnicities,” Donogue said.
Donoghue said students who want to work for Disney either in the College Program or in a Professional Internship should be authentic, persistent and not be discouraged.
“There’s nothing wrong with you. Disney just has a very particular way of doing things, and sometimes depending on the season they have specific needs and those needs have to be met,” Donoghue said.