Simpson students take the Disney College Program by storm

by Katie Burns, ID Magazine Layout Editor

Lucas Smith, a junior studying business management with marketing communications and human resources, and Sydney Stephenson, a sophomore studying criminal justice and sociology with human services, have paused their time on campus to explore the Disney College Program in Orlando, Fla. 

Smith explained that the Disney College Program provides students with a job at Walt Disney World for a set amount of days to “get your foot in the door with what the company is all about.”

He has been a part of the program since June 21, 2021, and has recently gotten an extension to work in a position within merchandising.

“I have two different positions in the store that I work at. There is either working on registers where people can come to buy the merchandise they want and stocking items, products and helping on the floor with customers,” Smith said.

Stephenson has only been part of the program since Jan. 24, 2022, and has been doing her training, but she said she is looking forward to the different positions she will get assigned throughout the term.

“I decided to strictly focus on Disney and have fun down here because it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Stephenson said.

Smith knew when getting into the program that it was going to be a whole different situation than being in Iowa, but had found outlets to show that there is opportunity and passion while being a part of the program.

“It’s definitely a big risk taking a semester off and not knowing what you’re going into. You don’t find out your job, hours, or even where your assigned apartment will be. You don’t find that out until like a week before you get here. It’s certainly a big risk but the opportunities outweigh the risks. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime basically,” Smith said.

Once Stephenson turned in her application for the program, she said that she was very anxious about getting the results and waited over a month to see if she got in. She mentioned that she talked to her sorority sisters in Delta Delta Delta about how excited she got when the acceptance came in.

Even though she has only been in Orlando for two weeks, Stephenson said the experience she is having outweighs her original thoughts of what Disney has to offer.

“I feel like I’m living in a storybook being here, I don’t feel like I’m living in real life. You just kind of just forget everything outside of Disney and experience all the fairy tales and the stories that Disney has to tell,” Smith said.

When it comes to the training process, Stephenson explained that it is a week-long process of getting informed about the different areas of the park, store and safety protocols. She said that everyone is assessed over each of these topics to show they know the material for when they start their job in the program.

Both Smith and Stephenson have said the Disney College Program is full of opportunities to not only learn what the program has to offer but also the true meaning behind the Disney experience.