Have you ever wanted to work at the most magical place on earth? It is more attainable than you think! While talking to Christina Barry, from Voorhees, New Jersey, she was able to apply to become an intern at the Disney College Program through Saint Joseph’s University. This interview has an inside exclusive of how she obtained her dream internship, gained all kinds of amazing experiences and lived the dream in sunny Orlando, Florida. 

Christina Graduating her Disney College Program
Photo of: Christina Barry

Get to know Christina Barry:

She lives in Voorhees, New Jersey and she will be graduating from Saint Joseph’s University in the Spring of 2021 with an Accounting major. She is taking classes to become a Certified Public Accountant and has landed a job after graduating at an accounting firm in the tax department.

To gain more insight into the Disney college program, Barry sat down with us to talk about everything- like what the application process was like, what it was is like working for Disney and much more. Here is our conversation:

When did you apply to the program?

I applied as early as I could. Applications went live in August 2018 and by October I knew I got accepted and would be living in Florida for spring semester of my sophomore year.  

How extensive was the interview process?

There were three rounds of application in order to get the job.

Round One: Sending in your resume and filling in their application. This round included a few basic questions and most applicants made it past this stage.

Round Two: Web-based interview. This round ensured the applicant’s personality was a good fit for this program and making magic at Disney World. 

Round Three: Phone interview.  The applicant would schedule a phone interview with a Disney World representative.  You would be asked a variety of questions based on what role you applied for (attractions, merchandise, lifeguard, character, character attendant, food and beverage, etc.).  This, for me, was the most nerve wracking round.  

How did you feel during the interview process?

I was nervous but also really excited each step of the way.  Both my older sister and brother were a part of the program, so working for Disney has been a dream of mine since middle school.

What were the living accommodations and where did you stay while being an intern in the program?

There were four off-property living establishments. I stayed in The Commons. The Commons was much nicer than any housing I had ever lived in. We had a washer and dryer in our apartment, 2 bedrooms, a large living space and a kitchen. The other housing options were Patterson, Chatham and Vista way. Disney also provided transportation to get to your work or the parks.  

Did you have a lot of roommates?

I had three roommates, none of which were from Saint Joe’s. Claire, my immediate roommate, was from Missouri. She worked in costuming at Hollywood Studios.  Emma and Nichole shared the other room in our apartment.  Emma is from Montana and worked in quick service food and beverage in the Magic Kingdom.  Nichole is from Utah and also worked in quick service food and beverage at a resort.  I was the youngest out of all of us but we are all best friends and keep in touch.

Christinas Official Name Tag
Photo of: Christina Barry

What jobs did you have?

I worked retail at The World Of Disney in Disney Springs. Some typical shifts for me would consist of working at the register, working on the floor and helping guests, working backstage in the stock room or working support and collecting hangers and tags to make sure the store looked as nice as possible.   College students typically got the really late or really early shifts and mine was typically from around 5:00 pm until 2:00 am.  I did not mind having a late shift because it gave me and my friends a lot of free time to be in and out of the parks as much as I wanted. We only had to work a minimum of 30 hours a week but we could pick up or drop shifts too for the four-month program.

Tower of Terror
Photo taken by: Amanda D’Amadeo

What would be your dream position at the park?

If I was not working in merchandise, I would want to be a character attendant. If I had to choose a dream park to work in, I would love to work at Hollywood Studios. The Twilight Zone the Tower of Terror is one of my favorite rides out of that park.  I think it would be fun to work at this particular ride because it is one of the only positions where you don’t have to act happy but can act creepy and it makes interacting with the guests more fun.

What was difficult about the job?

I was definitely homesick in the beginning of my program which was hard.  Because I go to SJU, I was used to being 45 minutes from home but instead I was a 2-hour plane ride away.  However, I was able to get over that by being with my new friends and going into the parks all the time!

Yummy Mickey Pretzel infront of Castle
Photo taken by: Amanda D’Amadeo

What kind of perks did you have while working at Disney World?

There were a lot of perks I received from working there. The best perk was being able to go in-and-out of every park, for free, as much as I wanted. We also had cast member IDs which allowed us to get special discounts for restaurants, tours and merchandise. I think another huge perk for a big Disney fan like myself was being able to walk backstage and through closed areas from guests in the parks.

Christina Graduating her Disney College Program
Photo of: Christina Barry

What was your favorite part of the program?

The memories. I have made the best memories through this college program that you can not make anywhere else.  Since graduating from the program, my roommates and I talk all the time and take annual trips to Disney World to see each other.  

Do you see yourself becoming a full-time employee for Disney in the future?

I do not see myself applying to work for Disney right now because I want to earn my CPA and I already have a job for after graduation.  I know they do have professional internships for after college because my sister opted to do that before attending law school. Later in my life I could see myself working in a higher-level management or accounting position because Disney World is really the most magical place you can work!

If you were blown away by Barry’s experience and want to get more information about the program, read other’s experiences, or learn how to apply for such an experience, check out:

·  The Disney College Program

·  Saint Joseph’s Disney college program application

·  Read other stories about this experience from a Hawks perspective

Epcot During the Flower and Garden Festival
Photo taken by: Christina Barry