Internship with Disney made student?s fantasy a reality

Have you ever wanted to love your job so much you could call it the happiest place on Earth?

Cole Ritchey, a senior at Tabor College, can tell you how this fantasy became a reality this past fall semester during his internship in the Disney College Program, located at Walt Disney World in Florida.

?I first heard about it through a cousin that worked for Disney,? Ritchey said.

As a native of Colorado who makes the drive to and from Tabor College, Ritchey is used to traveling for his education.

During his time with Disney, Ritchey worked as both an employee and student. His internship fulfilled a requirement for his communication major.

?You could take classes but you had a job, too,? Ritchey said. ?Your life revolved around Disney.?

During the week, Ritchey would work at The Seas with Nemo and Friends, an attraction ride at Epcot. He would work eight to 10 hours a day, five days a week.

On Thursdays and Fridays, Ritchey attended classes that generally focused on business and leadership skills. The classes are accredited by the American Council on Education.

His Disney experience wasn?t all work, though.

?One of my favorite things I got to do was swim in the Living Seas aquarium at Epcot,? he said. The aquarium is the second-largest in the country.

Ritchey also experienced the sea life from inside the aquarium while snorkeling.

Ritchey said one of his favorite activities was going to Animal Kingdom Park.

As well as learning the inner workings of Disney, Ritchey observed managers at work during backstage tours at attractions such as the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

?I got into all the parks for free,? he said.

As well as learning in the classroom, Ritchey found the intercultural experiences to be fulfilling, too.

?Probably the coolest part about working there was that no one I hung out with was from the U.S.,? he said. ?I learned some Chinese.?

Ritchey said he pursued the internship because he understands the value of having a rewarding internship experience.

?It?s a huge resume booster,? Ritchey said. ?Having the Disney name opens a lot of doors for your career.?

Aspiring to be a chief executive officer of his own business, Ritchey said he knew it was important to find the right internship and pursue that goal with determination.

He has advice for future interns.

?Make sure you stay organized when you?re preparing for it,? he said. ?Keep all of your information organized and documented.?

Ritchey serves as a representative for the Disney College program and can provide infor?m?a?tion for college students looking for an internship in the world of Disney.

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