By Zach Logan, Staff Writer
If you’ve ever been to Disney World, you know just how magical it can be. With fireworks lighting up the night sky and classic Disney characters greeting you around every corner, it sounds like a vacation of a lifetime.
For Armstrong student, Yara Rodriguez, it’s just another day on campus. That’s because she’s currently spending her semester at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, where she’s enrolled in the Disney College Program. In fact, she is one of many ASU pirates who have enrolled in the program.
According to the Disney College Program website, each semester, “participants have the incredible opportunity to advance their strengths and interests, meet guests and cast members from around the country, and take part in educational opportunities students can’t get anywhere else.”
There are two key components to the program: learning and earning. Students enroll in courses that are specific to their future career field. During class, students get the chance to get a better understanding of the work they want to do. Then they take what they’ve learned from their classes, and apply them and get exposed to actual job roles at Disney.
Rodriguez is a fourth year Business Economics major at ASU. She works as a concierge at Disney’s All Star resorts. “It correlates with economics in the way of thinking,” Rodriguez said. “While I am not solving some giant economic problem, there is a relation to the price of the room versus guest count versus time of year. Same goes with the tickets.”
All in all, think of it as a paid internship, but with a lot more benefits. The Disney College Program provides on property housing for participants with an affordable price tag. Students also get free access to the Disney theme parks and special backstage tours. “It’s amazing, I’m meeting people from all over the world and having the time of my life. I mean free parks? What’s better than that?” Rodriguez said.
And it’s not like she’s taking time off from school to have fun in the Orlando sun. Rodriguez is taking two online ASU courses while participating in the program. ASU Lecturer, Christy Mroczek, said she helped one of her advisees get school credit for the program. “It depends on their major and what they are doing at Disney, so students have to be careful about what they choose to do, and they should always talk with their advisor in advance if they aim to earn credit for it,” Mroczek said.
If you would like to learn more about the Disney College Program, check out their website cp.disneycareers.com. As for offering advice, Rodriguez has one tip for future participants, don’t say no. It’s been her motto for the semester and she says she’s always in for making magical memories.