Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Career

Let The Magic Begin: How I Landed My Disney Professional Internship (And How You Can Too!)

One to three percent—that’s the statistic I read as I Googled the acceptance rate for getting a Disney Professional Internship. When I got the life-changing call that I was invited to interview for Disney with a recruiter, I think my heart may have actually stopped for a hot second. 

Now, flash-forward a couple months, and one of my biggest dreams came true. I’m now working as a Professional Intern for Disney General Entertainment. I work for the Disney Branded Television segment, and I get the amazing opportunity to work with passionate teams to bring movies and TV shows to children and families around the world. I love how hands-on and exciting the environment is, even from a virtual setting. I’ve gotten to meet with production teams, analytics teams and so many other groups across the company as a Professional Intern (not to mention all the important programming and fun events that are offered, and the chance to network and make new friends!).

But it’s definitely not been easy; I’ve had to learn how to strategize my time more precisely than ever to manage working 40 hours a week, my student schedule, social events, extracurriculars, taking care of my mental and physical health and basically still being a person. But I’m the happiest I’ve been in a long time. And I think that’s because I’m spending every day (no matter how busy) learning something new, growing my skills and doing what I love. 

Now, it’s your turn: I want to help you find that magic for yourself! 

So, the run-down: there are two types of opportunities for college students to work for the Walt Disney Company. The first is through the Disney College Program, where you go to live and work at the Parks. The second is through the Disney Professional Internship Program, which aligns more closely with the corporate and business sectors, which is what I’m currently doing. 

Here are five of my biggest tips on landing your own Disney internship, from the application process to the interview portion!

1. Polish your resume by analyzing your experiences

So step one: the application process. Yeah, it can definitely be daunting, but in the words of the man Walt himself: “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” 

I suggest making a whole new resume. Start from scratch (you can use your old resumes to help you fill in information), but now is the time for reflection. Design this new resume that shows off why you’d be the perfect candidate. Don’t use filler words. Be purposeful in what you’re trying to say.

You’ve spent years building up those leadership roles, background skills, class work and volunteering. Now is your time to shine! Include your top experiences in your resume, and here’s the important part: write in bullet points about what you actually did in those experiences. Remember: quality over quantity!

2. optimize keywords

Really read the job description, multiple times if necessary. Don’t just apply because it has “Disney” in the title. The more you spend time assessing if this position is for you, then the better chance you have of arguing your case and explaining to the Disney Campus Recruiter and hiring managers why you think this would be a good fit. 

After you’ve spotted that special position for you, I recommend reading over your resume one more time and seeing where you can put in those keywords. For example, if you’re applying for a marketing position, see how you can further explain your marketing skills and if you feel like there’s a strong connection between what you’re capable of and this interesting new opportunity.

P.S. – Now that you’ve got your killer resume down, I also recommend turning your LinkedIn notifications on and being proactive—search what jobs within the company are available and try to check out all the cool positions out there! You never know what just might be the perfect fit for you.

3. ADD A COVER LETTER (EVEN IF IT’S NOT REQUIRED!)

The amount of times that I’ve gotten asked questions in an interview about my cover letter or portfolio is mind-blowing! Cover letters are special because they give that personal touch to you as an applicant. They tell hiring managers that this isn’t just another job for you…it’s something you are keen on and passionate about! 

A lot of people don’t add cover letters because it’s “one less step” but going that extra mile can really make a key difference.

Personalize your cover letter, but don’t repeat what’s in your resume. Tell your story. Be sincere and confident. This is your chance to stand out…show them what you have to offer. 

4. RESEARCH!

Voila! You reading this article right now brings you one step closer to being more prepared for your big interview day. Research is critical to both the application and the interview processes (but mostly the interview one).

Before my first Disney interview, I was on a short vacation in Michigan with my family when I woke up at sunrise to sit by the lake and just do research for hours. I read dozens of blog posts, articles and watched so many YouTube videos about the company and what accepted interns actually do. I wanted to get a more informed understanding of the actual interview process and the internship operations, so I followed the official Disney Programs YouTube account and highly recommend you start there!

I also followed their official Instagram accounts to stay updated and get an insider look at how current professional interns are interacting with this opportunity and the company.

5. FOR THE INTERVIEWS…BE YOURSELF!

Practice, practice, practice! I practiced a dozen times in front of my bathroom mirror (while of course listening to some Disney tunes to hype myself up). It’s important to prepare but also not to lose your sense of self. There are thousands and thousands of applicants every year. You got this far for a reason and it’s already such an honor to be chosen to interview. 

For the interviews, be yourself. I had a phone interview and a Zoom one, but that may be different for you. I recommend taking the extra step and preparing questions for the interviewers. Be kind, be curious and stay professional! 

Oh, and one more thing—loving the brand is good, but obsession…eh, not too much. Don’t spend a lot of time talking about how much you love the company; instead, talk about why this is a good fit for your skills and what you can bring to the table. There needs to be that healthy professional balance between your appreciation for the Disney brands and movies, and the business standpoint. You have to think about the well-being of the company and not just your personal connection to the movies or the parks.

All in all, my last piece of advice is, don’t give up. As they say, “When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are…anything your heart desires, will come true.” 

So keep trying, grow your skills and have fun! After all, this is an adventure to find the perfect opportunity for you and sometimes everything ends up working out just so…well, magically.

Maria is the HCSLU President for the 2021-2022 year. She is a rising senior with a major in Communication and a double-minor in Marketing and Film Studies. Maria was born in the Philippines and grew up around Chicago. She is a published author and poet, and loves all forms of inclusive story-telling, especially for media and entertainment!
Similar Reads👯‍♀️