Changing Lives: Disney College Program Helps Career Dreams Come True

Ali Manion

by , 2022-2023 Walt Disney World Ambassador

As a Walt Disney World Ambassador, I have the honor of representing our wonderful cast members during The World’s Most Magical Celebration. While the 50th Anniversary celebration is in full swing here at Walt Disney World Resort, that’s not the only milestone we’re celebrating – the Disney College Program is also celebrating 40 years of magic, and I’m proud that my Disney story began with the program in 2012.

I have had many full circle moments during the first few months of my Ambassador term, but a recent visit to Flamingo Crossings Village as a Disney College Program alumna was an extra special moment.

My fellow Ambassador Raevon and I joined our Global Disney Ambassador family for a tour of the fabulous Flamingo Crossings Village, the complex our College Program cast members at Walt Disney World Resort call home. We also met with Disney Programs participants to share our career stories and answer their questions. The joy, curiosity and excitement resonating in the room was contagious!

Here’s a look back on this exciting day:

As you can see, the Disney experience I had 10 years ago changed my life – I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be a Disney cast member, and my Disney College Program opened the door to a career filled with so much more magic than younger me could have ever imagined.

Ali with her Certificate of Completion for the Disney College Program

During my program, I met others who shared my passion for Disney stories. The bonds formed with my roommates and fellow participants turned into lifelong friendships. These are the same people I attended networking and speaker series sessions with, danced with down Main Street, U.S.A., and grew alongside – eventually becoming leaders together at Disney.

Ali and Raevon, 2022-2023 Walt Disney World Ambassadors

A decade later, dreams from my program continue coming true today. I wish I had a time machine to tell me from 2012 that she just accomplished one of those dreams: writing for the Disney Parks Blog.

As a Disney Ambassador, I meet many cast members from across our resort every day. But there’s something extra special about meeting fellow Disney Programs alumni – it’s an instant connection you can’t find anywhere else.

I would love for you to be part of that magic too. Learn more at DisneyPrograms.Com and discover more #DisneyCastLife adventures on Instagram at @WDW.Ambassador.


  • Welcome to the blog Ms. Ali!

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