Once upon a time, there was a French kid with a curiosity that no one could quite satisfy. And nowhere did his curiosity rise more than Disneyland Paris. So, he poked around, getting interested in Imagineering and theme park design, but unbeknownst to him, this would set him on a path beyond his wildest dreams.
You’ve probably guessed it, that kid is me. And it is true: there was no way at the time to turn off my questions. Lucky for me, it made me persistent and had me looking deeper into the science of how things work and are made: engineering.
So, I rolled up my sleeves, studied hard, and one day, started my journey towards a Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering. Through the classes and assignments, one thing became more and more obvious to me: after graduation, I would have to find a way to apply all that I’d learned to Disney Parks. To find a way to give back and make magic at the places that had brought me such joy and inspiration.
But I wasn’t about to wait patiently for graduation… Nope; I was way too eager to get this adventure started. And luckily for me, there was a perfect place to start: on a Disney International Program.
Knowing the experience would give me the chance to begin my Disney journey at Walt Disney World Resort, I naturally had to apply! The next thing I knew, I was on a plane to Orlando, not knowing where I’d be working, but more excited than ever to go on this magical adventure… and speaking of magic, I couldn’t have been happier to work in Cinderella’s Castle Courtyard as an attraction host for Peter Pan’s Flight and “it’s a small world.”
Not only did I have an incredible adventure by working thousands of miles away from home alongside cast members from around the world, but I was also learning so much! I was improving my interpersonal communication and conflict resolution skills, developing a unique sense of customer service, and getting a unique glimpse at how Disney theme parks and attractions work.
That knowledge gave me an edge when I applied to become a mechanical engineer at Disneyland Paris – because I already knew what I’d be stepping into! I knew Disney nomenclature, operational procedures, structures and values… talk about a head start!
I haven’t even touched on all the #DisneyCastLife activities I was offered to take part in as a cast member – like attending my very first baseball game in Tampa, Florida, getting an exclusive preview of EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival, or visiting the Haunted Mansion with Imagineers in my field!
A special mention to one of the most emotional moments of this program: the service celebration where I received my program completion certificate – which I keep on my desk today!
But beyond what this experience brought me as an engineer, I truly think I wouldn’t have been able to become a Disney Ambassador without my Disney International Program. It taught me a lot about working in a diverse and multicultural environment, helped me better understand our cast members and all their diversity, helped me develop guest relations skills, and taught me how to navigate tricky situations.
I am very glad that as part of my term I got to come back where my Disney journey started and share my experience (alongside my fellow Disney Ambassadors) with current Disney Programs participants. It really felt like coming home – and thinking back on what an adventure these last few years have been brought tears to my eyes.
All in all, I truly think that my Disney International Program experience played a key role in how my Disney journey turned out. More than a head start, it broadened my understanding of The Walt Disney Company and Disney Parks and it helped me get out of my shell and boosted my confidence.
My time at Walt Disney World shaped the cast member I am now, and I will forever be grateful for this opportunity of a lifetime. It is a unique experience that I fully recommend to anyone eligible – it will change your life for good.
Want to learn how you too can experience the magic? Explore the Disney Programs available to you, including the Disney College Program, which applications are now open for!