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Old 10-11-2007, 07:58 PM   #1
spbink's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 80

The Disney Summer Associate program

Hi everybody! I've been lurking and poking through threads for almost a year now, but almost never post.

This past summer I worked at The Walt Disney Studios as a Summer Associate in Studio IT (I rebuilt a web service for movie print management). I loved it, it was the best summer of my life. I thought I'd post about the program here, because all I see is talk about the College Program, and also there really isn't much information on the web about the summer associate program. When I applied, I just thought I was applying for an internship, because DisneyInterns.com doesn't say anything about the Studio having a program.

The Summer Associate (for some reason they like to call it that instead of interns, but we all called ourselves interns and it really is an internship) program for the Studio had about 80 interns, about 60 undergraduates and 20 graduate students. They hired in all areas - I had other friends in IT, friends in marketing and legal and feature animation. You're given a mentor who you work with - my mentor was the head of a small department/team of 10 people working on this web system, and I was the only intern with the group. They treated us really well. Every other Friday we had lunches for graduates or undergraduates with people around the Studio who told us what they do. I went to lunches with the head of Walt Disney Records, the marketing director of Feature Animation, and Dave Smith (who is The Man of Disney Archives, writing the Disney Encyclopedia and all sorts of trivia books). There was a big screening of Pirates of the Caribbean for us in the theater on the lot, and they took us to Disneyland at the end of the summer and gave us a great tour - they took us in fastpass for all the lines and we got to go behind the scenes to see the parade float warehouse (and were paid for the day ).

Best part of all for me was that I worked on the Studio Lot. Not everybody did - some people were other places in Burbank or in Glendale, but I was. It was so much fun. There's even a Disney Store on the lot (and we got an employee discount). I went in there every day. There were also events from the Disney Archives like old TV program and movie screenings that you could go to that were also shown on the lot. I even got to see an employee preview of Ratatouille during my lunch break a couple weeks before it came out.

The requirements differ for every area, but the main requirement is that you've completed your sophomore year (you can apply for the summer after your sophomore year) and that you will be returning to school in the fall. You don't have to be a College Program grad or anything. It is paid - I made $16/hr with a 40 hour week - and they want you to work at least 10 weeks during the summer so it's pretty much all of summer break. They don't provide housing, which is why they don't advertise too much outside of California I think, and I was one of the few who didn't go to school or live in California out of my friends there. I managed to find a place to live fairly easily, and if that's what you want then I'd say that's not too much of a setback.

There were similar internships in Imagineering, Consumer Products, Media Networks, and the Internet Group. If those are the areas you want to work in at Disney, I think this is probably a bigger foot in the door than the College Program. There isn't really an organized site about it, but the internships tend to be posted by December/January on DisneyCareers.com (just search for "intern" or "internship").

I know this is ridiculously long, and probably sounds like an infomercial, but I had such a fantastic time and nobody seems to know about the program anywhere, so I thought I'd let you all know! Also my friends are completely sick of hearing me talk about Disney, so I figured here I could bore a whole new bunch of people

So feel free to ask me questions! If I don't know the answer, I can ask somebody. And sorry this got so long

Last edited by spbink; 10-11-2007 at 10:56 PM.
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