The day I received a call from the recruiter offering me an Engineering Professional Internship for The Walt Disney Company was one of the happiest days of my life. I was just a Civil Engineering major who applied on a whim and didn’t think I even had an actual shot at getting it. I was so excited to embark on my six-month long Engineering Co-op at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. I would be a Project Management Intern for Facility Asset Management in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Fast forward to January 13, 2018, my first day as a Cast Member and the day of Traditions. I honestly thought it was a dream. We learned all about The Walt Disney Company including its history, culture, and values and even took a field trip to the coveted tunnels under the Magic Kingdom. Having been to Walt Disney World only twice in my life, the last time being in fifth grade, everything felt like a new experience all over again. On this day, I walked onto Main Street and saw Cinderella’s Castle and instantly knew these next six months would truly be magical.
Two days later, I started my internship with Facility Asset Management (FAM). FAM is the Project Management sector of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts responsible for maintenance, renovations, and engineering in theme parks and resorts worldwide. FAM has approximately 250 Cast Members spread across the four theme parks, two water parks, 28 resorts, and other areas of Walt Disney World. I was the FAM intern at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and our office was located in a backstage area at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
As a Project Management Intern, I had the opportunity to manage the scope, schedule, and budget for my own projects as well as assist the Project Managers on my team with their larger scale projects. My key responsibilities were to log submittals, commitments, requests for information, directives, and request for proposals into PMWeb (a Project Management Program). I also communicated with contractors to coordinate work, wrote scopes of work,
tracked project progress from design through field, and communicated with our partners.
A typical morning started with a walk in the park. I would say I was spoiled since I would be able to walk around the park with no one in it. It was just so peaceful and quiet. Well, I took this for granted because I soon began to dislike going to the parks on the weekend since it was so crowded and full of people everywhere. However, being able to go to the parks whenever I wanted was a perk I never got tired of.
As a Cast Member, my favorite memories include third shift tours around Disney’s Hollywood Studios with our FAM Field Rep and riding Avatar Flight of Passage for the first ride of the day. At Disney, all of the work for the park is done during third shift (overnight) so we don’t impact the guest experience. I organized a tour for all of the FAM interns to come to Disney’s Hollywood Studios so we could observe all of the work going on. There are no words to describe how extraordinary this was. We got to see how Star Tours worked, go up to the Tower of Terror rooftop and walk the ride path, and ride Toy Story Mania over and over.
I finished up my internship last week, and this will truly be an experience I will never forget. I will definitely miss walking down Sunset Boulevard every day and seeing the fireworks show, Happily Ever After (which I definitely recommend), whenever I wanted. I am so incredibly thankful for this opportunity. It was one heck of a “ride”.
Have a magical day
- Klarissa Lou