Senior year of high school, Emily Anuszek heard about something called the Disney College Program (DCP), an opportunity for college students to intern at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Fast forward four years and Anuszek has just come back to SRU after six months spent in Florida completing the DCP and an additional internship with Marriott Vacation Club.
Anuszek is a senior hospitality event management and tourism major from Tarentum, Pa. who has always been a huge fan of Disney, and things finally came full circle.
“The DCP was always something I was curious about but I wasn’t quite sure how to go about it,” Anuszek said. She did a lot of research on the DCP and planned her college career to fit it in. One day, her friend applied to the program and posted the link on Facebook, so she gave it a shot and got it.
In the spring of 2017, Anuszek began her internship.
“I went in blind not knowing anybody. My one roommate is now like my soul sister,” Anuszek said. DCP also put on socials for all the interns throughout the semester.
The DCP doesn’t count for credits at SRU, so she was taking online classes while working almost every single day at the park.
“I worked in Fantasy Land Merchandise, so I was in all the gift shops behind the castle,” Anuszek said. Other internships worked with attractions, merchandise or food and beverage. She also got to experience the restaurants and other aspects of Disney. “It was such an awesome experience working in the park every day.”
Anuszek lived with two other interns in a building with all DCP interns. She had a two-hour commute to the park where she mainly worked in gift shops and loved every minute of experiencing the people, the food and the work.
Anuszek hopes to go into event planning after completing another internship, possibly with Disney again by doing their Fairy Tale Wedding internship.
“I found out that after you do the college program you are eligible to apply for professional internships at Disney. They have a fairy tale weddings internship that I would absolutely die to do,” Anuszek said.
Anuszek got to experience many special moments while working at such a magical place.
“I have a whole journal of magical moments that I made that just makes my heart smile. I wrote them all down,” she said.
One of her favorite moments was when a woman desperately wanted to take a picture with a special throne in the Bibbity Bop Boutique, but an appointment was needed. The woman then came into the store Emily was working in, and saw the exact throne she wanted to take a picture with.
The lady asked for a picture and Anuszek asked if she wanted to be sprinkled with pixie dust and made the picture extra special. The woman then started to cry tears of joy and shared how she had just gotten into remission from cancer.
“Pixie dusting was one of my favorite things,” Anuszek said. “People would come in and I’d pixie dust them and they’d get to make a wish.”
After her experience at Disney, Anuszek stayed in Florida for the summer to work with Marriott Vacation Club.
“I transitioned from working at Disney World to a whole new company in hospitality,” she said. “I learned more about hospitality while working than I have in any of my classes.”
While interning at Marriott, she planned a club-wide event with a Christmas in July theme; she subsequently won the Marriott Vacations Club Summer Intern Project Competition, which spanned the Florida-Caribbean region. Anuszek said she is grateful for her experiences and encourages anyone who is thinking about the DCP to apply, as they are now accepting applications for Spring 2018.
Anuszek recently applied to be Disney Vacation planner at the travel agency.
“It was magical. I loved every second of it,” Anuszek said. “I carry my magic wherever I go.”