Freshman prepares for internship with Disney


Story by Mykaela Cross, Assistant Editor

Finding an internship can sometimes be a nightmarish experience for college students. With uncertain office roles and the fear of being another pencil-pushing coffee fetcher, the idea of interning often does not seem pleasant, let alone entertaining.

The same cannot be said for freshman Emily Robison’s summer internship plans. After timely preparation, an interview and an audition, Robison will journey to Florida’s Disney World this summer to work as a performer for a five month-internship.

Robison, a Disney and drama lover from birth, heard of the Disney College Program while visiting the park for her first time last summer. After briefly questioning students who are currently participating in the program and doing some of her own research, Robison knew she wanted to be a part of the experience.

“I asked a couple of the people I ran into and they were telling me about it, then I went online and on YouTube and watched all these videos until I was like, ‘All right, this is what I really want to do’,” Robison said. “I’ll get to live on the Disney World resort for the allotted time I’m there, but not only will I get to live in Disney housing, I’ll also have free tickets into the park.”

Free tickets and special housing are not the only benefits; being a part of the program now as a student could have a valuable effect on her future.

“If you put on your resume that you were in the program, you have a higher chance of being hired back on later because you have more experience with Disney than the people coming in off of the street,” Robison said.

Getting into the program turned out to be an exciting and terrifying experience for Robinson. After turning in her resume and college information, Robison filled out a web-based interview and then moved on to a phone interview.

“(The phone interview) was the most nerve-wracking part because the web-based interview was just questions that were easy to answer, whereas with the phone interview I actually had to do research and look on YouTube to find and make a study guide of questions they could ask or have asked in the past,” Robison said.

The phone interview, which required Robison to discuss her personal views on interacting with people of different race, religion and cultures, was the toughest part for her.

“They told me on the phone during the interview that I wasn’t going to know anything until April, so I really didn’t expect to hear anything about being accepted until after my character audition,“ Robison said. “When I found out, I was just sitting around with it out of mind, and after seeing the message, it just hit me like, ‘OK, that just happened.’”

Robison was in the Long Student Center when she received an email from the program announcing that she had been accepted.

“I was just in shock,” Robison said. “I didn’t think I was going to make it because I’m a freshman and I expected them to be more accepting of upperclassmen than under. I actually ran to Rice Auditorium because I knew that some of my friends and my roommate were there. I screamed it out and then was just speechless.”

Robison’s roommate, Katie Zeluf, is also a freshman this year and met Robison in August when they began rooming together. Having watched Robison prepare and interview, Zeluf was also ecstatic to hear about her roommate’s success.

“Emily loves Disney. It was one of the first things I learned about her from her picture that she hangs up and the princesses she has all over the room. She told me about her decision to apply to the program a couple of months ago and I was obviously hoping she would be accepted,” Robison said. “The day that she got the email saying she’d been accepted was the most exciting moment for me. I was so excited for her. I was crying, she was crying. and everyone around us was screaming. It was like her dream come true.”

Zeluf considers Robison to be one of the most kind-hearted and genuinely happy people she has ever known and believes that it will serve her well during her Disney internship.

“She doesn’t ever ask for much, so being accepted was something for her that she really deserves,” Robison said. “I really feel like she wants it more than anyone.”

Robison’s mother, Denise Robison, was with her when she learned about the program. Denise believes that this experience could open many doors for her daughter’s future.

“She researches any show that she’s in and is very committed to the theater no matter the role that she’s given,” Denise said. “She’s more than qualified for the position in the fact that she knows everything about Disney and enjoys interacting with people and making them smile by performing for them. This is a good avenue for her to pursue her passion.”

Denise is most impressed by her daughter’s determination throughout this process and believes that the internship will be a learning experience as well as a career motivator as she will be farther from home and thrown into an environment reflecting many cultures.

“I wish her all of the success in the world, and I am thankful that I was chosen to be her mom,” Denise said. “There’s a saying that goes ‘I’ve always wanted to give her roots and to give her wings,’ and I think that that is exactly what this experience will do. She has a bright future and I think she’ll follow her passion and do what she loves.”

Although her audition in Chicago before spring break did not land her first-choice position, Emily will accept any role given to her this summer and is excited to begin her journey.

“I’m really excited to live in Florida. I’ve lived in Kansas my entire life and am ready for warmer, sunny weather,” Emily said. “But I’m also excited to be able to go to the Disney parks every day.”