“It’s amazing where a smile can take you.”
That is what ChyAnn Ketchum ’18 is discovering about the field of guest relations. She is taking time off this semester from full-time studies and serving as a Pfeiffer Admissions ambassador for a paid internship with Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, as a College Program Cast Member.
Living and gaining experience alongside students from across the U.S. and globe, ChyAnn, an English and secondary education major, realizes the value of making connections and building a strong network. And now she’s considering ways to possibly integrate guest relations into her career plan.
“I’ve been able to apply what I’ve learned in the classroom to teach fellow interns new program processes or scheduling techniques,” said ChyAnn. “At the same time, when I return to campus I’ll share great lessons from my Disney experience and onsite Guest and Hospitality seminar with other Admissions ambassadors to make our team even stronger. I’m seeing firsthand the amazing things that this company offers.”
Day to day, ChyAnn works as a custodial cast member at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. She has embraced her position to encompass much more than the title implies. She considers duties such as keeping the stage clean, escorting visitors to restaurants and taking their photos as opportunities to “spread the Disney magic” and make guests’ experiences positive and memorable.
She learned about the Disney College Program last year during a vacation to Disney World. Noticing that some cast members’ nametags included a college or university, she approached someone whose nametag indicated East Carolina University to inquire. She knew immediately that the program would be key to fulfilling a lifelong dream to work for Disney.
“I would encourage anyone considering an internship to take a step or leap out of their comfort zone and go for it,” she said. “My favorite Walt Disney quote is ‘All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.’”
Keep up with ChyAnn’s Disney adventures through her blog: ChyDoesDCP.wordpress.com.