My first month at Disney

Name: Gabriella

Company: The Walt Disney Company

Job role: Student Placement

Degree: Business and Management

Placement Year: 2014/2015

Disney Head Office Foyer

One month on at Disney…

On that first day the fear of the unknown was rife amongst all of the 15 new starters in my induction. We all looked nervously at one another and realised that the day had finally come that we would start our work placements at The Walt Disney Company. The initial health and safety talk and general work induction gave way to a series of Disney and Marvel video montages that reminded us all where we were and how lucky and scared we were to be starting placements at one of the biggest and most recognisable companies in the world.

Day one seemed to fly by, my colleagues and I all had headaches from the volume of information that we were trying to digest. The intern I took over from had prepared me a handover pack as well as a Disney notepad some pens and post it’s and a Sleeping Beauty doll for my desk. I looked up from my desk to see a full size replica of Sulley from Monsters inc and it became apparent this would not be a standard day job.

By the end of the first week I could at least understand the words people were using around me and what my intern was talking about when she’d ask me to draft emails and ring contacts from other parts of the business. On that first Friday some of the old interns had come to the end of their placement and stated how fast their year had gone. At that point I couldn’t imagine days going quickly as I had so much to take in, I just knew I wasn’t quite ready to let my intern go yet.

In my second week I was able to become a lot more independent and began to be given small tasks to complete on my own. When I wasn’t completing my set tasks, my intern would give me little tests to see whether I could remember the things she’d taught me in those initial weeks, with each passing day I knew I was beginning to understand what my day-to-day working life may look like.

The third week came before I could blink and new interns were arriving thick and fast, it was strange being able to teach new interns things that only mere weeks previously I couldn’t have dreamed of understanding. I knew it would be my final week with my intern so I made a conscious effort to try to do the majority of my tasks without any assistance. It was a real sense of an achievement to sign off on some of my previous tasks and be praised for my efforts, I knew my initial work wouldn’t be perfect but every day was a learning curve. My line manager had gone on holiday so I was determined to prove how much I could learn and understand by the time she returned. Although on the first day the thought of my intern leaving was petrifying, I felt ready now to take the role into my own hands.

Now having completed a month is crazy to say. I can begin to understand why those interns said when they were leaving how quick time flies in such a fast paced business. It is strange to think how quickly I am able to do some tasks now, despite the fact I had not heard of the processes or systems I now use 4 weeks ago. Disney is amazing and every day takes me by surprise. If this first month is anything to go by I am so looking forward to the rest of this year, it has turned out to be one of the best opportunities I’ve ever had.


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