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A Disney Program recruiter shares what’s new, and what he’s most looking forward to post-covid

Posted on 03/08/2021 by

Working overseas at Walt Disney World has long been a favourite programme for ITC students.

Every year, the Disney exchange program is a popular option for ITC students.

It offers young students the change to work abroad in Walt Disney World, earning valuable experience, practicing transferrable skills, and meeting people from all over the globe in one of the most magical settings on the planet.

While the program sadly came to a halt due to the pandemic, that doesn’t mean it won’t be back one day in the not-too-distant future.

In the meantime, we chatted with Disney program recruiter Joe Iglecia-Scholl about what’s happening with the program right now, what he’s looking forward to seeing as the world recovers, and what students and parents need to know if they’re considering the program in the future.

How has it been getting the exchange program restarted? Has anything changed?

It was so strange not having any program participants around Walt Disney World and to have our Domestic College Program back now and our Domestic Culinary Program about to return is fantastic beyond words. 

Disney Programs participants bring so much excitement and energy to the table and you can feel the excitement in the air when they are around. Unfortunately, at this time, all of our International Programs are still on pause. Though we do not have specific information to share at this time on what relaunch will look like, we continue to plan for and work towards a relaunch when the time is right. 

Other than not having international participants onsite at the moment, we have made and continue to make an effort to maintain a safe living and working situation for everyone. From free onsite, walk-up COVID vaccinations at our housing complex, Flamingo Crossings Village, to socially distanced and outdoor events, we are constantly evaluating the experts’ recommendations and adapting accordingly.

What kind of safety guidelines or protocols do you have in place for staff and visitors?

We are constantly evaluating the experts’ recommendations and are adapting accordingly. 

At this time, we have free COVID vaccines for Cast Members, as well as their friends and family every arrival date. Everyone who is not fully vaccinated is required to maintain social distance and to wear a mask at all times. 

These items are in addition to enhanced cleaning and sanitizing procedures and social distancing that have been a constant since Walt Disney World re-opened in 2020.

What’s it going to be like working at Disney post-covid?

I think that this still largely remains to be seen. As we learn more about COVID and as the recommendations from the exerts change, we are adapting and changing to provide the safest possible environment for Cast Members and Guests. 

We continue to be guided by our 5 keys of Safety, Courtesy, Inclusivity, Show, and Efficiency in the decisions that we make. Though that will never change, the look and feel of the experience will necessarily change and adapt to the times. In addition, flexibility is key during these times as we are always adapting to the world we are living and operating in.

What are you most excited to see happening again?

I really cannot wait for the day that we start recruiting for our International Programs again, until that time though I am seeing so many things that are giving me hope for a bright future. 

Though it might be silly, the thing that I think that I am most excited to see return most recently (other than the domestic programs) is the Disney Fireworks. At night, I can see them from my back patio and I missed them so much. I am actually going to the Magic Kingdom this Friday to see them in person. It has been over a year since the last firework show that I saw in person.

If a student’s parents were concerned about their child going on an exchange overseas, what do they need to know?

I think that the most important thing to know is that we as a company have always and will continue to put safety first and foremost when we are making decisions. From the bottom up, we are constantly evaluating the local, regional, and global situation and are adapting as a result of it. 

As a Cast Member, I can say that I have felt that Disney did a fantastic job of educating us on what we needed to do to stay safe, making sure we were following the guidelines to remain safe, and giving us the resources (like vaccines and PPE) to make sure that we were safe.

Do you have any advice for those considering a career in travel and tourism right now?

My biggest recommendation is to stick with it. Tourism is one of the most rewarding fields one can enter into. The things you get to see, the people you get to meet, and the experiences you get to create and take part in are second to none. 

That said, nothing worth having is easy and that goes for careers too. The tourism industry will always have its ups and downs (as will any industry) but it will always bounce back. People will always need to get away and decompress and the tourism industry will be there on the front lines of bringing in the sun after this 1.5 years of clouds.

Keep your head up and keep a positive attitude.

 

Are you interested in starting a career in an industry where you can gain international work experience at Walt Disney World? Get in touch with us to find out more.

Campus Study – college@itc.co.nz 0800 TOURISM (0800 868747) or https://www.itc.co.nz/contact-us/

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