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The wonderful world of Disney: turning dreams into reality.

"When you wish upon a star, Makes no difference who you are, When you wish upon a star, Your dreams come true..."

Jiminy Cricket, "Pinnochio"

Out of the mouth of Jiminy Cricket, one of Disney's most unforgettable animated characters, came the undergirding philosophy that propelled the unparalleled Disney empire to what it is today. The idea that one's dreams can come true if one just believes in self is still alive and well and embodied in the now worldwide enterprises of The Walt Disney Co.

From the debut of Mickey and Minnie Mouse in Disney's first animated film, "Steamboat Willie" in 1928, to the Walt Disney Productions, Ltd. premiere of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," 1937; DisneyLand Park and the Mickey Mouse Club in 1955; Walt Disney World, 1971; Epcot Center, 1982; Tokyo Disneyland, 1983; Touchstone Pictures' (a new label of Walt Disney Pictures) first film release "Splash," 1984; Walt Disney Company's development of the first Disney Store 1987; Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park opening, 1989; Hollywood Records incorporation, 1990; and the Euro Disney Resort opening, 1992; Westcot expansion at Disneyland Park, the dreams of many have surely turned into reality, creating a multibillion dollar industry in the process.

African Americans at Disney

Among those turning their dreams into reality are African Americans who are contributing to the viability of the Disney empire by providing the consistent quality Disney is famous for.

Eric Puryear, 25, is an assistant supervisor at the Disney-MGM Studio Theme Park. He operates a food and beverage complex that consists of one full-service restaurant with a 257-person seating capacity, a full-service bar and lounge, a buffeteria with a 360-person seating capacity, one fast food facility, and a produce stand with fresh fruit and vegetables.

Puryear, a graduate of Virginia State University with a bachelor's degree in hotel, restaurant, and institutional management and a minor in business, is responsible for the direction and training of over 150 cast members. He also reconciles sales and labor on a weekly and monthly basis, monitors budgets and food costs, oversees menu-planning, receiving, and purchasing, justifying profit and loss statements, and compiling the budget for the coming fiscal year.

"For a hospitality major, Walt Disney World Company (WDW) has great growth potential," Puryear confirms. "One has the opportunity to interact with the many areas and departments that make up this company."

Victor Rouse has been with the WDW Co. for approximately two years. Prior to accepting full-time employment, he was a summer management intern, and after graduation, he completed the Disney Management Development Program (DMDP) in food and beverage.

During his brief tenure at WDW Co., Rouse has advanced from the position of supervisor in food and beverage to that of an external staffing interviewer. "I now interview and him for all positions here at WDW Co. that are not salaried. I feel my advancement shows the progression that can be made in this company. There is a great amount of opportunity, and if you're willing to do what it takes, you can definitely move forward," Rouse adds.

Dwan-Aleise Sims is a front desk manager with WDW Co. As such, she is a rarity in the hospitality industry, which has few African-American front desk managers. "I believe in the Disney philosophy of business which allows one to contribute to the decision-making process. They are extremely liberal in allowing you, as a manager, to express creative freedom in better organizing your department," says Sims, also a former management trainee.

Djuan Rivers, an Emory University economics graduate, is the front office manager at Disney's Port Orleans Resort. "My biggest reward was having the opportunity to assist in Disney's largest business venture, the Euro Disney Resort. The Euro Disney project allowed me to assist in opening five resorts in six months. The challenge of five international resorts has given me new insight and techniques that will benefit me and the company here in the states."

Winfred C. Roshell parlayed a bachelor's in business administration with an emphasis in marketing, and honors--"Top Performer in the Sales and Marketing Institute of Morehouse College," the President's Award, and the Minority Leadership Award for Outstanding Service and Academic Achievement at Chattanooga State College--into a budding career at WDW Co. Newly hired, Roshell is an assistant area supervisor of World Showcase Attractions at Walt Disney World's Epcot Center.

"I selected Walt Disney World Co., not only because it is a Fortune 500 company that is well-known for its reputation of developing its employees and providing excellent benefits, but also because of its spirit of teamwork and its supportive management," Roshell relates.

After graduating from Grambling State University, Audrey L. Rabon chose Disney as the starting point of her career for several reasons. "I was in search of a company that offered a good benefits package and job reinforcement. Disney has exceeded my expectations in both areas. With our company, one can explore all facets of the hospitality industry, without leaving the company," Rabon explains.

Rabon is currently an assistant housekeeping manager at Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resort. However, she began her career as a summer supervisor in Disney's management internship program in 1991.


The Walt Disney World College Program is a unique educational, work, and interpersonal relationship program, especially designed to increase practical knowledge of the leisure industry. Students must receive academic credit or recognition from their respective schools to be considering.

The Learning Experience

The Walt Disney World College Program learning experience consists of 30 hours of instruction, and a minimum of 30 hours per week of work experience. Four curricula of 10 three-hour classes are offered. Students select one of these curricula to pursue.

The Work Experience

The work experience includes working a minimum of 30 hours per week in an hourly, non-supervisory position in the following areas:

Attractions: Responsibilities include greeting guests, giving lengthy narrations to large groups, loading and unloading guests, operating sophisticated ride systems, audience control, light cleaning, and guest safety.

Food & Beverage: Students are exposed to both full-service restaurants and fast-food locations. Responsibilities include greeting and seating guests, general cleaning, cash register, and food preparation.

Merchandise: Responsibilities include stock clerking, answering questions about merchandise, cash register.

Resort Operations: Responsibilities include working in either the front office, guest services, or lodging departments in Resort Hotels. Lifeguard positions are also available. These areas are limited to hospitality majors only.

Other areas of possible placement include: Casting Center reception, Central Reservations Operations, Culinary, Custodial Services, Entertainment Technical Services, Tickets, Transportation, and the Walt Disney Travel Company.

Disney Management Development Program

The Disney Management Development Program (DMDP) is a four- to six-month self-paced program for students graduating from a hospitality, food and beverage, or culinary program to gain "hands-on" exposure to the Disney style of management and procedures.

Specific Requirements

Candidates may be evaluated and selected on the basis of: Ability to communicate clearly, both orally and in writing; personality and attitude; previous leadership responsibilities; extensive industry-related work experience; understanding of related management theories and procedures; and acceptance of all Walt Disney World Co. conditions of employment.

Job Responsibilities

The management trainee may be expected to attend all orientation and training classes, train-in-costume in hourly line capacities, complete a variety of developmental tasks, shadow supervision and management, function as a shift supervisor.

Performance Evaluation

Periodic evaluations are provided so that management trainees can gain feedback as they progress through the developmental tasks. If all areas of the DMDP have been satisfactorily completed, the trainee will assume the next available role as an assistant supervisor.

Disney Management Development Program Summer Management INTERNSHIP

The Disney Management Development Program (DMDP) Summer Management Internship is a 12-week program for college juniors or first semester seniors in a hospitality, food and beverage, or culinary program. This program was designed to provide undergraduates the opportunity to explore the management style of WDW Co., while simultaneously developing their own management skills and leadership abilities.

Applicants must be able to provide their own means of reliable transportation while in Orlando and may be required to secure their own temporary housing, as well as meet the above-mentioned requirements and responsibilities.

Performance Evaluation

Upon completion of the management internship, a final evaluation will identify areas of strength and opportunities for growth, as well as provide a personal development plan for the intern to take back to school.

Upon graduation, candidates who have successfully completed the DMDP Summer Management Internship will be given consideration for full-time openings in the Disney Management Development Program.

For more information about the Walt Disney World Co.'s training opportunities, contact:

Walt Disney World Co. College Relations P.O. Box 10090 Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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Title Annotation:Turning Dreams Into Reality; Walt Disney Co.
Author:Campbell-Rock, C.C.
Publication:The Black Collegian
Date:Jan 1, 1993
Previous Article:Careers in the hospitality industry.
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