Sarah Carey’s Disney Dreams

Beginning in August 2018, Middlesex student and Meriden resident, Sarah Carey joined up to 12,000 other college students from around the country and spent several months in the Disney College Program in Orlando, Fla. According to the Orlando Sentinel, about 50,000 young adults apply annually for this paid internship opportunity.

Hailing originally from northern California, Sarah moved to Connecticut when she was 12 years old and graduated from Valley Regional High School in Deep River. She learned more about Middlesex Community College from several of her friends who were planning to attend Middlesex and decided to enroll as well.

In early 2018, while Sarah was working at the AMC Starplex Theaters in Southington, her manager mentioned the Disney College Program and recommended that Sarah apply. The only challenge was that the application deadline was that very same day! Not to be deterred, Sarah went right ahead and applied online. The questions ranged from asking her about her basic preferences and school information, as well as why she was interested in the program. The process continued with a web-based interview, a personality test, and finally a phone interview. Sarah prepared herself by researching the questions online and through social media.

She received a tip to smile while talking during the phone interview, even though the interviewer could not see her. “I practiced this in front of a mirror!” Sarah laughed.

On April 2, Sarah found out she was accepted into the program and headed to Florida by the end of July. Her parents were ecstatic for her and helped her with moving expenses. She won’t be alone in Florida, though. Her grandparents live in Clearwater.

By August 6, she was working in an operations role with attractions in Disney World, where duties consist of loading and unloading guests from a ride, operating sophisticated ride systems, delivering narrations to large groups, and much more. According to the Disney website, the internship experience also offers the opportunity to develop communications skills, problem-solving skills, and improve confidence and self-reliance. Sarah’s initial internship extended into 2019.

Sarah graduated from Middlesex in 2018 with an associate degree in general studies, though her focus has been in arts classes. She likes the idea of working in graphic design, which could be helpful in the Disney “world.”

Looking back, Sarah definitely recommends going to Middlesex for to earn prerequisites. She found the educational process easy and particularly liked all of her English professors. “Most of the teachers and advisors are great!” she said.

Sarah established herself as a Florida resident and transferred to the University of Tampa, earning a B.A. in design in 2022. She hopes to work full-time for Disney in the future, perhaps with costumes or as a character assistant.

May 2018 (updated 2023)
Written by Thea Moritz