August 10, 2022
Owen Carey ’25 spent his summer at the happiest place on earth — Disney World. Although he was a “cast member,” he wasn’t parading through the park as Donald Duck, as Carey explained.
“The way I can best describe it is that the whole park is a ‘show,’ with on-stage and backstage areas, and all the employees are cast members,” Carey said. “My role was in quick-service food and beverage, specifically the Epcot World festivals that run throughout the year.”
Carey’s internship is the first step in his entry into the Disney College Program, a national paid internship program in which students gain on-the-job experience working in Disney’s parks and resorts, participate in college coursework, network with leaders, take part in personal and career development classes and build transferable skills such as problem-solving, teamwork, guest service and effective communication.
A theatre production and design major from Brewster, New York, Carey will spend the fall 2022 semester at Disney in Orlando. He hopes to one day become a Disney Imagineer, the creative engine that designs and builds all Disney theme parks, resorts, attractions and cruise ships, and oversees the creative aspects of Disney games, merchandise product development and publishing businesses.
“Specifically, I would love to be a lighting designer for the nighttime shows,” Carey said. “Doing the Disney College Program is a great way to get my foot in the door with the company, and having the ability to make connections with other cast members this early in my college career is extremely beneficial.”
Besides adjusting to the Florida heat and humidity, Carey also had to adapt to a hallmark of the Disney College Program that moves students to different locations throughout Disney’s parks.
“Once the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival ended, I was deployed to work at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I had to get a new costume, take on a new role with different responsibilities and adapt to a completely different work environment that has different ways of doing things,” Carey explained. “In the end, my deployment ended up working out well for me! I was offered the opportunity to pick up shifts in Hollywood Studios whenever I wanted and made great connections with my leaders.”
In the coming months, Carey will tour rides and see how they prepare to open for guests, get a behind-the-scenes look at Disney’s security, and go backstage at Disney’s many stage shows to see how the actors prepare for things like jumping from a tall building.
“Just like at SU, I’ll be able to learn about things that I don’t necessarily have an interest in pursuing as a career path, but still find interesting,” Carey said.