Magical internship: Locals land employment at Disney World

Published 7:00 am Saturday, June 20, 2015

graduation day: From left, Scheuermann, Whitfield, Minne and Mickey Mouse.  Photo submitted

graduation day: From left, Scheuermann, Whitfield, Minne and Mickey Mouse.
Photo submitted

“If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing started with a dream and a mouse.” –– Walt Disney.

Last month, two women from Pearl River County completed an internship at the “happiest place on Earth.”
Ashton Whitfield and Carley Scheuermann were chosen last year to participate in the Disney College Program at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
According to the Disney careers website, participants have the unique opportunity to advance their strengths and interests, meet people from around the world, network with leaders, participate in personal and career development classes and build skills such as problem-solving, teamwork, guest service and effective communication.
Whitfield is the daughter of Kristy Bryant and Troy Whitfield. She is a graduate of Pearl River Central High School and is currently finishing up her freshman year at Pearl River Community College. Right now, she is completing her basic courses and plans to finish her hospitality degree at a university.
Whitfield said she learned about the Disney program when she saw posters lining the halls at PRCC.
In August, she took an online personality survey, which she passed. After the survey, she was granted a phone interview, where she was questioned on different scenarios and her opinion on certain jobs.
“I didn’t hear a word about it until I got an email from them in October,” Whitfield said. “I was so excited and thought ‘I’m going to live in Disney World.’’’
Scheuermann is the daughter of Catherine and Kerry. She is a graduate of Pearl River Central High School and recently completed her second year at Pearl River Community College. She is majoring in medicine and plans to be a general surgeon and participate in medical missionary work.
“My aunt participated in the Disney program and that’s how I heard about it,” Scheuermann said. “I’m in love with Disney World. We always went there for vacations and I grew up watching the movies. I felt wonderful when I found out I had been accepted into the program.”
At the end of January, the girls moved to Orlando, where they made their home with other participants in Disney owned apartments.
Whitfield worked in the Hollywood Studios Park as an outdoor food vendor. She worked 35-hours a week and was also enrolled in online courses offered by PRCC.
Scheuermann worked about 40 to 50 hours a week in the Magic Kingdom Park at the Splash Mountain attraction.
Whitfield said she had the opportunity to speak with the president of Hollywood Studios, general managers and marketing executives.
“I learned that a lot more goes into making things happen than you think,” Whitfield said. “If you do your job well, it’s real easy to work your way up the ladder.”
Whitfield met a variety of people from all over the world including park guests from Brazil, New Zealand, Australia and Norway.
Scheuermann said she always wanted to work in the Magic Kingdom Park. During her shift at Splash Mountain, each employee rotated positions every 40 minutes.
Both Whitfield and Scheuermann said they learned how to be more patient and how to improve an imperfect situation.
“I learned to improvise with unhappy guests and go with the flow,” Scheuermann said.
Scheuermann said she also met celebrities Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan and Jep Robertson during her employment at Disney World.
Whitfield said she was excited to see how people reacted to Disney World.
“I get to help make happiness for people just by smiling or saying ‘Hi princess,’’’ Whitfield said. “I also made so many friends. We grew up together. Most of us have never lived this far away from home before.”
Scheuermann did not apply to extend her internship during June and July. However, Whitfield will continue to work at Disney World until the end of July.
Scheuermann said participating in the internship gave her skills she will utilize in the future.
“It helped me with my social skills and I learned how to interact with all types of people,” Scheuermann said. “I also gained more independence living on my own. It really helped me a lot.”
Whitfield said future employment at Disney World is definitely an option for her.
“I’ve learned how to think on my feet,” Whitfield said. “And how to make the guests happy in the best way I can.”
Learn more about the Disney College Program at

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