Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Matt Purcell - Orlando, Florida (Walt Disney World)

Where are you co-oping? Give us a brief overview of what your co-op is

I did two co-op terms with the Planning and Industrial Engineering department at Walt Disney World. My first was March-August 2012 where I supported clients from the Park Operations line of business. There I was primarily focused on projects at Disney’s Hollywood Studios related to attraction operations—wait time models, standard attraction loading procedures, and increasing throughput and efficiency. My second term was from August-December 2013 where I supported Distribution Services working on warehouse utilization, forecasting future SKU growth, and facility layout.

  How did you assert yourself into company culture?

The Disney Company is rich with heritage and culture. To align myself with the company culture I made sure to sign up for every opportunity the came along outside of my daily responsibilities. I took part in Cast Member activities such as recreation leagues, backstage tours, volunteer events, and signed up for front-line shifts in the theme parks some weekends.

How did you meet other co-op students, or interns?

There are thousands of college students working at Walt Disney World between Professional Internships (co-ops) and the Disney College Program there are a variety of opportunities to meet others. Most of my closest friends from my co-op came from intern housing and housing events. Also, I met tons of other interns during backstage tours, volunteer events, and at work.

What do you do outside of work?

Disney provides its Cast Members with unlimited admission to the theme parks—so I spent a lot of time riding rides and having a blast in the parks. Outside of work I spent a time enjoying the other attractions in the Orlando area such as SeaWorld, Universal, and Busch Gardens. Also, my roommates and I took day trips to Tampa, Naples, and Cocoa Beach. Also, during my first internship at Disney some friends and I flew to California to visit Disneyland. Orlando is a great place, there’s never a dull moment.

What’s your favorite part about the city/location you are in?

Orlando’s weather is beautiful. Although the summers are hot, the sky is always bright and blue. In addition to the weather there are more things to do in Central Florida than there is time to do it. Between the short distances to the Gulf or Atlantic Ocean, attractions, restaurants, professional sports, and festivals there is always a unique experience ready to be had.

 Give us your favorite co-op memory so far

My favorite memory from co-op at Disney was being in one of the theme parks before they were open for the day. There are few things as magical in the world as seeing the sunrise over the Magic Kingdom castle and realizing that you work there.

What’s one tip you would give to other students on co-op currently?

Get excited over any project work you’re given. Often, interns don’t get the most exhilarating responsibilities at first—but showing that you can put your skills to work on even the dull projects speaks a lot about your personality. Also, take time to network with the other departments in your company. It provides you a better understanding on how your company operates, sets you up for future job opportunities, and most of all it helps you know exactly what type of work interests you.


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