Disney Cast Member’s Journey from Intern to Full-Time Engineer

As a child, Sarah dreamed of one day working on an attraction at a Disney theme park. Now, she gets to fulfill those childhood dreams every day, making happiness happen as an engineer at Walt Disney World Resort.  

“Sometimes I have to pinch myself because it feels unreal,” Sarah said. “I get to work on the same attractions I experienced as a child.” 

Growing up in South Florida, Sarah was no stranger to Disney theme parks. She was a frequent visitor and created lifelong memories at Disney World with her mother, father and sister.

Those visits as a young child helped her discover a passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and made her want to “make the rides go around.”

In 2018, Sarah enrolled at the University of Central Florida (UCF) to pursue a degree in Computer Science. A year into her studies she discovered a program that would change the course of her career: Disney Aspire.

Disney Aspire is an investment program that helps cast members achieve their occupational dreams through tuition assistance and academic support.

She always knew she wanted to work for The Walt Disney Company one day, but after learning the company could pay for her degree at UCF, she was more inspired than ever to apply right away.

Sarah first joined Disney as an Attractions cast member at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, working at Walt Disney Presents. A year later, she transferred to The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and cross-trained at Fantasmic!

During that time, she had the best of both worlds — working toward her degree on weekdays and creating magic as a cast member on weekends.

“The most rewarding part of my role was when someone would get off a ride smiling and clapping,” she explained. “My work made someone happy. You can’t do that anywhere else but Disney.”

Disney is known for its unique ability to make dreams a reality for both guests and cast members. After developing a love for the Disney Cast Life, Sarah wanted nothing more than to further her career with the company.

Thanks to Disney Aspire, she was able to do just that while also graduating debt free.

Upon completion of the Undergraduate Computer Science Program at UCF, Sarah began her Professional Internship with the Walt Disney World modeling, simulation and training tools team. Since then, her career has soared to new heights as a full-time cast member with that team.

“If it wasn’t for Aspire, I wouldn’t have even known about this role,” Sarah said, “It helped shine a light on what I was capable of and a career path.”

Sarah’s journey is a testament to the endless possibilities that the Disney Cast Life provides. Disney Aspire helped Sarah achieve her dreams, and it continues to provide opportunities for her fellow cast members.

Today, Sarah works on some of the very same attractions she created lifelong memories on as a child, helping to improve efficiency and ensure a positive Guest experience… and maybe even inspiring future Disney cast members.

To this day, she attributes her success to her early career days at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  She continues to leverage that in-park experience to form a greater understanding of the mechanics behind her work on some of Disney’s most popular attractions.

Sarah explained that “everything I’m doing someone once said was not possible.” Yet, she proclaimed, “here we are, doing it today.”

For those looking to break into the field of STEM, embrace “blue sky” ideas and dream big, the possibilities at The Walt Disney Company are endless.