Nicole Gawlik: Making Dreams Come True at Disney

Since the age of 3, Nicole Gawlik ’15 knew that she wanted to help others experience the magic she felt while visiting Disney parks and resorts. This past spring and summer, Gawlik’s dream came true when she was accepted into Walt Disney World’s Spring Advantage six-month internship program.

The highly-competitive internship program includes about 7,000 college and international interns per year and runs from January through mid-August offering college students a wide variety of opportunities. Whether students are interning in areas such as being a character performer, life guard, or a guest services representative, the goal is to create magical moments for all guests.

“My interest in Disney comes from my love of the movies, but also the joy I felt while at the parks and resorts,” Gawlik explains. “I've had some of the best family memories at Walt Disney World and wanted every family to experience that.”

As a hospitality major at Nichols, Gawlik found the knowledge she gained from her hospitality classes invaluable. “When I interviewed for the position, I knew the lingo/key words and that the most important goal for a hospitality company is to keep the guests coming back,” she says. “Everything about Disney is hospitality.”

While interning at Disney may seem all fun and games, their optional college classes for credits enhance the internship experience. “The ‘Guest Experience’ class really provided a networking opportunity,” Gawlik explains. “I was able to meet with senior management from different departments including marketing and merchandising.”

For the summer of 2014, Gawlik has been asked to return for summer employment. As far as the internship, Gawlik recommends it to any interested college student. “Anyone who loves Disney can do it if they take it seriously,” she adds.