It seems as though every child dreams of exploring the world of Disney—senior communication major Shelby Stanhope was no exception. However, Stanhope’s dream became a reality two summers ago when she became an intern for the Disney College Program.
“I actually heard about [the Disney College Program] when I was ten years old,” Stanhope says. “I’ve been obsessed with Disney ever since I was born so when I heard about it, I was like ‘oh man, I have to do that.’”
Years later, when Stanhope began her search for an internship at Messiah, she knew that the Disney College Program was the right path for her: “The Lord really opened so many doors and had so many plans fall into place, and it worked out very well for me,” Stanhope says.
According to Stanhope, there are three components incorporated into the Disney internship: living, learning and earning. Interns are expected to live with their fellow participants and co-workers, earn their living and take advantage of the diverse experiential learning opportunities the program offers.
Interns are also assigned particular roles within the Walt Disney company. Stanhope was specifically offered a position at the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. “It was always an adventure; sword fighting is on my resume as a legitimate thing,” Stanhope says of the experience.
Stanhope says the best part of the program was seeing the different ways that the Lord used her throughout her time at Disney: “[Disney] is a huge ministry field in the sense that there’s a lot of opportunity to minister to people who don’t know the Lord or don’t want to know the Lord,” Stanhope says. “I learned a lot about what it meant to show love through action and what it meant to show the Lord to people who didn’t necessarily agree with my beliefs. Messiah has really helped me to be trained in that, and in just knowing how to show people love and how to understand people even when they don’t understand me.”
Stanhope hopes to continue this ministry and create more “magical memories” when she returns to the Disney College Program this summer at the Walt Disney World Resort.