Mikayla Michael, BHS journalism

While Disney is known as the place where “dreams come true,” for BHS alumnus Megan Jardon those dreams became a reality. After graduating from BHS in 2019, Jardon applied for an internship at Disney and was accepted. Unfortunately, covid hit and she re-applied in 2021, and was accepted again and her dreams became true. 

Q : Was it more of an internship or a job?

A : “The Disney College Program is an experience that feels like a real job but has benefits similar to an internship. Through my College Program, I was able to build connections with other cast members and gain some basic skills such as problem-solving, teamwork, guest service, and communication. The program is an excellent opportunity for anyone, there is so much to learn.”

Q : What was it like working for Disney?

A : “At first, working for Disney was a big adjustment for me. Not only was I living hours away from my hometown but Dinsey is 20 times the size of Baldwin City. I still feel like there was so much I was not able to do or see. I remember my first day working at Hollywood Studios and being completely lost! I must have been wearing a face of fear because another cast member came right up to me asking if I needed help getting to my location. Of course, I shook my head, yes and they pointed me in the right direction. From that moment on, every cast member I interacted with was so kind and helpful. I will always remember Disney in that way, no matter how big the parks are, I was a part of a community that looked out for each other.”

Q : What work did you do on a daily basis?

A : “The program is combined of different roles or positions such as food and beverage, merchandise, attractions, crowd control, etc. I was placed in merchandise at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. My exact location was Sunset Boulevard where I worked for a total of six different stores. Every day would start the same just walking to my main location, in this case, mine was Sunset Beverly. Sometimes I would get stopped by the Pixar Pals Motorcade or the cast of the Indiana Jones Stunt show which was always a fun reminder that I was working for Mickey Mouse. After clocking in at Beverly, I would receive an assignment that would tell me what store to go to and whether I was stocking, greeting, or on register. Stocking was always my favorite position to get. It consisted of putting out new merchandise on the floor and making the whole store look clean and ready for guests. During my time working on Sunset Boulevard, I met some of the most incredible people and am so lucky I was placed in such a great location. When working a regular shift, my position would change throughout the day. I was never at the same store all day long which was so nice to get a change of scenery. My favorite part of working on Sunset was when it was all decorated for Christmas and there was a Christmas special that was projected onto the Tower of Terror. Every night that I closed I was able to watch the show and just soak it all in that I was living my childhood dream. Most of my days off were spent with my roommates exploring the parks and resorts at Disney World. I will forever miss waking up and going to Magic Kingdom before a shift or getting off work and going to Epcot to watch Harmonious. Sometimes it just feels like a fever dream.”

Q : What made you want to go to disney, and how long were you there for?

A : “Disney has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I grew up watching Disney movies and being an avid Little Mermaid fan. When I was 5 my parents took my older sister, Emily, and me to Disney World for the first time. I will always remember how magical it felt. Seeing Cinderella’s castle for the first time and meeting real princesses. Once I was a little older I found a desire to create that same magic and wonder for other children. I remember first hearing of the Disney College Program when I was a freshman in high school and thinking “that sounds like the coolest thing ever!” Getting to live in Florida and work at Disney for six months? Sign me up. Of course, I wasn’t able to apply for the college program until I was actually in college. When I originally applied, I was applying for the fall of 2020. I remember the day I got accepted, I was actually in one of my studio classes at Johnson County Community College, I stepped out and immediately called my mom to share the news!! I had been looking forward to this moment for so long. Unfortunately, just a couple of months before I was supposed to move in, my program was canceled due to the pandemic and covid. I was so devastated that my one dream was taken from me so quickly. When Disney announced they were bringing the program back, I knew I had to reapply. I told myself that no matter what if I was accepted again, it was a sign that I needed to do this. I found out on May 19th, 2021 that I was reaccepted into the program and would move to Florida in less than two months. My program lasted from the beginning of August to January twenty-first. Honestly, the best six months of my life. I learned so much about myself as well as how to be independent. My grandma Janice always had a dream to work for Walt Disney in some way. She was never able to live out that dream so I felt I had to do this program not only for me but for her as well. Since I did the program she was able to visit Disney World for the first time and that will always be such a special memory for me.”

Q : What are your future goals from this point forward?

A : “As of right now, my goals moving forward include moving back to Florida to begin a career at Disney World. I would love nothing more than to work on their Guest Relations team helping create magical experiences for all guests and families. Disney brings people together and I want to continue to be a part of that.”

Q : Who were some teachers/staff at BHS that were big supporters? 

A : “Ms. Weaver has always been one of my biggest supporters from BHS. I contemplated if I should apply for the program or not but Bweave encouraged me to follow my heart and dream big. Mrs. Allen, Kit, Mrs. Jacobsen, and Mrs, Weiss are just a few other staff members of BHS who have helped shape me into the person I am today and I am forever grateful for the time they spent believing in me.”

Q : Any words of advice for highschool students that are wanting to follow your career path? 

A : “Whether Disney is your end goal in life or not, the DCP is one of the best decisions I have made in life. I met my closest friends during my program and can not wait to tell my kids all about the experiences I had.”