Walt Disney World is where the dreams of Adrian Chavana Jr. will come true this spring. The Calhoun High School graduate was chosen to be a part of The Disney College Program, a four to seven month paid internship with the Walt Disney Company, at Walt Disney World.
“My family, along with myself, has always been huge Disney fans from the first time we vacationed at Disney World. It’s honestly such a magical place,” said Chavana. “I heard about the College Program and wanted to learn more about it. It’s such a cool unique way to work with the company.”
Chavana applied for the fall 2019 program but, unfortunately, did not get accepted. He did not let that discourage him and tried again this spring. Chavana said the application process was difficult. More than 25,000 applications are reviewed each season, and about 7,000 are chosen. A student must be enrolled in a college/university to be eligible.
“It’s three different steps in which you have to pass to get an offer,” he said. “I believe they chose me because of how much I brought to the table. I made sure my resume was great, and I tried to represent myself in the best way possible.”
Chavana will spend the next few months working in guest services. His first week of on-the-job training was scary at first.
“It’s all so new to me. The smallest details on where to go and where to put my things like my valuables while working and how I would get around the park, Disney does a great job on making you feel at home while working.”
Chavana said Disney does a great job of making you feel at home while working. He received a detailed itinerary/training schedule on what time he needed to be somewhere and what bus to take.
“My favorite part of this all was ‘Disney Traditions,’ which is the company orientation. While I can’t say too much due to the integrity of the company, we learned the four keys, ‘Safety, courtesy, show, and efficiency.’ Walt Disney actually invented this process prior to the park opening in 1971,” said Chavana. “The four keys is a hierarchy. So safety would always come first, then courtesy, and so on. Disney instills this information on you time after time.”
“It’s been a great learning experience so far. I know I can definitely take what I have learned into the real world. I am constantly learning every day. In traditions class, what really touched me was they showed a video of kids getting surprised by their parents telling them they are going to go to Disney World and how excited they were. It brought me back when my parents surprised my sister and me. They show that because we are the magic makers. We create happiness. To be able to say that I get to be a part of someone’s vacation is amazing to me.”
While excited about learning and working with Disney traditions, the experience affords Chavana skills he can take with him once he is back in Texas.
“It’s a great opportunity to gain valuable, on-the-job experience working in a park or resort. It allows you to network with leaders, take part in personal and career development classes, and build transferable skills such as problem-solving, teamwork, guest service and effective communication,” Chavana said.
Adrian’s parents are Elizabeth and Adrian Chavana, of Port Lavaca. His mother said he has always had a passion for Disney and knew the internship was something he wanted to be a part of.
"We are so proud of Adrian. When he didn’t get accepted the first time, he never gave up and tried again and was picked,” said his mother, Elizabeth. “His determination is admirable because he won’t settle for less. This internship will allow him to build forever friendships, teach him life skills, and open up doors for his future, and we are so happy for him.”
Adrian is a 2018 graduate of CHS. He is currently a student at the University of Houston-Victoria, majoring in Kinesiology/Pre-Allied Health. His dream job is to become a physical therapist, and he hopes his Disney experience will give him more insights on working with people. He will earn up to six hours of college credit for the internship, and he wants to learn more skills like leadership while developing character throughout the next few months. His internship will end in May.