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Interning at Disney

It's called the happiest place on Earth, where dreams come true, an adult can be a kid again, no dream is too big, and remember, "one mouse started it all."

For Junior Michael Gigliello, he can now add "past work experience" to the long list of slogans associated with Disney Parks.

Gigliello, a lifetime fan, wanted to integrate his major, Marketing and Graphic Design, into his love of Disney, and found the perfect internship at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

"It was something I always wanted to do because my family and I have been going to Disney since forever and I'm a big Disney nut," he said.

Gigliello said he applied online and was overjoyed at getting the internship. After being notified of their acceptance, interns pick a role they would like to follow at a park.

"I chose merchandise because of my major," Gigliello said. "I work at Epcot, my primary location, and sometimes I run around to the other three parks."

While working in merchandise, Gigliello works in stores and gets an inside look at the corporate world.

"I'm learning a lot about how a big corporation operates," he said. "It's neat to see how much research and design goes into goes into something like a princess doll, what type of packaging to use so it sells. I like to interact with the guests a lot, with the little kids and I get to sell merchandise, do retail stuff, learn what managers do, learn day to day job of Disney park. It's amazing they have everything down to a science. And then I get to do the fun stuff too like riding the rides and exploring."

His dream job stems from some of the internship work he is learning in Flordia.

"I would like to be working for the people at Disney parks merchandise, the people that design different toys or do graphic design for the packaging," Gigliello said.

Gigliello said he works about 40-50 hours a week, but he wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

"I've met a lot of people and you get to learn about how the whole corporation operates," Gigliello said.

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While free admission and discounts to parks, the Florida sun and being able to meet Disney princesses everyday may sound like enough to ditch the Jersey snow for most, Gigliello has another favorite part.

"My favorite part is to watch the kids," he said. "They get so excited over the cutest things, whether its stickers or stuffed animals, it just brightens their entire day."

He said he does get free park admission to all four Walt Disney parks and discounts to the two water parks, and while it may not be his favorite thing, it's certainly at the top of the list.

"Whenever I'm not working my friends and I are always hanging out in the parks, riding the rides, meeting the characters," Gigliello said. "I try to meet Princess Aurora at least twice a week."

Gigliello encouraged fellow Seton Hall students to study abroad or work at internships outside of the tri-state area whenever possible.

"Definitely do it because it's a life changing experience and there are so many different things students can do like studying abroad or getting an internship or something," Gigliello said. "It's a whole new experience and I think everyone should have the opportunity to do it."

Stephanie Bower can be reached at


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