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“Adventure is out there!”: Rylee Woodruff’s time in the Disney College Program

By: Olivia Ryckman | Published: February 29, 2024 | Categories: MOSO Minute
“Adventure is out there!”: Rylee Woodruff’s time in the Disney College Program

Many Disney parkgoers anticipate Epcot’s annual Festival of the Arts. Artists transform sidewalks into chalk-art portals, allowing viewers to see Baymax from “Big Hero 6” fly through the streets of San Fransokyo and watch Anna, Christoff, and Olaf of “Frozen” build snowmen in Arendelle. Restaurants and food kiosks offer art-inspired dishes with names like “Deconstructed BLT” and “Pop’t Art” just for this occasion. Mickey-eared customers line up at one of these kiosks as far as the eye can see, and sophomore radiology major Rylee Woodruff is serving them these limited-edition courses as part of the Disney College Program.  

“I have always loved Disney but never went as a kid,” said Woodruff. “This would be one of the few chances I could go, and what better way to experience Disney than to live and work there?” 

The Disney College Program is an internship program that allows college students to earn on-the-job experience in different roles within Disney Parks. From January to June 2023, Woodruff was placed in Epcot during both the International Festival of Arts and the Flower and Garden festival, cycling through the 13 different kiosks during the events. Outside of festival season, she worked at Typhoon Lagoon Waterpark or ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.  

“I was making connections with guests and coworkers that I still have today,” she said. “Whether it was working, exploring Disney hotels, visiting the Parks alone or with friends, or leaving the ‘Disney Bubble’ to go to the beach or downtown Orlando, there wasn’t a moment when I wasn't doing something.” 

Disney didn’t cloud reality for Woodruff—the distance from all that’s familiar highlighted Woodruff’s own strengths and taught her valuable lessons. 

53560292745_6a0b827d95_k.jpg“Moving 18 hours away from home by myself taught me independence and the importance of family,” she said. “I learned I am my own person and am capable of a lot of things though I might not think so. The Program taught me there are so many amazing people in the world, so I can’t let the handful of bad ones change that.” 

The Disney College Program inspired her to change her associate degree to a Bachelor of Health Science. It also helped her develop skills that will serve her throughout her career. 

“Helping guests from around the world every day has taught me lots of communication and customer service skills I will use during the rest of my education and in my future career in radiologic technology,” she said. 

Woodruff encourages others to join in the Disney magic themselves since there is so much to gain from the Program.  

“Push all the doubt to the side and have a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”