My first experience with The Walt Disney Company was in Spring 2009. I was at a roadblock and unsure with what I wanted to do with my life, so I applied for the Disney College Program. I immediately fell in love with my workplace. I was a Lifeguard at Typhoon Lagoon Water Park. I worked through the entire spring and summer semesters and then moved back home to West Palm Beach, Florida, where I was student at Florida Atlantic University. I instantly knew that Disney was where I wanted to be. I reapplied after a year and was accepted for another Spring program in 2011. At the time I was an Elementary Education major but I did not feel that it was the right fit to me. Two more years went by and I was seasonal with Disney and struggling with my classes. For the first time, I was about to go out of my comfort zone. I decided that I was going to pursue a full time career in Orlando, transfer schools, and change my Major.

The next day, I was at the Casting center at Disney and applied for a transfer in Typhoon Lagoon from Seasonal to Full Time. After a discussion with my management, I hit the ground running. I received three promotions in one month and trained for two additional positions in my park. I was determined. I had known that I was ambitious, but until then I was missing the key to channeling your ambition. I discovered that I had the drive to push the ambition. The next overhaul was school. With three classes left on my A.A. Degree I decided that I was up for another challenge. I wanted to be an accountant and I wanted to get my degree from UCF. My GPA was lacking from my time at FAU so I applied to Valencia. I worked five days a week and my two days off were Tuesdays and Thursdays. My goal was to finish those classes in that semester and get my first 4.0. I went for it, and I did it.

Roadblocks were natural. There was no more movement at my workplace and I was scared to leave everything I knew and apply for another area. On top of expecting to complete my A.A. and go to UCF, I was short one credit. I started to lose the drive. I was comfortable and I was bored. I waited out the summer and took the one class I needed and finally transferred into UCF. But something was still missing. I was a business-focused student working in Recreation. It was time to leave my comfort zone again, but this time, I did not just leave, I took a leap of faith.

Besides The Disney College Program, Disney offers another Internship program called Professional Internships (PI). They are competitive and they normally only take students who have just graduated or in their last semesters. Full time transfers are uncommon, because you have no guaranteed position when you are done. To accept a PI means to leave everything you worked for behind and to venture into the unknown. I knew that the thought of losing everything I worked for terrified me. Then, I saw it. A PI at Disney Worldwide Shared Services at Payroll Operations. I was not qualified, but I applied anyway. Then, I got the call to come in and interview. Then, I got the offer; a six-month internship an Adjustments Intern. I took it. It started this January.

I saw another opportunity to grow. I learned everything I could. I met with every manager that I could. I was now analyzing and making adjustments to paychecks for over 800,000 people. This was a very different type of responsibility but I relished the opportunity to take something from this and build my skill set. I was offered an extension through this January, but management and I decided it would be best to have me finish out my degree as quickly as I can and apply next year as a full time salaried position.

I have received another position at Disney Parks and Resorts to go to. Once again, out of my comfort zone. But from my last two experiences I discovered the key to my personal success. Throw yourself into the unknown. With the right amount of ambition hand in hand with the perfect amount of drive, channel your determination to succeed, and you can accomplish anything.

Kimberly Rountry

UCF College of Business, Accounting Student