My placement at Disney far exceeded all of my expectations, both in terms of value and enjoyment. The office culture is extremely friendly, open and approachable, and even though the latter part of my placement was completed virtually, the job still continued to be enjoyable. A placement at Disney allowed me to work with brands I had grown up with, and provided perks such as seeing exclusive content pre-release and attending free movie screenings, both in the office and at local London cinemas.
Disney employs a lot of interns (at the Hammersmith office there are approx. 200) and this means that interns are valued members of the team with structured roles and responsibilities. Colleagues were extremely encouraging and definitely saw me and the fellow interns I worked with as part of one team. Disney is a supportive work environment as is, and I felt this was also reflected for the interns I know, where each person was valued for the contribution they could bring.
The supervisors I had throughout my placement were exemplary and I could not have asked for better line managers. They were very supportive and patient when I was learning the ropes and this friendly guidance continued the duration of the year, with them constantly pushing me to be the best I could. Although my manager was very supportive and good with feedback, the company itself did not really have a very extensive placement feedback structure, except for the initial probation period.
I worked within a commercial finance team and so workload could be quite varied, with quarter / year end periods being busier than Summer for example. For the most part there was always something to do to keep me busy, and when work did get extremely busy there was adequate support from team members to make sure that the workload was balanced and nothing was overwhelming, so the busy periods were definitely manageable within the team.
As said in another comment, interns are a large part of the workforce at the Hammersmith office, and so each role had fixed responsibilities. This also meant that interns were responsible for key jobs within the company, and made me feel like the work that I was doing really mattered. The responsibility was not overwhelming, and members of the team were always happy to double check work that was going to senior members of the company, meaning that the great opportunities that came by could be taken without worry.
I was not prepared for how much I learnt during my placement at The Walt Disney Company. I gained communication skills, Microsoft Office skills (particularly excel) and also a real understanding of what it is like to work in an office environment. Disney also has an extensive learning/training programme that was also open for interns, and allowed you to attend workshops on a variety of things, such as working within a virtual team, presenting skills, and many others.
The Walt Disney Company office culture was everything you would think and hope it would be. Extremely friendly and fun, and everyone on the team (even more senior members) were exceptionally approachable and always willing to chat or provide guidance. The office also ran fun events, such as Disney character meet and greets, free movie screenings and more. Just walking through the office and getting to see people working on content for a new Disney movie or a new designer collection set to launch creating a very exciting environment to work in.
My application / interview experience was very good and not high pressured, and I found out the results from the assessment day very quickly, I think the next day or so. The onboarding process was also incredibly smooth and most new interns have a 1/2 week handover period with the previous intern, to learn the ropes and get a feel for the social scene as well. I would encourage the company to set up a more rigid feedback structure for interns, as although mine was fine (aided by my university requiring quarterly feedback reports) I know some interns would have liked more feedback.
The Walt Disney Company uses a lot of systems and so a lot of time is spent getting to learn these system and really find your way around them. Aside from this, the company also has a learning and development calendar that runs a plethora of different sessions covering a wide variety of skills, with a new calendar every month. This also allowed me to engage in personal training outside of my own role. Disney also provides a lot of online learning resources that can be used at your own pace to learn and grow.
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Working from home
The Walt Disney Company does not have a specific graduate scheme like many employers, and (as far as I am aware) does not make guaranteed job offers upon completion of the placement. However, a large part of the company is made up of people who were previously interns (of my finance team I think roughly 2 / 3 had been interns before). So although there is not a fixed grad programme, the opportunities to return to Disney are there.
Definitely a good social scene at Disney. As said in another comment, there are approx. 200 interns at the company, often with a few different interns working together on close teams, so there is lots of opportunity to meet people and socialise after work. There are also some intern organised events, such as a winter ball, that gives everyone an opportunity to meet up together and socialise. There are a lot of pubs and places around the office that are good for post-work drinks as well.
It was expensive but I would say it was normal London prices in pubs around the office, nothing outrageous.
The Walt Disney Company runs a volunteer program called Disney VoluntEARs that provides many opportunities to get involved with charitable causes that the company engages in. This can be helping out at events, packaging boxes of product to be sent to hospitals, or helping to decorate spaces for later events. This is sometimes during the time at work, and also sometimes outside of work hours, in the evenings or occassionally at weekends. If it is something you want to get involved in there is definitely opportunity.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
30th October 2020