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September 17, 2010

ULM junior has "magical" experience as Walt Disney World intern

Imagine spending your 21st birthday visiting your family in a Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. That's exactly how Daniel Jamieson – a ULM business management major from Bossier City selected by the Disney Corp. for a semester-long internship – enjoyed his special day.

Not that Jamieson's experience was all about fun—crammed into his typical 40-hour work week in the bell service department and front office of Walt Disney World's Coronado Springs Resort were courses titled "Organizational Leadership" and "Guest Services," where he spent many hours learning the extent to which company officials go to ensure their guests enjoy the most awesome vacation experience possible.

"The Organizational Leadership course taught us how to develop our own leadership style," said Jamieson. "And the Guest Services course was all about what makes Disney stand out as the best entertainment company in the world."

Jamieson said he met many former hotel managers who chose to work at Disney because of the company's willingness "to go the extra mile to create a magical moment for some family. ... A family would be having a bad day and we would upgrade their room or give them an extra park pass. If they lost something, we would go out of our way to replace it. Disney really prides itself on delivering excellent customer service every day."

Jamieson also enjoyed an hour-long session with ULM alum and WDW's Vice President of Imagineering, Jack Blitch, asking about his inspirations and management tips.

"It was very nice of him to give me time to talk and ask questions," said Jamieson. "He's a very busy person, but very willing to help and, of course, he's a supporter of ULM."

Jamieson reported to Walt Disney World last January, sharing an apartment at the resort with five roommates from all over the U.S. with whom he still maintains contact. Toward the end of their internships in May, the group went to Cocoa Beach, Fla., followed by a skydiving excursion 15,000 feet over Cape Canaveral. The experience, much like his internship, was unforgettable.

"I feel we're young and haven't got any other commitments right now, so it's the best time to go out and do this kind of thing," he said. "I don't regret the decision to spend a semester in Orlando. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, to go and work for this company. It's hard to put into words what I experienced."

Jamieson's next goal is to become a recruiter for other college students to pursue the Disney internship program.

"Not only will it keep my ties with the company," he said, "but it will improve my chances of getting an advanced internship leading to a management position. Being an assistant manager for a Disney resort looks good on your resume and helps build your career."

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