/ Thursday, August 1st, 2013

by Billy Latta

4I suppose my friends might say I like Disney a little more than most people (but everyone reading understands what “a little more” really means).

My parents never forced me to like Disney. It was never a requirement for them to fulfill; nevertheless, a room bordered with baby Mickeys does seem to set a precedent for some sort of future interest. Baby Mickeys led to movies which then brought about stuffed animals, toys, and a whole house full of our favorite Disney consumer products. My parents joined the Disney Vacation Club in 1994 (yes, the free passes) and I seem to have lost count how many times I’ve gone to Florida ever since. Disney’s Old Key West and the Walt Disney World Resort as a whole have become a second home to me as it has for many of you.  🙂

My attention has always been drawn to Disney for as long as I can remember. When is the next visit? What new things are happening with the company? How can I become more involved? That was the question and it was a question I pondered for years.

Sometime in high school the thought struck me, “I should work for Disney!” There’s my answer. I wasn’t sure how I would go about moving in that direction, but it was a start. A few years later, I went to college and studied two subjects I found captivating and that I would hopefully be able to creatively utilize later in life. I studied Business and Art.

While studying, I couldn’t help wonder, “what comes next?” Undoubtedly, it’s a good question for any college student to ask if interested in working for The Walt Disney Company. Whenever I was in Walt Disney World I started asking questions. I discovered majority of Cast Members mentioned the Disney College Program. The Disney College Program (DCP) is a paid internship and incredible experience for college students. The College Program was meant to be a part of my life! At the end of my sophomore year, I applied.

And… I failed (lovely). I wasn’t accepted my first time applying. It worked out great though. I spent the next two years at my university as a Resident Advisor and college athlete. Then, at the end of my fourth year, I applied again and received a congratulations e-mail to the Fall 2012 College Program as a Walt Disney World Lifeguard.

The opportunity finally arrived and I was determined to find out if the ideas from my youth about working for The Walt Disney Company would still stand true through the Graduateeyes of the adult. What would my experience teach me? Who would I meet? Would I still have the same passion and desire?

I completed my first College Program this past January and I am about to start a brand new one again this August. I can tell you with full assurance that I cannot wait to continue pursuing a journey with The Walt Disney Company! So this is Billy-outside-the-Box, and I will be sharing both my experiences as a previous and soon-to-be College Programmer that have reinforced my passion and desire to keep following my dreams.

There’s so much to share that I hope you’ll enjoy. Come back real soon!


Billy is a recent graduate of Malone University in Canton, OH. He participated in the Fall 2012 Disney College Program as a lifeguard at Disney’s Old Key West and Saratoga Springs resorts and will be returning as a lifeguard for the Fall 2013 Disney College Program. When not spending time at WDW, Billy is home in Metuchen, NJ with his parents and brother (who is also participating in the Fall 2013 DCP). Billy enjoys running, traveling, listening to podcasts, and keeping up-to-date on the latest Disney and entertainment news.



12 thoughts on ““Billy Outside the Box” – Life, Lessons, & ‘Ah-ha!’ Moments of my Disney College Program”

  1. Dave Jules says:

    Great article, Billy! I wish they had the College Program back when I was in school. Oh well, now I have to set my sights on becoming a Dapper Dan after I retire.

  2. Billy Latta says:

    I like that sight Dave! Keep doing what you do with all the sound and music :).I’ll be seeing you and some of the other WDW listeners real soon!

  3. Steamboat Eddie says:

    Awesome story Billy. All the best to you on your journey. What areas of work would you be interested in the company?

    Have an awesome day!

  4. Caitlin Corsello (giantnfl) says:

    Welcome to the blog, Billy! I can’t wait to read more from you and hear about your adventures in the College Program.

  5. Wes Snyder says:

    From Lou’s shows about the College Program and what I’ve heard from former students, it’s pretty amazing. Looking forward to hearing more about it!

  6. CriesDuringWishes says:

    Awesome, I’m looking forward to your unique blog!

  7. Blake says:

    I would love to do the College Program one day. Looking forward to reading your blog!!

  8. Marisa Lozano says:

    Hi Billy!
    Great article and I’m very excited for your blog. I actually think I briefly met you at Saratoga Springs. Saratoga is my family’s home resort. We were there last year at Halloween and I think i had a short conversation with you at the community Center. We talked about our favorite parks. Not to be creepy or anything, but you were really nice and that conversation just added to the magic of my trip. thanks for making me smile! Maybe if you are there at Christmas I will say hi!
    -Marisa L. (Oh and I really want to join the college program so I’m very excited to hear about your journey in the program!)

  9. Billy Latta says:

    Thanks so much for the comments everyone!
    Eddie – I’d love to eventually work with Creative Design and/or Imagineering as a project representative or management planner–a role involving a diversely grand group of creative people.
    Caitlin and CriesDuringWishes – Can’t wait to share more during the next few weeks 🙂
    Wes – It is absolutely amazing. I’m glad you’ve heard so many positive things 😉
    Blake – Apply, interview, and pursue it!

  10. Great article Billy! As I was reading I noticed a profound similarity to my mindset in high school and college. I went on to have an amazing time in Disney’s Professional Internship program. Let me know if you’d like to talk about it sometime. Good luck!

  11. Billy Latta says:

    Hey Ryan,

    I’d love to hear more about your PI! Feel free to e-mail me (welatta1@malone.edu) or shoot me a message via Facebook. Thanks!

  12. Kevin says:

    Well, I am currently in the WDWCP and am enjoying my time here before I head back to school the upcoming quarter. I know I’ll miss it, unless I feel like coming back after Graduation, either doing the Professional Internship, College Program again, or Management Internship (which most likely I won’t).
    Role and Location: Quick-Service Food and Beverage at All-Star Movies