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Disney intern wishes upon a star

September 27, 2012

– Photo by Jessica Van Alstyne

 

MELISSA GRAJEK
Staff Reporter

 

This is the second in a five-part series on the unique experiences of Tech students who participated in summer internships. Each of the students left Ruston to get first-hand experience in their respective fields.

 

For years, Disney has created its own world filled with princes, princesses, adventure, family and love, promising youth a day of their own in “the happiest place on Earth.”

 

While some spend a couple of hours during a birthday celebration mingling with Princess Cinderella or braving Space Mountain, Bethany Eppling, a junior speech pathology major, spent a semester surrounded by the magical spirit as an intern at Disney World.

 

“I’ve been a Disney freak my whole life; I had to work there,” Eppling said.

 

She said she first heard of the internship from a recruiter who visited Grambling State University, and soon after applying, she was interviewed and offered an internship.

 

From August to January, Eppling said she worked in the merchandising department for All-Star Resorts in Orlando, Fla.

 

“I was in the hotel industry and I worked at every single guest shop in those three hotels,” Eppling said. “I also got an opportunity to work in other shops and got to work at Hollywood Studios as well.”

 

Working six days a week, including the holidays, Eppling said she saw thousands of guests every day.

 

Though her daily duties required her to keep a tight work routine, Eppling said that as a member of the Disney team it was her responsibility to pass on the “magical atmosphere” to every visitor she encountered.

 

“I just wanted to create that magic for those people every day because, though I worked there, some of these people were only there for maybe four or five days, and I just wanted to make the best of their experience,” Eppling said.

 

But Eppling was not the only one making an impression on another within the hotel.

 

Among the millions of people who passed through Eppling’s gift shops during her internship, she said one in particular stood out.

 

“One guy walked into the gift shop and said ‘Go Dawgs!’” Eppling said, explaining the man must have spotted Louisiana Tech on her nametag before he shared that he was visiting from Bossier City and had children attending Tech.

 

Along with creating “magic” for each visitor, Eppling said she also picked up valuable life skills during her internship.

 

“I learned so much,” Eppling said. “I learned about being a professional and how to talk to professional people.”

 

Though her internship with Disney was unable to provide college credits, Eppling said that it was a great addition to her resume and opened the door to a future with the company after graduation.

 

On the plus side, the internship did provide an apartment and a paycheck.

 

“They put me up in an apartment where I lived with six other girls, and we were from all different places doing different things and I am still friends with them today,” Eppling said.

 

As with most industries, it is the hard work and dedication behind the scenes that creates the magical world presented to the public and as Eppling learned through her internship, hard work pays off in the end when it brightens the days for guests.

 

“I wish I could go back every single day,” Eppling said.

 

Email comments to mag043@latech.edu.

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