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Walt Disney World suspends Cultural Representative Program and College Internships

We learned last week that Walt Disney World would be furloughing its non-essential employees beginning April 19, today it announced that the Cultural Representative Program along with College Internship Programs would be suspended.

The Cultural Representative Program cast members help staff the countries in Future World at EPCOT. Disney announced they’ll be assisted in returning home by April 17. However, Disney mentions a plan to invite them back at a later date when they can represent their home country at EPCOT.

College intern in the Fall Advantage program were set to start arriving in May and June. Disney also let those students know that the program has been canceled and all application fees will be refunded. 

Although they only make up 5% to 10% of the cast, Walt Disney World relies on college program students to fill a lot of the day to day theme park operation roles, especially in the busy summer months. 

Many of these internships run for 6 or more months and offer those students a big step forward in their chosen careers, often ending with them taking permanent positions with Disney after they’ve graduated.

Students that were already accepted will be able to reapply for a future internship once the program returns. Still it must be devastating to those who thought their lifelong dream of being a cast member has been canceled. 

Walt Disney World stated they made this move due to the uncertainty related to the national health emergency. It will also mean that Disney workers who live locally will be called upon to fill more shifts once the parks and resorts begin to reopen. It should help Disney distribute what is expected to be fewer hours more equally to its long time cast members.