By Melissa Hal
As a requirement for the Special Event Planning course, Digital Communication students were granted the opportunity to participate in the Walt Disney World College Youth Program over spring break. Led by Dr. Gina Marcello, students attended workshops on leadership and teamwork, in addition to visiting the different parks. While the trip allotted plenty of time to explore Disney World, senior Denielle Balint pointed out “how demanding” the trip itself was. In preparation for the trip, students were required to research all parks and areas of Disney. These areas included: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, and Downtown Disney.
Taking on Disney
Due to the restricted timeframe of the trip, a mere five days, following a strict itinerary was essential. As the students discovered, the planning phase is a main element of planning a successful event. As a part of the program, students were granted the opportunity to take a backstage tour of the costume design facility at Hollywood Studios, the facility responsible for the design and construction of all Disney park and cruise line performers’ costumes. The purpose of the tour was to show how different elements come together to create a cohesively working team.
Work before Play
After the tour, students participated in a teamwork-development workshop. This work-shop taught the different methods of leadership and the styles behind them, focusing on sharing a vision, defining the process, providing training, and creating a culture of innovation. These skills are elements that the multibillion-dollar company, Disney, utilizes throughout its management staff. The class was also granted the esteemed privilege of having a Disney “Imagineer” come and speak with the group. Students asked him questions regarding the management of Disney itself and how much of an impact working for the company has had on his life. He noted that, “what Disney does, can never be replicated by another theme park.”
The students learned that Walt Disney World is a place not just for entertainment, but also a place that heightens the imagination. This experience is brought to life through fine de-tail. This detail, although seemingly frivolous, breathes life into the inanimate objects and scenes within the park. The world of the imagination is alive in a way that keeps Disney standing high above the rest. This is the core lesson of proper event planning that students took away from this Disney adventure.
“As a student leader at GCU, I have attended many different team building and leader-ship workshops. But, for me the Disney one was different,” Balint reflected. “I got the chance to not only listen to people talk about successful leadership and teamwork, but to see it in action and get a real life understanding of it all in the eyes of a hugely successful company.”
Soon after the workshops, the class went to a Disney dinner show at Camp Wilderness, called The Hoop Dee Doo Review. The show had a humorous attitude and was interactive with the audience experience. Marcello was even picked to take part in the show. She went up on stage, along with four other members of the audience to play a small role. No detail of the show was left out, from the dining ware and place settings, to the rustic floor boards. The Georgian Court University students were provided with a visual example of how a proper event can be created with feeling and emotion, something that all aspects of the trip and the course ultimately highlighted.
By Melissa Hal As a requirement for the Special Event Planning course, Digital Communication students were granted the o...