When Liz Arrington packed her bags for Florida to pursue the Disney College Program post-graduation in 2013, it was too soon for her to see that she would not be returning. Fast forward three years, the Montclair State University grad has five jobs under her belt, has had two promotions and continues to climb the Disney ropes.
Like most graduates, Arrington is not where she had imagined herself to be when she was an undergraduate student. Arrington majored in Communication Studies and to quote the most accurate statement made by one of her professors on day one of class, “That means you have no idea what you want to do with your life, right?”
For Arrington, she may not have had an answer right then and there as to where she wanted to work. The communication studies-student tried a handful of internships (from Steve Vai’s music label Favored Nations, to CBS News to ABC’s The Chew) and was President of two organizations on campus, Players (a student-run theater organization in the Student Government Association) and the Public Relations Student Society of America. But while exploring different career paths and finding herself, Arrington was doing herself the biggest favor that she would many years later credit for her success: Building her leadership skills.
Arrington arrived at Disney’s College program with a “Here I am!” attitude, ready to take on any role. She was assigned a Full Service Food and Beverage role at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort—a position that was a bit more remedial than she was used to, but she performed it, like any task, with pride. During the tenure of the 6-month program, Arrington’s managers recognized she possessed the skillset to succeed and grow with the company and was encouraged to interview for a full-time position.
With the help of her mentors, Arrington scored a full-time position in the resorts. After a year in that position, her inherent hard work and professional ethic paid off; she was offered a promotion to Coordinator in early 2015.
Today, Arrington leads a cast of over 50 people each day in running three food and beverage locations in the Norway pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase. After only nine months as a Coordinator, Arrington was approved to start a month-long process of interviewing for the “Leadership Casting Call,” the company’s interview process for future management positions. Arrington successfully navigated through the interviews and is waiting on her first placement as a Guest Experience Manager. At that point, she can be placed anywhere in any park or resort. “I can taste food from anywhere,” she says gleefully.
Arrington doesn’t see herself in the parks forever, but she certainly sees herself growing with the company. “I take everything day by day, but this is definitely a company I see myself staying with for the long haul,” Arrington said. “As Stephen Colbert has said, ‘Like a true American, I love all things Disney. Mostly because all things are owned by Disney.’”