Penn State Berks student interns at Walt Disney World

James Murray-Disney 2021
Credit: Photo Courtesy of James Murray

James “Jimmy” Murray is living his dream: He is currently completing an internship at the ‘Happiest Place on Earth’: Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

A junior business major from Reading, Pennsylvania, Murray explains that he always wanted to complete an internship at Disney World, so he did his research and was ready to apply when the coronavirus pandemic closed everything down last year – including Disney parks.

Undaunted, he applied to the Disney College Program in May 2021 and was accepted in June.

Murray works in the World of Disney retail store, and he is trained to fill in at any of Disney’s retail locations if and when needed, which is likely to become a regular occurrence when Disney’s 50th anniversary celebration kicks off this October.

James Murray's Disney name badge.
Credit: Photo Courtesy of James Murray

In addition to Disney’s 50th anniversary, the World of Disney store will celebrate its 25th anniversary, beginning Oct. 3. Murray states that while he is currently working 30 to 40 hours a week, he expects his hours to increase in October with both anniversary celebrations and holiday traffic in the parks.

When asked about his favorite part of the internship, Murray states that it is the people he works with. “I can see how happy all the people are.”

He adds that most people don’t realize that after 6 p.m., about 75% of the workers at Disney are college students.

Murray was able to save money by living with family in Orlando, rather than taking advantage of Disney College Program’s housing for interns, in which rent is paid directly from interns’ pay checks.

In January 2022, Murray will return to Penn State Berks, where he plans to complete his degree and graduate in 2023. He has discovered a passion for sports marketing and plans to pursue a certificate in sports administration at the college. His goal is to work in the front office of a professional sports team after graduation.

When asked why he chose Penn State Berks, Murray explained that he comes from a Penn State family. He also said that at Berks, he will earn a Penn State degree close to home. He also had a lot of opportunities at Berks as a past member of the college’s NCAA Division III basketball team and the men’s volleyball club.

He credits his time at Penn State Berks for getting him to this point and he credits both the college and Disney with helping him to develop critical communication skills that will help him in his future career.

“I talk to hundreds of people a day at Disney. I wouldn’t be where I am if it weren’t for Penn State Berks.”