RIO RANCHO – No, she’s not Goofy.
But maybe one day she could be.
Lylah Moreno, a member of the Cleveland High School Class of 2023, has the opportunity to go through Disney College, which ultimately offers more than 20 roles offered across its theme parks, water parks, resorts and Disney Springs.
It’s been a whirlwind 2023 for Moreno, a former member of the Storm volleyball team who earned a scholarship to Otero Junior College in La Junta, Colo., where she’s seen quite a bit of action as a right-side hitter.
But this recent offer was too good to say “no” to.
The Disney College Program is a unique internship that offers an opportunity unlike any other for college students and recent grads to work and learn at Walt Disney World, all while having fun and making new friends from around the world.
Moreno has been a Disney fan since her early days, she said, after a Storm volleyball game and on a short vacation from Otero JC.
“Otero’s been great,” she said of her limited campus experience so far. “I love the girls; I love the coaches. I’m getting a lot of touches; I’m getting a lot of playing time. It really is an amazing experience I’m having so far.”
As for this date with Disney, she said, “It first started when I was a kid, of course. I remember being obsessed with Disney, like princesses, like every little kid is. It started off, like, ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ That was my favorite character (the beauty).
“I kind of snowballed after that,” she said. “I went to Disneyland once, when I was a kid, and I’ve been to Disney World once.”
“My nephew got a degree from the University of Utah in sports broadcasting,” noted her mother, Mollie Moreno. “He worked at Disney for 14 months. Now he just got a full-time. job at ESPN/Disney.”
“He gave me some pointers,” Moreno said, prior to her phone interview.
What kind of questions did she have to answer? Hiow old is Mickey Mouse? What’s Snow White’s favorite color? Name the Seven Dwarfs?
“They were like, where do I want to work? What park do I want to work at, because there’s four different parks,” she said. “I said Disney Studios because I love that park so much.”
Now, she says, she’s no longer focused on being a princess, but might be interested in other characters.
“I don’t think I’m small enough to be (one of the) Seven Dwarfs,” she said, laughing. “It’s just a really good opportunity. So, I’ll be working at Disney World and taking college classes.”
She’ll be there Jan. 8-Aug. 1, she said, and her volleyball career isn’t taking a hiatus.
“One of my suite mates also got into the Disney college program, and when we both move out there, our dorms are very close together and we’re going to plan our workouts, because our coach is going to send us our volleyball workouts. They have a sand court and an indoor gym.”
Regardless of which direction the Disney program takes her, Moreno should garner five transferable skills for life and/or a career:
- Since starting more than 40 years ago, the Disney College Program has helped many Disney leaders kick off their dream careers, as the participants’ roles at the theme parks and resorts teach valuable transferable skills and give participants hands-on experience, while working for one of the world’s most admired media and entertainment companies. The program helps participants get a foot in the door at Disney or set them up with the tools and experience for a successful career at another company.
- While residing at Flamingo Crossings Village, participants can live in upscale apartment-style residences and enjoy exclusive access to social and professional experiences. It features special amenities like resort-style pools, a 12,500 sq. ft. fitness center, expansive community centers and educational facilities. Disney also provides bus transportation that offers direct access from the community to work locations and nearby shopping and dining.
- Participants can continue their professional development with experiences tailored to help them learn, grow and network with experts in their field. Through events like conversations with Disney Legends and industry leaders and expo-style career showcases, participants make valuable connections and go behind the scenes to learn how to be successful in a variety of opportunities as they embark on the next chapter of their lives.
- Whether working together, living together or attending one of the many social events at Flamingo Crossings Village, the bonds participants make with their peers from around the world last far beyond the Disney College Program.