The University of West Alabama Marketing Club traveled to Disney World March 4-7 to attend Disney’s College Edition Leadership Strategies Training.

The conference was held in Epcot and lasted half of a day. The students were able to go behind the scenes and discover the secret behind the “magic.”

The students participated in activities such as: learning the cycle of leadership decisions, leadership styles and the importance of communication.

The leadership decisions activity showed the students the cycle of making decisions. The students were assigned to decide if business/finance, customer satisfaction or employee satisfaction were more important. The leadership instructor explained that each thing was just as important as the other in decision making.

Next, the students were instructed to plan out each step they would take in designing an animation for Disney. The students worked well together and thought out each step thoroughly.

Student Paige Miller said, “We thought out the process from a marketing standpoint instead of design standpoint. The instructor said he has never had a group pay attention to the slightest details.”

Finally, the students were assigned a partner, and one partner was instructed to explain how to make Cinderella’s dress without talking. “This task was very difficult because I could not understand what my partner was trying to demonstrate,” said Miller.

Dr. Amy Jones, the Marketing Club advisor, said she did not know how Disney World worked behind the scenes and it was really neat for the students to see that side of Disney. She also said she learned more about the leadership role and things she will be able to use in her job as a professor.

Along with the adventure to Epcot, the students were able to go to Magic Kingdom for a day. Dr. Jones said it was great to see Disney World from two different perspectives. Jones added, “ We were able to experience the guest perspective; where you enjoy the park and enjoy the experience. We also saw the behind the scenes perspective to see how they coordinate 74 thousand employees and keep the magic alive.

Marketing club member, Kaitlynn Beaird said that this conference provided her with a hands-on learning experience about how important good leadership is to build and grow a successful business.

While attending the conference, Beaird learned about the opportunities Disney World offers college students. She said, “I have decided to apply for a professional internship at Disney World after graduating in December.”

Dr. Jones said, “The whole trip was fabulous! I thought the trip went the smoothest out of all the trips I have taken with students.” She hopes to take another group to Disney World in the future.

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