Since 1971, Walt Disney World has been making dreams come true. From Magic Kingdom to modern icons such as Woody and Nemo, kids have grown up with Disney creations. Anderson University management major Elijah Alvey had been inspired to work for this historic organization, and recently he achieved that goal. In January, he began an eight-month journey as an intern in the Caribbean Cove of Walt Disney World.
The journey to achieve those Disney dreams has been a long time coming. Alvey owns his own production company, Shadowbox Productions, which he founded while still in high school. He is also a self-proclaimed “Disney kid;” Alvey grew up in a time when The Lion King and Aladdin were the latest Disney films. During Alvey’s sophomore year he was sent an application to apply for Disney’s college program. However, even with his Disney knowledge and the creation of his own company, Alvey was not accepted for the internship program.
“At the time I was fairly discouraged, but I was surrounded by people who constantly reminded me that it simply wasn't in God's plan for me at that time,” said Alvey.
Alvey was persistent. Disney allows applications to be sent again after one year’s time, and after much consideration, Alvey applied again. This time he made it past the first phase, and he went to discuss the next phase with one of his mentors, Dr. Doyle Lucas, DBA program director and professor of management in the Falls School of Business.
“Before doing my phone interview, I talked to Dr. Lucas to get some tips on phone interviews,” said Alvey. “The interview only lasted about five minutes, and I found out three weeks later that I had been accepted.”
From there, the journey became reality. Alvey started independent study classes so he could keep his full-time student status, even though his work schedule consisted of anywhere from 40 to 80 hours a week. Upon arriving at Walt Disney World, he filled out all the proper forms, was assigned an apartment and roommates, and prepared for his job. He was assigned to work in the Caribbean Beach Resort.
“We have a saying around here, ‘I make the magic!’ I get to make the Disney magic for every guest that I meet during my workday,” said Alvey. “The first time that I got to give a little boy his first Mickey sticker, I knew that this was the place I wanted to work.”
Alvey has impressed many people with his determination to get to where he is today, including AU junior marketing major Courtney Hoyle.
“I am really proud of him,” said Hoyle. “He worked so hard to get to where he is today. Working for Disney is his dream job. He’s always gone above and beyond, and what he has been able to accomplish continues to impress me.”
One of Walt Disney World’s slogans is “Where Dreams Come True,” and Alvey cannot agree more. From a child to today, for Alvey, Disney has always been that lofty goal worth striving for. Now he is doing what he always wanted to do — inspiring and helping kids’ dreams come true with a little help from Mickey Mouse.
— Cody Poor is a junior from Middletown, Ind., majoring in communication arts and minoring in marketing. Poor is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.