Disney Cast Interview – Nikki Ferrari

☆Disney Cast Interview – Nikki Ferrari☆

We have the pleasure of interviewing Nikki Ferrari @nikkiferrari a former participant of Disney’s College Programme who worked at Disney World. She is now pursuing a very exciting career at Seaworld. All from her start at Disney World. In this interview we will delve into Nikki’s time with Disney and get the backstage scoop.

COME: Thanks for chatting with us Nikki. Please tell our readers what your role was as an intern last year at Disney. And what area you got to work in.

NF: In January of 2019 I was a Marine Mammals intern. I got to spend my entire internship working at The Seas With Nemo & Friends in Epcot.

COME: Wow, sounds like a dream role to me. So what made you want to go for that type of internship?

NF: I have always wanted to work with marine mammals and growing up in Florida I have always loved the Disney parks. So, when I found out I could spend six months working for a company as amazing as Disney I jumped at my chance to apply.

COME: What was the process of finding the opening and applying for the internship?

NF: The process of finding the internship was actually surprisingly easy, the application processes however was more intensive. When I graduated from college I was struggling with figuring out what I wanted to do afterwards and one night I simply googled “marine mammal internships” and Disney was the first thing that popped up. I applied instantly. Like I mentioned before, the application process was a bit intensive and I ended up going through three rounds of interviews two phone screens and a video conference.

COME: Yikes, that is intense. How did Disney let you know you got it? And how happy where you?

NF: Disney let me know I got the internship after three months of radio silence. That part was definitely the most nerve wracking, especially since other people I knew who had applied for internship had said that they got emails asking to set up a time to speak to a recruiter before they got their offers. That never happened for me, but one day I got a call from an unknown number and bam, there was my offer. I don’t even have words to describe how happy I was. I was jumping up and down and crying, it was a really exciting moment; especially after going through months of uncertainty and doubt. I didn’t doubt that I was a good candidate for the internship, but so many people who had applied previous years said that it was almost impossible to get an internship on your first try.

COME: You must have really impressed them. Fast forward to Day 1, how did you feel first stepping into Disney World and where were you assigned?

NF: Stepping into Disney on my first day of the internship was really surreal. I moved to a new city and got to work for the most magical company in the world in the field that I studied in college, I mean what more could I possibly ask for. I was extremely grateful and overwhelmed with excitement. Since the only park that has marine mammals is Epcot, I sort of already knew going into the application process where I would be assigned to work.

COME: Naturally. Were you behind the scenes or did you ever get out front with park guests?

NF: I want to say my time was split pretty evenly being behind the scene and in front of guests. I spent a lot of time on stage doing presentations about the Manatees, the aquarium, and the research presentations that were done through out the day.

COME: That’s quite the work load, every bit sounds awesome. So what was an average day like, what were your duties?

NF: Majority of my day consisted of animal husbandry. Preparing diets, cleaning animal areas and sometimes scuba diving! I loved that part. It was so cool to be able to interact with guests from underwater! I also had on stage duties that combined animal husbandry with guest interactions as well. I was responsible for tracking the manatees food consumption through out the day, as well as giving informative narrations about them and how you can help to preserve their environments. I often had to narrate the public research sessions with the dolphins as well. That was always fun to see the excitement in the guests eyes when they watched the dolphins participating in their sessions.

COME: Fun fact, I was once one of those guests. The excitement is very real. But enough about me, back to you. What were cast members like, who helped you the most during your time there?

NF: The cast members were amazing. Everyone was always so friendly and so helpful. Some of my mentors offered resume and cover letter help, while others offered support and suggestions of what to do after our time with Disney was done. It was really such a fun and positive experience.

COME: What kind of things did you do during breaks/between shifts.

NF: Between my shifts I spent way too much time at the parks. I might be biased but my favorite park it Epcot, with [Animal Kingdom] tied for a VERY close second. Sometimes I even went into the park on my lunch break, especially when Epcot had festivals like Flower & Garden or Food & Wine going on.

COME: What was the hardest part of the internship?

NF: I think the hardest part of my internship was knowing that it had an end date. I really loved what I did at Disney and it was sad to know that it had an expiration. It was also difficult to figure out what to do afterwards. I didn’t know whether to stay in Orlando or go back home, but it all worked out in the end.

COME: And what was your most memorable experience?

NF: My most memorable experience was getting to participate in the Dolphins in Depth program. I loved the dolphins at Disney and it was so much fun to get to interact with them during this program. It was also amazing any time I got to scuba dive in the aquarium.

COME: Please tell our readers, what kind of perks do cast members/interns get at Disney?

NF: Interns get very similar perks to cast members, which I was very surprised about! We got discounts as well as admission to the parks and comp tickets. When I wasn’t playing in the parks I loved to go to Cast Connections/Mickey’s Treasures which is the cast member only discounted Disney store.

COME: That sounds amazing! I bet many people don’t know much about that store…

COME: How long did your internship last and what do you miss most?
NF: My internship was scheduled to be from January to June of 2019 but I was lucky enough to get offered an extension through the beginning of August.

COME: I doubt it was luck, they weren’t ready to let you go next. What will you miss most from working at Disney?

NF: It sounds cliche but I really miss the magic of it all. I have always loved working guest facing roles, especially in jobs that allow me to be able to teach people things. I loved talking about conservation and seeing the excitement on guests faces when they get to experience things like seeing a manatee for the first time. I also obviously miss the perks like being able to go to Disney any time I want.

COME: Would you love to go back to work at Disney, and what area would you want to work in?

NF: I would absolutely love to go back to work at Disney. I think this time around I would love to work at DAK. Though marine mammals have always been the animals I hoped my career would revolve around, I would really enjoy working with any animal and being able to promote conservation.

COME: I sense you’ll do well around any animal, wherever your career takes you. Before you go do you have any final Tidbits from your time at Disney?

NF: If you’re thinking about applying for an internship, but you’re on the fence, GO FOR IT. Working for Disney honestly changed my life and I am almost positive I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for this internship.

COME:  Where are you working now?

NF: Currently I am working at SeaWorld Orlando as an Associate Trainer on the Pinniped team. I send my time at Sea Lion Stadium working with sea lions, harbor seals, manatees and our resident walrus!

COME: Nikki thank you so much for your time. This interview has been spectacular. We envy your wonderful experience with Disney and are confident you are going to have a long and successful career with whatever animals you work with. We wish you all the best. Before you go please tell our readers where they can find you on social media to follow your new posts and pics?

NF: You can follow me on Instagram @nikkiferrari I also have a YouTube Channel where I have some videos explaining the application process more in depth as well as other fun Disney videos! You can subscribe at this link: https://bit.ly/303Euzh

Please follow Castle of Mouse Explorers @comexplorers and visit our website (Link in Bio) For all Disney Parks, Merch, Movies News & Features. Plus Exclusive Interviews with Disney Cast and Talent.


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