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Disney University

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Disney University
Former name
University of Disneyland
Established1955; 68 years ago (1955)[1] in Anaheim, California, United States
FounderVan France[2]
Parent institution
The Walt Disney Company

Disney University (DU), formerly known as University of Disneyland,[3] is the global training program for employees of the parks and experiences divisions at The Walt Disney Company also known as Cast Members. Many college students can participate through the Disney college program. The Disney college program is a full-time paid internship at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Students can receive academic credit while building their resume.[4]

Although Disney University is a non-accredited institution, courses are primarily designed, developed, and delivered by experienced professionals. However, in order to enroll, one needs to be enrolled in an accredited college that will allow the student to take classes and work at Disney. Most colleges allowing it have internships available, and give college credit to do the internship while taking Disney classes. Disney University has traditionally provided learning instructor-led classroom sessions, but eventually expanded delivery methods to accommodate Disney's diverse and growing audience with the advent of eLearning and virtual classrooms.

All new Cast Members are required to attend 'Traditions' on their first day of work; this class imparts the importance of Disney culture, heritage, values, and policies through media and group activities. This is the day where new Cast Members get their first sight of backstage.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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In 1954, Van France met with Walt Disney at the Walt Disney Studios complex in Burbank, California. With the opening of Disneyland fast approaching, Walt needed to find someone to develop the employee orientation and training process for the new park.[5] At 42 years old, France already had plenty of experience as a trainer for manufacturing companies, such as an auto assembly plant and an aircraft factory, and in the U.S. Army as a training specialist. Impressed by the Disney Studios campus, and knowing Walt had already spent millions of his own to create the park, Van accepted Walt's job offer.[6]

In addition to Walt Disney, Van would also credit Dick Nunis, the former chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, as one other driving force behind Disney University.[7] Van originally hired Dick as his assistant, and was one of the first people hired at Disneyland.[8] Dick was brought on board to assist in creating the first employee orientation and training program.

What happens "backstage" will end up "on-stage." If we aren't friendly with each other...smiling and saying "good morning" and things like that, then we'll have a similar attitude toward our guests.

— Van A. France, founder and Professor emeritus, Disney Universities[9]

The Florida Project

For the opening of Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, Jim Cora was tasked with implementing the "Disney Way of Leadership"[10] program for Disney University.[11][12]

Japanese Expansion

With a degree in International Business Communications, and Japanese Language and History, Doug Lipp was hired by The Walt Disney Company's marketing department, in 1981.[13] His role, which was based out of Anaheim, was to interpret for Japanese officials, during the planning and development of the first international park, Tokyo Disneyland.[14] Doug was fast tracked through Disney's management training program and promoted to a leadership position with Disney University.[13] He was then transferred to Japan to lead the newly established Disney University Tokyo office, where he spent two years hiring and training 4,000 employees for the new park.[14]


Disney University is also the name of the training locations where Disney Cast Members attend classroom sessions. Buildings are located at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida, Disneyland's Team Disney Anaheim, near Disneyland, and Burbank's Team Disney Headquarters.

Walt Disney World

The main entrance to the Disney University building located behind Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

The Walt Disney World building is located behind the Magic Kingdom, across from the Cast Member parking lot. It is also where newly hired Cast Members, Disney College Program student interns, and Disney International Programs participants attend employee orientation, known as "Disney Traditions".[15]

All new employees attend a Disney Traditions Class on their first day. After a formal training period, employees continue to their job locations for further on-site training.

The two-story building at Walt Disney World houses several learning and conference spaces, computer classrooms, professional offices, building operation support (Production Services), the Disney University Library (formerly Disney Learning Center), Partners Federal Credit Union branch and ATM, a SodexoMAGIC cafeteria, and a Company D employee store, where employees can purchase discounted park tickets for family and friends.


Disney University does not have its own specific building at Disneyland, but the training classes are held inside of conference rooms Team Disney Anaheim.


  1. ^ Yearout & Miles 2001, pp. 193.
  2. ^ Lipp 2013, pp. 1.
  3. ^ Sotto, Eddie [@boss_angeles] (May 25, 2023). "Disneyland Summer 1970 Wallet Fact Card" (Tweet). Archived from the original on May 25, 2023 – via Twitter.
  4. ^ "Disney College Program". Tompkins Cortland Community College.
  5. ^ Lipp 2013, pp. 2.
  6. ^ Lipp 2013, pp. 3.
  7. ^ Lipp 2013, pp. 4.
  8. ^ Lipp 2013, pp. xvii.
  9. ^ Lipp 2013, pp. 5.
  10. ^ MacDonald, Brady (March 23, 2021). "Disney Legend Jim Cora, whose Disneyland career began with 'Tell him Walt sent you,' dies at 83". The Orange County Register. Archived from the original on May 26, 2023.
  11. ^ "The Disney Way of Leadership Handbook". iCollector. Disney University. 1971. Retrieved November 21, 2015.
  12. ^ Gluck, Keith (December 20, 2013). "Disney University Program Recap". The Disney Project. Archived from the original on April 21, 2019.
  13. ^ a b "2013 Executive Night – The Magic of Disney's Extraordinary Leadership & Customer Service". Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA). Archived from the original on October 16, 2013. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  14. ^ a b Buck, Claudia. "How Disney Gets its 'Hi-Ho' Worker Enthusiasm". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on October 22, 2013. Retrieved May 26, 2023.
  15. ^ Disney Traditions - Brought To You By Disney University. Orlando, Florida: The Walt Disney Company. 2016.


External links

28°25′41″N 81°34′42″W / 28.42806°N 81.57833°W / 28.42806; -81.57833

This page was last edited on 9 July 2023, at 09:49
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