Marissa Wynn Miller Business Honors Program, Class of 2012 Miller Business Honors Program Senior Experience, October 2011
Throughout my college career, I’ve had classes with many different students. Each semester has brought new faces and new friends, but my friends in the Miller Business Honors Program have always been a constant. Since our freshman year, we’ve had at least one (sometimes three or four) class together. We aren’t all best friends, and many of us have found our place in other social groups, but we’ve developed a unique bond through our shared experience as the first class of students in the program. We know each other’s strengths and interests; we know whom we work best with; and we know whom we can always count on for a laugh.
With two of our classmates graduating early, what better time could there be for a senior experience trip than the last semester with all of us together? During fall semester we enrolled in a colloquium focused on leadership and corporate culture, using The Walt Disney Company as a basis. In October 2011, the senior class had the opportunity to travel to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and learn from the Disney Institute. We stayed at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort were able to quickly acclimate to our environment. After our flight and transfer to the resort, many of us spent our first evening investigating the offerings of Downtown Disney.
Sunday morning we began our session with the Disney Institute, during which we learned a bit about the history of Disney and visited the One Man’s Dream attraction in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We discussed our own perceptions of leadership compared with Walt Disney.
The morning leadership session was interesting, but the best part of our time with the institute began after lunch. We broke up into four teams and participated in Team Park Challenge, a simulation activity. Each team member had a different role and had different responsibilities throughout the activity. Students had to work together to build a successful business through purchases, organization, and strategy. Success was determined at the end of each round based on the institute’s secret calculations. We never knew how results were being calculated; only how well we had done on the previous rounds. It was a fun an exciting way to learn some important business lessons. I won’t divulge too much in case future participants are reading this, but there were a few things I hadn’t considered until I participated in the Team Park Challenge activity.
That evening, we visited Epcot for a private dessert reception and viewing of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. It was a great opportunity to relax and spend time with friends as well as discuss our plans for the next day’s adventures. On Monday we had the entire day to observe business practices and apply the prior day’s lessons in the parks. We started with a group ride on Soarin’ before going our separate ways. Some of us stayed at Epcot to take advantage of the offerings of a seasonal international festival, while others headed to Disney's Animal Kingdom. Most students made their way to the Magic Kingdom at some point in the day and stayed to watch Wishes, the amazing pyrotechnics show. We experienced numerous Guest Services perks and offerings through attractions, dining locations, and merchandise outlets; but my personal favorite was PhilarMagic, a 3-D musical show featuring some of my favorite Disney songs.
We learned a lot and the trip was a lot of fun, but the best part was being able to relax and spend time with fellow Miller Business Honors Program students while we were all still together.
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