From College Program Friends to Corporate Colleagues: Two Friends Share Their Disney Journeys

From performing together on their Disney College Programs to working together over a decade later, cast members Bryan Wardian and Victoria Powers have enjoyed having a friend on their Disney journeys.

A Manager of Program Management with DPEP Technology and Digital, Bryan completed multiple Disney College Programs as well as two Disney Internships. For Bryan, the best parts of his programs were playing in the parks and the friends he made. “The experience and connections I made have taken me to places I couldn’t have dreamed of.”

Since then, Bryan has had many roles, including working for Disney Live Entertainment, project managing for resorts and developing various digital products. In his current role, Bryan works as chief of staff to a Senior Vice President of Products and Experiences. He enjoys being creative by brainstorming new ideas, enhancing the guest experience and developing a variety of projects.  “It’s a great feeling to know the trust and confidence my leader and other executives in my department have in me to help tell their stories.”

“I’m so proud of both of us. I think if we were to tell our College Program selves that this is where we’d be, we wouldn’t believe it.”

– Bryan Wardian

Victoria, a Communications Manager, took a different path. After her College Program, she stayed with Entertainment until she left to attend college. After graduating, she worked in the aviation and entertainment industries before returning to Disney in 2021. Victoria was excited to rejoin the company and to work with her friend Bryan again. “When I started looking to rejoin the company, Bryan was my biggest cheerleader and so supportive throughout the interview process,” Victoria shares. “I love the fact that now we’re in meetings together but still get to spend our weekends eating corn dog nuggets on Main Street or debating which resort on property has the best iced coffee.”

Group of Disney College Program friends at Cinderella Castle

In her current role, Victoria shares stories about the exciting work the Technology and Digital team does. “There are so many incredible people in this department who are innovative and insanely creative, and I’m glad there is a role specifically dedicated to sharing these stories,” shares Victoria. “I’m even happier that I’m the one who gets to do it.”

Brian and Victoria pose during a video filming

Both Bryan and Victoria say their Disney Programs taught them important skills they continue to use today. Victoria explains, “You may think, ‘What translates from dancing down Main Street to a corporate role?’ But the skills and self-confidence I gained throughout those years has definitely benefitted me in my career. When I’m in meetings or hosting Zoom calls, I’m comfortable in front of a crowd or presenting in front of executives. I’m quick on my feet when questions are asked thanks to the improv skills I learned.”

“Bryan and I met when we were both still teenagers trying to figure out what we wanted to do with our lives spending all our paychecks on spirit jerseys. Now we’re adults who have corporate jobs and own homes and still spend our money on spirit jerseys.”

– Victoria Powers

Bryan agrees. “From my College Program and Intern roles, I learned how to talk to people. Public speaking was always nerve-wracking for me. Having so many roles where I had to talk to new people constantly really stripped down the nerves and built my confidence.”

Group of Disney College Program friends

When talking to current Disney Programs participants, Bryan and Victoria emphasize the importance of networking. As Victoria points out, “So many people within the company started on the College Program and we’re more than happy to help others out in the same position.” They also encourage participants to take advantage of the unique opportunities they have, such as Programs-exclusive events, classes and networking opportunities. And above all – take time to build friendships and connections that will last your whole career.

Interested in starting your career journey on a Disney Program? Take the first step and apply to the Disney College Program today!