Brianna Perrin is “happy and excited to be back” at Southwestern Michigan College after spending fall semester in a paid internship with Disney College Program at Florida’s Walt Disney World Resort.
“It was amazing, from Aug. 12-Jan. 2,” Perrin said, with ideal weather “except for a small hurricane scare” when Dorian made landfall in the Bahamas Sept. 1.
“Meeting and working with people from around the world was definitely my favorite part,” she said. Her roommates in a two-bedroom apartment at The Commons (one of four housing complexes along with Chatham Square, Vista Way and Patterson Court), came from Puerto Rico, Tennessee and Texas.
“They’re all about 15 minutes from the Magic Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista,” Perrin said. “I had my car with me the whole time,” which proved handy days off when she slipped away to solitude at a state park.
Co-workers hailed from Indonesia, South Africa and Australia as well as Detroit, Chicago and Indiana. “I had a guest from St. Joe who worked at Whirlpool, where my mom works — but they didn’t know each other. It said ‘Southwestern Michigan College’ on my name tag.”
The Stevensville Lakeshore High School graduate returns a seasoned attractions cast member. “That could have meant parking or ticket booth,” she said, “but I ended up operating a ride in Storybook Circus. I helped Chris Evans into Dumbo,” she said of encountering the movies’ Captain America. She just missed Josh Gad, who voiced Olaf in the two “Frozen” movies. “It was the same day I was a guest at Hollywood Studios. I didn’t see him, but apparently he showed up at the Frozen singalong.”
“I operated Dumbo and a small roller coaster called The Barnstormer,” Perrin said. “I loved interacting with guests” on her night shifts. “After 5 p.m., the park is run by people under the age of 22. There were probably 150 working in the Storybook Circus attraction. We had a graduation event, where I met Mickey and Minnie in caps and gowns.”
“I worked Christmas Day,” Perrin said. “It’s pretty intense around the holidays. I worked 72 hours that week and got lots of overtime. Guests think people will stay home (on Christmas), but everybody goes. There were 100,000 people in Magic Kingdom.”
Disney World offers nightly fireworks and parades twice a day, such as one Perrin performed in as a Lakeshore sophomore. Her Lancers marched to three Michigan Competing Band Association championships at Detroit’s Ford Field and performed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, senior year.
Perrin sang with Select Voices Jan. 16 at the Greater Dowagiac Area Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours welcoming Dr. Joe Odenwald as SMC’s eighth president.
She has 20 credits this semester while also working behind the William M. White Hall desk. Perrin started college pursuing elementary education but now leans toward social work while deciding between transferring to Western Michigan University or Central Michigan University.
“I couldn’t see myself as a teacher,” Perrin decided, “but I am interested in psychology and sociology as a way to work with and help kids.”