As part of the company’s continuing efforts to invest in local students, Disney surprised culinary students from Valencia College with an exclusive look at Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa before its official grand reopening.
In addition to a preview of the resort’s newly reimagined fine dining restaurant, the students were also surprised with a $50,000 donation to the Valencia College Foundation to enhance the school’s culinary program.
Did you know? Valencia College is part of Disney Aspire, an educational investment and career development program available to eligible Disney cast and employees across the U.S.
“Immersive experiences like this help our students reach for and attain goals beyond the program here at Valencia,” said Valencia College Provost of Downtown and Winter Park Campuses and Transfer Initiatives, Dr. Wendy Givoglu, “We were honored to be among the first to dine at this award-winning restaurant where our students could one day see themselves working.”
During their visit, students had the valuable opportunity to meet with food & beverage cast members who are proud Valencia alumni who shared their journeys from culinary students to Disney chefs – and although the evening was planned to surprise the students, the culinary team also found the experience exciting and rewarding.
“We’re so inspired by our future storytellers here at Disney and loved welcoming these students for a hands-on learning experience at the ‘culinary crown jewel’ of Walt Disney World Resort,” Senior Vice President of Operations Maribeth Bisienere said. “Victoria & Albert’s is a special restaurant filled with talented cast members, and they were able to give students a real glimpse into the Disney cast life and unique culinary careers across the resort. If we impacted even one student’s journey, we know we’ve made a world of difference.”
Disney Chef and Valencia College Alumni Nick Walker agrees. “The investment in our future culinarians is one of the most important things we can do as chefs,” he said. “I love what I do and only want [the industry] to get better, which means making sure future generations are better than me.”
Disney continues to support education efforts across Central Florida, including Disney Aspire and Disney VoluntEARS initiatives like the annual back-to-school supply drive that’s happening now across Walt Disney World Resort.
Click here for more information about culinary career opportunities at Disney.