Taylor Dulaney

Taylor Dulaney dives into culinary science at Disney World

During the spring semester of her junior year, Taylor traveled over 1,000 miles from her small hometown of Colo, Iowa, to Orlando, Florida, as the first student from Iowa State University to enroll in Disney World’s culinary internship program.

“I went from living in a one-bedroom apartment close to my family to living in Florida with six other girls,” Taylor said. “It was so fun and so exciting. I got to work with top-of-the-line chefs and I learned so much.”

When Taylor first started looking for internships, she became discouraged by the lack of culinary internship options available at Disney World. After meeting with the Disney representative on campus, she decided to investigate options for herself.

“I always loved Disney, and I knew I wanted to work at Disney, but there wasn’t really anything that fit my major,” Taylor said. “I did a little digging and research and found out they actually have a culinary program. I was a week away from the deadline when I found it, and I applied right away. Usually people have to wait months, but my phone interview was the next day and within two weeks I got in.”

At Disney World, Taylor’s internship involved cooking food for the French Quarter Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter kitchen. During the workday, she helped Disney chefs prepare food like gumbo and ribs, but after hours, she spent her time riding Space Mountain with the lights on, doing sunrise yoga in front of the castle, and getting behind-the-scenes exposure to Disney’s nutrition lab.

“I really enjoyed looking at the nutrition lab, because I want to work in a food lab where you make products on a mass scale,” she said. “I got to see the whole head of the operation. That one nutrition lab is where everything at Disney comes out of.”

Taylor’s Disney World experience gave her more than just knowledge about food — she also learned how a professional kitchen functions and established invaluable personal and professional relationships. For students looking at internships, Taylor suggests taking advantage of all the opportunities Iowa State has available to.

“Start early, do your research, and apply right away,” she said. “You want to be able to keep applying and do as many internships as possible.”

Even though she loves being back at Iowa State, Taylor thinks of Orlando as a second home.

“I have such a Disney withdrawal,” Taylor said. “The week I got back, I planned a trip back to Disney — I’m actually going in October.”