A Magical Career at the Magic Kingdom
For Shivanie Muneshwar (B.Arch. ’18), Walt Disney World is the stuff that dreams are made of. “Disney has been written on my heart since I was very young,” she says. So when she got the chance to intern at the Walt Disney Company as part of their Facility Asset Management Team, it was a dream come true. “To be a part of the group that gave my family happiness and memories is a blessing in itself,” she says. “I can still remember getting the phone call when I was accepted into the program. It took days before I could actually believe it was really happening!”
Muneshwar moved to Florida a week after graduating from NYIT School of Architecture and Design. “Ever since I was in high school, I have been very passionate about architecture,” she says. “It isn’t just about making a beautiful or appealing building. It’s about the presence it creates, its function and purpose.”
Working with the Facility Asset Management (FAM) group at Disney has given Muneshwar a chance to explore both the beauty and functionality aspects of the profession. “Every few years Disney revamps rooms in all of their resorts, so I was given the opportunity to be a part of this unique process,” she says. “It’s exciting to think that my job will leave a lasting impression on millions of people Disney hosts every year.” Muneshwar has contributed to projects in Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, and Disney’s Polynesian Resort.
As part of the suites team, she also gets to work with high-end finishes exclusive to those suites. “Whether it’s surround sound in a bathroom or lighted closet rods, looking at every detail in these rooms is very rewarding because it is all in the effort to enhance the guests’ experience,” she says.
Perks aside, Muneshwar thinks the most interesting part of her job is learning about Disney’s construction process. “These hotels are in constant use; you can never take down an entire building to do the necessary renovations,” she says. “This poses unique challenges to which Disney has developed their own efficient process in response.” And she is especially impressed by the company’s attention to detail and customer service. “Disney never forgets their guests. Families come from around the world and spend thousands of dollars to be a part of this grand operation. Providing them with the greatest memories is our mission.”
Muneshwar says NYIT helped prepare her to handle the stress, time pressures, and challenges that come with the job. “It was my passion for architecture that drove me to accomplish everything I did in college,” she says. Thanks to her efforts, she received the Mara A. Bentel Memorial Thesis Travel Grant, the NYIT School of Architecture and Design Friends Fifth Year Student Scholarship, and the New York Society of Architects: Fred L. Liebman Book Award for Outstanding Second Year Student Award, among other accomplishments.
Now Muneshwar is preparing to get her architecture license and hopes to remain at Disney. “The benefits of being a part of Disney Professional Internships are indescribable,” she says. “If architecture can withstand time—whether physically or mentally—then it has made an impact on the world…That is what I strive for in my career. Not merely to write my name on a skyline, but to leave a story behind to inspire others for years to come.”