Manor College Senior Enjoys the Ride in Disney College Program

Keith Donofrio (Philadelphia/New Foundations Charter High School) is studying for his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Analytics.

Keith Donofrio has been interning with the Disney College Program since January.

Editor’s Note: Keith Donofrio graduated from Manor College in May 2024.

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Walt Disney World seems like a harmless roller coaster on name alone. The ride bills as a fast navigation through iconic Hollywood landmarks. Aerosmith’s heaviest anthems, like “Back in the Saddle” and “Walk This Way,” blast through the ride speakers.

To a tall, lanky 8-year-old boy barely able to pass the height requirement, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster was a potential nightmare.

The boy, current Manor College student Keith Donofrio, approached the ride attendant. Donofrio wanted to know if the coaster went upside down. The attendant answered, “Don’t worry, you’ll have a great time.” That answer ignored the pair of roll over loops and one corkscrew that riders face. 

Not knowing the ride’s twists and turns, the attendant’s non-answer calmed Donofrio down. He rode Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster minutes later and became hooked. He got back on the coaster four more times that day.

That moment inspired chasing adrenaline rushes at theme parks across the country.

“If it wasn’t for that ride attendant, I never would’ve fallen in love with roller coasters,” Donofrio said. “Since that day, I have wanted to work at Disney. I wanted to make a difference and make kids feel safe at the park.”

Donofrio gets that chance this semester. The Manor College senior enrolled in the Disney College Program in January. The internship allows students to work in the Orlando theme park, gaining experience in a variety of roles. Disney placed Donofrio in food and beverage management due to his prior work experiences.

Initially, Donofrio discovered the internship during his freshman year. Over time, he forgot about the opportunity as work and life grew busier. Needing an internship this Fall, Donofrio received an email from Disney. The program still had openings. 

“I saw that email and thought, ‘This is my opportunity,’” Donofrio said. “I put in the application and it became the most impactful work I’ve done in my life.” 

Donofrio expects to graduate in May with his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Analytics. He’ll remain in Orlando through August and hopes to become part of Disney’s leadership program. 

“Analytics is the way of the world now,” Donofrio said. “With optimization, it’s about reading numbers and putting them into play. I want to settle down in a company that wants to use my skill set in a setting that I can enjoy.”

While in Disney, Donofrio is able to take his Manor College classes virtually. During his time in college, he held multiple full-time jobs. He worked as a Branch Representative at Police and Fire Federal Credit Union and as an Assistant Manager at Men’s Warehouse. 

All the while, Donofrio had the flexibility to balance work and his class schedule. 

“I’m so grateful for Manor, because without Manor, I don’t know where I’d be,” Donofrio said. “They were able to accommodate me while I had full-time work. Graduating this year has always been my main goal. Manor made sure I could get my education, no matter what my schedule was or where I was living.”

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