Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Check-In Day

After 2 flights, an hour long delay and a few thousand miles, I’m finally in Orlando!

Yesterday was check-in at Vista Way (which is the main complex where a lot of stuff takes place). We received our housing assignments, keys, and housing IDs. One thing that’s nice about the complexes is that you have to have your housing ID to enter (I love security measures, actually. I always get nervous and I lock EVERYTHING, so you won’t hear me complaining about this). Disney doesn’t assign housing before you arrive in Florida, but if you happen to find someone you want to room with beforehand, you can request that online. Otherwise they will just put you in an apartment with whoever you happen to be standing next to. People line up ridiculously early (like before 6 AM) to get the housing they want as a result. We were there early enough to get the 4-bedroom apartment in Chatham like we wanted. Patterson is the newest complex (built in 2008) so it’s very nice and quiet. Chatham is the second-newest, so it’s a little bit older, but I hear that the rooms are bigger here than in Patterson. Vista Way is the other complex, which is also the largest and oldest. Vista has the reputation of being a bit louder than the other two, but it’s also where the classrooms and check-in are. There is a fourth complex called the Commons but it is exclusively for international college program participants.

I have 7 roommates, which sounds like a lot, but I have lived in two dorms and a sorority house with 57 other women, and I have two sisters. Needless to say, 7 roommates doesn’t scare me. We live on the ground floor near the center of the complex. The apartment is nice because we have the four separate bedrooms and a HUGE living area. We also get two refrigerators and 2 ½ bathrooms. The bathroom situation might get somewhat tricky, but each bedroom does have a sink which will help. The Chatham apartments also get a little balcony area which is unnecessary but nice to have.


While we were at Vista Way, they also handed out Disney College Program Guides, which look a lot like the school planners from junior high and high school. They put stickers with information about where you’re supposed to go and when on the back of the planners and I’m guessing we’ll probably be using them a bunch during training. They also used them a TON during casting.

After we received our housing, we boarded a bus to the casting building which is on the Walt Disney World property.

Doorknob at the Casting Building

Inside Casting

Because I love Donald :]

At casting, we first received our work locations. I’m thrilled to say that I get to work at the Magic Kingdom as a Character Attendant! I auditioned to be a Character Performer but was not one of the 5% to pass the audition, so this is the next best thing. After we got our work locations, we went through what feels like a million stations, each with more information. People explained the classes, set up direct deposit accounts, did FBI background checks, talked about the Disney Look, took W-2 and I-9 forms and more. The last item of the day was finding out when we take our Disney Traditions class. Traditions is technically the first day of training and it will also be the day that we get our Cast IDs, which means free entrance to ALL the Walt Disney World theme parks! I’m pretty sure I’m the only person here who’s never been to WDW (or Orlando, for that matter). We also found out when our first day of training would be and how to get there.

The whole process took about 3 hours from start to finish. The most important advice I could give to a potential CPer would be to bring a U.S. passport for your photo ID if possible. A passport negates the need for something establishing your social security number, which is really nice. If you don’t have a passport, then make sure you bring the correct forms of identification listed online. It will make your day SO much easier. Also having the onboarding paperwork (available on the CP website) printed and filled out will help.

After going through Casting, we had a little downtime to unpack and settle in a bit. I was completely exhausted after having only seven-ish hours of sleep in the past three days, so I took a nap :] But afterwards, we had a housing meeting in the Commons Clubhouse. I’m not going to sugarcoat this: it was a complete waste of my time. But it was mandatory and they were scanning IDs at the door so we had to go. They spent two hours going over the housing codes, which are just the rules of what you can and cannot do. The kicker is that they were all printed in our Disney College Program guides, and being the overachiever that I am, I had already read through all of them.

That’s pretty much it. There was nothing planned today to give us all time to unpack and get settled. I got a ride from one of my roommates yesterday to Target to get some essentials. Another thing that’s nice about living in DCP housing is that there is bus transport to WDW and some shopping places nearby. I think it takes you to a Walgreens, Publix and Wal-Mart, plus some local outlet malls. Nothing is really within walking distance, but the New Yorker in me might try it anyway. We’ll see :]

Whew. If you made it through all of that, you’re a champ. Hopefully it was somewhat interesting and/or maybe helpful. Next up: Traditions!

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