Moving away from home can be tough, but having a little touch of pixie dust before starting your program makes things easier. I arrived for my College Program in July 2013 and went through the arrivals process just like participants do today. Little did I know that just two years later I would be able to provide advice for my twin brother on his arrival day as he began his Disney College Program. So, consider this some sisterly advice about arriving on your program. Get a good night’s sleep.
This is crucial! All the excitement of starting a new job, meeting new friends and living in a new place, let alone the effort of moving your stuff in, will be both mentally and physically exhausting. Plan ahead for beauty rest or otherwise be prepared (cue Scar and several hyenas) to chug coffee for the rest of the day.
What to wear?
The answer is something appropriate but comfortable. Tennis shoes, jeans, capris, shorts (but not too short), t-shirts or anything you find comfortable is acceptable. Remember you will be hauling your stuff around and into your apartment.
Be in Disney Look!
My brother loves his beard (despite my grandmother’s dismay). Gentlemen learn from my brother’s experience: he did not shave according to Disney Look standards upon his arrival and was politely handed a razor and asked to shave before taking his ID photo. Ladies, monitoring Disney Look is important to you as well. Make a salon appointment or buy an in-home kit to tone down any intense highlights or dye hair back to your natural color.
Bringing family members?
Please note that family members are not permitted to be a part of your check-in process. If friends or family plan to accompany you to assist with move-in, for their safety and comfort we encourage them to stay in their hotel or local accommodations or drop you off and take in area attractions while you complete your full check-in process. The check-in process is specific to each Cast Member’s itinerary, and it could be anywhere from 2-4 hours before you begin to move into your apartment.
Don’t forget your important documents!
During check-in, I found it really helpful to make a folder with important documents so that I would never lose anything. I kept this folder throughout my program and kept it safe in my apartment locker.
Save a few trips to the store.
My lucky brother got to experience a brand new luxury to Housing—its partnership with The Grid at The Commons and Dormco. The Grid, a convenient marketplace at The Commons, offers food and household goods. Dormco, its online affiliate, offers discounts on living essentials that can be delivered to your housing location before you even get there! You can shop for comforters, towels, sheets, hampers and other products to ease your living experience. Should you need more, there is an outlet mall across from The Commons apartment complex and both a grocery and superstore on our bus route, so make lists to avoid making multiple trips!
Adjusting to Florida weather can be difficult.
Florida is hotter, more humid and, if you arrive in the wet summer season, rainier. It rains (sometimes downpours) about every afternoon. You will learn quickly that it is handy to carry around an umbrella, deodorant, sunglasses, a sunshield for your car, sunblock, hairspray (ladies, get used to more frizz) and most importantly, your new best friend, a water bottle.
You’ll also need some miscellaneous essentials.
I probably don’t need to tell you basic necessities to buy or bring, but there are a few helpful things I should mention that you might not think of otherwise.
- Pushpins – There are bulletin boards in your apartments!
- A combination lock – Keep valuables safe in your apartment locker!
- Lunchbox- Packing will save you money, and lunchboxes are more ecofriendly.
- Reusable grocery bags – Again, ecofriendly and efficient in carrying groceries.
- Light coat and gloves – Believe it or not, it does get cold here, especially come November at nighttime.
- Halloween costume – When Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween parties pick up, there are select nights that cast members can get discounted tickets – so feel free to relive your youth and “trick or treat” to your heart’s desire around Magic Kingdom Park!
But, the most important advice I can give you is to have fun! You will make lots of new friends, learn where you are working and know your apartment assignment all in one day – it’s everything you’ve been waiting for!
The rest of the Housing team and I wish you a wonderful arrival day and a magical program!
Caroline, Disney Internships & Programs Housing Communications