It’s your arrival day, how exciting! You wished on a star, and possibly signed a contract with Ursula herself to get here, but now you are a Disney International or College Program participant! However, during your first few days, you may feel like Ariel did in that sea-witch summoned ocean tornado; everything whirling around you so quickly you can barely flop in the right direction!
As part of arrivals, to get everyone started on the right (what’s that word again?) foot, you will receive your Housing ID (if you drive here, you will also receive your parking decal), your housing placement (where you will be living!), a Program Guide, a bus schedule (did you know there is an app for that?), pick up your key and head out to move in and meet your roommates! Look at all this stuff, isn’t it neat? Understandably, taking some time to read through the entire Program Guide on this day might feel like trying to jump, dance and stroll with fins (you don’t get too far).
Before you start wandering free my advice is to ask some questions and get some answers! That’s what the Program Guide is there for. Below you will find the TOP FIVE topics to read before you head out to stay all day in the sun.
#1: Important Phone Numbers
Most likely during your program you will need assistance and support. Ariel couldn’t have gotten out from under the sea without her buddies Flounder and Scully (along with some advice from good old Sebastian) by herself, and we at the Disney Service Centers don’t expect for you to do it all on your own either! On the very FIRST page in your Program Guide you will find phone numbers for:
- Front Desks for each complex (Now also the Service Centers!)
- Security for each complex
- Housing Administrative Services (located at Chatham Square)
- Disney Learning Center (located at Vista Way)
- Transportation Dispatch and Hotline
- College, Culinary and International Recruiting
- Immigration Compliance
- Labor Service Center
- Cast Deployment Team
*On Page 92 in the Program Guide you will also find Telephone Use Information for subjects such as how to call Housing from your cell phone and how to use your apartment phone.
#2: Housing Maps (pgs. 10-17)
Whether you are living at Vista Way, Chatham Square, The Commons or Patterson Court there is a map of your complex in the Program Guide! These maps are great for finding laundry facilities, your mailbox, the fitness center, or your complex’s clubhouse (where the front desk and Service Centers are located). Maps also may include (depending on your complex) the tennis court(s), pool(s), volleyball court, bus stop, classrooms, administrative offices and computer labs. Plus, now you know where to find your friends when you visit!
#3: Medical Care (pgs. 30-31)
No one wants to think about getting sick during their program, but sometimes it happens. Many of our participants are used to different climates from other parts of the United States and other countries. Many are unprepared for Florida’s environment. The quick weather changes, humidity (or lack thereof) and the pollen combined with the program’s intense work and social atmospheres may test even the strongest of immune systems. So before you become another poor unfortunate soul, go ahead and make your choice…to know what to do if this happens to you!
*On Page 83 in the Program Guide there is a list of ways to get around town aside from using Disney Transportation or your personal vehicle. Centra Care will pick you up, but it is a good idea to know your options for medical care and how to get there.
#4: Work Attendance (Pgs. 51-54)
Remember when Ariel didn’t show up to King Triton’s huge soiree to sing for the opening act? What a shock! I think we can all agree if she had told someone where she was going the rest of the film wouldn’t have panned out like it did (if she was responsible, the King may have let her keep her fantastic collection, for one, including that beautiful Eric statue). Don’t be like Ariel. Always uphold the highest of professional standards during your program experience. And educate yourself on your role expectations during your time here. You can find information about policies and consequences in these pages, as well as how to pick up extra hours, request time off, or exchange a shift with a fellow cast member.
#5: Departures (Pgs. 84-87)
It may seem strange to think about leaving when you have just arrived, but planning and foresight are key in being successful at completing your program (and getting those Service Celebration ears!). Deadlines to apply for an Early Release due to an approved school-related reason arrive more quickly than Sebastian escaped from Chef Louis’ kitchen (that was a close one!). And once those deadlines have passed, you may have to leave the program through self-termination in order to get back to school (no one wants this). Please read these pages in your Program Guide thoroughly!
I hope that the above TOP FIVE can serve as a quick way to dive right into the waters of your Disney International or College Program. Ariel was able to navigate her way on land after a life in the sea, and I know you will all be able to do the same! Best wishes to all of you!