The moment has come: it’s time to pack your belongings and begin your journey to Florida for your Disney College Program. If you are anything like me, you have probably put off this moment for as long as possible, not because you aren’t excited or can’t wait to be at the Walt Disney World Resort, but because you hate packing. Deciding which of your beloved items are worthy of coming along on your trip is extremely difficult. Do you need five pairs of jeans, or will three suffice? What if you get there and realize you need your red dress instead of the black one? Will your plush Winnie the Pooh feel hurt you’ve left him behind? (Probably – better grab him just in case.)
Well, I’m here to help. When I participated in my College Program, I decided to fly to Orlando instead of driving all that way from Texas, which meant all my belongings had to fit in two suitcases and a carry-on. Many of you are in the same position now, so here’s my advice on what to pack for your Disney College Program.
- Clothing for various situations (but choose carefully)
Florida weather can be unpredictable. One moment it could be brilliantly sunny and the next a torrential downpour is falling from the sky. Bring clothing for warm weather, rainy weather and cold weather (yes, it does get cold here for a brief period of time – I found this out the hard way when I arrived for my program in January without a jacket). Be picky though; think about how many clothing items you will really need as opposed to all the ones you want to bring. Also, don’t forget your professional attire. You will need this for Disney Traditions, if you take any education offerings and any meet-and-greets you arrange. Other clothing you may not think about before departing is formal or semi-formal wear, swimsuits and athletic wear – you never know what kind of adventures you may have while at Disney!
- Bed and bathroom linens
Disney Housing provides you with many necessities you need in a home, but linens for your bed and bath is not one of them. Be sure to plan ahead so you have blankets, pillows and towels your first day. If these items won’t fit in your suitcase, plan to purchase them on your arrival day or through The Grid, Housing’s very own convenience store.
- Your personal electronic devices (that’s flight attendant spiel for cell phones, cameras, computers and tablets)
You know the horrible feeling of forgetting your phone at home? Just imagine if you forget it and then travel hundreds of miles away! Be sure to pack all electronics you foresee needing to use during your program, especially if you will be taking distance learning classes for college credit. You’ll also be taking lots of photos during your program, whether it’s on your phone or a camera. Don’t forget to bring all needed chargers!
- Entertainment for those days spent relaxing at your apartment
You may anticipate spending every waking moment not at work in the parks or resorts, but you will probably spend a few days relaxing and revitalizing at home, as well. For times spent at your apartment, bring your favorite DVDs and books to have on hand. Your roommates will probably bring these along, too. I sense a movie night being planned…!
- Documents needed for checking in
Throughout your pre-arrival process, you have been receiving emails regarding all the items you will need in order to complete your check-in process. Make sure you do not leave any of these things behind, as it will significantly slow down your check-in. These items may include your government-issued photo ID, passport, social security card, medical insurance information and renters insurance information (if you have these). Please see the communication sent to you for more information.
- Reminders of home
As much as you will love your Disney College Program, sometimes there is no place like home. Bring photos of your friends, family and pets with you as reminders of great memories with those you love. Momentos of home are good to bring along, too (that’s where that Winnie the Pooh plush comes in).
Ultimately, the choice is yours on what to pack, but my final advice is to err on the side of less is more. It will be easier to travel if you have less with you and you’ll have less to keep organized in your room which leads to easier cleaning during apartment inspections. Also, if we are being honest here, you’ll probably end up with a few (or many) Disney souvenirs you’ll have to fit in your bags at the end of your program.
Happy packing and safe travels! We’ll see you soon!