Sunday, April 4, 2010

Info Post #11: Alumni Advice!

one. Florida weather is beautiful, but it can also get chilly and rainy, so be prepared for that! Pack some sweatshirts, a light jacket, and an umbrella and rain gear. It will pour, so be ready for that. Rainy days are also a prime time to play in the parks, so take advantage of them. Of course, if you get caught in a sudden burst of rain when you're already at a park you could always rock a Mickey Poncho...

two. Make sure you understand the whole Disney Look thing before you get down there, as it will make things like check-in and Traditions much smoother for you and everyone else.

Now, to be clear about this: you do not have to be dressed in Disney Look at check-in, but they will check you there for things like natural hair color and make sure you don't have any visible tattoos or non-standard piercings, etc etc etc. I think you can wear piercings to check-in as long as they can be taken out when you need to be in Disney look, but I'm not sure.
At Traditions, however, your attire needs to match Disney Look completely or they won't let you do it that day. For the full guidelines, check out this section of the College Program website. Everything you need to review before your program is there!

three. Take advantage of all the CP has to offer! In addition to taking full advantage of the parks (like going for a few hours just because you can), go to the events held for CP participants (pool parties, Grocery Bingo, etc) and special Cast Member tours (like behind the scenes tours of attractions and more) while you're down there. The special tours tend to fill up really quickly so check the Hub often. It's a great way to meet new people and just chill. In fact, check the Hub daily so you don't miss out on any of the great opportunities down there.

four. If, like me, you won't have a car down there, pay attention to the bus schedule because it changes sometimes. And always take an earlier bus! Even if it gets you to work an hour early, you can bring your costume with you and chill in the parks as a guest for a little bit. Better to be an hour early than get half a point for clocking in late!

five. If you are also like me in that you freaking love shopping and will be there for the fall program, try to hold off on buying souvenirs until the holiday discounts kick in - they go up to 50% off! There's also a merchandise liquidation sale called SALSA (Spend a Little, Save a Lot) that happens in the Epcot parking lot - get to it as soon as possible because there's always a line to get into the tent but it's definitely worth it, as it includes merchandise from all around the resorts and parks and it's not all just Disney stuff, either.

six. Network! This could mean going to an event specifically for networking (either a CP one or one at Disney University) or just establishing and maintaining good relationships with your managers. It will make your job easier while you're there and help you out in the long run if you ever want to come back for another program, a PI, or start a career with Disney.

seven. Be open and put yourself out there - don't just hang out in your apartment if you're shy. Developing relationships with your fellow Cast Members not only gives you a social life, it makes working that much more enjoyable. Almost everyone down there is in the same situation as you: new environment, new experiences, new people. Make the most of it!

eight. Go to the special events that happen during your program! For Fall and Fall Advantage, this means Epcot's Food and Wine Festival, Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, and all the Christmas events around WDW like Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. It's worth it to splurge on international treats (and wine, if you're over 21) at the Food and Wine Festival and pay for a discounted CM ticket to MNSSHP. In fact, since my birthday is in October I want to celebrate it by going to Food and Wine during the day then hopping to MK for MNSSHP that night!

nine. Be financially wise. A lot of people break even because they'll just spend their money paycheck to paycheck, but it is entirely possible to budget, watch what you spend, and walk away with money saved. Take advantage of CM discounts at Disney restaurants, but try and cook for yourself when you have the chance, or bring your lunch to work instead of buying it at the Mouseketeria. Even cooking your own meals and saving leftovers is cheaper than buying frozen ones all the time. Just be mindful of the fire alarms when you're busting out your inner chef.

ten. If you're under 21, don't even risk it with alcohol. It's the number one reason for CP termination. One guy extended into spring and was terminated a few weeks after extending for this. It's just not worth it.

eleven. Price Management/security in the apartments can be pretty hardcore - don't hang a towel out to dry over your balcony, put a pair of shoes outside to dry, or leave your door cracked open if you're running out for a second if you want to avoid warnings from them.

twelve. You don't have to be absolute besties with your roommates. Sure, it'd be nice and make things a lot easier, but it's possible to get along with/live with someone without being best friends.

thirteen. You're working in the most magical place on earth, but it's still a job. It will have its pros and its cons, so be ready for that. Guests are sometimes grumpy and unreasonable, CPers often get long shifts, and you're on your feet all day. But on the flip side of that.... you're working in the most magical place on earth and you get to give guests the experience of a lifetime! Just be sure you go in with realistic expectations.

fourteen. Going along the lines of tip thirteen, you're working in the most magical place on earth, so have fun with your job! Talk to the guests and ask them how their trips have been going - even a simple "hi, how are you?" can put a smile on people's faces. Especially if you're working a shop at a ride exit, talk to the guests waiting for their family members to come off.

fifteen. If you will be lucky enough to have a car down there, bring a GPS!

sixteen. If you have things you want to accomplish/do on the program, like for example seeing the Hoop Dee Doo or seeing every resort, make a list before you go! You'll get so busy once you're down there that it will be very easy to lose track of these kinds of things.

seventeen. TRY A DOLE WHIP!

eighteen. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy what is sure to become an unforgettable time in your life!!

nineteen. Try a Dole Whip float (only after accomplishing seventeen.)

twenty. Go ahead and get a second pineapple-y treat. You know you want to... classic Dole Whip or Dole Whip float, though? These are the questions that haunt CPers...

Thanks to flickr for the pictures and the lovely people on the DisBoards for advice, specifically everyone who responded to my questions. :)


Anna said...

Great post, Abby!

Abigail Nora said...

thanks girl! :)

John W. said...


Abigail Nora said...

truth. i may edit that in haha.

jazmine; said...

i thoroughly enjoyed this post!

Jessica said...

Such a great post!!!

Ryan O' said...

25: watch Ryan O's Disney Show (shameless plug)

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