Monday, May 7, 2012

The Drive

To get to Orlando for the College Program, I will be leaving in just 24 days to do something that I haven't done in many years: driving to Florida.

To prepare for this, I will be doing the obvious things:  getting my car tuned up and inspected, filling it with gas before we leave, and buying a bunch of snacks to eat on the way.  But other than that, I have no idea how to prepare for such a long drive.  I haven't (been) driven all the way to Florida since I was in middle school, and although my dad is joining me to help with the drive, I'm nervous.  After all, it's quite a far way to go.

The length of the car ride, according to Google Maps
So in this post, I'm asking my readers for advice.  How do you make long car trips pass by more quickly? What do you do to prepare for them?  Any tips for driving from New York to Florida?  This will be a two-day trip, as we're planning on stopping at some point to spend the night at a hotel.

Leave your tips and advice in a comment or send a tweet to @amandaenchanted!  Thank you in advance!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Home Stretch

In just 26 days, I leave for Florida to begin the College Program!  I can't believe it's so soon!  I've started my 30 day countdown on Twitter (follow @amandaenchanted for Disney and non-Disney tweets), and I've started getting some things done for when it's time to leave.  So here are a few things that I've been doing in preparation for the CP.

1. School.  I graduate in less than two weeks, so I've been spending some of my time focusing on school, getting ready for finals, and generally spending time with my college friends.  Since there are many people that I probably won't see for a while, I've been trying to spend as much time as possible with them now.

2. Parties.  Although I was on the fence about it for a while, I decided to have a graduation party the weekend that I graduate.  At first I didn't really want a party, but I decided it was important to me to see all my friends, family, and neighbors for one last hurrah before I leave.  On top of that, one of my awesome friends is having a going away party for me the weekend before I leave.  As I said before, I've been trying to spend as much time as possible with my friends, so having these parties means a lot to me.

3. Banking.  It wasn't until my lovely Twitter friend Hedy mentioned it that I realized that I had to set up some sort of banking system for when I'm in Florida.  My current bank is a local credit union, and I realized that I needed to be part of a big bank, at least for ATM purposes.  So I decided to open an account at Chase just for cash, since the ATMs at Walt Disney World are run by Chase.  I'll still keep my credit union account open, but now I don't need to worry about ATM fees whenever I need money.

4. Working on my to-do list.  Back in March, I wrote a post about my to-do list before I leave for Florida.  Since then, I have renewed my passport, gotten my wisdom teeth out, and planned a graduation party for myself.  I also found out that my parents' homeowners insurance covers renter's insurance for me, so that's one less thing I have to worry about.  From that original list, all I have left is one more doctor's appointment, getting my car inspected, and getting a haircut.

5. Adding to my to-do list.  Since that post back in March, I've also added some things to my to-do list.  I have to get a form from my car insurance company proving that I am covered under the policy, so I am able to keep my car at Disney.  I want to get my glasses adjusted before I leave.  And finally, I have to buy a Sunpass, so I'm not caught off-guard at Florida tolls.

So those are some of the things I have been doing to prepare for Florida.  Once I move all my things back home from school, I'll begin packing, purchasing some things I'll need, and making final preparations to leave.  I can't believe I'll be living and working in Walt Disney World in less than a month!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Disney Hopes, Part 2

The Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights, presented by Sylvania
As I posted a few weeks ago, there are so many things that I hope to experience while on the College Program, that I could fit it all in one post.  In fact, this seems like it will become it's own little series on this blog.  For Disney hopes one through three, read my first Disney Hopes blog post here.  And for part two, read on!

4. Christmas at the World.  I have been to Walt Disney World in early January, so I got to experience a few Christmas things, such as the Osborne lights pictured above.  That said, there are also many Christmas things that cannot be experienced during January, like the icicle lights on the castle, the Christmas tag to IllumiNations, and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas party.  I hope to experience all of those things during my trip, and more!  Disney is magical during Christmas time, and I can't wait to see it all.

5. Star Wars Weekends.  I'm not a very big Star Wars fan (honestly, I've only seen one and a half of the movies), but everything I've seen about Star Wars Weekends makes it seem like a really fun experience, even if you're not a huge fan.  Between the parade and the Hyperspace Hoopla and all the Star Wars characters around Hollywood Studios, it's something I'd really like to experience.  When I arrive at Walt Disney World, there will only be one Star Wars Weekend left, and I can't guarantee that I won't have to work during it.  That said, I really hope I get to experience at least one day of this event.

6. Seeing friends, old and new.  Last but not least, I cannot wait to see all my friends down in Florida.  From the friends that I've made on previous trips to the friends that I've made on the CP Facebook group and on Twitter, I can't wait to hang out with them all!  Especially my future roommates!  Disney friends are always amazing, and I can't wait to spend time with everyone!

So there are three more hopes.  I'm sure I will think of more for another post in this series.  In the meantime, let me know what you think of my hopes in a comment or on Twitter (@amandaenchanted)!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What To Bring

Since I will be driving my car to Walt Disney World, I will be able to pack a reasonable amount of belongings as I head to the Disney College Program.  And since I'm me, I already have a list of what I plan to bring.  Some of these things I will pack, and others I will purchase when I get to Florida.  I thought perhaps a list of what I plan on needing would help fellow CPs.

Clothes
  • Summer clothes, since it will be hot for most of the program
  • Winter clothes, since it does tend to get cold in the winter months in Florida
  • Professional clothes, for Traditions and if I decide to take any Disney classes
  • Halloween costume, for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party
  • Shoes, to go with all of the above clothing types
  • Hangers, to hang the clothes on
Toiletries
  • Everything you usually use everyday: shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, etc. (I will probably buy this when I get to Florida instead of packing it.)
  • Hand towels and bath towels
  • Makeup and nail polish
  • Medicines, such as Advil, Tums, Benadryl, etc
  • Any prescriptions
  • Sunscreen!
Bedroom
  • Comforter, sheets, mattress pad, pillows, etc.  All the bed stuff.
  • Bed risers, so there is room for storage under the bed
  • Clock
Kitchen (Note: the kitchens come with pots, plates, silverware, etc.)
  • Toaster (I'm not sure if these are given in the apartments, but I already have one, so I might as well bring it.)
  • Dish soap
  • Tupperware
Electronics
  • Cell phone, laptop, Kindle, iPod, tablet... basically all the electronics I use on a regular basis
  • Chargers for all of the above
  • Camera and charger
  • Possibly my Xbox, to watch DVDs on
Miscellaneous
  • Decorations for my bedroom, including picture frames, some of my Vinylmations, and more (Note that nothing can be hung on the walls, but in the rooms are one bulletin board per person.)
  • Storage tubs/drawers, potentially
  • Closet shoe organizer
  • Pens and pencils
  • Umbrella
  • Little necessities: sewing kit, lint brush, hamper
  • Purses
  • Passport
  • Combination lock, for the locker that each CP is given
What NOT to bring, as per Disney
  • Pets
  • Bicycles
  • Mini fridges
  • Candles
  • Weapons
  • Hookah pipes or drug paraphernalia
So that is my list!  Well actually, my real list is much more detailed, but that is the basic gist of it.  Many things can be purchased once you get to Florida, and some things can be shipped from home if there is no room in the car/on the plane for them.  Hopefully this is a helpful list.  I can't wait until it's time to start packing!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Before I Leave

I'm a planner, which means ever since I got accepted into the College Program, I've been making lists.  Lists of things I need to buy before I leave, lists of things I need to remember to pack, lists of what I want to buy with my Cast Member discount when I get to Disney, and more.  And what better place to share my lists than on this blog, where other people who are going on the Program can potentially benefit from my excessive planning?  To begin, here is my first list: Things to Do Before I Leave.

1. Renew my passport.  My driver's license expires in January, and I want to make sure I have a valid form of legal ID, just in case.  I suppose you also never know when you might have a last minute chance to take a cruise, but this seems very unlikely on the CP.

2. Get renter's insurance.  Disney strongly recommends renter's insurance for CPs, in case of damaged or stolen items in housing.  This is sometimes covered under parents' homeowner's insurance, so I need to learn more about this over the next few weeks.

3. Various doctor's appointments.  For me, this is an orthodontist check up and getting my wisdom teeth out (which will take place this week... yikes!).

4. Get my car inspected.  I need to make sure that my inspection and registration is up to date before I leave for Florida.

5. Get a haircut.  Self explanatory, but I needed to put it on my list, so I wouldn't forget!

6. Have some kind of going away party.  I want to have some type of get together with all my friends before I leave them for six months!  This will most likely take place in late May.

So that is my current list.  Of course being the list-maker I am, I also have a list of places around here that I want to go before I leave (like the beach and the city), but that's a blog post for another day.

What do you think of my list?  Can you think of anything to add?  If so, leave me a comment or send a tweet (@amandaenchanted)!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Overview and Application Process


For those who have heard of the Disney College Program but aren't sure exactly what it is, the Program is essentially a semester-long internship consisting of three main components: living, learning, and earning.  You live in Orlando or Anaheim in fully furnished apartments (more about the housing complexes in a future post), you can take Disney Education Courses (note that some colleges may require you to take courses in order to get credit/maintain good academic standing; check with your college or university!), and most importantly, you work in the parks or resorts.

So how does one become a part of this program?  First you have to satisfy four main requirements:
1. You must be enrolled as a student, full time or part time, and taking classes.  This means if you are a graduating senior, like I am, you can apply to begin the program after graduation, as long as you are enrolled in at least one class at the time of your application.
2. You must meet any school requirements for participation.  In my case, I'm graduating, so I have no requirements.  My university, however, does not recognize the College Program as an internship, so if I were to take off a semester to do the program, I would have to temporarily withdraw from the university.  Some schools that do recognize the CP require specific GPAs, credit hours, etc.  Disney maintains that you must meet your school's requirements in addition to their own.
3. You must be 18 years of age by the time the Program begins.  Self explanatory.
4. You must possess unrestricted work authorization.

Do you satisfy these requirements?  Good!  Time to apply!  To begin your application, click the "Apply Now" button on the top of disneycollegeprogram.com.  If you're applying for Fall 2012, hurry!  Applications are said to be closing around late April.  The initial application is relatively straightforward.  First you enter your personal information, education, and work experience and decide if you want to work at Walt Disney World or Disneyland (you can apply for both).  You also choose your term - in this case, Fall Advantage lasts from May or June to January, and Fall lasts from August or September to January.  You promise that you can work weekdays, weekends, mornings, nights, holidays, etc.  Then you rank the different roles.

For a full list of roles, click here, but roles in Walt Disney World include Attractions, Custodial, Hopper, Photopass Photographer, Main Entrance Operations, Transportation, Bell Service Dispatch/Greeter, Concierge, Hospitality, Housekeeping, Full Service Food & Beverage, Quick Service Food & Beverage, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Hostess, Merchandise, Vacation Planner (that's going to be me!), Lifeguard, Recreation, Character Attendant, Character Performer, and Costuming.  Note that Character Performer requires an audition and that Costuming is a backstage role.  The application lists these roles plus a description of each, and you are prompted to rate each role as no interest, low interest, moderate interest, or high interest.  Keep in mind that you could be assigned anything rated as low interest, so rate carefully.  Some people find themselves upset that they got one of their bottom choices, and once you are accepted and assigned a role, it's virtually impossible to switch (barring some kind of medical issue, etc).  If you really won't be happy in a specific position, mark it as no interest.


Once you've rated your roles, you submit your application, and you wait for an email.  If you've satisfied all of the basic requirements, you are invited to complete a web-based interview (often abbreviated WBI).  It took me less than an hour to receive the WBI email after my application went through, and you have five days to take it from the receipt of the email.  The WBI is essentially a personality test, so Disney can easily determine if you will be a good fit for the Company.  Many people say there are "tricks" to beating the WBI, but it is most important to be honest and confident in your answers.  Immediately upon completion of the WBI, you will be informed if you passed.  If so, you will be invited to a phone interview.


The phone interview is the most nerve-wracking part of the application process.  Once you pass the WBI, you have three days to schedule a phone interview.  The scheduling is done online, and there are many dates and times to choose from.  Once your interviewer calls, he or she will start out asking basic questions.  Are you over the age of 18, are you currently a student, etc.  Expect to be asked why you want to do the College Program, and be prepared to list your top three roles and why you believe you're qualified for them.  I listed my top three as Hospitality, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, and Vacation Planner.  Note that your interviewer may ask if you would be willing to work in Quick Service Food & Beverage or Custodial, even if you listed it as no interest.  If you say yes, do not be surprised if you are assigned this role.  You will likely be asking some situational questions (what would you do if a child was crying? what would guests expect from a Vacation Planner?) as well as behavioral questions (do you work better alone or in a group?).  Many websites have extensive lists of potential interview questions, but I also personally feel it's important not to sound rehearsed.  My most important piece of CP advice is to SMILE!  They say it comes across in your voice, and you want the recruiter to feel your enthusiasm.

Once your phone interview is over, the waiting game begins.  If you're lucky, which I am very thankful I was, you will ideally receive an acceptance email within two weeks.  Unfortunately, some have to wait longer before receiving correspondence of any kind.  The two options besides an acceptance are pending, which is essentially a type of wait list, and rejection.  You are more likely to get pended if you apply later in the game and apply only to the more competitive positions.  If you are pended, you are in a sort of limbo until Disney decides to either accept or reject you.  If you are rejected, you are encouraged to apply again after a six month waiting period.

So that's that!  Hopefully you got into the program in a role you wanted.  Unfortunately that's not the way it works out for everyone, but I wish anyone reading this that's still playing the waiting game the best of luck.  And if you've already been accepted, I hope to see you in Florida soon!

I'm more than willing to answer any questions about the process to the best of my ability, so shoot!  Leave a comment or tweet (@amandaenchanted)!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Disney Hopes, Part 1

I might be working at this park in a little over two months!
I promised that I would discuss the details of the College Program, my role as a Vacation Planner, and the application process, but the people have spoken and want a personal post.  And since I'm loyal to my readers, I thought I'd start what I plan to be an ongoing type of post: my hopes and fears about the program.  There are some things I just cannot wait to get to experience, and there are others that worry me a bit about moving 1,000 miles away to work for the Mouse.  So I thought I'd outline just a few of those today, until I realized that I don't want to overshadow the hopes with the fears.  So in the name of all that is happy, I've decided to list a few of the hopes today:

1. Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.  I've always wanted to go to Not So Scary (I know all of Boo To You by heart even though I've never seen it in person!), but I was always in school when the parties were going on.  I cannot wait to put on my Halloween costume, get my candy, and see Boo To You and Hallowishes!  For me, this is one of the biggest perks to being in the Fall program.

2. Epcot's Food and Wine Festival.  Another thing I've never been able to experience and another perk of being in the Fall program.  No, I'm not 21, so I will not be able to sample the alcohol.  But I cannot wait to sample all the different types of foods!  I am so excited about the ability to be able to enjoy this festival in just a few short months.

3. Living so close to Disney (and getting in for free!). Obviously one of the major advantages to being in the College Program is being able to get into any of the four main theme parks for free.  This is like a dream come true for me, your average Disney obsessed college student!  Here in New York, I regularly get cravings for foods in Walt Disney World... imagine being able to satisfy them with a short drive to Magic Kingdom or Epcot!  Feel like riding the Great Movie Ride?  No problem!  Feel like seeing Illuminations tonight?  Head on over!  I am unbelievable excited about being able to enter the parks whenever it strikes my fancy (presuming I'm not working and am not too tired from work). 


These are just three things I hope to experience, out of many more I plan on blogging about in the future.  If you're going on the program, what do you hope to experience?  If you're not but you've experienced some of my hopes, tell me about them!  Leave a comment here or tweet me (@amandaenchanted)!