The countdown has begun! My daughter will be leaving next week to spend 7 months working and learning in Walt Disney World. She’ll be taking part in the Fall Advantage Program with the Disney College Program. My husband and I will also be going with her to help her get settled in her apartment. We’re very excited that she’ll have this amazing opportunity.
The uncertainty of what to expect can make many College Program participants and their parents quite nervous. The unknown can be scary. I remember when our oldest son, Michael did his first Disney College Program, we searched the internet for information on what to bring and what to expect at check in and sadly didn’t find a whole lot of information. The Disney College Program website did help us a bit but I was looking for information from participants themselves who recently completed the program.
I sat down with my son the other day and we talked about our experiences with Arrival Day and packing. I hope these tips help clarify things a bit for you.
1.) Don’t pack too much. Keep in mind that it’s warm most days in Orlando but the late Fall and Winter does get cool so bring sweaters and a jacket. You’ll be in your work uniform for much of each day.
2.) If you’re flying down to Orlando, plan on buying your bedding, towels, toiletries etc. at either Wal-Mart or Target stores in Orlando. There’s also a very nice outlet mall right around the corner from the College Program apartments. My son found that he needed black dress shoes for his job at Soarin’ and a few nice shirts so we drove to the mall to pick them up.
3.) Remember, parents can always ship fall/winter clothes when you need them if arriving in the summer.
4.) Don’t forget your Disney paperwork.
5.) If you’ll be driving a car and keeping it with you, bring your current vehicle registration, proof of insurance in your name and your current US Drivers License.
6.) Bring dental and health insurance information.
7.) Bring extra cash. You probably won’t be getting your first paycheck until the 2nd or 3rd week.
8.) Disney has direct deposit. It’s nice to have the money directly deposited into your account. Bring a blank check so you can set up direct deposit.
1.) It’s nice if you can arrive a few days earlier. If you’re coming with your parents, it’s especially nice for them to have that one-on-one time with you.
2.) Dress comfortably, but in good taste. You’ll be moving in on this day so you want to be comfortable but remember you need to be within the “Disney Look”. Avoid looking too sloppy. Jeans and shorts are acceptable.
3.) On the actual sign-in day, arrive early. Check-in doesn’t begin until 9 but we arrived at 8:00 AM and there was already a line forming. My son made friends with the kids he was standing in line with and he remains friends with them to this day. These were the guys and gals he went to Disneyworld with on the first “free” day he had. You might consider taking a water bottle and some snacks with you since you’ll be waiting in line a long time.
3.) There’s a place for parents to wait until check-in is finished. We had no idea how long the process would take so we waited. It took quite a long time. We decided to tour the Disney Vacation Club rooms and hear the presentation since we’d been considering buying into the Disney Vacation Club for quite some time. There were DVC buses that would take parents to the Saratoga Springs Resort if they’d like to learn more about the Vacation Club.
There are also light refreshments for the parents if they wish to remain with their you.
This time, my husband and I will drop our daughter off, wait a bit to see if she needs anything and head back to our hotel and wait for her call.
4.) After check-in, the program participants will head over to Casting where the remaining paperwork will be finalized and most importantly, you’ll find out your job assignments and where you will be working. It’s the time for fingerprinting for background checks and you will be assigned a day to attend Traditions,which is where you will learn everything about Disney.
5.) Then the group will board buses that will take the participants to their apartments.
6.) Then it will probably be time to meet up with your parents and prepare to move in.
7.) There is usually a meeting at the apartment later in the day to go over policies and procedures and rules and regulations while living in the apartments.
WHAT TO WEAR FOR TRADITIONS
Traditions is a part of the Disney training that you’ll receive before you begin your work at Disneyworld. You are taught the history of Disneyworld, background about Walt Disney and you’ll be introduced to the way Disneyworld operates.
The question of what to wear to Traditions is such a huge concern for most College Program participants. Disney states that participants must wear business casual clothes for Traditions. What exactly does this mean?
For Michael’s program, we saw girls in dresses and nice pants and shirts. No dresses with spaghetti straps or tank tops were allowed. We saw guys in nice pants and nice shirts. Our son chose a pair of khaki pants and a collared dress shirt that we picked up at the outlet mall the day before.
Please drop me a line if you have any other questions that I haven’t answered and I’d love to hear from any Disney College Program graduates and their parents with any tips they could add.
For additional information on the Disney College Program, check out these articles…