The Disney College Program Packing and Arrival Tips

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Helpful Disney College Program packing and arrival information as well as over 100 comments from from readers about their experiences…

 

The Disney College Program from Zagleft

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.

Disney College Program - ZagLeft

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.

Disney College Program - ZagLeft

PACKING TIPS

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.

ARRIVAL DAY

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.

My son enjoyed the Disney College Program so much. Disney is a wonderful company to work for. It’s a fabulous opportunity to network with others in business, work for a major corporation, learn leadership skills and learn how to get along with others. I can’t say enough about how it’s changed my son’s life. We’re looking forward to a similar experience with my daughter.

Disney College Program - ZagLeft

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…

The Disney College Program – A Few Additional Tips For Parents

Disney College Program Parents Waiting Area Arrival Day
Disney College Program Parents Waiting Area Arrival Day

The Disney College Program

Disney College Program - zagleft

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Disney Face Character and Parade Performer Auditions from Zagleft


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141 COMMENTS

  1. Great article. I am starting the program in a few weeks. Just a quick question, when did your son/daughter receive their ID card to bring a family member into the park? My sister is coming down to Orlando with me and we are trying to figure out if I would be able to bring her into the park on the first or second day, or not. Thanks again.

    • Congratulations on being accepted into the program! Our daughter received her “Main Gate Pass”, which is the pass that would allow her to bring guests into the park about 3-4 weeks after she began the program. You will however, be able to get 10 percent off her ticket after you attend “Traditions” and get your ID card. The “Traditions” class is usually a day or two after check-in. Let me know if you have any other questions and I hope this helps!

  2. Thank you so much for your info. My daughter will be starting the DCP on January 14, 2013 and she thinks she needs to bring a TV with her for her bedroom. I assume that a furnished apartment included tv’s in the kids bedrooms but i’ve not been able to find anything on-line to confirm either way. Also, other than toiletries and bedding type items and cash, is there anything else that she would need to bring? Girls and guys ideas of necessities are usually different as i’m sure you already know having one of each. Thanks again for your blog and I look forward to hearing from you. Denise

    • Denise, Congratulations to your daughter on her acceptance into the Disney College Program. It’s an amazing opportunity that I’m sure she’ll enjoy. The apartments have beds, dressers, kitchen pots and pans, sofas, but no televisions. As far as items to bring, my daughter found she needed a small fan for her room since the air conditioning is a central unit and she wanted her room cooler. In addition, both of my kids found a bulletin board to be a much needed item. There is a Target and a Walmart close to the apartments and an outlet mall just down the road. If she finds she needs items once she arrives, it won’t be hard for her to get them. Hope this helps.

  3. Hi, I am starting the DCP on January 14th. I am driving down with my dad from Arizona to Disney World. I had two questions. I know parking at the appartments is free but if I drive to work do I have to pay for that and second, my dads plane ticket home is for the second day we are there at like 5pm. Is that going to work okay. Will I be able to take him to the airport? I emailed disney but they were kind of vauge on what we do the first two days but it didn’t sound like we would have a lot of time to move in on day one so thats why hes leaving later on day two.

    • Hi Katie, Congratulations on your acceptance into the program. Parking for employees is free if you drive to your job. You won’t be working on your second day but you may be scheduled to attend what Disney calls “Traditions” which is basically a Disney training program. Some people attend Traditions on the second or third day, it depends on the schedule you receive when you get there. We moved our kids in on their first day. They spent the night in their apartments on the first night. We spent day two picking up odds and ends for their apartment so both of them had some free time. Chances are you’ll be able to move in on day one. Best of luck to you!

  4. Any advice on which hotels to stay at when we arrive? My daughter starts January 21st. She has three girls she’s met online that she would like to room with. How do they work that out? Do they just look for each other that morning and hope they get the apartment complex they want? Or do you connect with Disney first and tell them that you’ve already chosen roommates?

    • There are various Disney resorts located on the Disney property that you can stay at and since the time period you’ll be visiting is in the “Value Season”, the prices start at around $84. There are also many hotels near Vista apartments, which is where the CP’s check-in. The Holiday Inn Sunspree and the Marriott Village are both very close hotel options.
      If your daughter has friends she would like to room with, she should arrange to meet up with them on check-in day, stand in line together and when they check-in, indicate that they would like to be roommates. This is what my son did when he did his college program. My son is beginning another college program in California in a few weeks and he just received a letter asking about roommate preferences. He didn’t receive this letter when he did the Florida program so I’m not sure if it’s done differently in Florida. Hope this helps!

  5. Hi there.. Thanks so much for all the information! I apologize if this has already been asked and aswered. Can you tell me if there is free WIFI in the area parents are allowed to wait. I will be flying down with my daughter next weekend and don’t really want to wonder around alone so I’ve decided to wait at Vista while she completes check in. Having WIFI would be an awesome perk! Thanks again and Happy New Year!

    • Hi Yvette, Happy New Year to you as well. I don’t think there is WIFI in the parent’s waiting area at Vista. I do remember there being a Starbucks about 5 minutes away which would have free WIFI.

  6. Hi, I am about to start the program in a little under a week, I will be driving down and I just wondered if you knew where we park and if we take buses to the apartments how do I get my stuff out of my car to move in?
    Also, I completed my paperwork online, do I also need a printed copy with me when I arrive?

    • Hi Chloe, On check-in day, you can park your car at Vista Apartments. Vista is the location of your check-in. After you check in, you will be given a time to go to “Casting” where you will be given your ID and other things you need. There are buses that take the new Cast Members to Casting so you won’t need your car during that time. After you go to Casting, you can drive to your apartment to unload your things and settle in.

      I would recommend printing a copy of all the paperwork you completed. You many not need it, but I think it’s a good idea to have it “just in case”.
      Hope this helps and if you have any other questions, feel free to ask.

  7. I will be starting my program in a couple of weeks! Do you think it is best to bring a car? I am afraid that I will not need it since there are shuttles everywhere. Thank you!

    • Hi Morgan, You certainly don’t need to have a car to get to and from work. There are buses that take cast members to and from all the parks, hotels, Downtown Disney, Wal-Mart and other places. My son, didn’t have a car during his first college program and found he didn’t need it at all. He brought his car to his second program and found that he kept it parked most of the time at his apartment. On occasion, he would drive to Universal Studios or other places the buses didn’t go to.

  8. So, I do have one more question, I am trying to finish packing and my mom I worried that I have too many clothes with me. I am trying to balance casual clothes with dress clothes and work out clothes.
    When It comes to clothes and shoes how do I know if I am bringing too much?

    Thank you so much for your speedy response last time! You’re so helpful!

    • Chloe, My son and daughter found that they didn’t need to bring a lot of clothes. They were in their uniforms most of the time and didn’t even wear all that they brought. You’ll want to bring clothes for going to the parks and possibly out to dinner or the movies. If you choose to take advantage of the Disney classes, you’ll need to dress in business casual clothing (nice pants or dresses/skirts). The temperatures are mild in Florida so my kids didn’t need a heavy coat. They got by with sweatshirts and sweaters.

  9. So, I do have one more question, I am trying to finish packing and my mom I worried that I have too many clothes with me. I am trying to balance casual clothes with dress clothes and work out clothes.
    When It comes to clothes and shoes how do I know if I am bringing too much?
    Thank you so much for your speedy response last time! You’re so helpful!

  10. Hey Joanie! im 17 and I am planning to do the program this year! I have a few questions.
    1. How much do you get payed in the program?
    2. is there trannsporttion that ALSO takes you to the park?
    3. Do you have to buy groceries for your apartment?
    4. how many free days are there? can you get out of the apartments or the disney grounds in those free days?
    5. I’ve been dying my hair a dark maroon red for awhile, will they let you work there if you have that color, or owuld you have to dye it to a neutral color?
    6. is it considered bad if you go to another park (ex:universal stuidos) for a free day?
    7.Are you aloud to request a roomate? My best friend and I are going to the same college and we both got accepted to the program, so is it possible to also room with her?
    Please answer im really worried!
    Thank you for posting this article, though. It helped me alot!

    • Hi Ronnie, Great questions you asked and I’ll try to answer them the best I can. First of all, it’s hard to give you an accurate answer as to how much you will be paid because different positions in different locations pay a little differently. There may be more opportunities for overtime in each of the different parks which would affect your pay. In general, the pay is not much more than minimum wage but it’s enough to cover apartment costs plus food, etc. .

      There are buses that take cast members to and from the parks for work and also for non-work visits to the park, hotels and Downtown Disney.

      You need to buy groceries for your apartment. There will be dishes and a few pots and pans in the apartments but you need to buy the food. There are buses that go to and from Wal-Mart so you can pick up the items you need.

      Each job will give you days off and it’s hard to say how many days off you will have. Expect to have a day or two off a week. You can come and go from the apartments anytime you want to and you can visit the parks any day you choose.

      Disney likes it’s employees to look very natural. If you hair color isn’t too flashy, bright or unnatural, it might be fine.

      It is perfectly fine to go to any non-Disney park you choose. Disney doesn’t care.

      You can request a roommate if you’d like. Take a look on the Disney College Program website to see if there is a form to fill out. Otherwise, meet up on check-in day and stand in line together. You can request to room together at that time.

      One additional note, If you’re on Facebook, find the Disney College Program facebook page for your term. It’s a great opportunity for you to “meet” and chat with the other kids arriving the same time you are and they usually have get-togethers before check-in so everyone can meet each other.

      Hope this helps!

  11. I’m looking at doing the Fall Advantage 2013 program, so the application will be opening in just a few days. Do you know when the FA program check-in dates usually are? I’ve seen answers online ranging from mid-may to mid-june. I’m trying to get there closer to mid-June, and wondered if it’s possible that they give a range of dates for arrival… thanks so much!!

    • Hi Jenni, the arrival dates are typically the last week of the month of May and sometimes early to mid June. When you have your telephone interview, I would suggest you discuss your availability at that time.

  12. My daughter has an arrival date of Monday June 10 for the Fall Advantage program. We were planning on driving down a day or 2 earlier and then i will fly back after she checks in. I have a couple of questions: 1. Do you think it is reasonable for me to fly back on the evening of June 10 (check in day) or would you recommend flying out the next day? I wasn’t sure when I would be needed to help move her in (I assume it would be Monday afternoon after check-in) and if there was anything else she’d need me for. 2. DO you know if she would be free that evening (Monday, check-in day) to drive me to the airport or whether she’d be involved in other events (in which case I’m assuming I can arrange a Mears shuttle to pick me up from the apartment area???) It seems tricky for me to arrange a flight now and airport shuttle without knowing whether she’ll need me on Monday! 3. Is there only one phone jack (for landline) in the apartments and is it located centrally? Is there a way to get a landline phone in the bedrooms? Maybe just a long cord. Thanks SO much for your wisdom!!

    • Hi Amy,
      We found that we moved our kids in to their apartments on their check-in days. Their evening was free for them to hang out with new friends or do whatever they wanted to do. So, if you already have your flight scheduled to leave the evening of her check-in day, you should be fine and probably won’t experience a conflict with her driving you to the airport.

      There is a landline phone in the kitchen area of the apartments and everyone shared it. My kids didn’t remember seeing phone jacks in the bedrooms. Just outlets where they could plug in cell phones if they had them.

      Hope this helps.

      Joanie

    • Melanie,
      I can certainly remember being in your position when our son left for his first college program several years ago. It can be a little scary as a parent not knowing much about the different apartments. I’ll try to fill you in with what I know.
      My son stayed in Chatham his first time and Patterson his second. My daughter stayed in Chatham her first and only time. Both apartment complexes are very nice but Chatham is more convenient to the bus stop.
      Vista has a bit of a reputation as being the “party apartments” and alcohol is allowed there.
      If the college program kids are 21 and up, they stay in what they call wellness apartments and alcohol is allowed. All of the kids in each apartment have to be about the same age. For example, if your child is under 21 then he will room with other kids who are under 21 and absolutely no alcohol is allowed. There are also periodic checks of the rooms by Disney management. There is zero tolerance at Disney for underage drinking.
      There is a curfew at both Chatham and Patterson and guests of the opposite sex who are visiting and they have to be out by either 12 or 1.
      Hope this helps.

  13. There aren’t bus stops at all the apartments? Silly. Yes your answer helped alot. He has a good head on his should but he will be away. And what’s that saying when the cats away the mice will play.

    • Melanie,
      There is a bus stop at Vista and a bus stop at Chatham. The Patterson apartment complex is across the street and 1/2 block away (not far) from Chatham. It’s slightly more convenient to be at Chatham to catch the bus simply because it’s right out front.

  14. Hi Joanie,

    I’m from Washington State and will be attending the program in Florida this upcoming fall. Since it’s quite the distance for me I plan on flying and not bringing a car. Is it going to be pretty difficult moving in on my own (without my parents) and with no car, etc.? Also, how much extra furniture-type items do you think are necessary to have?

    Thanks,
    Matt

    • Hi Matt,

      It shouldn’t be too difficult for you to move in on your own and without a car. We saw many kids moving in on their own. My kids only brought two suitcases with them so it was easy to bring them to the apartment and settle in. After check-in, there is a bus that takes the college program participants to the apartments. My kids mostly brought clothes and found they could pick up any extra items they needed for their apartment at Target or Walmart (buses run to Walmart). The apartments are fully furnished. There are dishes and a table in the kitchen, a sofa and coffee table in the living room, and the bedrooms consist of two beds, a dresser, two night stands and closets.

  15. Your blog has been SO helpful, especially coming from a different perspective. Thank you very much for taking the time to provide all this information. I’ve found everything so helpful. Sorry, but I have a lot of questions 🙂

    1. Did your kids do any of the classes offered? I will (hopefully) be doing DCP after I graduate, so I won’t need to take anything for credit. I’ve heard some people taking them just for fun? Also, do you have any idea how many classes on average people take?

    2. Since I’ll be flying, what do you suggest initally packing versus waiting to buy once I get there?

    3. What type of clothes did your daughter pack?

    4. Were they able to travel around Floria (Universal, Sea World, etc.) pretty easily without a car?

    5. Did they enjoy where they lived and worked?

    • Hi Brittnie, I’m so glad you found the post helpful and I certainly don’t mind answering your questions. My son took a class called, “Marketing You” and loved it. He graduated from college last November and found the class helped him so much when preparing his resume and he refers back to his notes all the time. I can highly recommend that class even though you will have already graduated. Not all of the kids take classes. If your schedule allows, you might want to look into some of them.

      As for packing, the temperatures are mild in Florida so I would recommend packing for summer/spring. Mostly shorts, jeans, nice clothes for the Disney classes and a couple of sweaters. You could arrange to have your winter clothes sent to you as you need them and you might not even need them at all. There is a Wal-Mart, Target and an outlet mall very close by so towels, sheets, etc. can be purchased once you get there.

      My son took his car to Florida when he did his second college program. He didn’t use it that much. He didn’t have a car during his first program and my daughter didn’t either and they found that so many other kids had cars, someone was always driving somewhere. They were able to go to Universal while they were there and my son even took a road trip with friends to the Florida Keys. Not having a car wasn’t a problem.

      My son loved where he worked. He worked at Soarin’ in Epcot during his first program and enjoyed it very much. For his second program, he worked at One Man’s Dream at Hollywood Studios. It wasn’t as exciting as Soarin’ but he loved the experience of working at Disney. I don’t think it mattered to him where he worked. My daughter worked Custodial in the Magic Kingdom. Her days were very long. At first, she honestly didn’t enjoy her job but as time went on she found some enjoyment in it. My son and daughter both lived in Chatham and for my son’s second term, he lived in Patterson. They found both apartments very nice.

      Hope this helps and good luck to you!

  16. Joanie: My daughter begins the CP in WDW this coming August. I found your blog incredibly helpful. Thanks so much for doing this. I have a few questions. What type of bedding should we bring (twin, full)? Are there any programs or presentation specifically for the parents? How many days after check-in do you think is good to stay in the area? I don’t want to overstay my welcome, but I want to make sure she is all situated.

    • Hi Pat, We weren’t sure about the bed size either but we ended up purchasing twin XL because that’s what college dorms usually specify. The twin XL sheets fit fine.

      There aren’t any programs that we were aware of when we brought our two kids for their college programs. There was a place to sit and talk to other parents and a few representatives from Disney that answered a few of our questions at Vista Apartments when our kids were checking in but nothing else. They didn’t have a presentation, it was simply cookies and coffee while we waited.

      The first time we brought our son to his program, my husband and I stayed two days after his check in and our son was so busy that he didn’t have time to meet up with us except for one evening. The other two times we brought our son and our daughter to their programs, we left the day after check in. Check in and move in is the same day. After we moved our kids into their apartments, we went shopping for extras and found the kids wanted to be in their apartments getting to know their new roommates that night. Leaving the day after check in gives the kids a chance to get what they need then it’s good for them to be on their own meeting new people.

  17. Hi Joanie, thanks so much for all the info! My daughter begins the CP in August and I am flying down with her. I’m wondering if you can give me the names of a few nearby hotels and how close they are. I’m debating if I will need to rent a car or if there are hotels close enough.

    • Hi Michele, We’ve stayed at a couple of the Disney All-Star resorts and in August, I believe there is a discount for it being a “value season”. By checking http://www.disneyworld.com, you could get a more accurate rate. Staying on Disney properties allows you to take advantage of the Magical Express shuttle which will take you to and from the airport. Another hotel close by would be the Holiday Inn Sunspree (we have not stayed here). I would suggest renting a car even if you stay at a Disney resort. You’ll need it to get your daughter to Vista apartments for check in and to carry her suitcases. If you need to get to a store to purchase anything for her apartment, you’ll have the to car to take you there. The hotels are not in walking distance to Vista apartments. Hope this helps.

  18. Your site has been so helpful. My son is starting the program in August. He said there is three dates to choose from to arrive. Does your check in date affect your apartment assignment. It is also likely he will be by himself to check in. Approximately how far is the target, Walmart store from the apts. is it walkable

    • Hi Cheryl,
      The check-in date does affect your apartment assignment. You’re son would have a better chance at getting the apartment complex he wants if he checks in on an earlier date.
      Walmart and Target are not in walking distance from the apartments. However, there is a bus that picks kids up at the apartments and takes them to Walmart and a grocery store. Target is farther away than Walmart and there is no bus that will bring them there. There is an outlet mall that is in walking distance from Chatham and Patterson apartments.

  19. Hi! Your blog was extremely helpful and informative. My arrival date for the Disney college program is May 10. My Disney classes don’t start until June 25. Do participants start working after the arrival date? Or after the classes start? Thank you!!

    • Hi Jenny, I’m so glad you’re finding the blog helpful. Yes, you will start working at your job before classes start. After your check-in day, things will begin to take off. You’ll have an apartment orientation soon after you check-in, a day or two later you’ll have Traditions and then you begin your job. We’ve found that classes usually begin a couple of weeks after kids get settled.

  20. My sons arrival date is August 19 th. do you think he should move up his date to be able to get into Patterson or Chatham. Also I hear vista is the party dorm. Is that true and is this the over 21 dorm?

    • Hi Cheryl, The earlier the check-in date, the better chance your son will have to be in the apartment he wants. Patterson and Chatham fill up quickly. Vista has the reputation of being the “party complex” because a lot of the kids who are over 21 stay there. If the student is under 21, they will automatically be placed in a Wellness Apartment, which means no alcohol is allowed. If they are older, they can choose where they want to live.

  21. You are AWESOME, just sayin’….. thanks so much for all the wisdom and advice just from reading your blog and also the Q&A! Our daughter is off to WDW in early July and this will help us make it a smoother move. THANKS A MILLION!

  22. Your blog is so helpful!! I am headed down to do the dcp in August and I’m wondering if there are any nearby stores to get to (without a car) such as whole foods, pcc, trader joes, or other similar health oriented foods? Thanks so much!!!’

    • Raegan, Although there is a Whole Foods in Orlando, I don’t think it’s in walking distance from the apartments. Unfortunately, I don’t think there are any “health oriented” food stores nearby. There are a couple of aisles in the grocery devoted to healthier foods and you can take the buses to those.

  23. Hi Joanie, thank you so much for all your information! I just dropped my daughter off on Monday and all your information was so helpful! We stayed at the Holiday Inn you suggested which was less than 5 minutes from everything! Perfect! Loved the Super Target too!

    • Charlene, I’m so glad you found the information helpful. If you, or your daughter have any other questions I can relay to my College Program son and daughter, please let me know.

  24. Hi Joanie,
    Thank you for such a wonderfully informative blog! My daughter begins the program on August 12th. We will be making the drive with her from Texas, and I need a little advice concerning move-in. My husband has to return early on the day of move-in, but I haven’t made my own flight reservations yet. My daughter doesn’t seem to think she will need me to stay around. I think she has read the info about there not being anything for the parents to do while they go through check-in and casting. I don’t want to be a hoverer, but am willing to stay if needed. What is your opinion?
    Also, I was a bit concerned about leaving all of her things in the car (SUV) overnight at the hotel. Do you think it’s any safer in a hotel on Disney property? Haven’t made that reservation yet either. I’m still trying to figure out if it’s more convenient to stay in a hotel close to Vista Way where they check in, or on Disney property. We’ve only ever stayed on property before when visiting the parks, and I know we can ride their shuttle to the airport which would save us money since my husband and I will most likely be traveling separately. (Can’t remember if they charge for parking on property or not.)

    • Hi there, Thank you for your kind words. There isn’t much for the parents to do while the kids are checking-in. Disney does have tables set up at the Vista Apartments where they provide coffee and cookies and have Disney employees there to answer questions. You just pretty much sit and wait. My husband and I chose to go back to our hotel the second time around, but Downtown Disney is also close by and your daughter can give you a call when she’s done.

      Her check in day is going to be busy, and my kids were finished with check-in and casting by about 2. This gave us the afternoon to help move them into their apartments and stop at Target to pick up other items they needed. If your daughter has her own car, she could take care of those things on her own if she wanted to. When my son went through his second College Program, he drove up by himself and took care of everything on his own. It’s just a matter of what you feel comfortable doing. My daughter had never really been off on her own and I just wanted to make very sure she had everything she needed before I left, that’s why I stayed the day.

      We’ve stayed at on-site Disney hotels as well as off-site and never had a problem with keeping our things safe. We did unload the car a little and brought large items into our hotel room. The benefit I see with staying on-site is that there is a checkpoint at the entrances to each Disney hotel. You have to show a room key in order to get into the properties or let them know you’re eating at the hotel restaurants. Not a perfect system but one extra safety measure. Plus, the Magical Express shuttle to the airport will save you in transportation costs. The hotels don’t charge their guests for parking so there’s no extra cost involved.

      Hope this helps. Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any other questions.

  25. Joanie love all your info…WOW… question… my daughter is taking 4 online courses through her college in new york…she is working merchandise …will she even have time ? She is starting the program in aug. which means she will be working through thanksgiving and christmas the most busiest times..Did your kids do classes through there school ? I also think she is taking a course through Disney…Just want her to enjoy this experience and not be to stressed.
    Another question i saw you wrote that your kids needed a bulletin board..were they allowed to hang it on the wall ? What about a vacuum cleaner? I am sure they have to supply all there own cleaning supplies. I also am assuming hangers…I guess i will have to move her in like her dorm…Thanks for all your help!!!

    • Sharon, my kids did not take online classes but knew others that did. Four online classes is a lot but your daughter will have “off days” where she won’t be working so she could possibly work ahead on her school work a bit. I think it really depends on the personality of the student. My son could probably have handled four online classes and my daughter would have been completely stressed out about it.

      Yes, a bulletin board helped them manage events and classes coming up. Nothing can attach to the walls so they propped it up on a table. A dry-erase board was even more helpful and it was placed in the common area of the apartment so the roommates could communicate with each other. Most of the kids had different schedules and it helped to get messages to each other.

      In our experiences, one of the kids in the apartment each time brought a vacuum that the group shared. We found a little swiffer type vacuum (very inexpensive) to use for my daughter’s room. There is also a maintenance office where the kids can “check out” cleaning equipment as needed.

      It’s very much like moving into a dorm. Not much is provided. She’ll need hangers and a few cleaning supplies. Hope this helps!

  26. If my son and his friend stay at the holiday inn spree or Marriott village, will they need to take a cab to vista way on the morning of check in? Or is there any other way to get to check in Monday morning. Any idea how much it will cost for transportation. Also is there any restaurants or stores within walking distance from the dorms

    • Cheryl, Disney does not provide transportation from the hotels to Vista Way. The cost of a cab would probably be about $30 but this is just a guess. There is no other way to check in. It needs to be done at Vista Way on the date specified.

      There is an outlet mall within walking distance of Chatham and Patterson Apartments. There is also a Panera Bread and a couple of other restaurants fairly close by. Going from memory, there is a coffee shop and a Walgreens within walking distance from Vista Way.

  27. Called holiday inn spree and they said they are located right across the street from where te college kids check in. They can walk there from the hotel. Also I’m a little confused a about the dorms. Aren’t they all right near each other like dorms on a college campus? You said hat am and Patterson were near a pandora bread? The other dorms aren’t near there?

    • Cheryl, The “dorms” are really apartments. Vista Way is the apartment complex the college program participants check-in at. It is one of the apartments for the Disney College Program. The other two apartments are called Chatham and Patterson. They are about a 5 minute drive away from Vista Way in a totally different area. There is an outlet mall with restaurants and Panera Bread restaurant near Chatham and Patterson apartments. There are a couple of restaurants near Vista Way.

  28. Sorry but I keep thinking of other questions. We have gone back and forth as to whether he should take his car. His car is pretty old. A 98 Toyota Camry. And we live near buffalo ny so it’s a pretty long drive. We are leaning towards flying but some of the posts I read don’t have good things to say about transportation. Did your kids have cars and what was their experiences with the buses. Also do most kids have cars or not while they are there

    • Hi Cheryl, I understand what you’re feeling. We had so many questions when our son went for his first College Program. There are so many unknowns. My son didn’t have his car when he did the College Program the first time. He felt he really didn’t need it. The buses pick up the kids in the College Program in front of Vista Way and Chatham Apartments (Patterson Apartments is across the street) throughout the day. The buses take them to work, Downtown Disney and Walmart.

      My son brought his car when he did the College Program the second time and he said he kept it parked at his apartment most of the time. He said it was just more convenient to take the buses.

      I would say probably half the kids take their cars. Both my kids felt they didn’t need a car at all. A car allows the kids more freedom to go other places, which they might like. However, my kids both had roommates with cars and rode with them on different occasions.

  29. Hi,
    I’m doing my internship this fall in the culinary program. I have a few questions: ( my roommate from college will be joining me as we both got accepted)
    1. Are we allowed to choose where we want to stay seeing that we are both under 21? ie Chatham
    2. How long does check-in usually last?
    3. Is there an option to change apartments if we are uncomfortable with the living situation?
    4. Are the pots and pans good? ( I heard they burn easily) should I bring my own?
    5. Does disney provide us with uniforms and shoes?
    6. How much does laundry cost?
    7. Do they allow plug-in scents ie glade?
    8. We should bring basic saeasonging for cooking right? ie salt, pepper etc.
    Thank you so much. This blog is EXCELLENT. It answered most of my questions and you are thorough with your responses.

    • Hi Katryna, Thank you for your kind words. I’m glad you’ve found the blog helpful and congratulations on getting into the culinary program. I’ve heard it’s wonderful!
      To answer your questions, (1) You can request which apartment you would like and if there is availability, they try to get you in. You make that request at check-in.
      (2) Check-in could last a couple of hours, depending on your place in line. After you check-in, you board a bus which will take you to “Casting” where you will get your job assignment. My kids were gone several hours.
      (3) You can request an apartment change and their answer could depend on what is available.
      (4) The pots and pans are BASIC. Nothing fancy but suitable for easy cooking. My son purchased baking dishes and a few extra kitchen cooking essentials.
      (5) Disney provides you with your work uniform. My son and daughter both had to purchase shoes, but that could be different depending on where you are working.
      (6) I’m not sure Disney will allow plug-in scents. You’d have to ask at check-in.
      (7) Yes, you’ll need to provide your own seasonings.

    • Cheryl, I think the important thing is to be comfortable on check-in day. The kids will be standing in line outside so it will most likely be hot. Shorts are acceptable. We saw kids in shorts and t-shirts and jeans. I think it’s also important to look nice and not sloppy. They will be going to the Casting office later that day so keep that in mind.

  30. Hi Joanie!

    I’m interested in doing the DCP myself but I was wondering how your parents approached their schools asking if they would receive college credit for the program/ if their school would accept their credits from completing courses at Disney University?

    Thank You!

    • Great question Rhea! My kids spoke to their advisors at their schools to see if the school would accept the credit. Some universities will and others won’t. You would have to check with your own advisor at your school.

  31. Hi from Australia Joanie

    My daughter is starting at Disney in January. Your blog has been extremely helpful especially from soooo far away.
    Could you please let me know about laundry and what is the weather like in January.
    Thank you so much for sharing all your information.

    • Hi Julie, I’m so glad you’ve found the blog helpful. Temperatures in January are usually in the low 70’s. It generally not too cold, maybe a sweater or light jacket would be necessary. As for laundry, there are places within the apartment complexes where the kids can do their laundry. I believe they have several locations scattered throughout each apartment complex and the cost is about $1.00 to wash and $1.00 to dry.

  32. Hello Joanie,

    I just got my acceptance email for spring advantage 2014 and thank you for your blog, it’s helped me figure my way around a few things. I had a few questions and I hope they aren’t too much. My first being that when you are given your offer as to what role you will be in, are you able to call in and ask for a change? I got custodial, but recently my doctor said that some of the chemicals might affect my allergies, are they willing to swap roles at all?

    My next would be about the check in day. I’ve gone through and read most of the other questions and saw yours, but due to distance and money, I live in CA, I believe that I might be going alone for the check in. My question is if it is preferable to arrive the day before or two days before to get acclimated to the time? Also, I saw you listed some hotels that are close to the check in site, I saw Holiday inn spree and Marriott, are there any others?

    Lastly, I know the classes are optional, but did you son or daughter take any and if they did how did they find them? I think these were the questions I had on hand, but thank you for all this.

    • Hi Jon, I checked with my kids who participated in the Disney College Program and they both suggested you contact Disney either by phone or email to let them know your situation. Hopefully, Disney will place you in a different job. Neither thought it would be a problem.

      As for check-in, I would recommend arriving a day before your check-in day. Check-in begins early in the morning and it will be crowded. I think it just makes it easier so you aren’t as rushed.

      Other than the hotels I mentioned, I would look for hotels on or near State Road 535 or Highway 192 or in the Downtown Disney area. Hope this helps.

  33. Hi Joanie,
    My son will start Jan 20th for the spring session (YEAH!). How many “business casual” outfits will he need? He will be taking 12 credits at Disney during this session. He usually prefers shorts and polo shirts, so he doesn’t own a lot of dressier outfits. My son states they already assigned him to Vista Way apartments, but everything else I’ve read said the apartments are assigned on check in?? Are there any seminars/classes that he should look out for to take that are extra beneficial (he is majoring in accounting and economics)? When do they find out where specifically they are working and any “extras” that they would need to buy for their uniforms (we are only staying for 3 extra days after check in day)?
    Thanks!

    • Hi Nanette, Congratulations, I’m sure your son will have a wonderful experience. He will need to wear “business casual” clothes for Traditions (which is the Disney class that explains everything needed to know about working at Disney) and comfortable shoes. By “business casual” I would suggest nice pants and a nice, collared shirt. Your son will also wear “business casual” for his classes if he chooses to take any and I believe polo shirts with nice pants are acceptable for the classes. My son also said he saw many kids come straight to the classes from work so many were still in uniform. There is an outlet mall very close to the apartments and clothing can be purchased there if necessary.

      As far as I know, apartments are still assigned at check-in. He might have been able to request where he would prefer but I don’t believe Disney assigns them until that day.

      One of the classes my son loved is called “Marketing You”. This class has helped him so much and now that he has graduated from college he still refers back to what he learned in that class.

      I think the kids find out specifically where they will be working either at Traditions or a day or two after. It is at that time that they will find out what they need to wear. Most pieces of the uniform will be given to them, but some roles may require one or two items that they may need to get on their own. Three days after check-in should give you plenty of time to make sure your son has everything he needs. Good Luck!

  34. Hey! I got accepted for the program for spring of 2014! My friend actually happen to get accepted to, if we have 2 different dates, we can’t change them either it’s certain ones we can choose..to arrive will we not be able to be roommates? I emailed disney and it seemed like they sent a automatic message back, not replying..I arrive on the 20th and he arrives on the 27th.. Should he just come early and arrive on the 20th?

  35. Hi Joanie,
    In search of info, I came across your blog. Great info. My daughter was just accepted into the Spring Advantage 2014 program. We don’t have her start dates yet, as I just submitted the payment. She goes to Univ Northern CO, but we are from Northern CA. She is 18, and will be placed in a dry apartment. Do you know if these are typically in a specific apartment building? She will not have a vehicle with her, is there a “best” apartment building for her to request? She does not know anyone accepted into the program. Also, we are planning on coming to see her in March, are they usually allowed time off at all?
    Thanks so much!

    • Hi Julie, The “dry apartments” are located in all three apartment complexes. My son stayed in Patterson & Chatham and thought they were both very similar. My daughter stayed in Chatham and liked her stay there. Both apartments are close to the bus stop but the bus stop at Chatham is right in front of the main building. My kids didn’t know anyone when they began the program either but they both met lots new friends on check-in day.

      Your daughter can request time off for the time you visit. When we visited, our kids got maybe a day or two off but we worked around their schedule and were able to catch up with them either in the mornings or in the afternoons on days they were working. Hope this information helps!

  36. Thank you so much for all of the information! There really is so much to think about and plan for. I am so excited for my daughter, she was accepted for Spring Advantage 2014! We are trying to plan a few trips. Do family members get a discount?

    • Gwen, how exciting for your daughter! Yes, family members do get room discounts of around 40-50 percent off as well as ticket discounts. Additionally, your daughter will be able to let I believe 5 guests into the park during her time in the college program.

  37. This blog has been extremely helpful!
    Thank you for all your help so far.

    I am hoping to participate in the program in the near future and I was wondering what kind of arrangement your kids made with their respective colleges? How many credit hours did they receive?

    Did either of your kids have scholarship requirements they had to meet while participating?

    Did they have classes with their schools while at Disney? (Online or otherwise)

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Heather, some colleges allow students to receive credit while participating in the Disney College Program, but not all. You’d have to check with the counselor at your school to see if they will accept it. Neither of my kids were able to earn college credits. We looked at participating in the Disney College Program as a good experience for them and as a great addition to their resumes.

      Neither of my kids had scholarship requirements to meet. My son took a few online college courses while in the program and had no trouble completing those. I would suggest you speak with a counselor at your school to see what they would require from you. Hope this helps, good luck!

  38. Hi,Im in my step of phone interview of the Disney College Program but I’m from Puerto Rico and I want to know if I need pay my plane ticket or Disney pay for it?

  39. Hello!

    Thanks for uploading all these useful tips!

    As for laundry, you said there are several located around the complex to wash/dry your clothes, but do you know if any of the apartments have their own, inside the apartment?

    For checking out items at the Maintenance Office, can you list examples? Is it brooms and vacuums or like windex sprays, etc.

    Lastly, I would like to know how your son and daughter handled pulling in cash to purchase items for the apartment with their roommates. Meaning, things like: paper towels in the kitchen, dish soap, etc – how did they go about suggesting this idea, or if not, did they buy their own and used it just themselves? I’m a bit confused about stuff like that

    Thank you!

    • Hi Jessica,
      So glad you’re finding the tips useful! To my knowledge, there are no apartments in Vista, Chatham or Patterson that have washers and dryers in them.

      Vacuum cleaners can be checked out at the front desk of each apartment complex but brooms and cleaning supplies will need to be personally purchased from a store.

      My kids told me there were never any issues about “who purchased what”. When my daughter checked in, there were already two girls who checked in before her. They each had purchased a few cleaning items. She told them she was going to the store and asked what else was needed. They always worked it out and she said no one felt like they were purchasing everything. It was all shared. Both my kids had their own bathroom cleaning supplies and a few items like that, but kitchen cleaning supplies and garbage bags were a shared expense.

      Hope this helps!
      Joanie

  40. Hi,

    I was just wondering if we get the deposit back? It is not a big deal if we don’t, I was just wondering because will a lot of stuff, we get deposits back. And, any last advice on going into the program?

  41. Hi there! I would like to express my gratitude for this article. I have a couple of “peace of mind questions”. My daughter is starting the DCP at WDW on August 11th. She may have to travel by herself. I’m sure I would need to send her the prior day (Sunday) since she is flying a far distance (so no car). Do you have suggestions as to what she should do on Sunday. She will not have a vehicle etc. Also, is the apartments located on the actual WDW property? I cant seem to find any actual contact information for DCP to be able to call. Sounds like you are the go to for answers. Also, is there a shuttle from the airport. Thanks so much for your time.

    • Hi April,
      If your daughter arrives the day before check-in, she could spend some time exploring Downtown Disney. There are many shops, restaurants, a movie theater and a bowling alley there. If she is staying the night at one of the Disney properties, she could easily take the bus to Downtown Disney. Many other non-Disney hotels also offer a shuttle service to Downtown Disney and she can ask when she makes a reservation.

      When my kids participated in the College Program, there was a facebook group that they joined and many of the kids from the group that were arriving at the same time got together the day or night before check-in to meet and get to know one another. She might want to look into a FB group for her session.

      The apartments are not located on Disney property. Vista apartments are located at 13501 Meadow Creek Dr., Orlando 32821. She might be able to find availability at a hotel close by. She will need to arrange her own transportation to Vista.

      There are shuttles from the airport to different hotels. Mears Transportation can assist with picking her up from the airport (www.mearstransportation.com). If your daughter stays at a Disney Property, the Disney Express picks up from the airport.

      I’m so glad you’ve found this article helpful. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

  42. Hey, Thanks for all the information its been very useful.
    I have a question that i believe i didn’t see up above, i know the students have free time after check in but what does that consist of? like are they allowed in the disney park? can their family come if so?
    If not what did you kids do on their first two days there?

    • Asaan,
      After the participants check-in at Vista, they take a bus over to Casting where they have their picture taken for their work ID and undergo a background check. They are gone for a few hours. When they return from Casting, the CP participants can go to their new apartments and start moving in and shopping for groceries, etc. Soon after check-in, they will need to attend a mandatory Housing meeting and will be notified of the time to attend.

      In the next day or so, the participants attend Traditions. After they attend this meeting, they receive their passes to get into the parks free and family members can get a discount on tickets as well. If they want to get into the parks before they attend Traditions, they will need to purchase a park ticket to get in.

      The first few days are busy with moving in, shopping, housing meetings, a welcome party and getting oriented with their new surroundings.

  43. Hey Joanie! Thanks so much for your blog! I hope to be accepted into the DCP for the spring program and have a question. My mother and friend are coming with me (assuming I get in) to Florida and hope to be there about a week before the move in date. We want to tour Disney and Universal before the program. So I’m wondering, can I use my DCP pass to get discounted tickets for the parks? Or is that option only available after I move in?

    Thanks so much!

    • Hi Sarah,

      Unfortunately, you cannot use your DCP pass for discounts until after you’ve been accepted into the program, checked in and had your first day of Disney Traditions.

      Best of luck!

  44. Hello, I will be flying in with my daughter next month. We will be taking a taxi from out hotel to Vista Way. I was wondering if you knew how parents are transported to the apartments or do we need our own transportation to help them move in? This would occur after casting is completed I presume? Thank you

    • Hi Lisa,

      When my kids were in the program, we found that parents had to arrange their own transportation to the apartments. There is a bus that (at the time) took the CP participants to their apartments but we didn’t use it. We met our son and daughter back at Vista after they finished up with everything, then we drove them to the apartments to help them move in. You would need to arrange your own transportation to the apartments.

      Best of luck!

  45. Thank you for the article and being responsive to questions because the website doesn’t give much away. Had a few questions for ya:
    1. If my mother came down for a few days is she allowed to sleep in my apartment? Whether in my room or on the couch.
    2. I understand there to be a pass that I can bring family into the park with me…are there limitations on this? They get in free right?

    • Hi Emily,

      I’m so glad youre finding the article helpful. No one is allowed to sleep in the apartments other than the college program participants. As for the tickets, each college program participant receives (I think) 6 days in which they can get 3 guests into the parks for free for each of those days. You won’t get the “free park passes” until you go through Traditions which is usually a week or so after your check-id day.

  46. Hi! I am considering doing the program this summer and I was wondering what the policy for tattoos are? All of mine would be covered in a work uniform. Thank you in advanced your article is really helpful!

    • Hi Tiffany,

      I’m glad you’re finding the article helpful. As for tattoos, Disney requires their cast members to have the “Disney Look”. This means they want a look that is natural as well as professional. Anything that detracts from a professional image is prohibited. If you have tattoos, they must be discreetly covered at all times. Visable tattoos are not permitted. The only methods permitted to conceal tattoos are clothing or makeup. Based on your role, makeup may not be permitted and the makeup must be natural looking and not noticeable. If you keep yours covered in a natural looking way, you should be ok.

  47. Hey! I start the DCP in Feburary. Do you know if we will be able to get any discounts on park admission or hotel before my sign in? We are planning on going a couple days early. Thanks for your help!

    • Hi Ashlyn, you won’t get to take advantage of any Disney College Program discounts until after you have begun working. You will be able to get yourself into the parks for free after you have completed “Traditions”, but hotel and other ticket discounts that you’d like to use for family and friends won’t be available for a few weeks after you begin working.

  48. My daughter is finishing up her CP. She got an email about the graduation festivities. It didn’t mention anything about families being invited. Do you know if parents typically attend that?

    • Hi Jen, my husband and I didn’t attend our kid’s graduation “festivities”. In fact, it’s my understanding that parents don’t attend the graduations and it’s really only for interns. According to my son, nothing really happens at the graduation. Disney gives out free prizes and the kids take pictures with the characters. It’s more of a BBQ/food/social event for the kids.

    • Hi Laurel,

      Vista Way Apartments only allows residents 21 and up. If you are 21, you can live in Chatham or Patterson and you will only be rooming with others your same age, not younger.

  49. My son will be heading to DCP in Feb. and I was wondering what things he would need for his apartment. Will he need bedding, towels, curtains, rugs, storage bins, etc.?
    Your information is so helpful. THANK YOU!

    • Hi Peg, The Disney College Program apartments have beds, dressers, kitchen tables, sofas, other small tables and a few kitchen pots and pans. Your son will need bedding (sheets, pillows, comforter, etc.), rugs if he wants one or two, shower curtains, towels. It’s similar to if he were moving into a college dorm. I would suggest waiting to see what other things he needs until after he arrives. His roommate may have purchased a shower curtain or other items already. There is a Target and a Walmart close by so he can easily pick up items he needs.

    • Hi Gina, it really depends on how much your daughter brings with her. She could possibly store her suitcases in the closet or under her bed. There may even be some room in the corner of her bedroom.

  50. My 19 year old is beginning to panic and so am I. We live in NY and while I want an adult to fly down with her, I wonder how safe is the area? If she flies down by herself, would you suggest the Holiday Inn across the street of the POP Hotel? I’m thinking if she stays on site she can take shuttle on check in day and a shuttle from the airport to the hotel for free? She says the airlines.charge $60 per every additional suitcase? I was thinking one or two suitcases…but perhaps the largest rolling suitcase I can find will work best??
    I’m just mostly worried about her spending night alone at a hotel at age 19. Will there be others in same situation? Will she meet others in same situation?

    I appreciate yout input…

    • Hi Terri,

      If your daughter stays at a Disney property, she will be able to take advantage of the Magical Express shuttle which will be able to bring her to the hotel from the airport. The shuttle will not bring her to the apartments when she checks in for the Disney College Program. She will need to either get a taxi or find additional transportation. I know it can be a scary time and I felt the same way. I would encourage your daughter to look into the Facebook group page for the Disney College Program for the time she will be arriving. For example, if she is arriving in Spring 2015, there should be a Facebook page for that particular time. She may be able to “meet” others arriving at the same time so she won’t feel so alone when she arrives.

  51. Hey quick question about the pay…..Do you get payed for your first two weeks there? I read above you may not get payed until the third week, will they pay you for all three weeks? Thanks

  52. Hello Joanie,

    I want to say THANK YOU THANK YOU! Your blog is super duper helpful and awesome! I just want to give you a big hug for being so informative and helpful! If you don’t mind I have some questions?
    I got accepted to Fall Advantage 2015 and my arrival date is June 8th. I will be flying by myself, I will arrive in the morning so from my understanding there is no shuttle that can take me to the apartments so I would have to get a taxi correct? I was thinking of checking one bag, then having one carryon and another bag check in with me in the flight will that be enough or too much? Also what kind shoes do you recommend bringing? Does Disney have a specific work shoes?

    Also, I have been googling like crazy about what exactly happens on the last day of the program, my end date is January 4 and from what I have been reading some people work that day? I am wondering about my roundtrip flight if I should leave two days after? I read how they give you two more days to move out or do we have to leave that exact day? My flight would be much cheaper if I leave the two days afterwards basically. I am wondering about what happens if we have to fill any paper work the departing day?

    Also, I am accounting major and I am wondering about any of the classes you recommend and how will the classes fit in with your work schedule? Will on your days off go to class? or right after work?
    I also plan to take online classes so I know it depends on me but will I have enough time to stay on top of my classes. I would like to work 40 hours a week. I don’t mind working more but just that I am able to sleep and study.

    Another question, did your children get home sick?
    Did they do any of the advantage programs? What about extending? Like For example, is it possible to do the Fall Advantage in FL then extend your program but not in Florida but the one in CA? Or would you have to reapply to be considered for Disneyland Resort? Basically if you extend do you have to stay in where you have originally been working for?

    My role will be attractions do you know anything of their schedule? I heard the schedule is the worst? Is this true? Like would you mind giving me a some schedules?
    How do days off work? Would you like one day off then work then one day off then work the rest of week or would you have your two days off together?
    Is it more busier during the spring or fall?

    Also, choosing roommates and what apartment do you recommend? I really want Chatham but since I arrive June 8, will there be enough space? I’ll take Vista Way. No car that’s why.

    Also do the interns have to work on their birthdays? ( dumb question I know , my birthday is in December,)

    I have many more questions but I don’t want to bother you too much. But if I have more questions do you mind me asking more? I am sorry !
    I just want to thank you for your kindness and the time you put in . I really appreciate it!

    Thank you so much!

    • Thank you so much, I’m glad you’re finding the blog helpful. Congratulations on your acceptance, I’ll do my best to answer your questions…

      1.) There is no shuttle from the airport provided by Disney that will take you to the apartments. You will need to get a taxi or arrange and pay for a shuttle. It’s really up to you how much you want to bring with you. The apartments aren’t huge so keep that in mind. As for shoes, whether or not Disney will supply shoes as part of the uniform depands on the location you are working. Some positions supply shoes at costuming (for example, custodial provides shoes and the spas at the resorts do not). Normally, food and beverage and many other park jobs supply shoes but to be safe you might want to pick up a pair of black shoes anyway.

      2.) On your last day, Disney does not schedule you for work. They usually give you two or three days off prior to your check-out date so you can pack up. You can’t stay in housing after your check out date so if you want to stay a couple of days later, you’d have to get a hotel room or stay with a friend.

      3.) I’m not entirely familiar with what classes are offered now at Disney. When my son and daughter were in the program a few years ago, they enjoyed the “Marketing You” class and found it helpful. If you decide to take a class, Disney will work with your schedule and on your days off, you could attend class.

      4.) I think my kids may have missed home from time to time but it’s important to take advantage of the many opportunities offered to Disney College Program participants. You can sign up for backstage tours and there are housing activities so you can get to know other people such as parties and grilling events.

      5.) My kids both did the Fall Advantage programs. I’m not sure if you can extend the program to transfer to California once in Florida. You can, however, extend possibly closer to the end of your program. You can request to be placed in another position when you apply for an extension.

      6.) For Attractions, it depends on which park you will be in and what the park hours are. I have no idea what your schedule will be like.

      7.) Off days are different for everyone. You will probably get 1-2 days off per week. The parks are busy year-round but in the Fall are all the holiday events and later park hours.

      8.) Chatham apartments are very nice and quiet. My daughter checked in pretty late and was still able to get Chatham. The Commons have a washer and dryer in the apartments, so that’s a nice thing to have and from what I’ve been told by other participants, they are very nice. The buses go to all 4 apartments so you don’t need a car to get to work.

      9.) Disney will schedule you when the want to, if you want your birthday off, you’ll have to request it in advance.

      Hope this helps.

  53. Now that your young children have completed the program, what has been the benefits of doing this program? How or where did it help them in their lives after Disney?

    We are having problems convincing a professor this program is a good idea. The college doesn’t have any problems with her taking a semester off. Neither do we.

    Thank you. All of your information has been helpful.

    • Hi Shirley, Working for Disney looks great on a resume. It has helped my kids learn leadership skills and since they are dealing with the public every day and interacting with people (workers and guests), it has taught them how to deal with all sorts of different situations, negative and positive. You probably won’t convince a professor that leaving school to work in the Disney College Program is a good idea because it causes your child to take a break from school. Most professors will frown upon this. All I can tell you is that Disney provides what was for my kids, an amazing opportunity and has taught them skills that they learn with the job, no matter what position and ones they will follow them for the rest of their lives.

  54. Hi Joanie,

    My name is Alexa and I will be attending the DCP in the Fall 2015, I leave August 22 to get down there and my arrival check in day is August 24. We are going to be flying down so we will most definitely be taking your suggestion on stopping at a Walmart and Target while down there. My biggest question is that I have is course and housing registration. I know that you receive emails when those things are available and open for register, but is there anyway to do it before, I just like to have everything done so it is set and stone. I am always afraid I am going to miss something important!

    Thank you,
    Alexa

  55. Wow Joanie, I’ve looked at a lot of DCP related blogs, but you seem like the go-to place for practical information. What do you think about having a car? My daughter is doing Fall 2015.

    Thanks!

    • Thanks so much, Dan. My son brought a car with him when he did his second College Program and kept it parked at his apartment most of the time. The buses did a great job of picking up and dropping off at work and to the parks. The only thing he used his car for was to drive to Universal Studios to visit and to drive to a grocery a little further away than the one near his apartments. Both of my kids felt they didn’t need a car and they always found a friend with a car if they ever needed to get anywhere.

      • Thanks, Joanie. I looked at your blog over the weekend when I had more time and I saw that you already answered that question about 10 times! Sorry for the repetition.

        • No problem, Dan. I apologize for the delay in responding, I’ve been out of town and am slowly catching up on emails. Best of luck to your daughter, if you guys have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Have a great week!

  56. Joanie,

    This is kind of a general question.

    We are flying down (from NY) on Saturday for my daughter’s check-in on Monday. We’re going to shop for drugstore and other stuff on Saturday and Sunday, then help her move in on Monday. We have a late flight home on Tuesday.

    Should we expect to have dinner with her on Monday night, or will she likely be spending that with her roommates?

    Also, what about that Tuesday? Hopefully, by the end of the day on Monday, she will be all moved in, and stocked up groceries and toilet paper, etc. Are we likely to see her on Tuesday? If not, since we have the late flight out, I was thinking of setting up a spa treatment for my wife at the Grand Floridian. But that would eat up couple of hours and we’d have to be on our way to the airport by 3. So if we could spend time with her, I wouldn’t book the spa.

    Thoughts? Thanks!

    • Hi Dan,

      It’s hard to say whether or not your daughter will be available for dinner Monday night. She should be completely moved in by the end of the day on Monday but there may be an apartment meeting that night or she may want to hang out and get to know her roommates. It might be best to play it by ear and not make any firm dinner reservations.

      It’s hard for me to tell you what her schedule will be on Tuesday because it’s different for everyone. She may need to attend “Traditions” or she may be scheduled for some other casting activity. There are so many College Program kids checking in at the same time, everyone’s schedules are different. My husband and I just kept everything open and didn’t have any firm expectations. We were there if our kids needed us but we also did our own things and waited for them to call if and when they needed us or anything. Hope this helps.

      • Thanks. OK, I guess we’ll forego the spa this time, in case she is available on Tuesday for breakfast or any last minute shopping.

        This will be Jessie’s first time away from home. We’re all excited, but really nervous!!!

        • Best of luck, Dan. I hope move-in day goes smoothly for you all. It can be a little scary sending our kids off for the first time but Disney makes it easy for us. We found the process to be pretty well organized. If you guys have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

  57. Hi, it’s me again! Here is a general question that I hope you can help me with. My daughter’s banks are local Long Island banks. What should she do so that she has easy access to a bank account, and to be able to use ATMs without paying fees?

    Thanks again for your help and advice!

    Dan

    • There are Chase ATM’s throughout the parks and resorts but when your daughter checks-in for the college program, she has the option to sign up for Partners Credit Union. Partners is the bank that is used by Disney cast members. It is my understanding that paychecks can be deposited into their own personal accounts or they can sign up for Partners.

  58. I have a quick question
    Just wanted to first say thank you for becoming the person, that all of us can trust for a solid answer, but
    If I’m arriving from a hotel that is close to disney but not to the vista way checkout, and I am traveling in a taxi, on my own, how will that whole check in process take place.
    Will I have to walk through the main gate could I get the taxi to go to the hotel near and walk from there, or could the taxi go straight through. Also I’ve seen videos where when people check in, no one has their suitcase.
    Do those get placed somewhere, are people not bringing them, and if I am traveling on my own, what reccomandations do you have.

    thanks for the help

    • Hi Tim,
      Thank you for your kind words. Why my son and daughter were in the College Program, they stayed at a hotel which was fairly close by and drove. Other kids either drove or took a taxi from their hotels. The check-in process was fairly simple. They waited in a line with the other CPs to check in. Check-in is at Vista Way Apartments. If you have your suitcases with you, they can be stored at Vista Way until you move into your apartment.

  59. Thank you so much for your article! It really helped a lot! I have a question though. How was your children’s relationships with their roommates?

  60. Thanks for a great article & blog. I have a couple kids starting high school who are curious about this program and it was nice to have all the info (and links) you share. Thanks also for continuing to update it and answer new questions!

  61. Hi Joanie! My daughter will be heading to Orlando in mid-January. Her check-in day is on a Monday and I teach at our local high school where exams begin that same day. I have only been approved to be out on the Monday that she checks in. How early could I possibly leave her that day and know she’s pretty well settled and won’t need her mama for anything that can’t be handled with a phone call? I will have to fly back to NC that evening at the latest.

    • Hi Julie,
      Congratulations on your daughter’s acceptance into the program! It has been many years since my kids were in the DCP but from what I remember, I think our kids were pretty much settled in by late afternoon.

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