Thursday, May 31, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Since I talked about finding roommates in this post, I decided I should also mention the housing available for Disney College Program participants.  There are 3 different housing complexes:  Vista Way, Chatham Square, and Patterson Court.  There are 1 to 4-bedroom apartments available, with 2 people sharing a bedroom.  Thus, there can be 2 to 8 people living together.  The main advantage of a 4-bedroom apartment is an additional refrigerator; the downside, however, is that the 3 and 4-bedroom apartments cost the same. 

Built in 1988, Vista Way is the oldest of the complexes.  It is considered to have more of a “party” atmosphere than the other 2 complexes, but since this building is older it does have the cheapest rent.  It is also right near a Walgreens and other various stores/fast food venues.  There is also a bus stop located here to take you to all the theme parks, as well as a shopping center.

Chatham Square is the “middle” complex.  It’s not the oldest, but not the youngest; not the cleanest, but not the dirtiest; not the loudest, but not the quietest.  Since Chatham was built in 2000, it is still fairly new.  One really nice aspect of Chatham is that it is located across the street from Mickey’s Retreat, which is a recreation complex for Cast Members (sand volleyball courts, pools, hammocks, tennis courts, grills, table tennis, tether ball).  Like Vista Way, there is a bus stop here too. 

Patterson Court is the newest and the nicest of all three complexes.  It was built in 2008 and is still in excellent condition.  Because Patterson is in such great condition it is the most expensive, but not by much (I believe the rent is $1 more than that for Chatham).  One downside is that there is no bus stop, so you will have to walk to the one in Chatham. 

My roommates and I have discussed which housing complex we would like to live in and have decided on Chatham.  We chose this complex because the rooms are in good condition and it has a bus stop.  None of us are too worried about security, but if I’m arriving from work at 3 am I would rather be dropped off near my apartment.    

One additional note about policies.  Drugs and other illegal substances are forbidden.  Alcohol is not allowed in the “wellness” apartments, which are for participants under 21.  If you are over 21, then you can opt into a wellness apartment by signing a contract agreement.  There is also a security team at each complex; this means that a valid property ID is required to access your complex and no visitors can stay later than 1 am.  If any of these are breached, they could result in termination.  Always keep a sharp eye and make sure this doesn't happen to you! 

Since I don’t drink or like to party, I'd rather live in a wellness apartment.  I don’t mind if others around me like to party occasionally, but I don’t want to have to deal with alcohol problems in my apartment.  My roommates and I will hopefully make it to check-in early enough so we can get exactly what we want:  A 3-bedroom apartment in Chatham Square.  Can't wait for June 11th!

Well, that’s all for tonight.  I promise I will post my packing list soon and will begin a Countdown to Disney – starting tomorrow!  Yes, you should be completely excited to learn even more about my Disney favorites.  Have a magical night!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Finding Roommates

At first glance this seems like quite a daunting task, especially if you start the search late, like I did.  There are 3 options for you to consider: 

1.       Use Disney’s roommate matching/notification process
2.       Find roommates on your own
3.       Be placed with roommates at random upon arrival

Let’s talk about Option Number 1.  Before I go on, I should let you know that this process may not be available for all arrival dates (if not, then you will have to go with option 2 or 3).  If this is available, then you can choose one of the following:

A.)   Be randomly matched with someone (have to be the same gender and age (over or under 21) and have the same arrival/end dates)
B.)   Enter in someone’s Match Key to room with that person (assuming that you're the same gender & age)

As you can probably see, this option is great if you already know who you want to room with.  At check-in you will automatically be placed in an apartment with the person you were matched with.

Onto Option 2!  There are many ways to go about finding roommates on your own.  You can join a Facebook group or look around on Disney forums (like Disboards).  On either of these sites, you can chat with fellow participants and fill out a roommate survey.  This allows you to find others with similar interests and habits.  In this case, you and your roommates should arrive at check-in together and request to room together.  Since there are no guarantees, this is the best way to increase your chances of being placed together.

And finally Option 3.  With this option, you show up at check-in on your arrival date and are placed with a random group of people.  Usually you will be placed with people around you at check-in or with a group of people missing one more individual. 

After considering all these selections, I opted for the second one – in hindsight, I’m so glad I did!  I joined the Facebook group for June 11th arrivals and posted my roommate survey.  After looking over other girl’s surveys, I found a couple of girls I would like to room with.  After talking a bit, we found out we had quite a few things in common.  The two girls I found were also talking to 3 others girls about rooming together, so there are 6 of us in total.  At one point we considered finding two more girls, but the cost of a 3 bedroom apartment and a 4 bedroom apartment ended up being the same.  So, we decided to stick with the 6 of us.  We have been chatting quite a bit over the last week (lots of “I can’t wait to meet you all” and “I so excited!”) and have found lots in common.  None of them will ever replace my best friend, but I know we all will get along really well.  I am really glad I am going to be rooming with these 5 lovely ladies and honestly can’t wait to meet them!  This is definitely a great start to my Disney CP experience :)

When You’re the Best of Friends

I have lived with the same roommate since sophomore year of college (2009).  It didn’t take very long for us to become best friends and it was very rare to see one of us without the other.  We often joke that we are essentially the same person; I am just more math/science orientated, while she is more creative and artistic.  My roommate made college a fantastic experience and I don’t know what I would have done without her.  We’ve had so many good times over the years – movie nights, dressing up as pirates when Pirates of the Caribbean 4 played at the theater on campus, having our very own iron chef competition, late night runs to Wendy’s (love a good frosty!), and library days during finals week (so much Starbucks…).  Unfortunately, she changed her major halfway through college, so she will be staying an extra year.  Since my best friend would not be coming down to Florida, I was faced with a task I haven’t had to worry about for years:  finding roommates to live with. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Have I Gone Mad?

The Disney College Program is constantly on my mind.  I’m always dreaming about life as a Cast Member and all the opportunities I am going to have.  Purchasing and packing items; filling out forms; chatting with future roommates; reading past CPer’s blogs; the list goes on and on.  Disney is continuously on my mind as I patiently countdown the days until June 11th.

Normally when something is on my mind a lot, I tend to have strange dreams.  This would occur during college when I had an unfinished physics assignment or Fortran program due.  During those nights I was very restless and had dreams about never finishing the assignment and failing the course.  I’d wake up suddenly with a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach and after a few minutes finally realize that it was just a dream.  I’d fall back asleep only to have the same thing happen again… ugh.

Last night I kept having dreams about the Disney College Program.  I can’t remember them now; I only know they weren’t as worrisome as those silly dreams about failed physics homework.  Well, I semi-woke up after one of those dreams and decided I needed to send a text message:  a text message to DisneyCP.  I grabbed my iPhone and clicked on text messages and tried to type in DisneyCP.  Of course I was still basically asleep, so it came out something like wnasdim.  I knew that was completely wrong, so I tried again, and again and finally managed to type out disneycp.  But, the letters weren’t capitalized!  So, I erased that nonsense and after a few more tries successfully typed out DisneyCP.  Whew… then I tried to click “send,” which didn’t work for reasons unbeknownst to my semi-conscious self.  Nevertheless, even though I hadn’t typed a message, I still tried to send one.  After many unsuccessful attempts, I became frustrated, gave up, and promptly fell back asleep. 

I woke up this morning, with absolutely no recollection of this.  Later on, I went to send a text message and saw one addressed to DisneyCP.  Then it all came back to me…  And so I ask you, am I as mad as a hatter?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I'm Almost There!

Dear Betsy,

In just a few short days you’ll be at the most magical place on earth, the Walt Disney World® Resort!

The countdown has officially begun, and we can’t wait to see you at check-in!

Date: June 11, 2012
Time:  9:00:00 AM

Thank you,
Disney College Recruiting

Sunday, May 20, 2012

It's a Brazzle Dazzle Blog

I believe I have finally finished formatting my blog!  And let me tell you, formatting a blog is not an easy task.  Who knew there were so many options?  Any opinions as to the layout, font, colors, etc. are greatly appreciated – remember I am a math major, not a graphic designer ;) 

I have added in a “Walt Disney World To-Do List” of items I’d like to complete during my career with Walt Disney World.  I know I probably won’t accomplish many of these, but I’d like to finish as many as possible.  If anyone has any other ideas, please let me know!

I have also decided to start packing.  Aren’t you all proud of me?  I’ll post my packing list… once I finish it of course.  Tomorrow I have to go to the dentist (can’t wait), then go pick up my new glasses from Wal-Mart (totally legit).  While at Wal-Mart I’ll probably pick up a few items to pack – mattress pad, an egg-crate foam pad, and cleaning supplies.  Fascinating, eh?   

Well, that’s about it for now.  How about a joke, since I haven’t told one in a few posts?

Why did the pirate play cards?

Because the Captain was standing on the deck!

Thank you folks, thank you.  I’ll be here all week… well I’ll actually be here a lot longer than that I guess.  Unless, some of you decide to abandon ship and stop reading.  But you wouldn’t do that to me, would you? 

Have a magical night!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Telephone Interview

As you can tell, I couldn’t come up with a witty name for this post…  Let’s dive right in then, shall we?  As I said before, this interview will last approximately 20 to 30 minutes and may begin up to 15 minutes after your scheduled time.  Now this will vary from person to person, so don’t worry if your interview lasts less than 20 minutes or more than 30.  Before your interview, make sure you are in a quiet room – I had to kick my roommate out (sorry about that mate!).  I woke up early on the morning of my interview, ate breakfast and got ready, then looked over my list of potential questions while listening to Disney music :)  My interview began at least 5 minutes late and only lasted 14 minutes. 

First your interviewer will ask you some general questions about your application and previous work experience.  You will then be asked why you want to do the Disney College Program.  This question will definitely be asked, so make sure you have a good answer ahead of time!  You will also probably be asked a few questions about housing and if you feel comfortable living with strangers. 

Next up:  listing roles you are interested in.  My interviewer didn’t ask me for a specific number, so I just gave her my top three – Attractions, Merchandise, and Main Entrance Operations.  Some of the questions were along the lines of:  How do you feel talking in front of large groups of people?  Do you feel comfortable operating large vehicles?  How would you uphold the magic if working at the front of a park? 

My interviewer was incredibly nice and very easy to talk to, which made the entire process much more fun.  Some advise I can offer:  smile, be enthusiastic, ask questions at the end of the interview, and RELAX!  As long as you are well prepared, there is no reason to worry.  You should also mention a particular park you would like to work at.  I told my interviewer that the Magic Kingdom was my favorite park and I would absolutely love to work there, so she made a note of it, but told me that there were no guarantees.  This interview was actually fun because I had an amazing interviewer and I got to talk about Disney and how much I love it.  Doesn’t get much better than that folks!  Sending good luck and pixie dust your way.  If you have any other questions, feel free to ask :)      

We have to go back. Way back, like many million years ago!

Well, not quite millions of years ago, but a few years ago at least.  Like I mentioned in my previous post, I wanted to become a DCP participant as soon as I learned about the program.  I started doing some intense (like camping!) research about the program in my sophomore year – reading the DISboards forums, watching the presentation video on the DCP website, reading blogs, watching vlogs, etc.  I also attended the DCP campus presentation at my college in September 2010 and immediately fell in love with this fantastic opportunity to be a Disney Cast Member.  I began talking to registration services and my Department Head to see if the program would count as credit towards my major.  Unfortunately, I hit a roadblock on both accounts and was told I would have to take a leave of absence for the duration of the program and return the next semester to resume classes.  I looked into doing this, but found that I would have to give up my housing contract and lose the best roommate in the universe.  It would also mess up my plans for graduation in May 2012.  After discovering all of this, I decided to put my DCP journey on hold.  From my research I had learned that students can only apply for the program while they are still enrolled in classes, which means that students can apply the last semester of their senior year and do the program after they graduate.  This became my new plan of action.

Fast forward to January 2012.  On January 23rd applications for the Disney College Program were released for the Fall Advantage and Fall seasons.  The Fall Advantage season lasts from late May/early June through early January, while the Fall season lasts from August through early January.  This year check-in dates for Fall Advantage are May 16th, May 21st, June 4th, June 11th, and July 10th (this was added to the list on March 23rd).  Now that this was my last chance to participate in the DCP, I applied on January 25th.    

In the general application, you will have to fill out all the obligatory information:  name, address, phone number, email, past work experience, etc.  You also have to list all the roles you are interested in.  There is a little dropdown box next to each role with choices like “not at all interested,” “moderately interested,” “very interested,” and so on.  Make sure you list ONLY the roles you are interested in – you wouldn’t want to get stuck with a role you would absolutely hate.  Once you have completed this, you wait patiently to receive an email about the Web-Based Interview. 

Web-Based Interview:  This is the initial interview for the DCP.  There are two sections that consist of multiple-choice questions and rating questions (Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, and Strongly Agree).  This interview is timed, so make sure you set aside 40 minutes to complete this process (You can pause the interview midway, but I would highly recommend completing it in one sitting).  My advice:  be honest, consistent, and try to answer “Strongly” whenever possible.  Make sure you are in a quiet room that is free of distractions.  Even though it is timed, don’t rush – you should have plenty of time to answer each question.  Also keep in mind that the Walt Disney Company wants to hire people that are kind, passionate, timely, and team players.  Take a deep breath and relax!  You’ve got this!     

Once you pass the Web-Based Interview, you will receive another email about the Telephone Interview, which you schedule through the Dashboard.  I’m not going to lie – I totally freaked out when I found out I passed the first interview.  One step closer to my dream!  Since school was partially taking over my life that week I scheduled my Interview for the following week on February 3, 2012 at 9:15 am.  This interview will last approximately 20 to 30 minutes and may begin up to 15 minutes after your scheduled time.  If you would like more information about the Telephone Interview check out my next post.  You will then receive the “Thank You for Interviewing” email, which is kind enough to inform you that you will “receive an update on your status within the next two weeks.” 

Let the waiting begin!  Or not… I was fully prepared to wait 4 weeks to hear back, so imagine my surprise when I open my email on February 8th to find this


You have been selected to participate in the Disney College Program at the Walt Disney World® Resort! This is a valuable résumé-enhancing experience for all students, and we are proud to offer this opportunity to you.

AHHHHHHHHH!  Begin freakout mode!  I was literally jumping up and down when I read this.  But then, I followed a lovely little link telling me what role I would be doing:  ATTRACTIONS!  My first choice – I was completely ecstatic!  Yup.  February 8th.  Best Day Ever.

So after all that waiting, I had finally applied to the DCP and been accepted.  Now came the harder part – paying the $304.50 Program Assessment Fee, Housing and Administration Fee, and Processing Fee. 

Tangent Time!  You see my friends; I had reached a crossroads in my life.  Although I truly wanted to do the DCP, I also wanted to use my degree.  So, I decided to apply for a few Disney Professional Internships, along with various “real life jobs” and use the DCP as backup.  I figured I could always transfer the program fees over to the DPI if I was chosen for that.  I’m assuming you can determine the outcome, but that’s another post.  Nevertheless, I am still completely overjoyed at this opportunity!  Ok, back to your regularly scheduled blog post.    

So I gritted my teeth and paid the fees on February 11th.  Next step:  Select your dates.  Since my family decided to take me to WDW for my graduation gift, I didn’t want to choose any date in May.  That narrowed it down to June 4th or 11th.  I decided to go with an arrival date of the 11th, so I would have some time to spend with my family before I left.   

On the 13th of February I got my “Request for Additional Information” email.  I honestly don’t remember what this entailed, but I know there wasn’t very much to fill out.  Over the next few months I received a welcome email, as well as emails about the Disney Look, educational opportunities, and roommate selection.  I also received an email regarding the Hire Documentation.  In the past, you would download all this paperwork, fill it out, and bring it with you.  This year, they transitioned to a new system, so we can fill everything out online.  The only thing we need to bring with us this year is our I-9 Form and proper identification (driver’s license and social security card).  The only thing left to do now before check-in is to pack… which I should probably start doing very soon.

So, that’s it then.  All the steps you need to become a participant in the DCP.  Like I said earlier, I will add a separate post about the Telephone Interview process.  And bonus points to whoever knows what attraction the title of this post is based off of.  Have a magical evening! 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

You’re Not Absolem. I’m Absolem.

Time for the obligatory “about me” post. Well just in case you missed out earlier, I’m Betsy. I just graduated from college with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, along with a minor in Physics. During college I was a Teaching Assistant for an Intro Physics Lab and a Peer Leader for a Business Statistics Class. I really enjoyed both of these positions and had some truly awesome students. I am 21 years old and will be turning 22 at the end of July. I currently reside in Virginia, however I am originally from northern New York. And no, “northern NY” does not mean Buffalo or Albany; it means 10 minutes from the Canadian border – yup, it is freezing up there! The cold weather and constant snow in the winter was one of the contributing factors in my family’s decision to leave the north country and head down to warm, sunny Virginia. Oh! And one more thing I ought to mention - my favorite color is pink. My dorm room was basically an explosion of pink, along with most of my wardrobe. My friends could always recognize me in a crowd based on my pink shirts or pink jacket. I’m not really sure how I’ve accumulated so much pink over the years… :P

When I was little, my favorite movie of all time was The Lion King. I loved the characters, the songs, the plot, everything; I had a Simba hat, stuffed animals, tiny Simba and Nala figurines, and a Lion King t-shirt. This remained my favorite movie until 2003. Does anyone know what Disney movie came out then? Yes, reader in the back. Pirates of the Caribbean you say? Well, that is absolutely correct! Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl was released and I’ve been hooked ever since. I absolutely love Johnny Depp and I adore pirates, so combining them into one epic film was a win-win! I have watched the first three movies so many times that I’ve lost track over the years and I have them mostly memorized word-for-word (I am ashamed to admit that I have only watched the fourth one around 6 times…). Then Princess and the Frog came out, as well as Tangled, and I fell in love with both of those films too. In case you were wondering, my favorite male Disney characters are Captain Jack Sparrow, Flynn Rider, and Prince Naveen. ;)

I first visited Walt Disney World when I was only 3 years old.Ever since then, my family has traveled down to WDW at least once a year, adding up to total of 25 trips; my most recent one was from May 6th – 13th.This past trip was extra magical because my best friend joined us - we had a blast!Whenever I return to Walt Disney World I immediately feel like I have arrived at home.Once we reach the end of a trip, I begin to count the days until we can return to the most magical place on earth.

My favorite park is the Magic Kingdom, which houses three of my favorite attractions (Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain) and the Dapper Dans, a barbershop quartet.Speaking of pirates and quartets, I ought to mention that Rusty Cutlass is my favorite band ever!Rusty Cutlass is a pirate band that sings sea shanties and traditional Irish tunes.I first saw them at a Pirate and Princess Party in the Magic Kingdom in 2007 and saw them at a Pirate Festival last year in North Carolina.Most of the members work at Walt Disney World; some as members of the Dapper Dans, one as a Citizen of Main Street, and another as a performer at Animal Kingdom. They are truly an amazing group of singers, with some truly epic songs.Oops, I seem to have gone off on a tangent…Returning to the topic of WDW, some of my other favorite attractions include Soarin’, Tower of Terror, and Finding Nemo -The Musical.I absolutely love all four theme parks and could easily spend all my time just walking around soaking up the atmosphere.

Something else you all should be aware of – I am a total geek. During college, I would spend the majority of my time in the library, especially during finals week. I always tried to perfect my assignments and put an incredible amount of effort into my work. I also love to read and write; one of my favorite non-math classes at college was Creative Writing – such a great experience! Although I studied hard throughout my college career, during my last semester my time at the library began to decrease. It was then that one of my best friends introduced me to billiards. Since then I tried to practice as much as possible, and even entered two tournaments. My friend even gave me an Adam pool cue as a graduation gift – totally legit.

Let’s see, we’ve covered my obsession with Disney, my favorite color, my love of Captain Jack Sparrow and all things piratical, my geekiness, billiards… anything else? Oh yes! I LOVE puns! I think I’m a pretty witty person, so I will close this post with a joke.

What do you call a cow that has just given birth?


So good, right? I am hardcore laughing right now, and I hope you are too! Well, I guess that’s it for now. My next few posts will be all about the application and interview process. Thanks for joining in and have a magical night!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Welcome to the Most Magical Blog on Earth

Hiya and welcome to my blog! I am a recent college graduate who was accepted into the Walt Disney World College Program as an Attractions Cast Member.  That's right folks - I am going to be working at Walt Disney World.    

I first learned about the Disney College Program way back in high school and ever since then, I have dreamed of the day that I could become a Cast Member.  I am absolutely overjoyed that this day has arrived.  I will finally have the chance to create magical memories for guests.  :)

I am sure by now that many of you are wondering just what this blog is going to be about.  Well readers, if you are interested in becoming a part of the Disney College Program, then you are in luck!  This blog will inform you all about the daily life of a Disney College Program participant; from beginning to end and everything in between.   I will keep you updated on everything - from the check-in process, to working attractions, to playing in the parks, to what I eat for lunch... well maybe not the last one, but you get the idea. 

I hope you will join me for this journey, so hang on to them hats and glasses, 'cause this here is the wildest ride in the wilderness!