I love being an alumni and part of the DCP Facebook pages because it gives me the opportunity to answer questions! Most questions I see are about housing, and how to choose your apartment. Choosing your housing complex is not like picking your dorm or house hunters, where you'll pick exactly what you want and know everything ahead of time. I'm going to walk you through the process, based on what I remember from last year, and changes I've heard about since then.
You'll be invited to select your housing preferences 2-3 weeks before your check in date, but there are things you can do in the months before that! There are two things you should do in preparation to pick your housing. I've listed these as "Step 1" and "Step 2" but I recommend doing them simultaneously.
Step 1: Find Roommates
Joining one of the Facebook pages is a good way to find roommates. You'll find many roommate surveys, long templated lists of information similar to dating profiles, on the Facebook pages, all these people are looking for roommates. You can look for 1-7 roommates, or choose to "go random" which means you're going to let Disney randomly assign your roommates. There are two rules of finding roommates: 1. you must be the same sex, girls live with girls, and guys with guys; and 2. you must have the same arrival week (weeks are Monday-Sunday, usually this will mean the same arrival day), and you must have the same departure day. Another thing to think about is wellness vs. non-wellness. Wellness housing means you cannot have any alcohol or alcohol paraphernalia in the apartment (this includes wine glasses and shot glasses), non-wellness means you can drink and store alcohol and alcohol paraphernalia in the apartment. Participants under 21 must live in wellness housing, but participants over 21 can choose either. If you turn 21 during the program, you have 3 options: (1) you can move for free to a new apartment when you turn 21, (2) you can live in a wellness apartment for the whole program, or (3) you can live with others over 21 and your apartment will be wellness until your birthday and then after your birthday it'll be switched over to non-wellness (you will not have to move to a new apartment.). The easiest way to find people to live with is to join specific Facebook groups. From the main Facebook group(s), several more groups will be formed, some for each role (join this, but this will be more helpful during your program for trading shifts), some for each arrival date (this is going to be the most helpful to find roommates), and some for specific interests (this can also be helpful if you're looking for roommates with the same interests as you, for example I'm looking for Christian roommates, so I'm looking on the Christians page). Post your roommate survey and comment on others'. Search the groups for key words you're looking for such as "non-wellness", "baking", or "warm room". Don't worry about finding roommates right away, as time passes more and more people will be accepted and join the groups and it'll be easier to find some you like. People will continue to be accepted until mid-November, and people will still be looking for roommates, although the pickings will probably be slimmer, in December. As a warning, some people, usually those with later arrival dates, will only be able to link with smaller groups, for example I was able to link (I'll explain that later) with up to 5 other girls, but people arriving weeks before me were able to link with up to 7, and people arriving 2 weeks after me were only able to link groups of 3, plan with your roommates what you'll do if that's the case. You can always break into two groups and then email housing asking if it's possible to put you together, no guarantees but it worked out a few times last year.
Step 2: Research Housing
Look into the different housing complexes: Chatham Square, Patterson Court, The Commons, and Vista Way. While you look for potential roommates, think about how many roommates you want to have. Think about your priorities in choosing housing, such as price, atmosphere, and bus options. You can research the different options on blogs (for my blog either go to the "Housing" tab under "Getting Started" or read the blog post.) and watch YouTube videos of apartment tours. Try searching things like "Patterson Court apartment tour" or "Chatham Square 2 bedroom". When thinking about your preference of housing, have a loose idea of what you prefer before finding roommates, and then narrow it down when you find some people you want to live with. Which complex you end up in is going to impact your experience a lot less than who you have as roommates. Also, roommate requests are almost guaranteed, however housing preferences are rarely met, some people get their top choice, many get their 2-5th choice, but it's not uncommon for people to get their last choice.
Step 3: Submit Your Housing Preferences
About 2-3 weeks (for me it was 18 days) before your arrival date you'll receive an email inviting you to submit your housing preferences. You will have 48 hours after receiving the email to submit your preferences or you will automatically be put in random housing with random roommates. I don't recall the exact process, but I remember most of it. In the email, everyone receives a roommate number, do not post this to the Facebook page! This number is your perner (company ID) number, only share it via private messages with your roommates. ONE roommate should log on and complete the housing process, only one. Before the email arrives, plan who will be your "group leader" and order your housing preferences so they know what to do. The group leader should log on. First they'll be asked if they're opting into company sponsored housing. Then they will have the option to pick roommates or choose "I'm adventurous! Pick for me!" which means you're going random. Then you'll be asked to add each roommate by their roommate number, once you add someone you should see their name appear after a few moments. If you're under 21, or living with someone under 21, you'll be asked to digitally sign a contract saying you won't have alcohol in the apartment. Finally, you'll be asked to rank your housing preferences. Most people assume you pick the complex you want separately from the number of roommates you want but you rank them both at the same time. Each apartment option (Chatham 1 bedroom 2 person, chatham 2 bedroom 6 person, commons 4 bedroom 8 person, etc.) will be listed and you'll click and drag them, ranking them in the order you want them. That's it for the group leader. Then, each roommate will be sent an email telling them they've been linked to you, inviting them to accept the link. They'll go into dorms (they should NOT enter the housing section of dorms before the group leader has finished because it'll mess the process up), and accept to join the group (they can leave the group later if they want), sign the under 21 agreement if necessary, and view (but not edit) the ranking of apartments.
Once you've submitted your housing preferences, there are a few thing that will happen, About 7-14 days (mine was 10 days) before your arrival date you'll be sent an itinerary with your check in time and your complex (this is new as of fall 2016), it will also include when your casting session, housing meeting, drug test (if required), housekeeping town hall (for housekeepers and resort custodians), and traditions class are. The complex where you check in is the complex where you'll be living, not all roommates will have the same check in time, casting session, traditions, etc. The check in process has been made more efficient since my program, it was updated as of fall 2016. Check-in should take 10-15 minutes (unlike the 30-60+ minutes it used to be). Upon arriving your photo will be taken for your housing ID, then you will receive your program guide with your apartment number and key in it, they'll tell you if you've been put with the girls you requested as well as how many other people are with you, after that you will receive your housing ID. At that point, you are free to go to your apartment and move in, unless you have casting right away.
Congrats! You know everything about finding roommates and applying for housing now! Do you still have questions? You can comment below, find me on social media (see icons below), shoot me an email, or fill out the form on the "About" page.