Check-in is the first thing you do as a college program particiapnt. When you accepted your college program you chose an an arrival and departure date. Check-in is on your arrival date. You will receive your housing assignment, keys, housing ID, program guide, everything you need to get started. You'll be notified of your check-in time 5-10 days before your arrival date.
I don't arrive until January 30th (the second to last arrival date!) but I asked someone who arrived this week, January 10th for her experience with check in so everyone else has a point of reference. Thanks Jennifer!
What is the check-in process?
When I got to the first station at the clubhouse I had to show the cast member my boarding pass (paper with the barcode) and I received my program guide, which showed me my apartment number and how many roommates I had. At the second station I got my picture taken for my housing ID card. At the third station I had to show proof of identification and received the communicator (a cast member newsletter/calendar).
After seeing people print all the pages from the DCP website, I thought I'd create a handy guide that's easy to print and interactive. The guide provides info to help you with applications, what to do after you've been accepted, and even worksheets to help you through the first few weeks of the program.
How can I get this download?
You can get the download by joining my mailing list, you can do such at the top or bottom of any page of my site, including the end of this post. You can also visit my "Printable Guide" page for more info. As soon as you finish all the steps in subscribing to my email list (there's a confirmation email you need to open) you'll be directed to the page to download the guide and give feedback. If you ever lose it, all posts I send to my subscribers have a link to that page at the bottom.
I flew to my first DCP last spring, and it's looking like I'll be flying again this year. Last year, I did a lot of research, and figured a lot of things out. I learned more about the best way to do that while I worked at Disney, and since then I've moved across the country by plane twice, learning from my mistakes each time. I have a few tips with you to help you plan to fly to Disney for this magical experience!
Tip 1: Research the best times to book and fly
I highly encourage you to do some research on your own, Google and Pinterest have helped me a lot in searching for useful information about this. There are thousands of travel blogs that want to help you book the cheapest flight! If you're not going to do any of your own research, here are the two points I've found in my research: 1. Book your flight on a Tuesday 6-8 weeks before your flight, this is when they're at their cheapest. 2. Compare different times of day and days of week (if you can). Flights late at night, early in the morning, and in the middle of the week are usually the cheapest, Saturday flights are also cheaper than Friday, Sunday, or Monday flights.
The key to a good housing experience has very little to do with which apartment you get, and almost completely to do with your roommates. Even the best roommates can have issues, but the best way to avoid that is clear communication and boundaries. The best way to do that is to start your semester with a roommate meeting. The first week, before Traditions, is a great time to do that, you'll have plenty of free time to do that! This post will walk you through a roommate meeting plan that is sure to start you off on the right foot with your roommates!
Start your roommate meeting on the right foot, by loving one another with roommate gifts! Plan ahead of time, to do roommate gifts, so you can make or buy them ahead of time (have a plan of what to do if you have extra roommates too). Need some ideas?
A couple days after check in, usually Friday or Saturday, you'll have Traditions. Traditions is your welcome to the company orientation. After traditions you'll have welcome to operations, location orientation, and one or two role training classes. All these classes require business casual or business professional attire. What does that mean?
Layering for a Perfect Look
Layering helps by minimizing the number of pieces you need to buy while maximizing your outfits. It also helps with whether and cold classrooms. I used ten pieces to make five outfits with bottoms, tops, and a coat, that can also be mixed and matched with accessories for infinitely more outfits, which is helpful if you're taking a class since classes also require business casual dress.
"Can I have guests over?" "Can I have a bookshelf?" "Can I hang things with thumbtacks?" In this post, you'll learn the answers to these questions and more, as well as more housing rules you never even thought of. I pulled out my program guide from my last program, to get the rules right from the source. You can also learn more from the onboarding site. (see here) This article will also explain housing inspections.
Attached below is the official list (also available on the onboarding website) of community codes. Included here is a shortened and condensed list of housing rules.
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.
In my last post, you read about what I did the days before I checked in. After check in I had four more days before traditions and free park admission, four more days to fill with things besides the parks! What did I do?
I think I went to Disney Springs every single day that week! Even after I had my Self Admission Pass to get into the parks I still went to Disney Springs 1-2 times a week. Disney Springs is one of my favorite places in Disney, if you were to compare it to the parks, it'd probably be my third favorite! I like to go into the Ghirardeli store and get free chocolate (they hand it out at the door) and then go into the Ice Cream Shoppe section and order a cup of black cherry ice cream with hot fudge on top. (They also have very good discounts for cast members once you get your blue ID at traditions, sometimes they'll give you the discount with only your housing ID too, this goes for most 3rd party sellers at Disney Springs.) I liked to wander around the World of Disney store and plan what I would buy once I had my blue ID and could get the discount. My other favorite locations in Disney Springs are the Lego store, Wetzel's Pretzels ($2 pretzels for CMs), and Earl of Sandwich. Toward the end of my program they added a whole new section, the Town Center, with cool places like Sprinkles Cupcakes and Vera Bradley. Don't forget to check out the local entertainment when you're there too, my favorite is the dance competition or lip sync battle at the stage in front of WOD.
This time last year I still didn't think I'd get the opportunity to interview for the Disney College Program, I wasn't extended the offer to schedule a phone interview until the end of September. Fast forward to the end of January when I finally make the step to venture out on my own. I didn't know anyone, I had a few friends I'd met on the Facebook group and was excited to meet, but unlike moving to college, I really didn't know anyone. I have a few uncles in Florida but both live a few hours from Orlando so I was really venturing out all on my own for the first time.
I flew back from Minnesota to New Mexico a week before I had to leave for Disney. I started packing up all my belongings and wrapping up loose ends. I had to say goodbye to lots of friends and return some of my work uniforms. This week flew by faster than I ever guessed it could! The hardest part was going to my last Nav night for the time being and saying goodbye to all my friends there.
As you know from previous posts, I didn't have a car during my college program which limited my grocery store options to Walmart or Publix. At the beginning of my program I usually went to Walmart, but later I learned to shop at Publix. I recommend only going to Walmart for your initial trip and about once a month after that. Walmart has a few good deals and most of their prices are lower but Publix has weekly deals and specials that will save you more money if you shop correctly! Here are my tips for grocery shopping.
First Trip to Walmart
Walmart is helpful for buying non-grocery items as well as stocking up on things you'll use the entire time like spices (Walmart has 99 cent spices). Mostly use this trip to get things like a coffee pot, brownie pan, and things like that.