Thursday, February 2, 2012

My First Day in a Nutshell

Ok, so if you haven't been keeping up with my relentless Facebook updates, tweets or other various social networking contributions, I have arrived in Orlando and I'm all settled in!

I'm going to summarize my first day in the hopes that future participants will get a more clear idea of what to expect on the first day, since the Disney website was pretty vague.

Ok, so to check in, my family and I arrived at the Vista Way Apartment Complex (one of the three living options you have with Disney). If you're bringing your family to check-in, they have a special area for a family and friends orientation; you check in on your own because the whole process is cast member exclusive. Check in time goes from 9 AM - Noon, I highly recommend arriving a early as possible because it made the whole process go by a lot faster. Anyways, the very first thing you do at check-in is just familiarize yourself with the general rules and standards of Disney housing (Don't worry, it's all pretty basic stuff). After a brief overview of the rules, you are given an apartment. Usually, the participants under 21 will be living in Vista Way, such as myself. Chatham Square and Patterson Court are usually reserved for those over 21. As soon as you receive your living assignment, you are required to sign a couple more documents about pay deductions, and then you take your picture for your housing identification card.

IMPORTANT! Keep your ID on you AT ALL TIMES! Disney is crazy strict about who they let into their complexes.

You're also given a time for your housing welcome session. If you have your session the same day as you check in, you get the second day off!

Once all of that is taken care of, you are taken to a shuttle bus to the Disney Casting building to find out where you'll be working and what exactly you'll be doing. Me? I was lucky enough to work at the Magic Kingdom in Tomorrowland! Now, the casting process is pretty lengthy, so once again, I want to stress how important it is to arrive as early as possible. For myself, the process took about an hour and a half. For some others it can take up to 3 hours. Also, it is extremely helpful if you fill out all of the on-boarding paperwork prior to check-in. You don't get a whole lot of time to fill it out on the spot. Anyways, after you receive your work location, you are then directed to a series of leaders who go over and confirm your I-9 sheet and other contracts. Once that is finished, you are taken to have a background check; this doesn't take very long and they only require your fingerprints. After all of the serious stuff, you're then taken to a brief overview of the Disney Look. I would spend a lot of time familiarizing yourself with this because it is required for your first official training days as a cast member. After that, you are taken to your final stop, which is receiving your training schedule for days three and four.

That's about it! The shuttle bus will then return you to your specific housing and you're free to unpack until your housing welcome session (the times for that varies from person to person) It was a nerve-racking and sublime experience, but I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

Tomorrow, I start my official training as a cast member through a Disney Traditions class!

IMPORTANT! You are NOT an official cast member until you have completed Disney Traditions and received a Disney ID (separate from your housing ID) and the ticket that gets you into all of the parks for free.

My roommate situation is fabulous! I'm rooming with four other girls in a six bedroom apartment at Vista Way. I'm really looking forward to this semester and I think I'm going to like it here...a lot.

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