Top Tips for the Disney College Program
1. Bring a car - This is hands down the number one thing I wish I had whilst on the program. If you have a car - bring it! Yes, Disney do provide you with transport as part of your accommodation; yes, it’s free; yes you don’t have to pay for gas/petrol if you take the bus. However, buses are the best way to be late - they either don’t turn up, are running late, are running early or any combination of these. Once you’re on the bus there’s no guarantee you’ll make it - I was once on a bus that broke down 7 (yes, seven!) times on my 45 minute journey to work! Once I was on a bus and it started to smoke. And the worst bit is when bus drivers change over and you spend 20-25 minutes sat at one of the bus stops - on the way to the work. Avoid them as much as you can! A lot of the time they were fine to work but then on the way back when a park closes there is no way you’re going to fit thousands of college program cast members onto a bus that comes every 15 or 30 minutes. The good thing about the buses though was the social side - I met quite a few people on them...and whilst waiting for them!
2. Get more roommates/flatmates - I was in a flat/apartment with 5 people and it was great but there were quiet times. There were time that there was no one in. There were other times we were all in. Although 6 people in one apartment may already seem like too many, I’d advise you to go bigger - live with 8 people. The people you live with do to some extent define your program, I met so many people through my roommates and by meeting different people you get to do different things. If it weren’t by meeting one of my roommates friends for example I would never have visited Celebration or Old Town!
3. Save up before you go - I will tell you now, the money you earn is barely enough to live on and if you want luxuries be prepared to pay out of your own pocket. Some of my friends on the program were $4000 and $5000 down over just 6 months or less. You are not going on this program to make money - so get saving now before the program. You really, really, really don’t want to miss out on some of the amazing experiences you can have on the program because you’re short on cash. Work your socks off until you get to Disney to save up and then do the same once you're there - and don’t be expecting overtime at Disney, they will avoid giving you it at all costs.
4. Never say no - Take every single opportunity that is given to you on your program. Whether it’s attending housing events, going out for a meal, going to a theme park, on a date, meeting someone else’s friends, going somewhere alone, a drive to the beach, a dip in the pool at midnight, extra responsibilities at work or anything else you are offered. Especially don’t say no if it’s something that you’ve never done before - within reason of course!
5. Relax sometimes - Despite my previous point about never saying no, sometimes you just need to chill and relax. It will happen - you’re tired, you’ve had 9 days of work in a row and gone out before and after every day, and you just want to have a break, you just want to say no. Do it. Spend a day in bed, sunbathe by the pool, sit around the apartment and watch TV - you’ll find it will do you wonder, it won’t be the most exciting day of your program but you’ll be fresh and ready for the days which will be.