I officially have two months left until my plane leaves for France! I am smiling from ear to ear just writing this and knowing that it will not be too much longer. Next week I have my appointment for my VISA, so it will finally be all even more surreal knowing everything will be paper official!
Since I have two months until I leave and start posting about France I still want to write about my time leading up to my move and other opportunities I have had. From August 2015 to April 2016 I was accepted to do the College Program at Walt Disney World in Orlando. My time there felt like it flew by and I miss every minute of it, my friends and just knowing I could go to one of the four parks when I had nothing else to do. The College Program is one of the best decisions I have ever made and it led me to my move to France. It could also be a little rough at times so I would like to give my overall review of the program to future cast members.
So if you have researched anything about the program, than you know that housing is a big part in your everyday life at Disney. There are four complexes that you can be put in and each one has their own reputation.
Vista: the original housing complex, known as the party complex, where all the fun happens and the one complex everyone dreads living in, but ends up loving it there. (Cheapest of all the housing.)
Chatham: (My Home!!), is the second complex that was built when the program started getting bigger. I lived in three different apartments within Chatham during my time. Chatham is a great complex, this is where they host all the housing events they do for the participants, so if you live there you do not have to worry about walking there or either trying to find a parking spot if you are driving there.
Patterson: also known as the quiet complex. This complex is one of the newer ones and has very up to date and nice apartments, but nothing happens here. The main thing Patterson has is the best gym between all four of the complexes.
The Commons: which was originally only for the International Participants but now can be for whomever. This is the one complex everyone wants, because you have your own washer and dryer in your apartment. It is very nice, up to date and each apartment is huge! (Most expensive of all the housing.)
Overall though, housing is great. Some people do live off property and it does have their own perks, but I am happy I chose housing. I had rough times with some room mates, causing one of my moves but overall I had great experiences with the room mates I can now call some of my closest friends!
When you first arrive at Disney you will check in and learn where you are working and from there it just gets even better. You will go through Traditions, which everyone will tell you is awesome because they teach you all about Disney and at the end of it all they give you your name tag and then take you to the mysterious Disney Tunnels and up to the park, your first tim on stage as a cast member, and it finally sinks in that you are actually working at Disney, and it truly feels awesome.
I worked in Epcot at Mouse Gear, which is the third largest merchandise store on property, and I loved it! Mouse Gear was ranked as the best store on property, and if you have awesome managers like ours were, then they throw you pizza parties!!
For the college programmers do not expect great hours, especially if you are doing the Fall Program, which working fall and spring, I will say Fall is the best though. We get the crappy long hours, late nights and the earliest mornings sometimes. Once a week your rent money is coming out, so your pay every week is not going to be the best. But who cares, if you are in college, this is a great opportunity and it is worth it. Some days will be harder than others, just like any job, but overall being able to see a smile on some kids face when you hand them their Mickey Mouse plush, is beyond magical in anyones eyes.
This is the best and worst part about the college program. You meet, work and live with some of the best people from all over the world. A lot of my closest friends are from France, Brazil, Mexico and China. I love and appreciate these friendships so much because of the diversity between all of us, but when you have to say your goodbyes, it is one of the hardest things you go through. The memories you make with your friends throughout the program will become some of your best and I cherish every moment with them.
The program is worth it!!! It taught me to believe in who I am, the knowledge of bringing the world together and that magic can be created. It brought some amazing friends into my life, my very own Prince Charming and helped me to create everlasting memories. Do not be afraid to make a leap into the unknown because you will not regret it, even my friends who did not enjoy it as much as I did, still loved the time they did spend there.
Check out the video below created for me of my time at Disney!!!