August, 2011

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29th Aug 2011

Have a magical telephonic day

I have to make a bit of a confession. When you finish your program you are meant to return your Disney ID to your manager so that it can be returned to security. In 2009 I didn’t, although to be fair my managers never asked. This has not really been a problem for the last 2 years but I realised this week that I would have trouble getting a new ID and have to pay a replacement fee if I kept hold of it.

I decided the best course of action was to return the ID now, so that in March I don’t have any problems. I thought this would be relatively easy but it turns out that it is quite difficult to find an address, for obvious reasons Disney are not too keen to publish the postal addresses of their critical infrastructure. I realised my only course of action was to ring Access Control (the department responsible for IDs) to find out where I should send it. I went through all of my old program guides to see if a number was listed, again I found problems. There was a number listed but it was only the internal tie-line phone number and I could not dial that from a non-Disney phone. This was looking more even more difficult.

I decided the only option was to phone the WDW switchboard and see if they can put me through. I would like to take this opportunity to point out how amazing the switchboard operators are, they can put you through to absolutely anywhere and anyone on property but they do like to check you are actually a cast member first before connecting you to some of the more sensitive numbers. But by far the best thing about the switchboard is that after the connect you they always wish you a magical day which when calling from gloomy, raining London is enough to brighten anyone’s day.

Long story short I got through to access control and got an address to send my ID to. A quick visit to the post office and £7 (!) of postage later and my ID is flying back to the mouse and it is now less than 7 months until I get a new one. I am sure there are other alumni in the same position, I don’t want to post the address since it is not public information but if you need it for the same reason get in touch via the contact page and I can send it to you.

Almost finished my dissertation now and I finish my degree in less than 3 weeks which means it is coming up to 6 months until I leave – starting to get excited now!

Image: Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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13th Aug 2011

Disney CRP Insurance

For me this week has been all about insurance. I am possibly the world’s most unlucky person when it comes to travel Insurance, in my 22 years of life I have made 5 separate claims. So I have an interest in finding a good quality policy that will actually pay out if I need it to. Not saying I am going to claim but knowing my luck…

The insurance required is fairly specific and has to give certain cover levels, specifically:

  • Medical benefits of at least $50,000 per accident or illness
  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $7,500
  • Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his/her home country in the amount of $10,000 and
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness

More importantly it needs to cover for undertaking paid work and for the fact that when arriving we do not have a return flight booked, only a one-way ticket.

Yummy Jobs suggest 2 different providers STA Travel and Seven Corners. Given my previous history I made sure to read all the terms and conditions. Reading the STA travel terms I discovered something suspicious. In the exceptions section the terms say:

In respect of one-way journeys cover will cease 24 hours after arrival at the final destination

Which is fairly ambiguous as to whether the cover will be available if I only have a one-way flight booked. I rang STA travel to ask and they could not give me a straight answer so I am not going to risk it. As much as I trust Yummy Jobs I really don’t want to end up in the situation where if I came to claim they would say that I am not covered.

So the next option was Seven Corners. They offer a range of cover levels with different deductible amounts. I am keen to minimise the deductible so that if I claim it does not cost too much. Seven Corners offer a $0 deductible which at first glance looks like a great deal however there is also a co-insurance which means that you pay 20% of the first $5000 that you claim so for a major injury it could cost up to $1000 which is too much for me.

This left me with a difficult choice – insurance which might not cover due to the one-way flight or one that will be really expensive if I need to claim. I spoke to a few people I know who have spent time working in the USA and they pointed me the International Medical Group (IMG) who offer insurance specifically for J1 students and cultural exchange participants (which is the visa we use for the CRP) called the Patriot Exchange Program. It has all the necessary cover and only a $100 deductible and no co-insurance which is perfect for me. The other advantage is that if you buy more than 3 months with them you can extend the cover for up to 2 years. While I think I am probably going to take the Disney insurance after the 4th month it is nice to know that I can extend if necessary.

So after a long week of deciding I think I am going to go with the IMG insurance although I don’t need to buy that until much nearer the time so after a slightly stressful week of reading through the small print of travel insurance it is actually going to be months until I actually buy it. Well at least I got the looking out of the way!

In other news this week, I bought Beyond Disney: The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando, Seaworld & the Best of Central Florida which I have had great fun reading. In 2 summer ICPs I have only been to Universal once in 2008, before the Wizarding World, so I felt like it was a good idea to find out what I have been missing out on. As much as I dislike much of Universal I am sure that in a year I will be going more than once.

Don’t take any of this as advice on which insurance to get, I am not in a position to give advice. You need to check that any insurance you get is suitable for you.
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