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CRP 2012/13

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9th Apr 2015

Doing a Disney CRP after an ICP

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I fairly regularly have conversations with people who have done one of the Disney International College Programs thinking about doing a Cultural Representative program and asking if it is really different. I have a lot of thoughts about it and decided it was time to get a post together. I also asked my friend Alex who also did an ICP to help me.

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Alex, back in 2009 at her work location in Toontown

First though, some introductions. Hi, I’m Dan, if you are reading this you should hopefully know who I am by now since this is my blog, get with the program people! Alex who helped put this together was a Merchie while I was doing my CRP but more importantly was also an ICP on the Academic program back in 2008-2009, we technically worked in the same park at the same time but never knew each other such is the strange life of Walt Disney World. But anyway, to the point.

The first and single most important thing in this whole post is this… Your CRP will not be the same as your ICP, it probably won’t even be close. That’s not to say you won’t have a great time, I am 95% sure you probably will, but whatever pre-conceived view you have will probably be wrong. It will be very different in many ways, some good and some maybe not so good.

On your ICP you could work anywhere, any park, any line of business and you didn’t really know where that was or who you would be working with until you got there. On the CRP you know exactly where you are going to work well ahead of time and if you even vaguely use Facebook you will know who you will be working with, for bette. Also ask yourself can you work in one line of business, in one park for a year? You can’t pick up shifts, you can’t cross train. It’s one location. Not necessarily a bad thing but definitely different.

If you were on an Academic ICP like Alex you will have had classes to take each week and at least one of your days off will have been spent working and not getting paid so you could get your degree. On the CRP you won’t have that so unless you chose your days off are your own. The flip side of that is that on the ICP you worked with lots of part-timers and other CPs who you could give away shifts to and you had no minimum hours to maintain. On the CRP everyone is full time and must average 30 hours a week which means giving away is difficult so working less than 5 days a week is a struggle. That means your days off are more precious, I’ve said it many times before but it is probably worth repeating, use your days off wisely! You might get 100 in total, do something fun, a mini-adventure on every one.

On your ICP you were most likely the token international in your work location. Both Alex and I agree that while from your ICP you may have a handful of lifelong friends most of them you probably lost touch with within a few months of coming home. From your CRP whether you like it or not, you will find friends for life, you might even find a relationship. You will live with them, work with them, socialise with them and live in each others pockets for a year. On the ICP you may have worked with them or lived with them but probably not both! I’ve been home two years and I am still in touch with many people from my program. From my ICPs I am in touch with less than five. You will also probably have much fewer American friends, it can be much more insular in the Pavilion, if you don’t work with them it is much harder to meet them.

On the ICP being an international was probably the butt of a few jokes in the break room but was probably not a major part of your experience. As a CRP you are a *cultural* representative, your culture is what you are there for. This means guests will mention it ALL THE TIME! At this point I feel a direct quote from Alex will explain it best:

The UK Pavilion is commonly referred to as “London” “England” and the “British Pavilion” and many other things that its not actually called. You WILL get asked stupid questions (I was asked corkers such as “Is Guinness a country?” “Do you have the internet?” “Do you know the Queen?”, “You guys have really jumped on the whole ‘keep calm and carry on thing that chive started haven’t you…” The best advice is never think you have heard it all because there is always one little gem just waiting to come out – case in point, during Food and Wine being asked if the band was coming out and “Did they play sea shanties?”
So overall, better? It will be different, very different, but at the end of the day your program is what you make it. Don’t expect it to be the same, go with the flow, seize the opportunity and you will have another great set of memories and stories that you will, like me, still be telling years later. If you are considering whether to go back and do a CRP or you have been accepted and are worried it will spoil it I think both Alex and I will agree that you shouldn’t worry and you should go for it. Just don’t expect it to be the same and you will be pleasantly surprised!

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5th Dec 2014

Sending money home at the end of your Disney program

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It’s the end of your program, you’ve had an amazing time and hopefully you have managed to save at least a little money. You most likely have your savings in a US bank account. This gives you a few choices to get the money home.

Take Out Cash

Depending how much you have this might be an option. The law says you can’t bring more than €10,000 back in to the UK in cash. You would also then need to convert this cash to pounds where you probably won’t get a great rate. If you don’t have much to bring back this might be an option but if you’ve saved anything reasonable, from the bar for example this is unlikely to be the most efficient way.

Cheque from your US Bank

You could take the whole lot out as a US dollar cheque and bring it back to pay in a UK account. There is no limit on how much this can be but between the fees from the US bank and the UK bank plus probably not a great exchange rate you will lose quite a bit of your hard earned cash.

Wire Transfer from your US Bank

This is a direct transfer from your US Bank to your UK Bank account. To do this you will need to know your IBAN number, which is basically your international bank account number. This saves on UK bank fees but your US bank may charge a fair amount to set this up for you plus you tend to not get the best rate since they make money on that too.

Use a money transfer service

There are plenty of different independent services that will do the transfer for you, it is worth shopping around and doing your homework to make sure they are legitimate and are giving you a good rate. My personal favourite is TransferWise, they take pretty small fees as little as £1 per transfer and give the market rate. They also seem to get the money there faster than other services, I have had transfers come through in as little as 3 days. You should certainly take a look at other services when you come to do the transfer though as rates and charges vary all the time and it is very dependent on how much you are transferring.

However you bring your money back make sure you are getting a good deal. You probably worked (very) hard to earn it and it might take a while to find something that pays as well for a while when you get back so it makes sense to bring as much back as possible.

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