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28th Feb 2012

Disney CRP Countdown – 21 days

3 weeks today I will be getting on a plane to Orlando International Airport. Wow! When I found out that I had got the role, over 6 months ago, March 2012 seemed like a lifetime away but tomorrow it is finally here. I am getting there with all my preparations but there is still quite a bit to get sorted.

Checklist Update

At 6 months to go I wrote a post with a checklist of all the documents that I needed to sort out. I thought now would be a good time to update that post and the good news is it is now all complete:

Criminal Background Check - ASAP | COMPLETE @ 6 MONTHS

Missing Documents – ASAP | COMPLETE @ 6 MONTHS

Flight – ASAP | COMPLETE @ 6 MONTHS

Medical and Travel Insurance - Required | COMPLETE

After my post about insurance a while ago I decided to go with IMG Insurance. I finally bought this about a month ago, it was certainly not the cheapest insurance I could have gone with but I feel like it has the kind of coverage I would like. They emailed me all the necessary documents including a letter stating that it meets all US visa requirements so that I can show that to Disney on arrival in the USA.

Visa – 4 to 6 weeks before departure | COMPLETE

My epic post on visas explains the process that I went through to get my visa but long story short, I received my visa documents about 7 weeks before my departure date. I booked an appointment at the Embassy in London for a week later, filled in the forms, went to the embassy and had my passport back about 5 days later.

Program Assessment Fee - 30 days before departure | COMPLETE

Last week I had an email from Disney Recruiting with a link to pay the fee ($100 + $4.50 processing fee) which also included a username and password. Pretty simple really, click the link enter the details. Pay with a card (some debit cards are not accepted, mine was – yay!) and then print out the receipt to take to Orlando.

More Shopping

Throwing away almost my entire wardrobe!

In a previous post I mentioned I had a bit of shopping to do. Turns out I had a lot of shopping to do! I decided to go through my wardrobes to throw out clothes that did not fit or were old and shabby so I would have less to go through for packing. Well I basically threw out most of the clothes I owned, I have not really bought much new stuff since ICP 2009 (did I mention I hate shopping?!).

When I realised I basically had nothing left there was a sudden need to buy at least some basics to travel with. Although, since I am travelling to one of the world’s shopping capitals I am not planning on buying too much.

I have done a couple of shopping trips to get a few bits and pieces and still have a few extra things to get but I think I am almost there now. I am hoping to start packing about a week early, just in case I have forgotten anything it will give me time to rush out and buy it. I think at the moment I am going to try to take just one bag but I suspect that it might become two! Either way I will be sure to write a post with my packing list to help people out in the future.

Extra Paperwork

There are a few extra bits of paperwork that I have also done in that last few weeks. First of all letting people like the bank know that I am going away so that they will stop sending me paper statements and adverts which will otherwise just build into a massive pile for when I get home. Some people will also need to contact the student loans company and revenue and customs to sort out any tax issues before they leave.

From previous experience of going away for an extended period I would also recommend a power of attorney. This is a legal document that lets someone you trust (like a parent) act on your behalf for dealing with organisations such as the bank or the tax man while you are away. This means that if things need signing they can do it for you instead of sending it on a 6000 mile round trip. It is really not difficult at all, you can buy a pack with the form which you simply need to sign and get someone to witness. Leave the form with whoever you are using as your Attorney (trusted person) and you are sorted – they just show that to companies they need to deal with on your behalf.

As I get closer to departure there will probably be more frequent posts. If you have a topic you would like me to write about please leave a comment or use the contact form. You can also help other ICPs and CRPs find this blog by clicking the Facebook ‘like’ button below. 

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21st Jan 2012

Shopping Lists and Shopping Trips

60 days has come and flown by and I decided it was time to start seriously thinking about things I needed to buy before I leave. I should point out I am terrible with shopping – I literally loathe walking around shops, so this is really not my thing but it must be done. I am sure the next 8 weeks will be packed full of shopping trips and I am then returning to the Outlet capital of the Western world so I guess I had better get used to it. This week – Luggage and a Cash Card

Luggage

Top of the list was luggage, I do not have a nice lightweight bag (or two) which will let me take the largest amount of stuff while taking up the least of my weight allowance. My list of needs is a bag of which is lightweight, has a solid handle to pull it along and is made of soft material so that it will collapse nice and small to live under my bed for a year.

I initially went to look in the January sales but while there were lots of nice, cheap bags they were all very heavy and did not meet my, admittedly slightly ridiculously specific, requirements. I did however learn that Eastpak make a really nice range of soft bags so I decided to make a trip to the Eastpak shop assuming that they would have a nice range to choose from – turns out they have a very limited selection. Cue a return home to browse the internet and try to guess the right size of bag from photographs, one has now been ordered so I will let you know how it works out.

Cash Card

The other thing I sorted this weekend was a card to spend my UK savings in the USA. As I said in my last post I was planning to get a FairFX card which I thought was a great deal – it still is, but if you live in London I (or more correctly Amelia Rosenthal) have found an even better one. Metro Bank offer a current account with a debit card that allows free international transactions including ATMs. It offers an amazing interest rate that beats several of the places where you can exchange cash. The only downside is that it can only be opened at their branch which meant a trip across London.

After a few initial problems, details of which I will omit here, I got to their Borehamwood branch more than a little sceptical about the whole thing. I sat down with one of their advisors and asked all of my pressing questions – What rates would I get charged? Is it really free to use cash machines? Is it only a certain type of ATM? Did I need to transfer my account to Metro Bank to qualify?

I got better answers than I expected – yes, it is free anywhere in the world at almost any cash machine. The rate at the moment is 1.54 which is absolutely amazing (FairFX is 1.50) and it will always follow the Mastercard rate which is as good, if not better, than the cash rate. My biggest worry was that I would be forced to move away from my current bank, but that was not the case, they were more than happy for me to set up an account and keep my current one as well – although they did offer me £20 to switch – maybe I will consider it in the future.

So how do I manage to get totally free use of my UK money when I am in the USA? It is really easy – all I have to do is do a transfer from my bank account to my Metro Bank account – totally free and as long as it is less than £1000 (more than likely unless I win the lottery anytime soon) it is there within 2 hours or less. I can also leave something in the Metro Bank account just to be on the safe side. Then all I have to do is use my Metro Bank card at a US store or ATM and I can instantly access my money at a great exchange rate and with no charges. It is a bit complicated but I worked out it could save quite a bit of money in the long-term so I reckon it is worth it.

I would recommend Metro Bank to any future Disney ICPs or CRPs. Currently they only have branches in London but I think they are planning to open more in the near future so keep an eye out.

In Other News

Kristen from Yummy Jobs sent out a list of all of the March and April CRPs from the UK and Canada along with their email addresses – turns out that our March 20th Facebook Group was only missing two people – I sent them an email so hopefully they will get in touch before we go.

I have recently answered a few questions sent in via the contact form about Insurance and Mobile Phones. If you have any questions of your own feel free to send one in and I will do my best to answer them as best I can or point you to the right people to ask – just drop me a line.

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