…To get up early
For work in the UK I frequently get up at 6.30am, on my program I rarely ever got up before 9. It might seem like a really small difference and when you are tired and maybe a little hungover (!) it can be hard to make an early start but don’t waste a whole day off sleeping. You might only have 100 days off all year, do you really want to waste half of one in bed? People hated me on occasion for getting them up at 6am to go for a Character breakfast before work but I hope they would think it was worth it in the end.
…To go out more
Before my program I never really thought of myself as a ‘going out’ kind of person. I was not a massive drinker and I thought it wasn’t really my scene. The truth is I came to really enjoy it. Going out in Orlando is not like going out in the UK, you don’t really have to get very dressed up, you go straight after work most times and it has to end at 2am as the bars close. This makes for nights which are pretty quick to recover from and a lot of fun. Orlando also has some great places to go out; when have to you been Line Dancing with unlimited beer or gone to an outdoor street with 10 different bars you can just wander between? Even if you are not a ‘going out’ person I suggest you try it at least once… you might surprise yourself, I know I did!
…To make the most of the perks
You get some amazing benefits – use them! I didn’t use my dining discount for months and regretted not eating at more Disney restaurants. You also get some great discounts outside of the parks. You are only a Disney Cast Member for a very limited time – make the most, once they are gone, they are gone!
…To stay in more resorts
I stayed in Disney resorts 14 times during my program from a night at the Contemporary to my last few days in Pop Century. I wish I had stayed in more, in off peak season you can get 60% off already low rack rates making a room as low as about $30 a night. Stay with some friends and that could be less than $10 each! What’s not to love? Sometimes a comfy bed (the one’s in housing are fine but not exactly luxury), a flat screen TV and some time away from housing can be just what you need to get back in the zone.
…To do stuff that makes you smile
The nature of the program is that there is always someone doing something you could tag along with, but sometimes there is something you want to do that nobody else does. Do it anyway! It’s your program, make the most of it. I got up at a stupid time of the morning to go to the New Fantasyland Grand Opening, no one would come with me and they thought I was mad. Do I regret it? No. I had a fun time and met up with friends later after they had a lie in (See above!). Big group stuff is great fun and organising stuff for groups is even more fun but if you want to do it and nobody else does, don’t stop, you might not get another chance!
…Not to sweat the small stuff
During my program I worked with more than 150 different people – to put that into perspective it was more than the total number of the people in my year in secondary school and more people than work in my entire division in my current job. That is a lot of people. Inevitably with that many people working long hours together, living together and hanging out together you are going to have your differences. People gossip, people bicker, it’s life. Don’t sweat it! It is a totally crazy environment where the high pressure of the job and the lifestyle means tiny issues can grow to major problems, just remember to put it in perspective and it probably isn’t that bad really! What seems like a major issue today will be forgotten next week, life in Orlando moves fast and this weeks gossip is old news very quickly.