May, 2009

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20th May 2009

Disney ICP: Expect the Unexpected…

1 month today I will be getting ready to leave for Orlando. Now that is an exciting thought! A little less exciting is that before then I have 3 quite important exams to do. Some lucky people are leaving in either 1 or 2 weeks time so I thought I would do another post with a few titbits of advice…

Now there are a lot of things people expect when they head out to Orlando on the ICP and there are a few things that people don’t. Below is my top 5 things you might not realise about your Disney ICP experience…

1. The Heat
OK, Most of you will realise that Florida is warm, it is after all much closer to the equator! We are there at the hottest time of the year. Average July temperatures in Orlando are 28 degrees and last year the maximum was 37! It is hot!

Do not underestimate the heat – my advice, always have a bottle of water with you, it is amazing how fast you will dehydrate and how much water you will have to drink in a single day. Most work locations will let you have a bottle of water with you at all times and if not you will at least have water in your break room. Drink it! If you get dehydrated you will feel terrible and that is not going to make for a great summer.

The same applies to sunscreen. It is sunny! After being there a few weeks you may not need to put it on all the time but if you are outside for a long period of time you will get burned. You have over 2 months to get a nice tan, don’t rush it, sunburn hurts and when you are working long hours there is nothing worse than feeling uncomfortable.

2. Unexpected new skills
Most people expect to learn a whole range of new skills when they head out on the College Program but there are a few you might not think about. I don’t know about you but as a student standing for hours on end is not my strong point. However when you are working at Disney you will find that you are able to stand for an entire 10 hour shift and not feel too bad for it (Remember no leaning on anything – this is Disney!). Probably not the most useful skill you will learn in life but a new one none the less.

I have never been great at striking up conversations with complete strangers however last summer I definitely got it down to a fine art. Guests, fellow Cast Members, other CPs on the bus on the way home. I now have to restrain myself every time I am on a bus not to just strike up a conversation with the random person siting next to me! Not something I expected to learn when I went to work for the mouse but a great skill to have!

3. The Characters never grow boring
You might think that working with the Disney characters 10 hours a day, 5 days a week means that they grow tired and no longer bring excitement. WRONG! Somehow when you are in the park as a guest your mind goes into a world of its own and ignores any Disney secrets you might have learned at work and you can have many a day running around the parks getting pictures and autographs without feeling like an idiot. Well… maybe a little :-p

4. The Disney Bubble
You will probably hear it a hundred times while you are out there but CPs live in a ‘Disney Bubble’. You really do live and breathe Disney, many people will never go anywhere that Disney transportation will not take them and never go to another attraction in the Orlando area. In my mind there is nothing wrong with that! Just remember… there is a real world out there!

5. Fast Food
The USA is the home of many of the world’s greatest fast food chains, McDonalds, KFC, Wendy’s; You might not be a big fast food fan but out there you cannot avoid it! As an ICP you may well find that fast food becomes part of a staple diet, many a participant has found Wendy’s to have become a second home… Just don’t come crying to me if it happens to you too…

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10th May 2009

Disney ICP Packing Guide


Right, a number of people have asked for some advice about packing, what to pack? What to pack it in? And how much to take?

The first thing I would say is take a look at my 10 tips post for some ideas of things to make sure you have in your case but here are some more tips…

Tip 1: You are going for a summer, not a lifetime
Yes, you will be there for at least 9 weeks but remember that for most of that time you will be wearing a Disney supplied costume. You have access to very good Laundry facilities at all of the housing complexes and you have a fair amount of time each week to be able to do some washing. I would suggest that 2 weeks worth of clothes is more than enough.

Tip 2: Check your allowances, Leave some space
Make sure you know how much luggage you are allowed to take and make sure your bags are well within the limit. Don’t forget that you will probably buy a huge quantity of souvenirs and clothes and other purchases while you are out there, all of which you will have to get back. If you keep well below your limit on the way out, you will probably be just about all right on the way back!

Tip 3: To Bed or not to Bed that is the question…
Whether or not to take bedding with you is one of the most difficult problems when you are packing. Personally I took sheets but not duvets, blankets or pillows last year. I managed to get to Wal-Mart on the evening I arrived and bought sheets and bedding at ridiculously low prices. My plan was that if I did not manage to get to Wal-Mart that night I could manage with just some sheets for a night until I could get bedding the next day. It is up to you but bedding is very heavy and the limits are not that high…

Tip 4: Remember where you are going
It will likely be over 90 degrees during the day and warm well into the evening but remember that inside can often be quite chilly due to the Air Conditioning. This is especially true in the Apartments where AC wars are common. I would recommend a sweatshirt or 2 just in case you end up living with an arctic-loving roommate!

Tip 5: 1 Bag or 2
You have to get your bag thousands of miles around the world. I would recommend taking a single large bag rather than 2 smaller ones, it is easier to cope with when you have to get through the airport. You might like to take a small duffel bag that will squash down into your case to give you extra space to bring stuff back home at the end of your program. Either that or you can easily buy a bag at many of the outlet stores in the Orlando area.

Good luck with packing!

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