CRP 2012/13

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13th Dec 2015

Coming Home: A ‘normal’ job after Disney

Rose and Crown Disney CRP

I’ve now been home almost 3 years. I now have a ‘normal’ job, in an office, working (vaguely) regular hours. I am not going to lie to you and say coming home is easy or that you will find what you want to do straight away but there are an awful lot of skills you pick up while on the program that are actually incredibly useful and you will find many other people do not have.

Smile through the pain

You will find many people like to complain about work but you have done 60 hour, 6 day weeks and had no choice but to smile through it. You’ve worked when you’ve been out far too late the night before and started far too early this morning. Being the perky one in the office is not a bad thing and you’ll be surprised how few people can pull this off.

Know how to talk to all kinds of people

You probably haven’t realised it, I didn’t, but on your program you spoke to literally thousands of different people. People from all walks of life, from all over the world. By doing this you learnt subtle nuances of language, conversation and body language when speaking to different cultures. In my ‘normal’ job I work with people from all over the world and you would be surprised how many people are clueless and get annoyed having challenging conversations with people who speak another language. You did it every day, you are basically an expert!

Manage your time

This may be more of an F&B thing but you did a job where you had at least 4 different competing priorities at the same time. You also had to ensure you got out on time to take part in your ‘evening activities’. You are basically the boss of time management, your to-do list will never be too long because you know exactly what needs to be done and when it needs to be done.

Meeting new people

On your program new people showed up every few weeks and your style of work had to adapt to new managers as well. You are an expert at jumping straight in with new colleagues and making them feel right at home. You are also great at showing them the ropes as you probably trained tonnes of people and you knew how important getting training right was as it made sure they did it right and in the end made your life easier.


I think of all the things most people pick up in Orlando it is this. I don’t think I can name one person who has done a program and not come back more confident in themselves. This might take a bit of a knock when you first get home but having taken yourself out of your comfort zone, travelled thousands of miles around the world and been forced to deal with many challenging guest and personal situations you are absolutely a more confident and more capable person and I reckon this is what make (ex-) Disney CRPs stand out from the crowd and go far in the long-term.

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9th Apr 2015

Doing a Disney CRP after an ICP


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.


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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