CRP 2012/13

10th Jul 2011

A Year at the Walt Disney World Resort

How do you measure a year? 5 hundred, 25 thousand 600 minutes or so the song goes – this is my attempt to measure just what a year at Disney World consists of and to explain what it is that I am excited about. My Disney CRP means I get to experience it all.

Holidays & Crowds

A year is a long time and this weekend I have started thinking about what are the big things that happen in a year at Disney World. The graph shows the crowd level at the parks and some of the most important US holidays. It shows when work is likely to be crazy busy and when it will be vaguely quiet. Relative terms of course given how popular the parks are. I have never been in the US for any of the holidays except July 4th so I am quite excited, especially for Christmas which I am reliably told is absolutely magical at the parks. I am quite pleased that I am arriving towards the end of Spring Break so I won’t be thrown in at the deep end quite so much and wil at least get a week before the peak Easter weekend crowds. It is nice to see that there are a few quiet weeks in the year, having only ever worked at the parks during the summer peak it will be nice to see what it is like when you can walk on to attractions and Soarin’ only has a 60 minute wait.

Disney Events

As well as the national holidays there are the Disney events throughout the year. I am definitely hoping to attend Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Merry Christmas Party in October and December. They have always looked like so much fun with special parades, fireworks and loads of character meet and greets. I really want to see the parks and resorts at Christmas, I have seen loads of photos of the life-size gingerbread cottage at the Grand Floridian and the tree at the Magic Kingdom and they look amazing, I can only assume that they look even better in real life.

At Epcot there is also the Food and Wine festival in September and the Flower and Garden festival in April both of which look like they could be interesting to take part in. Both of these take place around World Showcase lagoon at Epcot so even if I don’t visit them on days off I am sure I am not going to be able to avoid them.

Other Stuff

As well as the ‘official’ events there are also the other little events in the year I am looking forward to like the Superbowl weekend and being able to watch US TV shows when they come out and not 6 months later! Hopefully this year I might get a chance to attend the Black Friday sales, Black Friday is the Friday before July 4th when lots of stores offer crazy discounts. In both 2008 and 2009 I was working 13 or 14 hour shifts so I did not get the chance to go shopping, maybe 2012 will be my year.

The Weather

The other change about being in Orlando for a year is that the weather changes. I have only ever been there for June, July and August where the weather is fairly predictable as hot then wet then hot again. Looking at the  info above I was quite amazed how cold it gets! Especially in January when it can get to 10 degrees which while not freezing is not very warm either – definitely sweatshirt weather at least. The other exciting part about Orlando weather is the Hurricane season which can be remembered using this rhyme:

June-Too Soon, July-Standby, August – You Must (Prepare), September – Remember, October – All Over

I have to admit that secretly I would love to be in Florida for a Hurricane – not a major one but maybe a Cat 1 or Cat 2 – I did Geography at Uni and spent a year studying them, it would be kind of nice to see one in real life. In 2008 I missed a tropical storm by 3 days although it turned out to be pretty minor in the end. The Hurricane season is a big thing in Florida, I signed up for the Hurricane preparedness team in 2008 and 2009 which would have meant I would have helped out if a storm hit, I don’t think I will be able to do that this time around due to the visa restrictions.

As I said a year is a really long time so I am planning on making sure that I use it to the fullest, I am putting together a bucket list to make sure I take as many opportunities as I can. I feel like I wasted time in my summers and did not make the most of it – this is probably my last opportunity with WDW so I intend to use it to the fullest. I will be publishing a post with my bucket list when it is done so that you can all keep track of how I am doing.

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8th Jul 2011

Cultural Representative… Or what has been going on for the last 5 years

This week marks 5 years since I first made contact with Yummy Jobs. I was a naïve 17-year-old looking to arrange a gap year and a leaflet about the Disney Cultural Rep program was lying around in my school library. It looked like great fun but I was not sure so I left it a few months until December before I finally got my CV and cover letter together and emailed them (yes life was much less technological in those days) to the good people of Yummy Jobs. I did not hear anything for a few days but then I got the terrible news in a short email:

Due to limited positions and the extremely high volume and standard of applications, the next interview session for the 12 month Cultural Representative Program (positions in the United Kingdom Pavilion in EPCOT) is planned to be held at this time next year, interviewing for positions starting from February 2008 onwards.

Well that was too late for me I would be at University by then. Another email and I found out there was a summer program that I could apply for when I was at University – but that was quickly forgotten as I could not apply for months.

Summer ICPs

Well school came and went and I was off to Leeds for Uni and Disney was forgotten until December 2007 when I got an email from Yummy asking if I wanted to apply for the Summer program. Immediately I remembered what I had been told and shot off an application. To cut a long story short this was the beginning of the journey to my 2008 ICP – Merchandise at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in the Sunset Boulevard/Animation Courtyard area – an amazing 3 months. Before I had even left Orlando I had arranged to change my 2nd year modules to avoid a summer field trip so I could apply again.

The day after I returned the CV and cover letter were off again to apply for ICP 2009. To cut a long story even shorter this led to another amazing summer working in Operations at Big Thunder Mountain in the Magic Kingdom, the subject of every blog post on this site before this one! For more info see the ICP 2009 blog. In 2010 I applied for another Summer ICP but unfortunately had to drop out after being offered a F2F interview due to a clash with my university work which was totally gutting.

It has been nearly 2 years since I last posted on this blog returning from ICP Summer 2009. Since then I have graduated from University and started a Master’s degree in Geographic Information Science – yeah exciting I know! But deep down I have longed to return to my spiritual homeland and work for the mouse. While 3 month summers were great fun they did not really give me a chance to see the Resort in all the different seasons and in my second program working up to 80 hours a week during the peak season I did not have as much time to enjoy the parks and the Orlando area.

So What’s New?

January 2011 – I decided it was time to give the CRP one last shot, do or die. The CV and cover letter went off and the wait began. Originally Yummy were taking applications for the end of 2011 – perfect just when I finished my degree but  due to changes in the recruiting process this changed to dates throughout 2012 – still fine just a bit of a long wait, a really long wait! Finally on April 12th I got an email from Hannah inviting me to a phone interview, I was busy revising for my exams but of course made time for a lovely chat with Amy. Minor drama with my bank calling my mobile just when she was meant to be ringing but we got sorted in the end and after a 10 minute chat and 10 day wait I got an email from Chloe inviting me to a F2F at Disney HQ in Hammersmith. Typically there was another drama with the date I was offered clashing with my dissertation presentation but an email to Chloe soon got me switched to the Saturday and all was well.

The other bonus this time around is I had managed to persuade, well encourage, one of my friends from university Kristen Blackshaw to apply as well. A year of me going on about how awesome it was probably made her apply just to make me shut up! Kristen (henceforth known as Keb) also had an interview on the Saturday so we arranged to meet at Hammersmith tube station and find our way together. Both my earlier interviews had been in Liverpool so I did not really know where I was going! After the always enjoyable presentation including the inimitable Valerie and a few new videos I had my interview with Jill Jacobsen. To be honest it did not go great, I was pretty tired and did not say half of the things that I wanted to – I did not leave very confident. This was the 4th June and we were told we would hear the results on the 15th. It was a nervous few days and I was slowly persuading myself I would be embarrassingly rejected.

The Waiting Game

The 15th came and I woke up to an email sent at 5am (!) from Nick at Yummy with my result. It was not what I was hoping for.

The Walt Disney World International Recruitment Team has reviewed all applications from the interview sessions in London and has now extended its first wave of offers for the Cultural Representative Program with start dates in 2011 and 2012. At this time we would like to inform you that you are currently being considered for the additional offers that Disney will be making for arrivals in 2012. Disney was impressed with your application and will be bringing you further news of the outcome of your interview by no later than the end of August 2011.

Not a No but not a Yes and another 2 months of waiting – not ideal. Keb was offered a date for September 2012. And the waiting game began… I should point out I am not well known for being a patient person and I started convincing myself I would be rejected. Over the last few days a few offers started going out to other people who were in the same position as me. Not really sure if this was the august offers or just some extras I sent a quick email to Nick. He replied that these were extras and the bulk would still come in August. Slightly more relieved I got about the dissertation writing in the University library ready for a long wait ahead.

I came home this evening and settled down in front of the TV when my phone pinged with an email. Not really expecting much I checked it and immediately dropped my phone on the floor.

Congratulations. You have been offered a position on Disney’s Cultural Representative Program. Your role in the show will be in Food and Beverage. Your program dates will be March 20th 2012 to March 15th 2013

So here we go again… 7 months to wait but I reckon I can manage it. A countdown clock will be appearing here soon. Feel great to know that I am going to be working for the mouse again.

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