Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Going on the Disney Diet: Budgeting!

photo credit
Okay, so when I say the "Disney Diet," I don't mean cutting calories or only eating Mickey shaped foods or living on Dole Whips or anything that exciting. I mean that I am looking at my budget for the Disney CP, and well...I am going to have to scrimp a little more than expected. Skip ahead if you want to read the quick list of some of the strategies I'll be using...

I am already a really frugal person by nature, but I had planned to work a lot more this summer before leaving for Florida, so that I had a little more money to rely on when I moved to Disney. Well, some things fell through/happened, and I didn't work as much or save as much as I had hoped. I've still been working and making money, but a good chunk of that is going into my new "Emergency Fund." I just wanted to put some money aside in case my program ends, I don't have a job right away, and I need money for an apartment while I job hunt.  It's an emergency fund which I don't plan on needing, but I am extremely pragmatic, so why not?

This would be a staple on the "Disney Diet," but not mine... photo credit

Okay, so why do I call this a "diet" if it's all about my cashflow? Well, my mom suggested that I budget $30 for groceries a week, which means I can only buy the very essentials and I have to bargain hunt if I really want to eat well. (She was inspired by this article.) If I can't afford it, I can't buy it. This will cut down on my chocolate impulse buys.

Of course this isn't going to be as difficult as I'm making this sound. My mom and dad are coming down with me and they will buy me food for the first week. The only thing I'm not sure about is baking. Do I skip it for 4 months or go ahead and buy those pantry items? Well, I'll figure it out.

Financial Tips For Disney CP
  • Budget everything! I am using mint.com, which makes it really easy to do, but I also LOVE excel spreadsheets. If you want to see a sample CP Budget, I'll post one for you on here. Again I LOVE spreadsheets. (I know. What a dork!)
  • Be honest about your spending. You will be buying Disney gifts for family and yourself. You might be going out to House of Blues...a few times... Go ahead and account for it.
  • Bring money with you. You will not get paid until 2 weeks into the program. You will get hungry before then.
  • Pack lunches for work. Paying for lunch every day will add up quickly, so do yourself a favor and save that money for going out with friends instead.
  • Shop at the Dollar Tree? There is a Dollar Tree walking distance from Vista Way. They have a refrigerated/freezer section, and I read that someone found frozen fruit for $1. Exciting, yes? I plan on checking it out. I don't know how good it is, so I'll have to report back after I've seen it. But I could definitely see myself buying cleaning supplies and some toiletries there.
  • Optional: Get a credit card, but if and ONLY IF: 
    • If you're responsible and will always pay at least the minimum.
    • You're ready to start building your credit
    • You think you might want to book hotel rooms for family and friends with your discount. You need a credit card to book a room.
Current Disney CP/Alumni/Naturally Frugal People! I would love to get your advice on tight Disney budgets. Please share some of your tips!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Life Updates: The June Version

I started looking back through my posts and found that there are none from June. And quite a bit happened in June. So here's my month condensed into a post. With pictures! I realized how little personal photos are on this blog, and I am changing that today.

Training for a new job: 7 Straight Days of craziness!
We may serve beer...

Organizing the Kiddie Booth for my Church's Festival: This included buying prizes, finding volunteers, pricing out everything, practicing face painting, and LOTS of laminating.
Lots of colorful prizes!
My version of a butterfly

My second Cubs game "Go, Cubs Go!": I'm officially a Cub's good luck charm. Yes!
Can someone say Old Style?

Milwaukee Springfest: featuring the Beach Boys, Chicago, AND Robyn. This was beyond, BEYOND awesome. The facilities at Springfest are made specifically for the festival and they are great. I didn't have to wait in any lines for the bathroom! And so many great music venues.
The whole group posing before the Beach Boys performance

Moving my brother: from a house to an apartment in Milwaukee. Just this week, however, my brother is going to be moving to Kansas City for work. This will include more moving and traveling, which I hope to help him with. It's poor timing, especially since his new apartment was great, but his company will cover basically the whole move. They're even giving him a paid week to search for an apartment. Not too shabby.
His apartment is above a combination dog wash & coffee shop. What a cute concept!
Yes, so that's the super condensed version of my June. It went by too fast. Actually so did July. July is practically over! And it was just as fun, so I'll have to post some pictures from that as well. Enjoy and expect some actual Disney posts shortly!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Guarding the World: Overview of the Lifeguard Role

If you know anything about me, you know that I don't like walking into any situation blind. I like to be prepared as possible. Another thing you should learn about me is that I have worked as a lifeguard for 5 years (plus time working as a swim instructor). Honestly, I miss being a lifeguard and cannot wait to do so at Walt Disney World!
Look at those great tan lines!
In order to not walk blindly into this experience I am compiling a basic timeline of lifeguard training for the Disney CP. This is the information that I have gathered by reading different blogs, forums, and using the Disney CP website. It should hopefully give you a very basic idea of what to expect if you're in the lifeguard role. If any of my information is incorrect, please let me know so I can fix it!

Day 1: Swim Test

This will be the evening of your Check-In date. They will let you know at Check-In where and when you will report for your swim test. It is traditionally at Mickey's Retreat at 6pm and lasts about 2 hours. You'll be split into a few different groups to finish the test. The parts of the test includes:
  • Swim 200 yards
  • Tread water for 2 minutes with hands out of the water
  • Retrieve a 10 pound brick from 8 feet water (feet first)
Tips: Wear a one piece or they'll make you wear a shirt over a two piece swimsuit. Also bring goggles if you have them!


I'm a little fuzzy on when you'll have Traditions as a lifeguard. I believe it'll be a few days after Check-In like everyone else. You'll also get your first week schedule at Traditions, which will be training!

3 Days of Lifeguard Training

After successfully passing the swim test (yay!), you will be scheduled for 3 days of lifeguard training. This includes CPR, AED, and Lifeguard training, both classroom and in the pool. You'll be schedule from 8:00am to 5:00pm for these 3 days.

Lifeguard Final

The culmination of your lifeguard training will be test out day! This is where you'll demonstrate all the lifeguard skills you've learned after the course. This includes:
  • CPR Test on an adult, child, and infant
  • A Written Test
  • Mock Incident Test in pool


As a Disney Lifeguard 

After completing all of the above, you will finally be moved to your specific location, whether that's a resort pool or a water park. At your location you'll go through another week of training. Then you'll be a real Disney Lifeguard!

As a Disney Lifeguard you can expect:
  • 30 minute rotations
  • Constant scanning and roaming at your lifeguard stand
  • Cleaning, raking sand, moving lounge chairs, other cleaning
  • Being friendly to every guest
  • Monthly Inservices (yes, more training!) 
  • Audits or VAT tests 
Okay that's most of the information I know at this point. I'm also trying to figure out what a typical shift is for lifeguards. Again they differ person from person, but I've heard resorts are typically 8am-4:30pm, 5 times a week, while water parks tend to be 8am-6pm, 4 times a week. But they also do split shifts at the water parks, so of course everything can change!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My Journey to the Purple Acceptance Letter

A dream is a wish your heart makes
I took what you may call a "roundabout approach" to the Disney CP. Or proactive as I chose to call it. I knew going into college that I wanted to the do the CP. My only real concerns were when to do it and how to get it. When I learned that you could apply the semester after you graduate, I decided that would be the route I'd take. But then a little panic struck. What if I don't get accepted?? What if I had one shot and I blew it?

Well, I'm not the kind of person who can hangle that much stress or leave things to chance. I talked to a Disney Recruiter at my school's career fair about this exact topic (It was the 30th Anniversary of the CP, and I got a soap as a handout!) . He was really helpful, moreso than I even expected. He told me that the Web Based Interview is something that some people may have trouble with. If you don't pass that, you're done with the process. So he advised me to apply a semester early. If I passed the Web Based Interview and moved on to the Phone Interview, I could decline in the end and they would save my Web Based Interview results. If I did not pass the Web Based Interview, I would have another shot when I tried again for the semester I wanted.

I took his advice and applied twice. Below I made a brief timeline of how it went. Also after the timeline I added some hints/advice for future CP applicants. Feel free to skip ahead to that, I won't be offended!

First Applied: September 20, 2011
Web Based Interview: September 20, 2011
I completed this the same day I applied. Why procrastinate your future dreams? I did not have much trouble on this part. I answered honestly and submitted. Within a few hours I was "invited to continue the interview process for the Disney CP." The email had information to schedule my phone interview. I also signed up for my interview the same day.
Phone Interview: September 25, 2011 at 10:45pm
So funny story. I completely forgot my phone interview was happening. It was a Sunday at college, which I typically used to recover from the weekend, as well as try to get ahead for Monday. At this point in the evening I was watching TV in the living room at my apartment. Luckily I had my cellphone on me because at about 10:30pm I got a call from an unlisted number. In that split second I realized I had totally spaced the interview. I grabbed the phone, raced to my room, and had one of my best interviews ever.
Acceptance: October 5, 2011
Yes!! I received the congratulations email, forwarded it to my mom and then declined it that day.

TAKE TWO FOR FALL 2012 (the real thing!)
So after getting in the first time around I was a lot less worried about my chances for the next round. I also applied for a Professional Internship this time around (Recreation Management and a Hotel related one..I think). So on top of the process I went through before, I also had an extra phone interview for those, which went really well! I obviously did not get it, but I hope to apply for another Professional Internship down the road.
Application Submitted: January 23, 2012
The first day I could! I was anxiously waiting to be apply, checking the disboards constantly to find out when exactly I'd be able to.
Web Based Interview
I did not have to complete another web based interview this time around. Since I had applied for the last semester, they still had the results of my web interview saved, which allowed me to skip ahead to...
Phone Interview: January 28 at 10:15pm
You're probably wondering. "Julie, are you sure it's a good idea to schedule such a late phone interview, especially when you FORGOT it was happening last time?" You raise a valid point, but I definitely did remember this one! I was ready and waiting for this one starting around 9pm. The recruiter didn't call until 10:30pm or so. I tried to calm my nerves and distract myself by trying on my old prom dress and dancing around (it's Cinderella blue!). It did help, so I'd definitely suggest it. :)
Acceptance: February 9
I DID IT! I'm going to Disney!
I did it!
I did it!
 As you can see I've actually been through this process 3 times (counting the Professional Internship), which means I've done 3 phone interviews. So if you're looking at this blog for advice for when you do it, here are the cliff notes.

Interview Tips
  • Be early! Apply early, do your web interview early, schedule your phone interview ASAP, etc. You may have better odds the sooner you apply.
  • Have privacy. If that requires you to do your phone interview in your car (or someone elses) do it!
  • Be ready at least 15 minutes before your interview. Recruiters may call before or after your scheduled time. Don't let that throw you.
  • Write out your Top 3 Choices and a list of your previous work/volunteer experience (or have your resume) ahead of time. This will help out if you get nervous and your mind goes blank.
  • Think of a few questions to ask the recruiter (write these down too!). It shows that you've done your research and that you are serious about this opportunity.
  • Calm yourself, however you need to, before the interview. Like I said I actually danced around in my old prom dress while I was waiting for the recruiter to call. Also during the interview I doodled a lot and wrote things the recruiter said. This also helped.
Things they may ask:
  • Why Disney? Why are you interested in this program?
  • What are your Top 3 Role Choices?
  • Do you have related work experiences for this/these roles?
  • Give me an overview of your work history.
  • Do you meet the Disney Look guidelines? (Tattoos?)
  • Are you okay with living with roommates?
If you have any other questions feel free to ask me! Good luck to those applying!

Much Affection,

PS: If you want to see pictures of my Cinderella blue prom dress...ask. I might just post them =)