Friday, December 14, 2012

Dear Incoming CPs...

My program is swiftly coming to an end. So is just about every other CP/ICP here at Disney, which means that a huge, NEW group of CPs will be arriving shortly. I know a lot more eager, young faces are checking my blog for a taste of what's to come lately, so if you are one of those people, this post is specifically for you!!

Dear Incoming CPs,

Congratulations on making the amazing and life altering decision to try the Disney College Program! It may not be for everyone, but if you are excited to meet new people, get some guest service experience, and want to create magic for yourself and others on a daily basis...well, I think you'll do just fine!

I just wanted to take this opportunity to give a bit of advice. Not only have I now done the program, I've graduated college, and I am actually on the mature end of the College Program spectrum (I'm 22 and graduated, while the average CP could be about 20 and still has a few years of college left), so I'm not giving this advice lightly.

1. Make friends.  I know you probably don't need this advice. Honestly you'll probably find friends without even trying, so make more friends! You'll be meeting people from all over and learning so much from them. For at least the first month of your program, try to go to every social event you hear about, whether it's Housing Events, going to House of Blues, Bdubs, or just out to dinner with roommates or coworkers. The more connections and friends you make early one will help later when you get homesick or stressed about work.

2. Expect to get sick and have a game plan.  Basically every 2-3 weeks you'll get a new cough or cold. Some will be serious and keep you in bed for 3 days straight and some you'll be able to live through, you'll just sound terrible. Talk to your parents about your health insurance, pack some cold meds/nasal spray/aspirin, and look up the nearest Urgent Care place (there are 2 equidistant from Vista Way). When you can barely get out of bed to go to the bathroom, you'll be thankful you already have some cold medicines in your closet.

3. Try to get to know your Managers/Coords and ask about their life stories. Depending on your area, you may have some awesome managers or some not-so-awesome managers, but regardless of their caliber, you can still learn a lot from them. Learn from the career paths they've chosen. Learn from their advice. Learn what NOT to do when you're a manager some day. If you have a great manager that is interested in you and what you get out of this program, please take advantage!
4. Graduate college first.  I know it may be tempting to try and go part time/full time after your program ends instead of going back to college, but if you lose that college momentum, you are not likely to get it back. Make sure college is a priority because down the road, they will help with your Disney dreams should that be the path you want to take.
5. Make goals for yourself and accomplish them.  One of my goals was to work in one of the theme parks, and I actually did that! I did it early on before I had a chance to over think it.  Working in the parks when I don't normally work there was actually really stressful for me, but I'm so happy I did it. So make yourself a goal or two that makes you go past your comfort zone. Like trying a new ride, attending the career workshops, or auditioning for character performer. Remember that it's not so much the goal itself that's life changing, but how you are able to accomplish it that can show you just how much you can accomplish.
7. Look for a positive in every situation.  I'm a very positive, optimistic person by nature and this program has shown me just how strong and positive I can be, despite what other people are saying around me. Working with different people at different places can make a world of difference on your mood. One area everyone is actually excited to be at work and is exceptionally friendly, while another area everyone is burned out and not even making an effort to have a better day. Believe me the latter can suck your soul away. It's easy to take the easy way out and join the crowd, but life should be fun (and if it's not, then you're doing it wrong)!
6. When in doubt, present! (AKA take pictures!) Whenever I don't know how to pose in a picture, I present. It's a great go-to pose in Disney. You can present the castle, the Eiffel tower, a statue of Mickey, fireworks, a great meal, the list is endless. And it works in places other than Disney as well. Feel free to steal my pose and take pictures while you're on your program!
This is how you do it. In our nation's capital.

Much affection,

Be sure to check out my posts on Check in Day and Traditions. Also if you're a future lifeguard CP, check out any posts with the tag Guarding the World to give you a taste of what the role is really like. If you have any questions at all or posts you'd like to read, please leave me a comment!


  1. Thanks for this post Julie!
    I will be doing the Disney ICP (coming over from New Zealand!)next year in August and I cannot wait! I keep reading people's Disney blogs obsessively because it feels like my program is still ages away! I love reading stuff like this as it makes me so much more excited about what I can do while I'm there!! I love reading your blog so keep it up :D

    Sinead x

  2. Hi Julie,
    I had a couple of questions to ask. First off I totally love your blog it has really helped me kinda figure out what I will be doing in my upcoming CP. I have also been assigned as a lifeguard so I am happy to find a blog that has detailed post about training and work and all that. Ok so on to the questions. I noticed that in your move in post you said your roommate and you wanted a one bedroom apartment, so how did you end up having to room with 7 other girls? And did you always intend to live in Vista Way? My roommates and I are hoping to get a 2 bedroom apartment in Chatham. Did your postions in line effect what apartment you got? Thanks Julie for all your help and if I have anymore questions I will be back ask them.

  3. Jackie,

    I ended up in a 3 bedroom (5 roommates) because I met the girls in line and we just clicked. We decided to stick together instead of being placed with random people. And I really lucked out! I had initially wanted to live at Chatham, but I really like Vista. It is the oldest and not as nice as the other two apartments. But to me it's big, and it's nicer than the last apartment I lived at for college.

    If I had been further up in the line, I may have gotten an apartment at Chatham. I was the last arrival group for Fall 2012, so it wasn't as large a group as the other dates and I think there were less housing options for us.