Today I went to Chick-fil-A and while I was there I met Jillian, a new CP who moves in on Monday. We talked for a bit about the check-in, the program, and her role as a Main Entrance Operations Cast Member (like Angel!).
Answering her questions made me want to do a post about some of the things I've learned in my three months here, so here are some tips and tricks for CP life!
Bring as much with you as you can. I tried to pack light to come down here. I was going on a plane and also convinced myself that I didn't need much. Then I ended up buying a bunch of things down here. Prices are a lot more expensive in Orlando, so even bringing your preferred cold medicine and hair products back home will help. Also, if you're driving bring storage units since you only have half a closet and three drawers in the apartments.
Comfortable shoes! All kinds of shoes, but mostly shoes for the parks and business shoes. You do a lot of walking during the program and the for the first two weeks everyone I knew had blisters and achey, sore feet. Find comfy shoes that you can last all day in, and don't be afraid to get inserts. Also, bring band-aids. Lots of them.
Take the earlier bus. Being late is a big deal in Disney, and if you are it's a half point on your record card. In order to avoid this, you can't take a bus that arrives a few minutes before your start time. The buses that transport us from the apartments to WDW don't use private roads, so they are susceptible to bad traffic and construction. Make sure you take a bus that gets to your work at least 30 minutes before you start (though I prefer 30 minutes before my clock in time).
Costuming allows you five costumes at a time. Use it. Going to costuming before work means leaving earlier, which means sleeping less. I like to get five costumes at once so I'm set for a few days. Some people also keep one in their locker at work as a backup.
Bring entertainment on the bus. It's about a thirty minute ride to work and forty to forty-five minutes back home afterwards (switch if you live outside of Vista). If you bring something to help pass the time and keep you occupied it's not as bad. I use my Kindle almost every ride and have read eight books since I got here. So load up your iPod, e-reader, phone, or whatever for the commute.
Pack professional clothes. I thought the only thing I would need dress clothes for would be Traditions and maybe an interview. As it turned out, I had three days in a row of business casual during my first week! And if you plan on taking classes here, pack more because if you're not in your work costume, you must be in professional clothing.
Go to the learning center. Okay, let me explain that one. In the front office at Vista we have a learning center that is a lot better than it sounds. Not only does it have books and board games, but it also has an incredible movie selection. They have basically every Disney movie and a ton of non-Disney ones. So instead of paying to rent a movie, stop by and get one for free for four days by just showing your ID.
Take advantage of the first two weeks. You don't have work yet and if you do you're getting out early, so use it while you can! Go to the parks and visit Orlando. Get to know your roommates before you become consumed with work and sleep for a month. Think about how weird it would be if you didn't really talk at first and then didn't have time to create a foundation later. Which brings me to my last point:
Be open to new people. You're going to be down here for several months away from your family and friends, and that's far too much time to spend by yourself and on Skype. The people you meet down here already have something in common with you: they love Disney, they're concerned for their future, they like to fun, they believe in dreams and magic. Emily appeared so outgoing when we were in line together at check-in. If I had shut myself out to her then I would have missed out on a really great friend and an amazing living situation. This goes for work, too. You'll practically live with those people, so make some friends.
I hope this helps!