I managed to keep a daily diary for the majority of my summer working as a Cast Member in Walt Disney World. Some days are a bit sparse compared to others, and honestly some days are actually just very boring. But, if you’re nosey (like me) are thinking of applying to the programme or have been accepted to the programme and want to know every single little thing that happens over your time working for the mouse (again, like me) then hopefully you will find this useful.
I arrived on a Sunday, which is why the weeks go from Sunday-Saturday. Disney also update the time sheets Sunday-Saturday, so it makes sense to organise my weeks this way. Hopefully, I’ll also be posting these every Sunday evening!
Working for Disney: Week One
Sunday 19th June – Disney Art of Animation
Today was finally the day I had been dreaming about for so long – I was off to Disney. There were lots of other participants at the airport – you could spot the hoodies/sweatshirts from a mile a way. Becky (my disney roomie/interview gal/all round disney bae) and I pre-booked out seats next to each other. It turned out that we had a spare seat next to us, so had plenty of room to spread out on our flight.
As soon as we arrived in Orlando, we caught the magical express straight to our hotel; check in for the programme was not until Monday morning, so we stayed at Disney’s Art of Animation resort in a Little Mermaid room for one night.
We dropped our luggage off in our room, had the quickest showers of our lives, chucked some pretty dresses on and headed to our dinner reservations at 1900 Park Fare in the Grand Floridian – we also somehow managed to ride on all three monorails lines without meaning to AND I got to see the top of Spaceship Earth for the first time!
The Grand Floridian is a beautiful resort located in the Magic Kingdom area of Walt Disney World. It is themed around Palm Beach’s Victorian era and is only one stop on the monorail from Magic Kingdom. 1900 Park Fare, one of the restaurants in the Grand Floridian, is a character dining restaurant. It was absolutely fantastic! After eating far too much food and meeting all of the characters from Cinderella, we headed to the Polynesian Resort to watch Wishes – the firework show in Magic Kingdom – which can be seen across Bay Lake from the beach area.
We were both feeling very tired, and headed back to our hotel and hit the sheets ready for check in day at Disney housing.
Monday 20th June – Check In
We eventually made it to Patterson Court – our Disney housing accommodation. After a disastrous uber, check in was very simple. You go in, show them your Disney Housing ID barcode (which I couldn’t find), have a photo taken, pick up your check-in pack and your keys.
Becky and I requested to be roommates through the DORMS system a month before we flew out. We were placed in an apartment full of Americans who had been on the programme since January. It felt a bit strange moving in to someone elses space, but they were all very welcoming!
I unpacked my suitcase incredibly quickly as I wanted it to feel like home straight away. Becky and I then met up with Eleanor – another ICP who had moved in to Patterson Court too. All of three of us then headed off to Walmart on the CP bus. It was time for some real American cultural exchange!
There was a lot to get in Walmart and my trolley was full. I vacuumed packed my bedding from home which was one thing I luckily didn’t have to buy. We ended up getting a taxi back to the housing because we physically couldn’t carry all of our stuff.
After some more unpacking we headed over to Chatham Square bus stop (which is five minutes down the road from Patterson Court) and caught the transtar bus to Disney Springs – we still didn’t have park entry, so, no Magic Kingdom for us just yet.
We grabbed some food from Wolfgang Puck and wandered around Disney Springs – I even stopped off at Erin McKenna’s Bakery to try a vegan and gluten free cookie sandwich. It was delicious!
Tuesday 21st June – Housing Meetings and Immigration Session
Today was another day of welcome meetings. We had an immigration session which involved crazy disco lights, big screens and a government agent who basically tries to scare the hell out of everyone. Essentially, don’t do anything stupid, fill out your monthly cultural activity and you’ll be fine.
You have to take a drug test, depending on your given role. As a lifeguard, we had to take one. This was quite a strange process as the test took place in a ‘model Disney housing apartment’. You fill in a form and then are called one by one into one of the bedrooms. It was all very serious. You had to pee in a cup, not wash your hands or flush, walk back into the bedroom (past all the other CM’s) holding your cup of pee, before handing it back to the nurse. I found the whole thing quite amusing!
After that was done, Eleanor and I met up with Becky and Suzie at the Commons for the Housing Welcome. As if fate had intervened, all four us were all Disney lifeguards and all lived in Patterson!
That night, we decided to head to Disney Springs to see Finding Dory at the AMC theatre. We grabbed some food before we went to see the movie, but me being the ‘gluten free-vegetarian-transistioning vegan’ couldn’t find any food. I finally managed to find a salad in starbucks full of sweet potato, quinoa and beetroot – yum!
Once the film was over, we mooched around Disney Springs and danced with one of the performers by the lake. I was also given the most adorable birthday surprise from my new Disney friends – a chip mug from Beauty and the Beast! ❤
Wednesday 22nd June – Birthday, Onboarding and SWIM TEST
Happy Birthday to me. Oh, still no Disney park entry. Damn.
Instead, we had our on boarding session. But, I got a spacial fast pass service and birthday badges – yay!
At the onboaring session you are given various bits of paper. You will also find out your work location, unless you are a lifeguard.
Speaking of lifegaurding, today was the day of the dreaded swim test. Just my luck to have my swim test on my birthday!
Eleanor and I headed over to Mickeys retreat, which is a sort walk from Patterson and where the swim test takes place, to practice. We were both shallow guards, however, there is a lot of confusing information online about what the swim test actually consists of. I am going to write a dedicated post for any applicants accepted as lifeguards with all the information about the swim test and lifeguarding in general.
At 6pm, we headed back, completed the swim test and then headed to Disney Springs to finally celebrate my birthday. We managed to get a reservation at Raglan Road and stuffed ourselves silly.
Thursday 23rd June – Traditions
Today was Traditions day – finally!
We aren’t supposed to talk much about what happens in Traditions, and for this reason, I am going to brief. You have to leave very early on a special cast member coach which takes you to Disney University. (Seriously, don’t miss this bus) Becky and I got halfway there and realised we didn’t have our passports and had to leg it back to our apartment before sprinting to the bus!
You are given a full days training on Disney’s business philosophies including the Four Keys and Safe D Begins With Me. You are also given a backstage tour of the utilidors under Magic Kingdom. There are a few other moments that I am not going to mention, as it will ruin the surprise for any of you who are due to do the program. It’s a really great day, even if at times it is a little boring. However, it really makes you understand the amazing work Disney do.
After Traditions, we headed back to housing, got changed and finally headed into Magic Kingdom for the first time and I finally got to see Celebrate the Magic, and Wishes!
Friday 24th June – Day Off
Eleanor, Becky and I all had the day off. We decided to head to Epcot with our new park entry. Suzie had to finish an essay for university (poor thing) but joined us later in the evening.
This was the first time I had ever been to Epcot and I was so excited. We managed to ride Test Track, Soarin’, Spaceship Earth, try the different soda flavours, visit The World Showcase and watch Illuminations.
Saturday 25th June – Ellis Day One
Today was day one of Ellis training. As I have already mentioned, I am going to write a post dedicated entirely to the swim test and lifeguarding in general – there is a lot to go through.
After a rather exhausting first day, we spent the evening hanging out by the pool to get ready for the rest of our Ellis training.
So, that’s it for week one! I’ll be posting week two next week.
YouTube: AnnieBelle – TheDisneyBelle