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Officially Part of the Magic

Hello all! Thank you for continuing to follow along with my journey through the Disney College Program. I hope you enjoyed reading about my Day 1 of the Disney College Program. Also, if you have any questions you would like me to answer or certain topics to cover, please let me know in the comments below.

After I was all moved and settled into my new apartment, it was time for my family to leave. Since I never lived away from home before, I was very nervous about not getting to see them as much!  I remember waiting for the Magical Express to come to Disney’s Pop Century Resort to pick up my sister. We stood up, gave each other hugs, and immediately started tearing up. And then the bus pulled away…Without her. It was the wrong bus. This happened about 3 times before the right bus came, and we thought it was hilarious. It definitely helped to dry our tears as we would laugh every time the wrong bus came.

After saying our goodbyes, I drove back to my apartment in Patterson Court. I remember feeling oddly okay for just having said goodbye to my family. Being a twin and having a very close knit family, I wasn’t a very “go off and do your own thing”, independent type of person. I was usually shy, reserved and liked my routine, but here, I felt excited and adventurous. I was ready to soak in every magical experience and enjoy the next couple of months that lay before me. After all, the time would surely fly by.

The next couple of days are usually a different schedule for everyone, but it usually contains the same general itinerary which includes a Housing Welcome Session Meeting, Traditions, a tour of the location you will be working at (mine was called DAKlamation), and Work Location Training.

Day 2: Housing Welcome Session

The first item on the agenda for my roommates and I was the Housing Welcome Session. This was held at the Clubhouse at Chatham Square. Walking into the clubhouse was yet another long line. This is something you get used to whenever you move on Disney Property. There are lines. Everywhere. In fact, on the very slight occasion that there is not a line, you may have the unexplainable urge to run around and dance in circles in all of the space where the line of people should be. Lines will just become a part of your everyday life, but it’s totally worth it to get to live, work, and explore at the most magical place on earth. While waiting outside, my roommates and I became very curious as to what was actually going to go on inside the housing meeting. Behind lots of people we saw blue strobe lights, a fog machine, and loud music. This would be like no meeting I had ever attended before.

Once inside we all sat at tables in front of a large screen that said “Disney College Program”. It felt so oddly funny to be sitting at tables when the room was clearly meant for a dance party.

At the housing meeting they explained some rules and guidelines, such as what you can and cannot have in your rooms, having guests over, and inspections. You can find more info about Disney College Program Housing here. 

Some rules and guidelines are:

  • You always need to show your housing ID, which you will receive on check in day, when entering any of the apartment complexes. It is a good idea to have a lanyard attached to your ID to make it easy for you to find.
  • Guests have to be signed in and need to leave by 1:00 a.m., meaning no overnight guests. However, if you have friends or family visiting, Disney does offer discounts for rooms at the resorts.
  • Disney Housing has scheduled apartment inspections, as well as random ones. They want to make sure that the rooms are kept neat and tidy and that there is nothing that is not supposed to be there i.e. alcohol, drugs, light sabers, candles. It’s a good idea for you and your roommates to discuss a cleaning schedule so that you can pass inspections and get a White Glove Award. White Glove Award means you get a special gift for passing inspections. I still have a few of my gifts!

The rest of that afternoon after the Housing Welcome Session is typically a free day.

I spent the remainder of the day decorating my room and putting things away. Because I arrived in January, I received apartment items as Christmas presents for when I would be moving. I think my roommates may have thought I was a little nuts when I unpacked throw pillows, a candy dish, my own dishes, and pots and pans, but it was so nice for me to have these little reminders from home to use every day.

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One of the best things I brought was bed risers so I had extra storage under my bed.

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One of the worst things I brought was a curtain for my window. It constantly fell down because I couldn’t properly hang it without drilling holes in the wall, which I was not allowed to do. Security also regularly knocked on my window, telling me that the curtains were not permitted to be seen from outside the window since they already had uniform blinds. Within the first month, I gave up, and the curtains ended up somewhere in my closet.

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Day 3: Traditions

The next day I had Traditions. I had to be at the bus stop at 6:50 a.m.! However, waking up for this day was easy, as I was so excited for what the day would bring. This was the day I got to go to Disney University and would be taking a tour of Magic Kingdom Park through the utilidors! The utilidors are a tunnel system under the Magic Kingdom which is strictly reserved for Cast Members, although there are a few tours for guests. I had been wanting to see this side of the Magic Kingdom for as long as I could remember.

It is important to remember that basically anytime you are going to a Disney event of any kind where you are not in your costume, you also need to dress in the Disney look. You can read about this Disney look here, but it is helpful to think “Business Casual”. You also will want to wear comfortable, but dressy, shoes for this day, since you will be walking through the park.

We rode the bus to Disney University, which is located behind the Magic Kingdom. We were then ushered into a classroom where they did a lesson all about the Walt Disney Company. The Walt Disney Company includes a lot more than its parks and movies. You may be surprised! They also had Disney quizzes and Disney games where you had the opportunity to win prizes.

After the lesson, we received ear pieces that we would wear once inside the Magic Kingdom. This way we could hear our guide without him spoiling the magic for the other guests by him having to yell to our whole group. They wanted us to know that we were now representing the Walt Disney Company when we went “on stage”, that is the areas where guests are.

Once we got to the back entrance of the Magic Kingdom, I finally saw the utilidors. To me this moment was as eventful as seeing Cinderella Castle for the first time. A moment I had dreamt about for ages, and I was actually here! It was here that they explained to us that the Magic Kingdom is actually on a second level, and the utilidors are on ground level. Many people think the utilidors are underground.

As we walked down under the Magic Kingdom, it felt like a whole little city! Mickey and Belle were walking around talking with Character Attendants, and different Cast Members where driving golf carts to get to places. There was even a Subway in which we were allowed to take a break for lunch. The Subway is located directly under Cinderella Castle. I always think about that when I go back as a guest, that there are people under my feet eating sandwiches! It just makes me smile.

While waiting in line for our food there were crowds of people all in different costumes. Some of the Cast Members that I noticed the most were girls in grey sweats with lots of make up on. I was told that they were dancers in “Dream Along with Mickey” and would be performing in just a few minutes, but for now they were quietly eating their lunches at the tables in the “Mouseketeria”.

After we finished our lunch, we walked up a large series of stairs to a little door that let us out a secret door on Main Street, U.S.A. To many people in my group, this was their very first time seeing Cinderella Castle. What a magical experience for them! Here we got to see the last few minutes of “Dream Along with Mickey”. The dancers from the “Mousekateria” were know spinning beautifully on stage with wide pearly white smiles. This was something I had to get used to. Your “onstage self”, and your “backstage self”. Backstage, I could relax my smile muscles, slouch a little, and eat my lunch in peace. On stage I had to smile, wave to people, offer friendly advice and tips, and always be standing up straight (never leaning on anything!). Seeing different Cast Members “out of character” when backstage took some getting used to.

After we got back to Disney University we were told we would be expecting a very special visitor who would be presenting us with our name tags! I won’t spoil the surprise, but it was such a magical ending to a very magical day.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my first couple of days living the magic! In my next post I will share about DAKlamation and my Work Location Training as a Photopass Photographer. I hope you have a magical day!

 

(Apartment photos from the personal collection of Olivia Gismervik)

Learning about the Magic Kingdom as a second floor was something quite surprising to me when I first learned about it! What is a fact about the Magic Kingdom, or any of the parks, that you were surprised to hear?

Elysabethe is a 23-year old Disney addict and Disney College Program Alum. Her first visit to the parks was when she was just three months old, and her most recent visit was on her honeymoon last June. When she is not in the parks she can usually be found carrying her resort mug full of diet coke and singing to Disney music on her drive to work, trying to bring some of the “magic” back home.