Disney Cultural Exchange Program – DORMS

Today my roommates and I received a DORMS e-mail notifying us that we have approximately three days to complete our paperwork and link with each other. The DORMS e-mail is said to be sent out 10 days prior to your arrival but it may arrive earlier like mine.

In this email, it gives you your roommate ID which is an eight digit number that allows you to link with your roommates, the amount of people you are able to link up with and instructions on how to link up with your roommates. For my arrival date, we were only able to link up to three other participants which meant my roommates and I had to split up. I decided to stay with a girl that had been with me since the start of the roommate search and found another girl pretty quickly so now we’re a group of three!

Whether or not you are the leader for DORMS, it’s a good idea to discuss rooming situations with your roommates.

  • Double occupancy or Triple occupancy (two or three people in a room)
  • How many roommates?
  • Vista Way, Chatham Square, Patternson Court or The Commons

We made this small mistake because we wanted to get it done as soon as possible and because the last minute changes and addition of a new roommate, we forgot to discuss the housing situation with her. We ended up doing double occupancy because we didn’t want bunk beds, Chatham Square for six roommates. (I’ll explain the six roommates option further down.)

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I ended up being the leader for my group and as a leader, you are the only one that logs in when you first register for DORMS. You log into DORMS and review your personal information and add in details such as married housing or any special needs (religious or disability purposes etc) for housing. The next page brings you to the housing forms and regulations that will be printed out at the end along with your boarding pass. After you have read and ‘signed’ the papers, you need to gather your roommates’ IDs and enter them into the system. Your roommates will get an e-mail asking them to confirm their links and fill out their information. The next step is to rank your housing preferences. Initially, we thought we could just rank them like Chatham, Patternson and Vista. However, DORMS provide you with a list of options like Chatham 3 – Bedrooms 6 Person which is confusing because DORMS will still provide you with the various options even though the e-mail had said only up to three other participants. This is probably due to housing availability so perhaps we will end up with six roommates when we check in. Keep in mind it is a good idea to have all your roommates online to give feedback and make decisions.

Overall, DORMS was pretty straightforward and easy to go through. The hardest part was discussing how to split up our original group of six. Always discuss a back up plan with roommates so if things don’t work out, it’ll be easier to sort everything out.

Walt Disney Cultural Exchange Program – Packing list

This list is for my own reference and will not include the things my roommates and I will buy and share. I’ll write one up for future applicant reference after I’m done a good amount of my program so I can give actual advice on what to pack.

Clothes
  • Running shoes
  • Converse
  • Keds
  • Flats
  • Slippers
  • Socks (Black & White)
  • Pencil skirts (2)
  • Blouse (2)
  • Dresses for orientation
  • Blazer
  • T-shirts
  • Shorts
  • Dresses
  • Jeggings (1)
  • Disney hairbows
Lifestyle
  • Indigo soft fluffy blanket
  • Pictures of friends and family
  • Backpack
  • Small purse
  • Sketchbook (classic & travel size)
  • Pens & pencils
  • Pillowcase (2)
  • Blanket*
  • Fitted sheets (2)
  • Laundry bag*
  • Hangers*
Kitchen
  • Favorite blue Mickey mug
  • Chopsticks (3)
  • Tupperware container*
  • Water bottle
Hygiene
  • Toothbrush + Toothpaste
  • Shampoo (LUSH Seanik + Big Shampoo)
  • Conditioner
  • Sunscreen
  • Shower gel (LUSH Whoosh)
  • Facial cleanser
  • Facial moisturizer + Lotion (LUSH Formulae as Known)
  • Face Mask (LUSH Love Lettuce)
  • Bath/beach towel (2)
  • Face cloth (2)
  • Hand towel
  • Hair ties/bobby pins
  • Loofah
  • Hairbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Razor/Tweezer/Nail clippers
  • Perfume/Body spray
Electronics
  • Laptop + charger
  • Phone + charger
  • Camera + charger
  • Memory cards
  • USB + Hard drive
  • Headphones (2)
  • Mouse

***Will be updating constantly***

Walt Disney Cultural Exchange Program – Update

I have a little less than a month till I move out and start working at Disney World. I recently found some roommates via Facebook and everyone seems really friendly! The roommate situation consists of six girls including myself – three Canadians and three Mexicans. We’re hoping we get into Chatham Square with two bedrooms.

Honestly, I am having mixed feelings about this whole thing. I’m extremely grateful that I got into the program and by no means do I not want to go but I’m kind of scared/worried/homesick. I haven’t been in a situation where I won’t be home for a long period of time. My last trip on a United Kingdom cruise, I got homesick after two weeks and I was with my mom. This situation could go either way – I could be extremely happy and outgoing or I could be moping after two weeks, yearning for home and my queen sized bed. I’m also someone who is very selfish in the way where I want to have the best of both worlds. In this case, I want to be doing fun activities with my friends at home but I also want to leave and do something different with my summer.

I’ve also been worrying about the swim test that I have to pass in order to become a lifeguard for the company. The swimming portion isn’t hard and I’m not that worried about the lifeguard crash course either. It was the vision test that was freaking me out. During my interview in January, my recruiter and I had a little misunderstanding where I told her my vision situation (which is -3.50 and -4.00) and she assumed it was 20/20 vision. I don’t really understand the 20/20 vision scale nor do I know how to convert the measurements so I was a little bit confused. I was hoping she would put me in recreation but she put me in lifeguarding instead. I had been freaking out for the past weeks because I did not want to be moved to another role. Long story short, I am pretty sure I’m allowed to wear contacts or glasses during the vision test. I also found out that I will be a shallow end lifeguard which apparently I only have to do a small portion of the swim test. From my understanding, being a shallow end lifeguard means I will not be working at the water parks but in the resorts, which I don’t mind as long as it’s not a lame standard swimming pool in a hotel.

With less than thirty days remaining, I need to hang out with my friends, clean up my house and start packing! I need to sew a few pencil skirts because finding pencil skirts in my size is a pain and all the affordable pencil skirts are too short for the Disney look. I should write up a list of things I need to pack and buy soon. Four weeks will fly by and I know I’ll be forgetting something the night before.

Walt Disney Cultural Exchange Program – Aftermath

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts but I applied to this program without telling a single soul. I just went on the website one day, saw the posting and applied. I didn’t tell friends, cast members, not even my parents. Which resulted in some…minor problems, like my parents not wanting to let me go…

Their main concern was whether or not it was a scam and whether I’d be kidnapped to Mexico and become a part of the human trafficking world. In the end, I wrote up all the information, similar to my previous blog post and I got a thumbs up!

Because it was such a last minute thumbs up, I had to rush to pay for the fees and submit my forms. I was told that I would get a little bit more time to submit my proof of student status since it was reading week but it was not given to me immediately. I had to call Disney to reopen my DOC and submit my form the day after. So if anyone was worrying, Disney is quite lenient as long as you have a good reason.

That basically sums up my application process. I still need to book flights, get a criminal background check and pay for medical insurance. I’ll update closer to the date but I’ll be posting Disney World pictures soon! Until then, have a magical day!

Walt Disney J1 Cultural Exchange Program – Interview

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We started off our day arriving at the office between 9:00AM and 9:25AM to sign in and gather in a seminar room. There was three recruiters that did a presentation about the program, the budget, roles and visa/SEVIS information which I will list below for your future references.

Presentation information for 2015:

  • The pay is $9.00 USD, for lifeguards (guarding at 2m deep) is $9.43 USD.
  • Canadians don’t need to do visas, UK and other applicants do. However, we still need to do the SEVIS fees.
  • Medical insurance from Disney (HTH) is a must, even if you have your own medical insurance. It’s about $60-80 a month.
  • There is a program assessment fee of $150 and a $4.50 credit card fee.
  • You will also need to pay $200 for your first two weeks of housing and after that housing will be deducted from your pay.
  • There are two arrival dates: May 12th or May 19th and everyone will be departing on August 7th.

After the presentation, a group of us went down to the food court and waited it out by talking and eating. We cannot stay upstairs near the office until five minute prior to our interview. I left about fifteen minutes before and got there right on time. It always nice to expect some elevator traffic or maybe you’re in five inch heels. Once I got up there for my interview, I waited in a meeting room with about 10 people before the recuiter called half of us into another waiting room to be called in separately.

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I feel like everyone always claims that the interview was super easy going, but I always found it generic. If you prepared and thought up some answers prior to the interview, it is definitely easier. This was one of my most well thought out interviews and I answered a lot better than all my interviews before. I’ll list some of the questions below.

  • Why do you want to be on the program?
  • What are you doing in school right now?
  • Do I live in dorms or at home?
  • How I would do in a dorm setting? In a different country and environment?
  • Why I chose the roles I wanted and if I wanted to do quick service food?
  • Work experience.
  • Volunteer experience.
  • Any questions or comments from me?

Overall, I think the questions were straightforward and pretty simple to answer. One thing I would change is probably mention that I really wanted to work in Magic Kingdom. I didn’t really have any questions because I did a lot of research and found blogs and vlogs documenting their experiences.

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I think I left on a good note, however, I am having second thoughts about the program. I recently made an impulsive decision to get a puppy and I don’t think I could part with her for three months when she’s not even a year old. I am also interested in restarting my YouTube channel after abandoning it for almost two-three years. My program is very broad and let’s face it, being in a fine arts program is going to be harder to find a job compared to someone in nursing. I want to create a name for myself, improve on my work before I graduate and be thrown into the real world. If I can actually stay committed to YouTube, I would assume I am going to be more comfortable vlogging and I would love to document my adventure at Disney. I’m not completely abandoning the program but I might just delay it since I still have two years to apply.

I will update this blog post when I get a response from Disney but this may be the end of my Disney CEP blogposts.

Status: Waiting for response.  Accepted! 

Walt Disney J1 Cultural Exchange Program – The Waiting Game…

So it’s been two months since I have written my last blog post about the program and that’s because there’s nothing to talk about. It’s been two months of waiting, which I had anticipated so I wasn’t too nervous or anxious. A few people have been concerned as DOC emails were going out and were losing hope but I’ve been through the Disney Careers process enough times to rest assure when my application is in the ‘In Progress’ stage. As long as you’re not in the ‘No longer in consideration’ stage, you are good!

There are a couple of things that I would like to share my experience on, just in case anyone was wondering.

The DOC email. DOC stands for Disney Onboarding Central, it’s where you will find documents to upload such as your proof of student status, role checklist etc. This year, a couple of applicants who applied very early on had gotten these emails as well as the documents to upload. However, Disney had changed the application process so that you do not have to worry about the documents until you get your interview dates. For me, the system glitched and gave me my DOC email but no documents. I was later sent the documents and an invitation for the interview all within the same hour.

The role checklist was a tricky one, I thought I knew what I wanted to do but turns out I was still quite indecisive, but this part really depends on the person. I really wanted to work on operations and attractions because I’m working for a theme park, of course I want to work on the attractions. But I have Disney merchandise experience so I would probably be able to pick up merchandise pretty quickly. Lifeguarding for Disney does not require a license, which is somewhat worrying but lucky for me! The requirements to be a lifeguard at Disney World is, you must be able to swim 200 yards of freestyle or breaststroke, retrieve a 10lb brick from the deepest part of the pool (8 feet) and tread water with hands out of the water for two minutes. Housekeeping sounds fun too just because I’m weird and I like cleaning and straightening up a room but I want a role where I can have a good amount of guest interaction and finally full service food and beverage because I’ve always wanted to work as a waitress, it’s just one of those jobs that every teenager should experience, except I technically won’t be a teenager by then, but I’m sure I’ll be able to witness many magical moments in a dinner setting. As for everything else, I was honest and put low or no interest. I’ve heard that the interviewers will ask why you have put no interest and I am prepared to answer it; I want to work in an environment where I can create magical moments by interacting with the guests.

Next thing I did, was scheduling my interview appointment. Once you get your invitation, I highly recommend you not to go back to sleep like I did and book your interview times!! The Toronto interviews had their presentations at 9:30AM and then interviews starts at 12:00PM. I knew I wanted to do an early interview because I didn’t want to sit there and get nervous for the rest of the day. It’s also nicer to get it over with and have the rest of the day to myself. But of course, I decided to stay in bed and drift back to sleep, so my interview time is now on January 29th, 2015 at 3:00PM -4:00PM.

So until then, I’m going to plan my interview outfit and start on my interview cheat sheet. By interview cheat sheet, I mean looking up general and Disney interview questions and answering them. I’m the type of person where if you ask me a pretty sudden question, I would have literally no idea what to say, everything just seems to blank out. So by writing out some of my answers, I would be more prepared for the interview questions.

My next blog post will definitely be my interview blog post! I’m also going to put in a little timeline of things that go through my head during that day so stay tuned!