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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

last minute dcp preparations

11 days left until my next dream begins!

Before I get into today's post, I just want to encourage you guys to check out my new Valentine's Day Gift Ideas Board on Pinterest!  I had so much fun building this board, and I know you guys are going to love all of these amazing artist creations on Redbubble!

Even if you don't use Pinterest, you can still use my code RBC-B15XQ84H04 at checkout to get 15% off your entire purchase on Redbubble.com!

I'll be honest: I blogged way more about my Program prepping back in 2016.  Back then, it felt like time dragged on and on for that last month leading up to my Program.  Friday night was my one-month-until-check-in date and I didn't realize it until I was in bed for the evening.  I also didn't want tinkerkait to fully digress into a Disney College Program blog, and still don't.

I don't think I've talked about the true "future" of tinkerkait for the next eight months yet.  Unlike Kaitlyn in the Mouse Trap, which was genuine Disney College Program experience journal/blog, tinkerkait was created to focus more on general Park touring.  Obviously, the last few months of tinkerkait have been all DCP/lifestyle, including this post.  I'm frankly not sure how I feel about it.  On one hand, I want to keep the focus of tinkerkait geared towards my experiences in the Parks as a guest because I want this blog to be consistent.  On the other hand... I had a lot of fun in 2016 getting to document my Program experience!  I decided recently that for whatever reason, I just loved helping first-time participants navigate this Program and talking about everything everyone needs to know to succeed in the Program.  The first arrival date for Spring 2020 is 1/13, so I've been attached to the Spring/Spring Advantage 2020 Facebook group that I admin alongside a few of my friends, answering questions nonstop for the last month or so.  I love it so much that I might be planning a huge new addition to the tinkerkait content family.  Maybe.

I think at the end of the day, there's just going to be a lot of posts on this blog coming up that are not inherently related to Park touring.  I really hope that anyone who follows tinkerkait for non-Program posts stick around!  In spite of all the DCP-centered craziness, there are still going to be a lot of posts about experiences that regular Park guests will want to know about.

Just not today.  Today is all about the Program.

Pre-Arrival Videos

Yesterday, the 2/3 check-in gang got our Pre-Arrival Video email!  

Way back during my first Program, you had to travel to The Commons during your first week on property to attend a Housing meeting.  This meeting was designed to get Participants acclimated with the rules & policies of Housing, the amenities on property, and how to use the DCP bus transportation system.  They have since done away with the Housing meeting!  Instead, Participants are asked to watch a 30-minute long series of videos that go over certain safety codes, how to use the bus system, packing tips, a general tour of the complex amenities, and my personal favorite: a really heartfelt video to get us excited for working for Disney!  It is definitely hard to not get choked up watching Cast Members talk about how working for TWDC has changed their lives.

Registering for Classes

Disney College Program offers select "classes" for CP participants throughout the season.  These classes are more like professional development seminars, designed to teach us more about the Walt Disney Company and help us develop workplace-relevant skills like interviewing, resume-building, and personal branding.  There are two types of classes: Discover Disney classes and Disney Exploration Seminars.  The Discover Disney classes are single class sessions where working Disney professionals come in to speak about different branches of the Company, or participants can experience a backstage tour of a Park area or attraction!  The Disney Exploration Seminars are three-week long courses that meet once a week and focus on larger Company themes: leadership development, human resource management, event planning, etc.

Class registration has been a bloodbath so far.  There are thousands of DCP participants and maybe 30-50 spots per class session.  So thousands of us are trying to register for three or four classes at a time when they're released at noon on certain weekdays.  The website has been painfully slow and many of us have been unsuccessful in registering for the courses we want.

With a lot of patience and persistence over the past two weeks, I am thrilled to say that I was able to register for the one Seminar I really wanted and the one Discover Disney class that I really wanted!

My Disney Exploration Seminar this Program is the Leadership 101 Seminar.  Over the course of three weeks, I will get to learn more about the key characteristics of leadership, the skills necessary to be a successful leader, and how Disney specifically prepares their management team to effectively balance the needs of their Cast, the needs of their Guests, and the needs of their line of business.

 My Discover Disney class is a super exciting guest speaker event: The WDW Ambassadors Present How Dreams Come True!  I adore the two current WDW Ambassadors, and I'm so excited to see this presentation on how Participants can use brand development, networking, and skill development to pursue their career aspirations with The Walt Disney Company!

I am so excited to take both of these classes.  I didn't take any classes while I was on my first DCP, so I'm really trying to get to as many as possible this time around.  I have my eye on a backstage Fantasmic! tour that happens later on in the Program.

Travel Arrangements

I haven't talked about this here yet, but I am actually flying down to Florida for this Program, so things are already very different.  A few days before my check-in date, I have a flight booked to MCO, where I'll hop on the Magical Express and head to a really short Pre-Program stay at one of Disney's All-Star Resorts.

Before I go on, I want to thank my friend Carolyn over at Mickey's Travel.  My mother has been using Mickey's Travel for years, so when the official Disney website showed no availability at the value resorts for my dates, we reached out to Carolyn first.  She was able to immediately set us up at an All-Star Resort for our exact dates!  After I booked my flight, she was able to connect it to my room reservation for me.  Since this will be my first time using Magical Express, she also helped me understand how the luggage/boarding process works, which I really appreciated.  Over the weekend, my Magicband for my little pre-DCP resort stay came in!  I also got my ME luggage tag in the mail.  Because I'll be traveling with two checked bags, I had to call Magical Express for a second one, so I'm waiting for that to come in the mail.


Ugh.  The two-checked-bag life is a struggle.

I'm blessed to have a really fabulous roomie linked up for this semester who is driving down to the Program, and she has offered to allow me to ship a box of belongings down to her before she starts her drive.  There's a really cute little box of knick-knacks on its way to her home as we speak!  Brianna, if you're reading this, I love you, I can't wait to meet you, and I can't wait to spend the next seven months together eating pasta and touring Epcot together!

The rest of my life will have to be condensed into two suitcases, a carry-on, and a backpack.  I have one suitcase right now that's solely for bedding, towels & other assorted home goods, and one suitcase right now that's solely for clothing.  I'm gonna have to squeeze my electronics, paperwork, and chargers into my backpack, and the carry-on is going to have my clothes for the two days leading up to check-in and what little else I haven't crammed into the other bags.  Anything else I need will have to be purchased once I get down there.

I, technically, have very little packed right now-- there are some things in my suitcases, but they are going to have to be moved around very soon.  And the little amount of stuff I do have in my suitcases right now, which is about 50% of what I'd like to bring down, fill the suitcases to the brim already.  It's fine.  We're fine.  I'm fine.  I have 10 storage compression bags from Target that need to be filled and vacuumed and the willpower to condense as much as possible into these two stupid suitcases.  I'm fine.

Here's to hoping I can survive seven months on the limited wardrobe packed into my Minnie Mouse American Tourister.

Saying Goodbye

You know what's harder than packing as much as possible into two suitcases?  Leaving everything else behind.

On Sunday, my family and I drove into NYC so I could see one last Broadway show before I move down.  I have been mostly distant from theatre for a while, but when my mom asked me if there was anything I wanted to do to celebrate my degree, I couldn't help but ask for one really great night on Broadway.

I specifically asked to see Beetlejuice.  It'll be closed by the time I come back, and even though I haven't had the desire to see a lot of shows lately, I really wanted to see Alex Brightman's performance as the title character.  We saw the Sunday evening performance and I was blown away.  It was everything I wanted it to be and more.  Not only is Alex Brightman a powerhouse as Beetlejuice, there is not a single weak performance in the cast.  It was quirky, it was fun, it was exciting.  It invigorated my love for theatre, which is really not something I wanted to happen in the middle of moving out of NYC and moving in to Orlando.  Oh well.  Maybe this time around I'll catch a touring show at the Dr. Phillips Center?

No matter what, one thing is for certain: I really am going to miss New Jersey and NYC.  In times like this, it's hard to focus on the up and coming excitement of this Program.  Now that I'm an Alumn, I know the full extent of how challenging it is to be so far away from home for so long.  Being at the most Magical Place on Earth without my family & friends from home brings a lot of complicated feelings that I'm not looking forward to working through again, but I'm spending this week spending as much time with my favorite people as possible.

And I've been giving my dog waaaaaay more snuggles and treats than usual.

I'll end this post on a much more positive note: the next time I post, I'll have a location reveal for you guys!  If you're following me on ig, please check out my ig story and vote for where you think i'll be working over on @tinkerkait!


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